ABOVE: Crissy Stile, Mount Dora City Councilmember and small business owner. (Photo courtesy of Crissy Stile)
Schools have been closed for weeks and many parents, busy with their own daily work schedules, have found themselves thrown into a different kind of frontline: education. Now a Mount Dora City Councilwoman has jumped in to provide a short reprieve to exhausted parents. Crissy Stile has created a free, Virtual Physical Education (PE) Class for kids of all ages that she will host on Zoom beginning April 27. To join in the virtual class, participants need to firstname.lastname@example.org advance so they can be sent the required Zoom link. Stile, who works out regularly, will conduct the fun class from the deck at Donnelly Park in the heart of downtown Mount Dora. The 45-minute class will begin at 3 p.m. Up to nine socially-distanced kids can join Stile in the park while others can join in via Zoom. The outdoor exercise falls under essential activities identified by Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis. Guardians of the kids at the park are also required to remain a minimum of six feet from others. Stile isn’t just an elected official in this small Central Florida town, she’s also a hard-hit small business owner with a book store located in Mount Dora’s quaint historic district. Since Florida’s shutdown, Stile’s store, Barrel of Books & Games, has been forced to rely on remote orders and delivery. Stile will continue the class every other day at 3 p.m. until she can resume her full-time job at the bookstore. Imagining what present-day life is like for parents is what inspired Stile to help out in a way she’s all too familiar with. As the “fun” aunt, she is very active in her nine nieces’ and nephews’ lives and is quite happy entertaining other people’s kids to give parents a respite. “If I can virtually occupy your kids for 45 minutes every other day, so you can catch your breath and recharge your own mind and emotions and keep your family together, happily, then I will have accomplished exactly what I set out to do,” said Stile. To participate at home, kids just need some floor space in front of their computer, tablet or smartphone and a blanket or mat for floor exercises. Kids are encouraged to take a break whenever they need and to have drinking water nearby. Participants can exit the class sessions at any time. Stile stressed that social distancing is of the utmost importance, so kids and their parents should respect the guidelines set forth by the CDC and remain safe.
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