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NW Iowa residents stay in touch while practicing social distancing

NW Iowa residents stay in touch while practicing social distancing

Many aspects of daily life have slowed down or come to a halt as the Spencer community hunkers down in attempts to slow the spread of COVID-19.

As of March 19, the Iowa Department of Health has not reported any confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Clay County or any of its neighboring counties.


Still, city, county, state and federal officials are all imploring people to wash hands frequently, avoid touching their face, work from home when possible, not gather in groups of more than 10, and, of course, practice social distancing.

Social distancing is a method used to slow the spread of contagious diseases, such as COVID-19. It involves avoiding groups of people, limiting time spent in areas where others visit (schools, stores, restaurants, public spaces, etc.) and simply keeping enough distance (6 feet is recommended) between each other.

But, as folks across northwest Iowa have shown, practicing social distancing doesn’t mean avoiding communication with friends, family and loved ones.

Take for instance these Spencer children who wanted to talk with each other despite needing to do so from a distance.

Two children in coats sitting on sleeping bags in lawn, waving across the street to another child in his yard.
Two young Spencer residents communicate with another young neighbor by talking across the street and drawing messages with sidewalk chalk. (Photo courtesy: Scott Nolte)

The interaction was captured by Scott Nolte, a neighbor who saw the kids chatting from across the street. The kids were using sidewalk chalk to draw and share messages.

“It was so cute and innocent of them,” Nolte said.

Another inspiring example of staying safe while staying in touch was shown by Chandler Todd. He posted a photo on Facebook of himself sitting outside a window at Laurens Care Center and talking over the phone to his grandmother.

Chandler Todd speaks with his grandmother over the phone while sitting outside a window at Laurens Care Center.
Chandler Todd speaks with his grandmother over the phone while sitting outside a window at Laurens Care Center. (Photo courtesy: Chandler Todd)

“Don’t panic. Find hope. Love you, Grandma ❤,” Todd posted along with the picture.

As with many other nursing homes and assisted living facilities, the Laurens Care Center has closed to outside visitors to protect its residents.

The center also shared Todd’s photo, saying it made his grandmother’s day.

The center added that they were setting up a way for residents to communicate with loved ones over Skype.

Back in Spencer, youth who normally would head to The Way Station, an independent outreach of the Episcopal Diocese of Iowa, are still enjoying the activities the organization provides.

Here’s Mary, one of The Way Station’s normal visitors, enjoying a craft kit that was delivered to her family’s door.

Girl sitting at table with paints, brushes and a canvas with crucifix above her on wall.
Mary enjoys a craft kit sent to her home by The Way Station. (Photo courtesy: The Way Station)

Like many other businesses and organizations in Spencer and throughout Iowa, the Way Station is closed to the public through April. But Rev. Beth Preston is offering Zoom worship and others creative ways to stay engaged in faith-based activities.

These are just three of many examples out there of northwest Iowans and others trying to keep each other safe while still showing up and loving one another.

Do you have a fun, creative or heartwarming photo or story of you or someone you know staying connected with others while still practicing social distancing? Send photos or stories via email or simply comment below.


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