“Shikha Jain, an assistant professor at the University of Illinois, Chicago, says she was the first mom to pull her daughter, now 6, out of school when news of the coronavirus spread. “I texted all her friends’ parents and said, ‘Hey, this is coming. We’re about to shelter in place, and you should prepare for the kids to be home,’” she says.
Jain, who also has twin 3-year-old sons, spent the next few weeks answering panicked texts from parents on when she thought kids might be able to return to school and whether it was safe for children to wear masks since untrue rumors had spread that masks could impact children’s lung development. Her doctor friends fielded similar questions. “We realized this information wasn’t getting to people outside the medical community,” she says.
Jain and five other physicians, primarily moms who belonged to the Physician Mommies Chicago Facebook group, formed IMPACT (Illinois Medical Professionals Action Collaborative Team) in early March 2020. They made flyers to distribute at businesses and churches reminding people to wear masks. They posted easily digestible fact-vs.-myth infographics to suburban-mom Facebook pages. They booked interviews on local TV and radio stations.”