On a beautiful sunny afternoon, Frank Fish waits for a daily walk with Valerie Fish’ 21 or Nate Fish ’23.

In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, “shelter in place guidelines”, “quarantine”, and “distance learning” have all become a part of everyday vocabulary. With so much of daily life being moved to a screen, it is more important than ever to schedule time to take breaks and turn the screens off.

Sally Peterson, US college counseling assistant commented, “I’m not a big fan of the increased screen time, but when you’re in the middle of the pandemic, what can you do?” Kids are on the screen more due to online learning but the same can be said for adults who have who now have to do their jobs on a screen.

Mrs. Ann Heitzmann, US French teacher, shared “ I typically work from about 7:30 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. Sometimes it’s stressful on my eyes, but I try to take breaks in between to have meals with family or walk the dog.”

Many people are struggling with the same thing. In addition to the physical strain of screen time, balancing home life with work life presents a challenge. Such balance is difficult, under normal circumstances, even more so when both are happening at home.

Lower Schooler Iggy Skemp often enjoys taking a screen break by battling with beyblades. (PAW photo courtesy of Mr. Ian Skemp)

A lot of parents are concerned with the amount of screen time both kids and parents now get on an average day.  Mrs. Kesney McCarthy, upper school guidance counselor at PA, is working from home while her three young children participate in online learning. 

McCarthy noted, “It’s been really difficult; the kids want to play video games or use the iPad when they take a break from schoolwork.  But, since they get so much more screen time with distance learning, I want them to be active during breaks.  We usually go outside and play basketball or ride our bikes.”

“Right now we have to accept that this is the only way we can work and learn”, Heitzmann added. Though no one has the power to change the way things are right now, unnecessary screen time can be minimized and breaks can be creative. Going out for a walk to get fresh air or playing board games with family are a couple of creative ways to take breaks.  Both are things many people have taken for granted in the past, but are now more welcome than ever.