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Abigail and Emma Cooper, ages 7 and 5, respectively, have been keeping busy during their time off from school by drawing flowers, sunshine and rainbows for those who must stay indoors during the coronavirus outbreak.
The sisters decorated and mailed cards to a 96-year-old living in the Acadia Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Riverhead. The center announced last week that it has canceled visitation until further notice as a preventive measure.
Abigail and Emma’s mother, Karyn Cooper, came across a Facebook post about it and encouraged her girls to get creative.
“They wrote things like, ‘I’m sorry you can’t have visitors but I hope this card turns your frown upside-down,' ” says Cooper, of Southold.
In addition, the girls made a card for their great-grandmother, Doris Gallagher, who is 99. They've also been using Facetime to chat with her and other relatives.
Although they’re tech-savvy, Cooper says her daughters still ask about going out to visit their friends.
“We’ve talked about it but they don’t understand the extent of it,” Cooper says. “I bring them back to it by saying, ‘Everyone can get kind of sick and we don’t want to keep passing it around. ’
“They talk about it and say the word ‘coronavirus;’ they’ll say ‘We can’t do this because of the coronavirus.’ It’s unfortunate but it’s good they are aware.”
While they’re home, Abigail and Emma enjoy doing yoga and jumping on their trampoline, plus Abigail likes to play the piano.
Cooper says she hopes the girls can continue making cards to send to other senior centers, like Peconic Landing and San Simeon by the Sound, both in Greenport. Abigail and Emma have “preemptively” decorated cards, and Cooper is looking into a way to send them to those communities.
“I feel like children and the elderly are very similar,” Cooper says. “Children are nervous from hearing about this; they don’t understand or know what to expect. Elderly people are nervous about transmitting it and getting it, so in those ways kids can relate to elderly people better.”