Staying Healthy in Phase III

We are a week into Phase III here in Virginia, and we’ve received many phone calls and questions during visits on how to best navigate the loosened restrictions. In this blog entry we’ll try to tackle the most commonly asked questions. First, we’d like to convey how appreciative we are to this community for all the steps you’ve taken to minimize the impact of COVID-19 in RVA, especially among our children. We sincerely thank you.

The Basics

  • Continue to physically distance yourself from non-household members (ideally 6 feet or more).
  • Wash your hands when you return home, and before all snacks and meals – even if you’ve been home all day.
  • Wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your face and eyes.
  • Wear a mask when in public indoor spaces.
  • Wear a mask at public outdoor spaces when a physical distance of 6 feet from non-household members cannot be maintained.
  • Assume your mask is contaminated. When removing it, pull off from/with the ear loops, then wash your hands afterwards.

Visiting with Friends/Family

  • Whenever possible, visiting with family and friends should continue to be outside while maintaining physical distance of 6 feet between non-household members.
  • B.Y.O. ______. You name it, try to bring your own chairs, food, drinks, toys/activities, etc.
  • Keep gatherings small, and preferably to people whose symptoms, travel and distancing history you’re well aware of.


  • There is no right or wrong here. Many families are dual-income or single-parent, and may not have the luxury of sitters or nearby family members to help.
  • If you decide, or need, to send your child to daycare, become educated about the daycare policies regarding cold symptoms, fever, temperature screening upon arrival, clearance for return following illness, number of individuals per classroom, cleaning procedures, cohorting classrooms, etc.
  • If your child has any symptoms of illness, exercise caution and keep them home. (NOTE: for non-specific cold/illness symptoms, current recommendations are to consider patients contagious for 10 days from the first day of symptoms)
  • Develop childcare contingency plans in the event your child gets sick.
  • If the daycare does temperature screenings on arrival, do not give your child fever reducers (e.g. Tylenol, ibuprofen) in the morning before drop-off.
  • If your daycare requires a COVID test following an illness, please inform our schedulers when making the sick visit appointment. These visits are to be done in the parking lot, not in the office.

Eating Out

  • Though Phase III allows for indoor dining, we still encourage and recommend outdoor dining at restaurants. Because most customers will not be wearing masks as they eat and drink, the potential for spread of COVID-19 is greater indoors.
  • Even in outdoor seating areas, ensure tables are 6 feet apart.
  • Bring your mask in the event you need to go inside to use the restroom.


  • First and foremost, remember standard water safety precautions:
    • Children should ask before getting in the water & ensure an adult is watching them while in the water.
    • Dr. Mahoney always said, “the most dangerous setting for child safety is when everyone is watching, but nobody is watching.” The pool is a perfect example. The number of people can give you a false sense of security that all parts of the pool are being monitored. But there is so much commotion, sometimes caregivers and lifeguards can become distracted. Remain vigilant in watching your children.
  • Clean hands prior to eating.
  • Remember your masks in the event you or your child need to use the pool restrooms.
  • Inquire with pool managers about cleaning of lounge chairs, ladders, railings, and other frequently touched surfaces.
  • When socializing with other families, try to maintain a distance of 6 feet.

Traveling and Vacationing

  • Travel by car whenever possible.
  • Bring a picnic blanket for meals on road trip days. You can pack your food/snacks, or do curbside delivery of food then picnic outside.
  • Bring your own groceries, or do curbside grocery pick-up at local grocers such as Walmart, Kroger, etc.
  • Eat as many meals in your vacation home/rental as possible. If you choose to dine out, we recommend outdoor seating as mentioned above.
  • Have masks handy for potty breaks or other times you may need to use indoor public facilities.
  • Consider gas station apps that allow you to do non-contact payment.

Stay safe RVA! The sacrifices we made for the first 3-4 months made a huge, positive impact on the COVID-19 burden in our community. Hopefully these recommendations help you to safely and appropriately venture out.