Library Offers Book Bundles
By Beatrix York
The Prince George’s County library system is doing a new program called Book Bundles. First, you tell your library your age and other useful information, then the librarians pick out some books that they think you will like. Finally, you can go pick up the books using their curbside service. “We wanted to give people an option to get books without coming into the library,” librarian Will Froliklong says.
The Book Bundles started on Nov. 3, but “I think we’re going to keep doing it even when the library is open. We’re going to continue to do a curbside service … others might not be (comfortable) coming in,” Froliklong says.
HyattsKIDS asked a Book Bundles user if they would recommend the service. “Yes,” says Vivian Nickel, a 10-year old, who enjoyed the five books she received.
SJA Hybrid Opening Paused After COVID Cases
By Beatrice Marx and Irene Vaidyanathan
For the 2020-2021 school year, St. Jerome Academy (SJA) decided to offer a hybrid learning model. Things were going smoothly, with only a few potential exposures and minor symptoms in some classes. But on Nov. 17, it was confirmed that the school had four positive asymptomatic cases in four separate classes. Those who tested positive were from the same household, according to an email from the principal to the school community.
With the safety of the students and faculty in mind, SJA went fully virtual a week before Thanksgiving in order to prevent further exposure. SJA Principal Danny Flynn confirmed that the school will also be staying virtual a week after Thanksgiving.
The school nurse, Zoraida Baur, wrote that for her, taking school fully virtual wasn’t very surprising. “When cases of COVID-19 began to increase again in the wider state and local community, we knew that it was a real possibility.”
Nurse Baur informed HyattsKIDS that most of what is reported to her this year is either symptoms that could be related to COVID-19 or exposure to a person with COVID-19. “In these cases the health department will work with us on next steps. Testing may be combined with quarantining, or closure of a classroom.”
Other new duties she has include educating families and staff on best practices and writing heath protocols that help the school respond to illness quickly. “I am very blessed to be able to work with our health department liaison who is really amazing,” said Baur.
But she said she was most impressed by how well students are responding to the changes. “Watching students come into the building, use hand sanitizer correctly, masked, and ready to go, is inspiring. It helps me keep in mind why we are doing what we are doing.”
Youth Civic Groups Continue Good Work
By Jackie Daniels and Marta Vaidyanathan
There are several groups of kids who do good things in Hyattsville and they include Roots and Shoots, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and American Heritage Girls. They do activities such as picking up trash, fixing problems, and going camping together. Lately, clubs and organisations have had to follow certain protocols in order to stay around during the pandemic.
Ariana Casalini, who is in the Roots and Shoots group in Hyattsville, says that because of COVID-19, “things have definitely changed.” They do not do bake sales to raise money for charities but are “doing things like Zoom calls and online messaging instead of getting together in person.”
Skye Kelley from Girl Scouts’ Junior Troop 23005, made up of mostly 4th graders, says, “I like doing activities and helping people in need.” The troop has divided into three small groups for hiking and other safe activities. One fun online thing the troop did was a virtual haunted house tour.
Girl Scout Brownie Troop 23014, with 3rd and 2nd graders, has been meeting together with masks while taking other precautions. Troop co-leader, Jessica Daniels, says that the weather has cooperated for outdoor gatherings so far, but they are still figuring out what to do for the winter.
John Riordon, who works with the Boy Scouts, says that they have been doing camping trips once a month since September, but each boy sleeps in their own tent or hammock. The Boy Scouts have been meeting in person since July, wearing masks when indoors, although they meet outdoors whenever possible. They do not regularly meet online.
The American Heritage Girls have taken a different approach. For their hikes, they divide into smaller groups and wear masks. When the amount of people who felt comfortable doing AHG in person decreased, they switched to Zoom.
Ask a HyattsKID: Holiday Edition
By Evan LeFevre
Is Santa Claus coming this year, or will I be getting “virtual” presents? If I am getting real presents, do you have any advice for what my parents can do so I don’t get that really disappointed feeling once the last holiday present is open?
Santa is a mysterious fellow, but I’ve always believed that he’s been alive for so long that he and his reindeer can’t really get sick like us. Rest assured that you won’t need to worry about virtual presents.
For the past couple of years one person in my family would “play Santa” while wearing a little Santa hat and be the one to pass gifts under the tree to everyone. This way the receivers get to spread out the fun all through the morning, and the gifters get to enjoy each person’s reaction when they open up their gift.
Whatever holidays you celebrate, try to plan fun activities for the rest of the season so that once all the presents have been opened, you can feel thankful to do something special with your family.
Every year when my family gets together for the holidays, the conversation always turns to politics, and arguing is inevitable. What can kids do to prevent this? – Erin, 13 years old
My family’s political opinions are also quite … diverse, and the holiday discussions can get rowdy. At the end of the day, you can never prevent anyone from talking about politics; however, you could try to stop it from coming up when you’re in the room. Maybe you could put out a jar and whenever an adult brings up politics during the day, they have to put a quarter in. At the end of the holidays the kids could get all of the money. In exchange, adults could argue all they want once all the kids have gone to bed, which would probably be better for everyone.