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Chester County Press

Navigating the quarantine: Our ideas and activities during the pandemic

03/30/2020 11:27AM ● By Richard Gaw

By Richard L. Gaw

Staff Writer

Go to any search engine these days, punch in “Activities,” “Home” and “Quarantine,” and the results will provide a tumble-down of possibilities that will keep any couple, family or individual captivated and engaged for days.

A brief peek recently sent a reporter to the mother lode of ideas: “Activities to do at home or in self-isolation amid coronavirus;” “Relaxing activities to do at home during COVID-19 quarantine;” and “Six educational outdoor family activities to try during the pandemic.”

In response to Gov. Tom Wolf’s announcement on Monday that ordered Chester County residents to remain home for two weeks in an effort to slow down the spread of coronavirus, the Chester County Press reached out to several area residents to see how they are adjusting to the “new normal.”

Eric Roe, who represented District 158 in the Pa. House of Representatives from 2016-18, said he and his family have been taking advantage of the many outdoor trails and greenways in Chester County.

“It’s in times like this when my wife and I are most thankful that we are raising our family in bucolic Chester County,” Roe said. “Because of all the preserved green spaces and trails, we’ve been spending most of our time taking our twins on walks outdoors. On Friday, it was the Brandywine Greenway Trail in West Bradford Township. On Saturday, it was the Stroud Preserve in East Bradford. On Sunday it was the Unionville Community Park’s trails.

“I also managed to take a few hours this weekend and kayak along the east branch of the Brandywine from the Trestle Bridge to the Brandywine Picnic Park. Clean air, clean water, and preserved open spaces are good for the soul.”


Kennett Square photographer Jie Deng is working with her local Chinese-American community in Unionville and Chadds Ford, to help those in various medical industries. Learning that local medical workers at front lines are short of personal protection equipment such as face masks, protective gowns, the Unionville-Chadds Ford Chinese American Community immediately started fundraising activities over the past weekend and participation was overwhelming. Volunteers worked around the clock searching for reliable supplies -- piece by piece -- due to severe shortage of supplies at the moment. Last week, the community donated three boxes of protective gear to Penn Medicine Chester County Hospital and three boxes of protective gear and five boxes of N95 face masks to the University of Pennsylvania Hospital.

Deng and her daughter are just a two of the many community members have started sewing facial masks as well, and they plan to donate them to the people in need.

“There are critical shortage of resources in hospitals not only here in Chester County but all across the United States, and it puts doctors and nurses at serious health and life risks,” she said. “They are fighting with the virus without necessary tools and protection, and thus desperately need our support.”


Because her normal work schedule has been altered, Kennett Square borough resident Eve Fisher has found that she has a little more time in her day – which she has used wisely.

“I am trying to keep to my usual schedule, which has been pushed back about three hours. Now that I don't have to get up at 5 a.m. for work, I make a cup of green tea, write in my journal and read a few pages of an inspirational book. Then I stretch, eat breakfast, and meditate for fifteen minutes.

“I am making it a point to get outside and moving, whether that’s going for a hike, run or walk, and am looking forward to getting out on my kayak when the weather warms up a bit. I just started working on my plot at the community garden in Anson B. Nixon Park, where it has become therapeutic to listen to the birds while weeding. I’m reading more and working on writing a collection of personal essays. I’ve been talking with friends a lot, now that I have the time and a stronger need to connect. When at a loss for things to do, I think about what I usually say I don’t have time for, and do that.”


Dr. David J. Hamburg, principal of the Jordan Bank Kindergarten Center in Oxford, said that while he and his staff deeply miss their students, he hopes that they are well and have settled into new routines that consist of a balance of work and play.

As for his new – and hopefully temporary – routine, Hamburg said that he is beginning to carve out a productive schedule for him and his wife Kristin -- also an educator – and their two daughters Eryn and Rileigh, students at Unionville Elementary School.

“Typically, my family and I work on schoolwork from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.,” he said. “We break for lunch at noon, and my wife and I take our dog for a walk while our children play some basketball or jump rope outside. At the end of our workday, I have been doing some home improvement projects. This week, I have refinished my daughter’s desk. Next week, my plan is to put an epoxy coat on our garage floor.  

“We take our dog for another early evening walk before settling in to play some board games, watch some television, and tonight we had our first Zoom get together with our good friends.”

Rachel Brown, a wine educator at Chaddsford Winery, is continuing to educate people about wine...on-line.

“Right now with the winery closed, I am actually starting to work on a Youtube channel with multiple episodes and segments on wine, how to taste, how to pair and just general 101 knowledge that people usually ask/want to know about,” she said. “I am also hosting a Facebook live stream every Wednesday for folks who want to know about home pairings, wine cocktail recipes and more.

“It’s something easy to pass the time and try to keep a normal schedule and wine in the forefront of my brain.”

To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].

Are you interested in sharing your quarantine story with us?

From time to time over the next several issues, the Chester County Press will be sharing the creative ways your neighbors are using their time of quarantine. Please send a brief essay – no more than 200 words – to [email protected], detailing how you are creatively filling your days during the COVID-19 quarantine. Please attach a photo along with your submission.