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When Social Distancing is “Normal Life”

Selah C. is an eleven-year-old former Mackintosh Academy student who was born with a condition that puts her at higher risk for respiratory illnesses. Recently she shared her tips on social distancing from the point of view of someone who lives with a chronic illness.

What most of us are experiencing for the first time in the COVID-19 pandemic, Selah has lived with her entire life. Her mom Sarah says, “We’ve already learned how to live in quarantine and social isolation except for in the safest situations. It’s not easy, but we’re used to it by now and it’s second nature.”

With Selah’s family’s permission, we are sharing her advice here.

Selah’s Tips on Thriving in Isolation

“Apparently most people don’t live like I do, which is not really a revelation, but to me I can’t imagine what a normal life is, if there even is one.

I’ve been in the hospital a lot. All my life I have been living extremely cautiously, because I know what happens if I make a couple of small mistakes like forgetting to wash my hands or touching a door knob and then scratching my face. Even just a cold can turn into pneumonia for me. I never hang out with anyone even remotely sick, and most times when I’m in the hospital I’m contagious, so I can’t leave my room for days on end.


Being an introvert helps of course, because it is not my first choice to hang out with people instead of sit in a corner with headphones, but I also know others who adore hanging out with others, and occasionally I do too. I typically hang out with my close friends every couple days, but I’m also used to not seeing anyone but my parents, thus making this quarantine easier. Even with all of those circumstances I still have trouble with quarantine, and I’ll give you advice, because I know it might come in useful:

Focusing on What you CAN Do

  • Take some time to yourself, and internalize that it might be like this for a while, but you’ll make it through.
  • Let it out, cry if you need to. You’ll feel better.
  • Work through any conflict with your family, you’ll feel more content being with them day and night.
  • Enjoy the family time while it lasts, do more together, enjoy each other’s company.
  • Binge a movie series or a TV show.
  • Bring out the board games and have game nights.
  • Find a podcast to listen to as a family.
  • Create a playlist and then have a dance party.
  • Read or catch up on school work.
  • Take one thing you enjoy doing and get really good at it.
  • Bust out the video games and play a multiplayer game with your family.
  • Take everything you can do and write it on slips of paper, put them in a jar, and then pick one and do whatever it says.
  • Go to the creek or the park.
  • Build a stick hut in your backyard, adding more to it each day.
  • Get dirty, then you’ll have a proper reason to take a shower.


Coronavirus may seem scary, and quarantine might seem claustrophobic or boring, but if you take advantage of the free time you can mark things off your bucket list and truly get to know yourself and your family. That was my mindset through the hospital, and it helped me through it.”


Thank you, Selah, for sharing your words of wisdom with our community!

For more information and tips on how to help kids with social distancing, please visit these sources:




We will be covering this topic, sharing more student and family perspectives, and highlighting activities and student work as our staff continues to provide hands-on, inquiry-based experiences for our students via MACK FLEX, our flexible learning platform. Follow us on this blog, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to stay tuned.

Want to learn more about our school? Here’s a good place to start.

Mackintosh Academy Littleton