On Friday, Mar. 13, the day Piedmont Unified School District announced that schools were closing, Amanda Straub, a mom of three young children with a full-time federal government job, realized that a lot of parents in town were going to need a way to connect over the coming weeks. So she kicked out a Facebook invite to a few friends, hoping to pull together a dozen or so to join a private group where they could “discuss ideas and advice for coping and connecting during this unsettling time.”
Not surprisingly, as the consequences of the shutdown started to sink in, the group grew rapidly and now numbers over 500 participants — new members are encouraged to introduce themselves. Although the group was originally called “Piedmont Moms Surviving the Covid-19 Lockdown”, dads were soon included and the group is now “Piedmont Parents Surviving the Covid-19 Lockdown.”
So far, the tone of the group has been remarkably positive — a place for sharing ideas and tips for getting through challenging days and how to create order when everyday routines have been upended. Home-schooling ideas, recipes, takeout options, grocery-shopping tips, funny memes, and more are shared. A neighborhood “bear hunt” has even been organized for families trying to find new ways to entertain their preschoolers — participating households place a picture of a bear in a street-facing window for the children to look for as they walk with their parents around town. Straub and one other parent, Laura Maestrelli, manage the group.
“When this crisis is over — someday — I hope the group will live on to let parents trade advice and insight about the local schools, activities, and general ins and outs of parenting in Piedmont,” Straub told the Exedra. “But for now, I just hope the group is helping people cope with the lockdown.”