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2020 Family Guide

Recommendations for Fishers Island Children Summer 2020

A Family Strategy for Reducing COVID-19

Developed by Fishers Island KID Cooperative in collaboration with the Island Health Project.

The Fishers Island KID Cooperative (formerly known as the Children’s Task Force) was formed in early May at the request of the ICB and IHP. KID Co-op’s members represent Fishers Island organizations that provide summer programs for children.


Our goal is to help families safely navigate Covid-19 summer 2020 on Fishers Island. We offer creative ideas and solutions to some of the issues children and parents may be facing. Here you will find a parent’s resource with a list of this summer’s children’s programs. Additionally, you will find evolving information with links on Covid-19 protocols.


KID Co-op put together this summer 2020 Family Guide to offer simple guidelines with creative approaches to this summer’s challenges.  We will strive to keep this information as up-to-date as possible and welcome any questions or suggestions you may have.



General Guidelines for a Healthy Summer to Reduce COVID

  1. Parents are expected to ensure their children follow New York State guidelines and stay aware of IHP’s recommendations See Here.

  2. Set expectations for your children’s behavior. While on Fishers Island, make a family plan on how you will follow the NYState guidelines and IHP’s recommendations. Create “family rules” for social interaction within and outside of your cohort.
    (CDC Help creating family rules.) 
    Sesame_NPR tips for PARENTING 

  3. Help your children respect closures and posted policies in public areas. Be sure your child knows there are different rules from past years.

  4. IHP encourages Families to take advantage of their personal pediatricians’ telemedicine care.  Primary care doctors know their patients and can guide parents on the best course of action. 

  5. Children should be accompanied by an adult.  Local Organizations may require adult supervision while on site.  You know best whether your child can adhere to the guidelines without supervision. For example, wearing a mask on the village green.

  6.  When coming to Fishers Island, parents are advised to bring as many essential items as possible to help ease the burden on the Fishers Island Village Market and the FI Ferry freight office. Please minimize trips to the mainland.  (Diapers, medications, baby food, etc.) 

  7. Information will be updated as things change and the leadership of all organizations will forward it to their members. Follow IHP and for the latest on recommendations and policies.


Frequently Asked Questions/Resources and Strategies

A great piece for parents from National Geographic with links to other resources:   
How Parents Can Give Kids a Safe Summer


Several of the issues below are addressed in this New York Times article:

“What Parents Should Know as States Reopen”

  • Can my family socialize with other families?

    • NYTimes link to creating PODS  

      • Families should consider who is in their existing cohort and how to safely expand it if they choose to by working with those in their current cohort as well as those they would like to spend time with.

    • See the IHP guidelines and recommendations here.

      • Does your household (cohort) include vulnerable individuals? Are there household members who have regular exposure to others outside of your cohort? (work, travel, etc.)

      • Identify friends or relatives with similar situations, who have a similar mindset about their cohort and make clear what your expectations are.

  • My child really wants to hang out with some of his summer friends, but based on our household or cohort, that won’t be possible.  What can we do?

    • Consider creating a Squad or “Quaranteam” for your children to stick with.  Choose colors or animals to represent your group.

      • Reach out to other squads or teams to set up asynchronous activities or friendly competition for your children.  Share activities or results via family Zoom calls or other supervised social media.

      • Have your children and their friends participate in one of the virtual programs being offered by Island organizations at the same time so they can “see” each other and feel connected. 

      • Create a secret symbol, code, or icon to draw with chalk or leave in places other squads will find.  See who can find the most, or leave the most.

  • There are so many things we can’t do this summer. How do I explain that to my kids?  

    • Take a look at this NYTimes article: How to Get Your Kids to Stay 6 Feet Away From...Everything

    • Describe to your children what you love about Fishers Island. Talk about what you or other family members did as a child here.

    • There are many resources for talking with children about COVID-19 and why we are doing things differently.  For young children, one place to start is with the
      Sesame Street/CNN Coronavirus Town Hall.  Spread the conversation over a couple of days.  For all children, be honest, help them understand why it is important to follow the rules, and remind them that it will not always be like this.  This is the “For-now normal”, not forever.

    • Think creatively about how you can do the things you love.  For example, IPP’s Cardboard Boat Regatta will be a miniature version with results and photos being posted online and around town.  

    • Create new traditions for your family.

    • Make activities that show children where their 6-foot “force field”  can be. Talk about expected behaviors in terms they understand: Your force field is a pool noodle length from your feet or as long as a kayak oar.  Be a superhero behind your mask, or even add a cape.

  • Other people or their children are not respecting my boundaries.

    • It’s not rude to take a step or two back from someone standing closer than you would like. You can politely say you are being diligent maintaining physical distances.  

    • If you are uncomfortable, you can put it in terms of protecting the other person or someone in your cohort, “We’re staying with my parents so we’re being super careful.”

  • How can our family enjoy the beach safely?
    ​NY State Beaches will have different rules this summer.  Parents must be aware of these rules to ensure the safety of their children, and to help everyone have fun.
    Physical distancing is required on beaches – recommendations are that groups should be limited to cohorts only, no larger than 10 people, and each group should set up at least 6 feet away from the next group.

    •  Establish realistic expectations:  Beach days may not last as long if children become frustrated with their limits.

    • Before you go, set a challenge or game to engage children when you are arriving and setting up your space so they are less likely to forget the rules you have set when they see friends.   

    • Mark lines in the sand or use string or jump ropes to indicate your “family force field” so that your children and others know your comfortable distance from others.

    • Leave your dog at home.  Even good dogs don’t understand social distancing.

  • Teens want to gather at the beach and other places. 

    • Help teens understand that this summer they are models for others.  If children or adults see them doing the right thing, even when it’s awkward or uncomfortable, those people are more likely to follow their lead.  If others see teens pushing the limit, they are more likely to also act inappropriately.

    • Help them be a leader. Give your teen or young adult a role in managing things for your household.  Make them responsible for things that matter, like food shopping, cooking one supper per week, baking for Market Day at the FI Community Center.

    • Take a look at this article for more suggestions and strategies.

  • Can we play on the school playground?

    • All New York schools and grounds, including the Fishers Island School and playground are closed until September.

  • Are very young children required to wear face coverings?

  • Do you have another question or a great idea?  Go to this form:



Programs and Activities for Children

Age ranges are what programs are designed for, but all ages may participate!



  • The live Morning Program has ended, but all of the projects, activities, games, stories, and songs are available free on our website.  No registration is needed.

  •  You can find the 2020 Morning Program site here. 

  • The site will remain accessible through early September.


Henry L. Ferguson Museum:

  • Virtual Children’s Programs hosted by Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center educators every Wednesday at 2:00 in July and August.  (ages 5 & up).   

    • July 1:  Animal Senses

    • July 8: Terrific Turtles

    • July 15: Owl Prowl

    • July 22: Slithering Snakes

    • July 29: Pond Life

    • Aug. 5 Beaks, Feet & Feathers

    • Aug.12: Frogs--Facts vs. Fiction

    • Aug. 19: Remarkable Raptors

    • Aug. 26: TBD

      ​​​​The platform has changed to Zoom Meetings for all HLFM children’s programs. Advance registration for each desired program is required, but note that registrations for children’s programs will no longer be accessible through the Museum’s website. Invitations to join will be sent via the Museum’s e-news approximately a week before each program. If you are not receiving e-mails from the Museum, e-mail and an invitation to join will be sent out to you by reply. This method is suggested, as e-news messages can end up being blocked by filters.  Please note attendee/s names and ages when e-mailing in your request for an invitation. Visit under “Programs” for the full schedule.


Fishers Island Nature Discovery Program  (distance learning model)

The FIND Program, previously scheduled for the week beginning Aug. 17, 2020, is canceled for this summer. The combination of reasons included safety concerns, logistical difficulties, and general over-exposure of children to  Zoom programming. We look forward, hopefully, to the return of the FIND program in 2021.


Fishers Island Library -

  • Virtual Story Hour 4:30 Tuesdays beginning July 7

  • Marcie L. Madden Memorial Garden is available to the public for working, reading, or accessing the Library Wi-Fi while respecting physical distancing protocols.

  • The Library will open when permitted according to the phased reopening guidelines set forth by the Governor and following protocol by the Suffolk County Library System.  Programs will likely be held in the garden to allow for physical distancing. All attendees will be required to wear masks, and children must be accompanied by a parent at all times. 

  • Until the library is permitted to open, we will take calls and emails to fill requests for books, movies, etc. to the best of our ability, using the front porch of the library for pick-up and drop-off. 

  • In the works are 

    • Project kits for kids to pick up and work on at home

    • Virtual reading games and challenges 

    • Tentative adult author events.

Stay tuned for more details!


Lighthouse Works

Lighthouse Works will be offering 2 types of programs for kids and family units.

  • Material Box Workshops Hosted online, these art-making workshops will be designed and led by members of our alumni group. Each 15-student workshop, developed for Teens, Young Adults, and Adults, will utilize a kit that will be available for pickup at Lighthouse Works. Workshops will run twice-a-month through the end of the year, and will include:

    • Supply kit for each project

    • A group “craft” class

    • Time for offline experimenting and making

    • Individualized online follow up with the workshop’s instructor

    • A group show-and-tell

  • Wonderings We’ve asked past fellowship recipients to create guided individual or family activities based around something they found compelling during their time on Fishers Island. Posted weekly, these activities will encourage you to look, think, and make in the environs of FI.


Fishers Island Community Center -

No children’s programs are being offered at this time.  As the phases of reopening progress, additional programs will be offered, which may include children’s activities.


Clubs: Hay Harbor Club, Fishers Island Club, Fishers Island Yacht Club

All clubs are assessing the children’s and family programs they will be able to offer based on state policies as well as their own specific staffing and facilities.  Members should check directly with the club to determine program offerings as well as protocols for using club facilities including beaches.


Thanks to Island People's Project for providing space on their website to make this information accessible to the Fishers Island community.

general guidelines
Summer 2020 FAQ
FI Programs 2020
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