ATLANTA — Families are trying to navigate the waters of being home as schools close amid the spread of the coronavirus. Here are some resources to help.

First, some advice.

While kids are at home, it's important to keep structure during the day and maintain a routine, according to one parenting expert and guidance counselor, Reena B. Patel.

Start a calendar and implement educational activities, arts and crafts, meal times, etc. Consider adopting this sample schedule, which has gone viral online.

It is also recommended that parents limit screen time for kids, especially when it comes to news coverage. Patel recommends giving children information that is truthful and appropriate for the age and developmental level of the child.

Most important, have a schedule and stick to it. 

ACTIVITIES / THINGS TO DO

Infectious disease expert Patty Olinger says the most important thing right now is to limit your interactions with others. However there are things you can do that will allow you to follow the guidelines of health experts. 

Isolated activities with a few people, like going for a walk with your family or playing in your yard get the green light at this time. 

"If you and your significant other are going for a walk in the mountains and there's nobody else around, you really don't have to worry about that, but on the other hand if you are going to a picnic where there's people there, a lot of people, you know, again that close interaction is what we are trying to avoid," she says. 

There are also plenty of virtual museum tours that you can take if you are stuck in the house, like the British Museum, in London or the Guggeinheim Museum in New York. The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. is another option.

EDUCATIONAL HELP

And to keep kids thinking and learning, Scholastic is offering free online classes during school closures. The company's "Learn at Home" website has set up daily projects. 

The MAPS Foundations is offering parents advice on math test and prep at home during COVID-19. 

UTILITIES

Low-Cost or Free Internet Plans: 

Comcast is offering an internet essentials package FREE for 60 days. Click here for more information.  

  • Comcast Internet Essentials: Offers affordable home internet service for just $9.95 per month– with no contract, credit check or installation fees. You automatically qualify for the Internet Essentials package if your child participates in the school lunch program, you are receiving HUD housing assistance, a low-income senior, a community college student in Colorado or Illinois or a verified low-income veteran. You will also have the option to purchase a laptop or desktop computer for only $149.  
  • Go to: https://internetessentials.com/  Call: No direct number for this program; must log in to enter a phone number and receive a call from an agent 

Spectrum Internet Assist provides affordable high-speed internet connection to low-income families, students and seniors for just $14.99 per month. 

The internet company is also allowing to FREE Spectrum WiFi Hotspots.

PCs for People: A nonprofit organization that provides low-cost computers and free or affordable internet connection for low-income households. Potential recipients must be living below the 200%   poverty level and currently enrolled in a government assistance program. PC for people offers high-speed internet for only $11.25 per month with no credit check or hidden fees. You will also be eligible to receive affordable PC or laptop repair for as low $25. Visit Spectrum.com to learn more or call 1-855-243-8892 

Access by AT&T: A low-cost wireless home internet plan for low-income households. Access by AT&T provides high-speed internet service for $5-$10 per month. At least one person of your household should receive SSI or SNAP benefits to be qualified. Visit www.att.com or call AT&T at 855-220-5211 

Everyoneon.org – no income requirements EveryoneOn is a national nonprofit working to eliminate the digital divide by making high-speed, low-cost Internet service and computers, and free digital literacy courses accessible to all unconnected Americans. We work with device refurbishes, so individuals and their families can purchase discounted devices, including $150 tablets and $199 laptops. By calling 1-855-EVRY1ON or visiting everyoneon.org, users can discover the closest class in their communities. https://everyoneon.org/get-connected/ to find resources in the area by zip code. 

FOOD SERVICES

Food Finder
foodfinder.us
info@foodfinderga.org 
770-622-7887
 
United Way 211
http://211online.unitedwayatlanta.org/   
404-527-7200
100 Edgewood Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30303

Hope Atlanta
hopeatlanta.org 
info@HOPEatlanta.org 
404-817-7070
34 Peachtree St. NW, ste. 700, Atlanta, GA 30303

Center For Family Resources
www.thecfr.org 
info@thecfr.org 
770-428-2601
995 Roswell St., ste. 100, Marietta, GA 30060

Georgia Gov/Food Stamps
gateway.ga.gov/access/ 
877-423-4746
325 Fairground St. SE, Marietta, GA 30060

Family Life Restoration
www.familyliferestorationcenter.org 
info@flrconline.org 
770-944-1066
105 Mableton Pkwy, Mableton, GA 30126

Must Ministries/Marietta
www.mustministries.org 
770-427-9862
1407 Cobb Pkwy, Marietta, GA 30062

Must Ministries/Smyrna
www.mustministries.org 
770-436-9514
460 Pat Mell Rd. Smyrna, GA 30080

One Harvest Food Ministries
psfumc.org 
770-943-5130
4329 Marietta St. Powder Springs, GA 30127

Papa’s Pantry
admin@papaspantry.org 
770-591-4730
500 Crisler St. Canton, GA 30114

Salvation Army
salvationarmyatlanta.org/Marietta-corps-community-center 
770-724-1640
202 Waterman ST. Marietta, GA 30060

Simple Needs
simpleneedsga.org 
info@simpleneedsga.org 
678-266-3344 

EMERGENCY SERVICES

The Georgia Department Public of Health said anyone who thinks they have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice. 

They also have tips and guidelines online to protect yourself.

Although physical health is important, don't forget about mental health. There are resources available to those who need them.  

Mental Health: 

WILLOWBROOKE @ TANNER: 
52-bed psychiatric hospital in Villa Rica, GA. On the website, look in the behavioral health section.
Services Offered: Mental Health  
Web Site: www.tanner.org  
Contact Information: 770-456-3266
Agency Address(es): 20 Herrell Road Villa Rica, GA 30180

RIDGEVIEW INSTITUTE (PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITAL)
In-patient psychiatric hospital that serves adolescents and adults. It also offers inpatient, partial and day programs and treatment for a variety of issues including addiction, eating disorders and other mental health disorders. Free assessment 24 hours a day. Accepts private insurance and Medicaid. Follow up support groups provided.
Services Offered: Counseling Agencies/Treatment Facilities, Mental Health, eating disorders, drug assessment/treatment
Web Site: www.ridgeviewinstitute.com 
Contact : 770-434-4567 or 800-329-9775  
Agency Address: 3995 South Cobb Drive Smyrna, GA 30080  

PEACHFORD HOSPITAL PSYCHIATRIC FACILITY: In-patient psychiatric hospital that has child, adolescent and adult units. Takes children age 4 and older. They will do a free assessment 24 hours a day. Takes both private insurance and Medicaid.
Services Offered: Counseling Agencies/Treatment Facilities, Mental Health, drug assessment/treatment
Web Site: https://peachford.com/ 
Email Address: Erica.collins@uhsinc.com   
Contact Information: Erica Collins 770-455-3200
Agency Phone Information: 770-455-3200 or 770-454-2302  
Agency Address(es): 2151 Peachford Rd Atlanta, GA 30338  

*Most info provided by the Cobb County School District. 

At 11Alive, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: www.11Alive.com/Coronavirus." 

OTHER HEADLINES 

Tracking COVID-19: Georgia Coronavirus Interactive map

Live updates: Coronavirus in Georgia

'She deteriorated really quickly’. Floyd County couple diagnosed with COVID-19

VERIFY: Text messages about national quarantine and 'Stafford Act' are fake

Atlanta mayor makes changes to executive order to limit crowds to 50

TSA screening officer at Hartsfield-Jackson tests positive for coronavirus

Dollar General asks stores to dedicate first hour of each day to senior shoppers