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Northeast Ohio Dad's 'Camp Quarantine' Group Goes (The Other Kind Of) Viral

The day after Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced all K-12 schools would be closing for “an extended spring break,” Will Goldstein, a father-of-three from Orange, started a Facebook group.

“I created it over breakfast on a whim,” Goldstein said. “I’m thinking that a few of my friends would join me and that we would share ideas for keeping our kids entertained and keep ourselves sane.”

That was ten days ago. Today, “Camp Quarantine 2020” has more than 25,000 members, in cities from all over the United States and dozens of countries around the world.

“They are everywhere, they’re everywhere. In Germany and Scotland... India, all over the place. It’s really crazy,” Goldstein said. “A lot of folks are working from home and suddenly having to entertain and teach their kids.”

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Camp Quarantine 2020 Facebook group creator Will Goldstein of Orange, Ohio, with this three children. [Will Goldstein]

So what are people posting about on Camp Quarantine 2020?

A recent post from the Children’s Museum of Cleveland announcing that, since it was closed, the museum is offering free online videos for children, including story times and movement classes.

There are endless videos and pictures of parents showing what they’re doing with their kids to fill the time: making crafts, creating schedules, cooking, playing instruments and singing “Let It Go! Coronavirus Edition,” with toilet paper in hand.

Upcoming Facebook Live events also feature prominently, from free yoga classes to science classes, offered by individuals and groups all across the United States.

Riddled throughout Camp Quarantine’s feed are also parents asking serious questions about screen time and how others are talking to their little ones about the virus between posts with funny memes and .gifs about life under the coronavirus quarantine.

“My child says she prefers school lunch better than my cooking,” one says.

“How am I doing?  Well, I just wiped down the container of Lysol wipes with a Lysol wipe.  So, I’m fine. Everything’s fine,” says another.

And that’s the point, Goldstein said: to keep families connected, informed and help them all stay positive. Almost anything goes. But there are at least some rules for Camp Quarantine.

“I made it clear that it's not gonna be a spot for sharing medical information because I don't want any bad information getting spread,” Goldstein said. “And then also no politics. There's plenty of spaces online for folks to argue about politics.”

Goldstein said he doesn’t have any more insight than anyone else on the coronavirus outbreak in terms of how long it will last or what comes next. He’s just happy the Facebook group is a good resource for people for now.

“I’ve never made a Facebook group before, so it’s very random,” he said. “It does feel nice to put something together that at least takes people's minds off of the negative side of all this.”

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