Faced with months of isolation due to the coronavirus pandemic, an Australian mom has encouraged her children to write letters to elderly neighbors.
She told The Age that “returning to letter writing and finding pen pals [helps] children learn kindness and compassion.”
The pandemic-age idea of engaging children to write to seniors has been taken up in the United States as well, where residents of a Texas nursing home say they’d welcome letters, pictures and drawings.
Meanwhile, in Scotland, two senior centers have starting “pen pal writing clubs” to encourage residents to reach out to each other across social distancing.
“Some of our service users have not had a letter through the post in years,” one facility manager told The Courier. “We had great fun writing the letters, and it triggered lots of memories and conversation.”
The program is so popular that other nursing homes are starting their own.
Though coronavirus is known to persist for hours or days on different surfaces, including cardboard, plastic and steel, a report from the Centers for Disease Control found that there’s “currently no evidence” that the virus can be transmitted on packages.
Experts also said that isolating mail or wiping it down may relieve anxiety, but wouldn’t affect potential transmission of the disease, which primarily occurs through the lungs and infected “respiratory droplets.”
Even if a postal or delivery worker has coronavirus and sneezes on a letter or package, one health scholar said the risk is “theoretical and minimal,” and that washing your hands and not touching your face after opening a letter or package is the best personal-health step to take.