Inside a skilled nursing community

From Elizabeth Smith ’01

I work in a skilled nursing community as the social services director. Every staff member in our community is vital to providing care for our elders. Aside from the obvious infection control measures we are working as a team to find creative ways to keep elders connected with friends and family. We are also figuring out the ways we can support our staff from an overall well-being standpoint during this stressful time.

Shop local

From Marcy Huggard ’04

Shopping local–I need to send thank-you cards to committee members for a conference that we won’t get to hold, so I bought them online from my favorite local stationary store. I’m sending friends and family care packages with treats and books from my favorite local gift stores. We’re getting lunch delivered from our favorite local restaurants. Trying to do my part economically since our jobs are not being adversely affected by having to work from home.

Remote medical care–trust science!

From Lisa Gould ’81

As a plastic surgeon specializing in wound care, I am working daily to keep my patients safe at home if possible. My clinic has instituted telephone prescreening and in-person screening for all patients as well as telemedicine to provide care to those who should not be coming to clinic.

We firmly believe that wound care is an essential service and that continuing to care for our patients in the safest possible manner will help to reduce hospital admissions, thereby allowing more room and resources for the COVID-19 patients. I still have patients who need operations, but we are not performing any elective surgeries, which I have defined (based on guidance from the American College of Surgeons and from our colleagues in Spain and Italy) as any surgery that can safely be put off for two months.

We are working to expand telehealth capability and encouraging CMS to relax the rules so that we can continue to care for our patients remotely. The CARES act is a tremendous start to this effort.

I wish all to stay safe, act responsibly and trust science.

Online teaching

From Courtney Wiles Taylor ’02

As a teacher, it’s been rough trying to go to online or distance learning especially for my kindergarten class. But parents have been really responsive. We communicate through an app called Class Dojo. I have been able to create a Google Classroom and have been successful in having some students join.

I teach in Las Vegas in a Title I school that provides free breakfast and lunch for all students. Our school district is the 5th largest in the country. We were able to provide 300,000 out of our 320,000 with free food at 20 high school locations, as well as free distance learning opportunity weekly packets. This is accessible for all students, especially because many don’t have computers or tablets, or online connectivity.

It’s been wonderful to receive photos of student & their work from parents. I do daily read alouds and post them. I plan on calling students next week to check in & see if they learned their March sight words. My husband is the Title I PE assistant at my school and does one hour of custodial work. We are union & able to still get paid. We are keeping busy with online learning.

The governor of Nevada did the same as governor of Illinois: only essential places are open. Hopefully people will understand the severity of this virus and stay home or social distance themselves. Thank you for checking up on us. I am blessed to have a loving husband and coworkers. We meet on Google Hangouts for meetings and even Happy Hour yesterday after school hours.

Wishing you & everyone at Knox a safe journey ahead.

Coordinating volunteer efforts

From Sam Jarvis ’09

I’ve been doing a lot of coordination. We’re fortunate with Johnson County/Iowa City and so many non-profit and groups who want to volunteer.

Our United Way is leading the effort for volunteer management and helping other non-profits that are in the food security space–Shelter House, for persons experiencing homelessness, is decreasing their in-house population and coordinating with our CVB to house ill persons (not positive), just so they can socially distance as best as possible. Hotels have been very accommodating since the traffic is low, so they’re taking in healthcare workers so that they don’t take anything back to their family and or other quarantined individuals.

The city is following the trend of putting up hearts around the community as well–we had a mental health professional at one of the press conferences too, to encourage people to be mindful of their mental/emotional health–we’re hosting a long-term care facility call as well to check in with those folks to make sure their needs are met.

Humor and song

From William Budding ’13

I’m providing my work team with daily jokes and humor to keep us all laughing during the days while we work from home full-time.

As a choir singer, my choir in Boston has organized online sing-a-longs so that we can stay connected through music.

One good deed a day

From Topper Steinman ’70

During this unprecedented challenging COVID-19 crisis, I am hoping (and mostly succeeding) in doing one extra good deed a day. Lots of time on my hands.

Some small accomplishments thus far: Giving blood, writing a note of affirmation to someone about something, Zoom chat re: volunteer opps in our community, staying inside, notes/funnies to 4 grandkids (ages 18, 13, 5 and 2), keeping six-foot space when grocery shopping (and eyeballing those who don’t), sending positive messages/articles in our newspaper to others I know, phone calls to folks in need – to name a few.

I am failing in the “bugging my wife less than normal” category. Recent conversation:

Me: “I miss my freedom.”

My Wife: “I miss your freedom, too.”

And such goes the strains of living in a different world now. Best to All at Knox – and those like us who were “reached and touched” by Knox back in the day. Thanks for this unique outreach to us. To all: Stay safe and healthy!