2020 Family Guide

Fishers Island Children and Youth Recommendations for Summer 2020

Developed by the Fishers Island Task Force for Children during COVID-19.

Parents are expected to ensure their children are following
New York State restrictions and requirements.



General Guidelines for a Fun and Healthy Summer

  1. Please help your children respect closures and posted policies in public areas.  Regulations are set by New York state, not Fishers Island organizations.

  2. Families are encouraged to take advantage of their “home” pediatricians’ telemedicine offerings.  Primary care doctors know children already and can guide parents in the best course of action, including contacting IHP.

  3. Children should always be accompanied by an adult.  Individual sites or organizations may require adult supervision while on site.

  4. Parents are advised to bring as many essentials as possible when coming to Fishers Island in order to ease the load on the Village Market and freight operations and minimize trips to the mainland.  (Diapers, otc medications, baby food, etc.) 

  5. Updated information will be shared weekly with the leadership of all organizations for them to forward to their membership. 


Frequently Asked Questions/Resources and Strategies

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?

    • 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.

      • 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?  

    • Talk with your children (and others) about what you love about being on Fishers Island.  Remember what you loved doing as a child at Fishers Island.  Ask an Island Treasure what they loved about Fishers Island as a child.  

    • 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.  The Cardboard Boat Regatta will be a miniature version with results and photos being posted online and around town.  

    • Create new traditions or bring together you wouldn’t ordinarily be able to include because of geographic distance with video conferencing events.

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

  • How can our family enjoy the beach safely? 
    ​Beaches will have more or different rules this summer.  Parents must be aware of these rules to ensure the safety of their children, and to help everyone have fun.

    • Have realistic expectations.  Beach days may not last as long or be as relaxing for parents as usual.

    • Before you go, set a challenge or game to engage children when you are arriving and setting up your space.  This will help them from forgetting the rules in their excitement when they see the sand.

    • Be sure to maintain physical distance between groups when setting up your chairs and umbrellas.  Respect others’ preferences for physical distance and help your children do the same, even if they are more restrictive than yours are.

    • 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.

    • Consider taking turns within your “squad” keeping a close eye on children.

    • Walk the beach and admire sandcastles from an appropriate distance, teaching children to respect others’ creations.  

    • Bring your own toys and sand tools-they should not be shared between groups.

    • Leave your dog at home.  Even good dogs don’t understand, and you’ll have enough to do wrangling children.  Plus there will be half as much sand in your car on the way home.

    • As always, be sure to leave the beach as you found it by taking home all trash and belongings.  

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

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

    • Help them be a leader. Give your teen or young adult a role in managing things for your household.  Make them responsible for grabbing that Peapod order slot at midnight or decorating custom masks for each family member.

  • Can we play on the school playground?

    • All New York schools and grounds, including the Fishers Island School and playground are closed until June 26.  Any changes to that will be communicated and posted.

  • Are very young children required to wear face coverings?

    • A good rule of thumb is if a child is too young to tolerate wearing a face covering or mask, they should probably not accompany you anywhere that face coverings are required like the post office or market.  This ensures your child’s health as well as that of others in those spaces.  

  • 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!

IPP: islandpeoplesproject.com

  • Weekly collaborative community projects (all ages)

  • Daily digital Morning Program (free) based on weekly themes, including stories, crafts, games and outdoor activities  (children 4-11 years old)

  • Contact Bonnie Benkard, Morning Program Director with questions or to be included in mailing list  ippfiny@gmail.com 

Henry L. Ferguson Museum:  www.fergusonmuseum.org

  • 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

  • Fishers Island Nature Discovery Program  (distance learning model)

The Museum’s FIND program, inaugurated last year, will be held again this summer for children ages 7 – 11 for one week in July and one week in August. The schedule and sign up procedures will be sent out by email and posted on fishersisland.net and the Museum’s website by early to mid-June.  Participants will be provided with a daily FIND nature challenge that they will undertake on their own, or with their “quaranteam”, operating “in the field” without the direct accompaniment of Museum staff or educators, but with the supervision of parents or caregivers. Each day of the program, FIND Director Murray Fisher and a co-educator will host an afternoon group Zoom meeting of participants to review the discoveries made during the morning’s explorations.


Fishers Island Library - http://filibrary.org/

  • 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 hopes to open when permitted according to the phased reopening guidelines set forth by the Governor. Programs will likely be held in the garden to allow for physical distancing. All attendees, including children, 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 

    • Storyteller Len Cabral, a good friend to FIL, is hoping to visit for an outdoor event for families and children of all ages

    • Adult author events, depending on how they can be safely presented.


Lighthouse Works https://www.thelighthouseworks.com/

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 - https://ficommunitycenter.org/

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.


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