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We really and truly need your help.
The Playgrounds are closed, by the Governor’s Executive Order. Why are they closed? There’s no polite way to say it--they are breeding grounds for an incredibly dangerous, communicable disease. COVID-19 has the potential to survive on hard surfaces such as swing sets, handles, slides or other playground surfaces for DAYS. Children playing at playgrounds are often in close contact, with the potential to spread COVID through airborne transmission. COVID has killed otherwise healthy children as young as 1 year old in Illinois. It has killed hundreds of people in Illinois from 1 year old to 90 years old.
No, you are not immune to COVID (and neither are your children) simply because you are otherwise healthy. If you contract COVID and don’t show symptoms, you become a major source of spreading infectious disease-- a disease that is killing people, right now, as we speak.
Your child goes out from your home, unsupervised, and plays at the playground. You don’t realize it, but your child is a carrier of COVID who is not showing symptoms. Your child unintentionally passes it to another child, who takes the disease home and passes it to their sibling with a compromised immune system, or their parent, or their grandparent that lives with them. This is how people die in a pandemic.
We understand that you may be weary of having children home all day. We understand that sending the kids out for some fresh air sounds like a good idea. But we hope you understand that by doing so, you are making your children into disease vectors that are transmitting and propagating a deadly virus. There’s no kind way of saying that.
We have limited police resources, and honestly, the last thing we want to be doing right now is arresting kids on playgrounds. (And even if we could do so, the Courts are closed to non-essential cases, and we can’t hold your child in lockup indefinitely). There is only one solution to this issue. You, the parents in our community, need to keep your children home. If they are out of your home, they need to be under your supervision. If you want your children to go outside and get exercise--great! Go with them. Take a walk on the paths, play in your backyard, go to an open-space area and play (away from others). Those in our community who are letting kids play with neighbors, play in the parks, play on the basketball courts, go next door and play video games...you are the reason this pandemic is spreading. Please. Stop.
We are fencing in parks, posting signs, taking down basketball hoops, and doing a myriad of things that we never thought would be necessary, because we have parents who are not fulfilling their responsibility to their children, or to our community.
If you see children playing outside of their household and violating the Stay At Home and Social Distancing Executive Orders, instead of calling 911, start by calling their parents. We need our residents to band together and get parents engaged in monitoring their children. (As always, call 911 in the event of any emergencies). We aren’t asking for vigilantes--we are asking that our community use direct contact with their neighbors, by phone or text, to encourage voluntary compliance.
We cannot solve this problem without your help, and we cannot police our way out of this situation. We need people to do the right thing. Please help us stop the spread of this disease in our community. We aren’t overstating it: please help us save lives. Keep your children home.