Playtime: Monitoring screen time during remote learning, Celebrate Schools 5K goes virtual — and a scavenger hunt

You’re invited to participant in the Celebrate Schools Monster Mad Dash 5K Run/Walk virtually this year. (File photo by Larry Vogel)

Before quarantine, our management of screen time looked much different. Computers and phones were almost exclusively used and charged outside of bedrooms. It wasn’t far into our time at home that we realized we had to do something differently for all of our sakes. We ended up getting a different router and pairing it with a monitoring app, which basically shuts the internet off to the Chromebooks at a certain time — the phone management is mainly done via my own phone. With the changes in what school looks like from spring to this fall, it was clear the computers were going to have to be in their rooms and so we had to make some additional changes and per a message from the Edmonds School District, it is not just us.

I logged into Skyward, after reading another parents’ social media post about screen time, in particular YouTube for many of us, and read that there are options for additional filtering controls and access to your student’s browsing history because the district enabled a Parent Portal via SecURLy Parent Portal, Home Filtering & Monitoring. Per the message, “many parents” have requested these options, in case you hear that you’re the only one limiting or monitoring internet use. I am consistently surprised how little you can see someone who lives in your house during a quarantine, but then again, I am still new-ish to the teen years.

If you log into Skyward, there is a link to sign up for these options, I found mine on the main page with the other teacher messages. The service will email you a weekly report of the student’s internet activity. On the “District Chromebook – At Home Use” page there is a link called Parent Access To Online Student Systems that includes step-by-step instructions to access the SecURLy Parent Portal and links and information on how to access Google Classroom and Canvas and their related apps. The district also has a tech support page with additional options for assistance and contact information — you can find it at

So much looks different than it did before quarantine, and many events are moving online or outside to keep operating. The 12th Annual, “but first VIRTUAL,” Celebrate Schools Monster Mad Dash 5K Run/Walk is happening between Oct. 2-4 this year. This virtual 5k, which raises funds for your school and foundation programs across the district, can be completed anytime in that time frame “on a treadmill, sidewalk, or favorite trail.” Online registration is open through Oct. 4, though those that are interested in a morning of fun in the interactive Zoom Room on Oct. 3 must register by the 1st. For registration and more information you can visit

Merchants are sponsoring a no-contact Spacewalk Scavenger Hunt in downtown Edmonds through Oct. 12.

The Edmonds Downtown Alliance is hosting a Spacewalk Scavenger Hunt for school-age students and their families. The weather next week is definitely going to be just right to enjoy this no-contact event. A Spacewalk Passport can be printed at home and used to find the special codes, along with NASA Space Facts, displayed in the storefronts of participating businesses until Oct. 12. The first 100 passports with 10 or more site codes turned in to Anchor Chic on Dayton will be entered to win a prize — those who collect all 20 will be entered into a drawing for a bigger prize. For more information on the event and to get your Spacewalk Passport, you can visit

The YMCA of Snohomish County is now “opening our YMCA facilities to provide a safe, structured space for middle school students to complete their remote learning activities.” They have reorganized their facilities to “create a safe, structured place for 6-9th grade students to spend their school day” which, on top of internet access and space to do their schoolwork virtually, includes “safe peer interaction, fun, and physical activity during “after school” hours.” CARES funding is allowing them to provide this full-time care for $26/day. They are also offering 35% in additional financial assistance, adding “the Y never turns people away based on their ability to pay.” You can find more information registration at

Child Passenger Safety Week was Sept. 20-26, with Saturday the 26th National Seat Check Saturday. There are a few local ways to ensure you have your car seats safely installed, which is a great resource for people who have never done it before, to people making one of the many car restraint transitions you have with growing passengers. Safe Kids Snohomish County and South County Fire are offering a free one-hour virtual class for parents on the first Wednesday of each month or you can participate in a self-guided online class that “covers every car seat stage as your child graduates from a rear-facing seat to when they can wear an adult seat belt.” You can also schedule a virtual one-on-one seat check with a certified child passenger safety technician via offers an online Ultimate Car Seat guide via an interactive custom tool available at For more information and video links you can visit

Since the car seat event mentioned a “national” holiday, I wanted to quickly add a Sno-Isle Libraries resource based on National Comic Book Day. They have a “plethora of choices for kids, teens and adults, take a look and pick one out to celebrate the day.” They provided a link to comic books available from Sno-Isle, which you can find HERE, but they also have comics/graphic novels available for your device with Hoopla. We have checked some out via Hoopla and I definitely recommend it and specifically New Kid by Jerry Craft. For more information you can visit

— By Jennifer Marx

Jen Marx, an Edmonds mom of two boys, is always looking for a fun place to take the kids that makes them tired enough to go to bed on time.


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