Will your child be going to school this fall? If so, I would like to make a request.
Please remember that your child’s classmates are not part of their social bubble. They will not be sitting side by side, playing Ring-around-the-roses, or taking turns with a toy. This year, students can be no closer to or intimate with each other than you are allowed to be with the cashier behind the plexiglass at the grocery store.
Your bubble is made up of the 10 people you can be physically close to. Think of it in terms of living arrangements. Imagine not a bubble, but a house. You, your partner, your two kids, your mom, your father-in-law, your sister and your three nephews make a ten-person bubble. They aren’t necessarily living with you, but for the sake of this argument, that’s how close they are allowed to be. These are the people you can hug or snuggle with. Share a bed with. The people you brush pass as you move through the hallway. The people breathing the same air you do without a mask. The people you don’t have to sanitize the TV remote for.
In order to protect these ten people, every single one of you must wear masks and keep two meters apart from everyone else. It is imperative you all practice physical distancing. Your mom cannot hold hands on walks with her special friend. He’s not part of your bubble. Your kid can’t do a sleep over at their buddy’s house. Not your bubble.
Please note, grandma, sister, and junior are in your bubble and you’re in theirs. They do not have their own separate little bubbles with nine completely different people.
Venn diagrams of social bubbles are not allowed.
Also, your bubble cannot change from day to day, hour to hour. You can’t have six people in your family bubble during the week and then have a different six in your poker or book club bubble on the weekend.
When we end up back in the school buildings this fall, my wife and I are worried that the students in our classes will become our de facto bubble people, simply because of the proximity to, the number of, and the duration of contact with these children who are coming from large, intimate social bubbles of their own.
If you and your children are not vigilant and careful with your social bubbles, then our bubble will pop. I will have to stay away from my 70-year-old mother and my wife will need to say no to a visit with her 78-year-old father.
So, please ensure everyone in your family understands how social bubbles work, and do your best to follow physical distancing and mask wearing protocols when you’re in contact with people who are not in yours.
Stay safe, and all the best this school year.