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Virtual School in Ann Arbor. Gouache painting by Jaye Schlesinger.
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Tuesday October 27, 2020
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The London family

The Londons

Observing the Play at Home order

by Davi Napoleon

Published in August, 2020

It isn't the summer the Londons expected. Scarlett and Malcolm planned to go to Interlochen--not the Michigan arts camp, but a Jewish summer camp in Wisconsin with the same name. Instead Malcolm, a sixth grader at Forsythe, is "re-creating the camp in Minecraft," he says. He calls the virtual camp, a joint project with a cousin, "interblocken."

Scarlett, a sophomore at Community, took driver's ed virtually--well, the part that doesn't involve getting on the road. She misses going to the Randazzo Dance Studio; the family struggled to find an appropriate floor in their home for her to practice plies and releves without slipping.

Lauren has never been busier. As general counsel at EMU, she helped make quick life-and-death decisions to deal with Covid-19 on campus. "My stress level was extremely high," she says, adding that working from home has meant learning to divide time for work and home life. "I've become more intentional about separating them," she says.

President of Penny Seats Theatre Company--which presents plays in West Park in better summers--Lauren also has been organizing virtual staged readings each month. It's not the same as directing the summer musical, but it's nice not to have to check weather reports constantly to see if performances can go on as scheduled.

Zach, a neurologist at Michigan Medicine, didn't expect to be decked out in PPE, treating Covid-19 patients in March and April--or to be treating all his outpatients virtually. Zach trained to do video visits over a year ago, when Michigan first offered them to patients who didn't need full examinations. There were no takers. When the pandemic hit, that was the only method offered to most. Now that in-person visits are optional again, more than half his patients prefer virtual visits.

With all the things you can't do when there's a stay at home order, what can you do? The Londons issued a Play at Home order. "We would play as many board games as we

...continued below...

had or could get, and the adults and kids would review them," says Zach, who initiated the project. Scarlett created a website ranking them all (with breakdowns for kids' and adults' scores).

The Londons also used this time to rediscover the neighborhood they've enjoyed since 2006. "We always turn on the same street," says Malcolm, who now joins his family on walks and bike rides in random directions. Recently they went down what they thought was a residential street and found piles of gravel and trucks--Arbor Valley Tree Service was there.

Zach, who worked at home two out of three weeks in April and May, says the upside to all this is "getting connected more as a family."

And Lauren reveals big news: "We decided to expand our family," she says.

But not in the way you might think: they will adopt a puppy in the fall.     (end of article)

[Originally published in August, 2020.]


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