Decision Making in the Age of COVID-19


As society reopens and families begin to venture out of quarantine, our physicians are being asked “When is it OK for me to…?” Every family’s situation and risk tolerance are unique. Some factors to consider when making decisions for your family include: family members’ ages, health conditions, job and financial situations, and mental health or stress conditions. While your COPC team cannot make specific decisions for you, we can provide data and tools to help you create your own framework for decision making.

General guidelines

Lower Risk Activities:

  • Outdoors
  • Small groups
  • Known people
  • Shorter duration of contact
  • Ability to physically distance 6 feet apart, wear masks, and wash hands

Higher Risk Activities:

  • Indoor spaces
  • Larger groups (>10 people)
  • Unknown people
  • Longer duration of contact
  • Inability to physically distance, wear masks, and wash hands

Stay home when you are sick!

What do we know about COVID-19?

  • Information about COVID-19 changes rapidly. Advice given today may differ in a month.
  • COVID-19 most severely affects those older than 60 years of age and those with other health conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity, and heart disease.
  • Children 0-18 years of age make up 1-2% of all COVID cases. Most COVID infections in children are mild and few require hospitalization.
  • Fewer than 1% of those children without symptoms tested at Nationwide Children’s Hospital were found to be COVID-19 positive.
  • The primary mode of transmission is from respiratory droplets, usually from coughing or sneezing. It is unknown how much transmission occurs from touching contaminated surfaces. The safest precautions to take are continuing to wear a mask and continuing to wash hands frequently!
  • Anyone with symptoms of fever or cough should stay home – away from extended family, neighbors, work, daycare, school.

How to address common social situations

  • Seeing grandparents: This depends on grandparents’ ages, health conditions, and how diligently they have been quarantining. If any family member is sick, we do not recommend visiting grandparents. Visiting outdoors for a shorter time is less risky than visiting indoors for a longer time. Wearing masks should be considered, especially if physical distancing won’t be practiced. Clean hands frequently.  
  • Sending children to daycare or camp: Ask questions of your daycare or camp provider. What additional precautions are they taking? Are there added cleaning practices or symptom monitoring (such as temperature checks for children)? Are class sizes smaller? Determine a process for when your child gets home from daycare or camp: use hand sanitizer in the car, bathe or shower immediately upon returning home.  
  • Child playdates or friend gatherings: Creating a “QuaranTeam” or “Social Pod” is a good idea. Limit the number of families with whom you and your children interact. Again, outdoor interactions are less risky than indoors. Limit shared toys or equipment. Have hand sanitizer available. If any child is sick, playdates should be rescheduled.  
  • Playgrounds and pools: Again, try to determine if extra safety precautions are being taken. Are there “reservations” for pool time use to limit capacity and minimize crowds? Extra sanitary measures? Is the playground crowded? If so, find another time to play.  
  • Gyms and fitness studios: Ask questions regarding how they are limiting capacity and cleaning.  
  • Restaurants: Carry-out is safest. Outdoor patio dining is less risky than indoor dining. Crowded bars are not recommended.  
  • Travel: Driving is lower risk than flying. Staying at a crowded hotel has greater exposure risk than staying at a private home or free-standing condo/villa. Camping is a lower risk activity. Eating meals in is safer than dining out. Research the COVID-19 statistics of the place you’re visiting.  
  • Larger celebrations: The larger the gathering, the greater the risk. Large indoor gatherings with many people you don’t know are high risk. If you’re going to attend a larger party, remember your mask and hand sanitizer.  


Your COPC team cannot make these specific decisions for you. Your family – immediate and extended – situation is unique. Your risk tolerance is unique. Your decision-making factors are unique. Create a framework that works for you and your family and go with it. Trust your intuition, but continue to act cautiously and take precautions that will keep you and your family healthy and safe.

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