COVID-19 and Play
What are IPEMA's views on how COVID-19 affects outdoor play?
"Even with Coronavirus and social isolation measures putting limits on how and where families can play, it's important be reminded of the critical importance that the vital human activity of play has on childhood development. If children are not playing outside, they are missing out on these essential developmental experiences. Now that more playgrounds are open, we hope that children are given the opportunity to play outdoors on the playground, as long as they follow the proper protocols by the CDC, such as following social distancing guidelines and washing their hands often. We have resources on our Voice of Play website outlining these (see link at bottom of this article). Parents also seem to agree on the importance of play for their children. In a recent survey IPEMA conducted, 87% of parents say right now, play is more important than ever for children and over half of parents say they value public playground environments more today than before the pandemic."
In response to the pandemic, what actions have you taken to maximize safety for playground installers and the children who play on those playgrounds?
We have been speaking with the IPEMA membership often and have provided resources to ensure they are following safety protocols. In addition, we've connected with NRPA and developed co-branded informational materials for their members as well.
What are you actively doing and/or working on in these areas?
We are in constant communication within the industry, as well as staying up to date on CDC guidelines to ensure we have the latest information. We developed the COVID-19 resources for the parent, trade and installer audiences.
What do you believe the re-opening process should look like for parks and playgrounds?
Opening up playgrounds is dependent on local support and should be on a county by county, and/or state by state basis. Keeping an eye on case numbers in the area where you live is essential to making informed decisions and following protocol from local governments.
As seen in LASN magazine, October 2020.