How to Future-Proof Your Career in a COVID-19 World

May 5, 2020: UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education, the workforce development arm of the university, announced a new series of free, hour-long webinars today that are designed to give working professionals the tools and skills to successfully find jobs and advance their careers during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. The weekly training sessions will focus on virtual interviewing, networking, and more.

A. Weiss

The series, “Future-Proof: How to Manage Your Career in Times of Change,” debuts on Wednesday, May 13th from 11:00 a.m.-noon, with future sessions scheduled every Wednesday through June 10th, 2020. Each webinar will include a Q&A session, allowing viewers to solicit advice on how to present themselves to potential employers and increase their ability to find a job. The sessions are taught by Andrea Weiss, M.S., a National Certified Counselor and Master Career Counselor, who teaches employee development workshops and provides career counseling for UC Davis departments and staff. For more information on the webinar series, including topic descriptions, or to register, visit

The series provides the skills, tools and perspective to help working professionals succeed in a highly volatile job market, with each webinar building on the learning from previous sessions. Webinar topics include:

  • Career Resilience in Turbulent Times – May 13, 11 a.m.-noon
  • Career Networking Demystified – May 20, 11 a.m.-noon
  • Maximizing LinkedIn for Job Search – May 27, 11 a.m.-noon
  • Ace Virtual Interviews – June 3, 11 a.m.-noon
  • Accomplishment Statements as Success Stories – June 10, 11 a.m.-noon

With 74,000 annual enrollments in classroom and online university-level courses and more than 1 million enrollments on Coursera, UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education serves lifelong learners in the growing Sacramento region, all 50 states and more than 100 countries. This “Career Curriculum” supports working professionals as they refresh and expand job skills over the course of their careers.

Mute That Zoom, Please

Lynn ZimmermannBy Lynn Zimmerman
Associate Editor
Editor, Teacher Education

Since the stay-at-home orders started, many people have been using Zoom and other videoconferencing platforms. Those of us who are used to working remotely and/or teaching online are familiar with various platforms and use them with varying degrees of ease. However, you have probably found there are a lot of people using them now who aren’t quite sure what to do and how to do it. I’ve been in some non-work-related meetings in the past few weeks and the experience is definitely different when you are interacting with people who are new to the experience.

Photo from the Zoom site.

What prompted this article? I have recently discovered that my biggest pet peeve when attending these various meetings is that people often don’t voluntarily mute themselves, and, for whatever reason, the host doesn’t mute them either. If attendees will sit there quietly, it’s fine. However, I was in a meeting this week with 25 participants in which:

  • one participant was sitting outside and the wind was blowing, so there was a constant low whoosh throughout the meeting;
  • one participant kept blowing his nose;
  • one participant’s phone kept ringing; and
  • one participant was having side conversations with people in the room with her.

In other meetings there have been dogs barking, heavy traffic, etc. All of these were unnecessary distractions that judicious use of the mute button would have taken care of. And, yes, before you ask, I muted myself and stayed that way until I had a contribution to make, then immediately muted again.  Continue reading

Teacher Evaluations During COVID-19 Closures: NCTQ Review

By Kency Nittler & Patricia Saenz-Armstrong, 1 May 2020, National Council on Teacher Quality (updated 4 May 2020)

In this unprecedented time of school closures, districts must walk a fine line regarding teacher evaluations. Districts must hold teachers harmless from the challenges unique to the coronavirus environment, but they also have a public obligation to make sure students are being taught as effectively as is practical to expect. It is a new world. Currently, it is as if every teacher is a first-year teacher again, and they need extra support. Meanwhile, many students will fall behind in these months, starting the 2020-2021 school year at a disadvantage.

Now more than ever, teacher evaluations, albeit retooled, could provide the support teachers require and the oversight students need. Providing feedback and support to teachers can both equip them presently as they adjust their practice to distance learning, as well as guide focus areas for future growth once students and teachers return to their physical classrooms.  Continue reading

Colleges Preparing for Fall 2020 (5/5/20)

D. Lassner

May 4, 2020: David Lassner, UH President: “The University of Hawaiʻi plans to resume in-person classes on all 10 campuses beginning August 24, 2020, as scheduled. We all realize that the fall will absolutely not be a return to business as usual. Rather, UH will deploy a COVID19-aware safe approach to providing high-quality education…. Planning is now beginning for the necessary changes across our UH campuses to support appropriate social distancing and hygienic practices based on the guidance available. While the fall semester is being planned to ensure safe instruction on campus, we are also preparing for greater use of online resources and some classes shifting to hybrid modes with a mix of on-campus and online instruction.” UH News.

John Cox

May 4, 2020: “Cape Cod Community College is moving its fall semester online as the country continues to grapple with the coronavirus. The community college in West Barnstable, Mass. said that all courses for the rest of the summer semester, and the entire fall semester beginning in September will be moved to online, remote or hybrid learning formats…. John Cox, the community college’s president[:] ‘There’s no need for gap years or lost time towards degrees or certificates with our virtual doors now open for all students.’ … Boston University … officials shared additional details last week about a new format for the fall semester. The format involves 44 graduate and professional programs moving to a hybrid model that will offer classes on campus for students who can be in classrooms. A remote learning component is also planned for students both on or off campus, to accommodate potential safety requirements imposed by public health authorities.” -Hilary Burns, Boston Business Journal. Continue reading

Colleges Preparing for Fall 2020 (5/4/20)

R. Robbins

May 4, 2020: “University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins plans to resume in-person classes on Aug. 24 and says that all students, faculty and staff will be tested for COVID-19…. ‘Our plan is to test, trace and treat to present our campus community a flexible and adaptive teaching and learning environment,’ Robbins says. ‘There are many factors that remain beyond our control. However, we are tackling what is within our control to ensure our students have the opportunity for a full on-campus experience.'” -Matt Zalaznick, University Business.

May 4, 2020. “Colleges and universities are also adapting their curricula to the new normal…. training programs are being planned for people who have lost their jobs in the pandemic lockdowns or need more training to cope with it. The online learning platform edX, created by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, has already launched a course on ventilator use for medical professionals, for instance. Central Ohio Technical College has made more than $1 million in financial aid available for career training for people out of work because of COVID-19. Wake Tech, a community college in North Carolina, is offering online entry-level computer courses to people who have lost their jobs.” -Felicia Mello, CalMatters, and Charlotte West, NBC News.  Continue reading

My Life in LA County During COVID-19: May 4

Harry Keller 80By Harry Keller
Former ETCJ Science Editor
& President of SmartScience

I live in a community of 36,000. I will be moving to one of 4,500.

May 4, 2020 at 3:45 AM. I live in a community of 36,000. I will be moving to one of 4,500. The former has 58 reported cases. The latter has one. Yes. Just a single reported case. I should note that my new community is known for its libertarian streak and distrust of government.

I was up there in the mountains and bought some stuff from the hardware store. It had a hand sanitizer dispenser at the entrance. People were using it as they entered. That’s nice if they were carrying the virus on their hands, but few seemed to be using it when they left. They were more likely to pick up the virus in the store and certainly should have used it as they left. Everyone was wearing masks, the registers had large plexiglass shields in front of them.

People are starting to go crazy with isolation around here.

People are starting to go crazy with isolation around here. After all, how many hours of Netflix can a person watch? We are experiencing a gigantic debate about opening the beaches. This seems a bit misplaced to me. How are open beaches going to help closed restaurants or furloughed employees?  Continue reading

Colleges Preparing for Fall 2020 (5/3/20)

N. Buckley

May 3, 2020: “OSU is allowing the [registration] deposit to be waived for families who claim financial hardship due to the pandemic. Also, if students decide they actually need to start out at a community college first, OSU has pledged through its dual-degree partnership with Oregon’s community colleges to hold that student’s scholarship for when they later enroll at OSU. ‘Obviously we’d love to have them at OSU, but if that’s not the reality, we’d like to be able to serve them later,’ Noah Buckley, admissions director at Oregon State University said.” -Jordyn Brown, Register-Guard.

S. Bondoc and J. Olian

May 2, 2020: “While [Salvador Bondoc, chairman of Quinnipiac’s occupational therapy program] and his colleagues are working their hardest to make online learning succeed, he’s concerned about the volume of preparation that needs to be done for classes in the fall. ‘We start classes, I think, Aug. 24 in the fall, and contracts begin Aug. 11 or something like that. I’m not sure if two weeks would be enough for us to turn things around as rapidly as we did (in the spring) on a high-quality, highly efficient level.‘ … Quinnipiac President Judy Olian … announced four multidisciplinary planning groups that will examine short- and long-term options related to public health, academics and operations, from ‘business as usual’ to worst-case scenarios. ‘Our goal is to return Quinnipiac to a focus on advancing the university of the future, with the benefit of lessons learned from the COVID-19 crisis.'” -Bryan Proctor, ctpostContinue reading

Colleges Preparing for Fall 2020 (5/2/20)

March 18, 2020: Interim Guidance for Administrators of US Institutions of Higher Education: Plan, Prepare, and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). “This interim guidance is intended for administrators of public and private institutions of higher education (IHE). IHE include a diverse set of American colleges and universities: 2- or 4-year; public, private non-profit, or private for-profit; and comprehensive, research-focused, or special mission. IHE administrators (e.g., presidents, deans, provosts) are individuals who make policies and procedures, set educational aims and standards, and direct programming of institutions of higher education…. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will update this guidance as needed and as additional information becomes available. Please check the following CDC website periodically for updated interim guidance:”

Gaidi Faraj

April 30, 2020: Gaidi Faraj, Dean of African Leadership University: “COVID-19 has forced all of us to reimagine how we deliver an engaging and holistic learning experience for students. While it presents its challenges, it is also a massive opportunity to break out of old habits and create new, impactful, relevant modes of learning that take advantage of technology and this moment. An unintended consequence of this pandemic is that higher education will become significantly more accessible as universities think about how to move all of their programming online, including counseling, student life, career development, etc.” -Andrew DePietro, ForbesContinue reading

Colleges Preparing for Fall 2020 (5/1/20)


April 30, 2020: Michael A. McRobbie, President, Indiana University: “We are also looking at three additional scenarios [in-person and hybrid are the first two] that would correspond to [1] the pandemic remaining so serious that the fall semester has to be held virtually but we can resume hybrid operations in the spring; [2] the need to return to virtual operations in the spring after having begun hybrid operations in the fall; and [3] what would be the most difficult of all, virtual operations for the whole academic year…. We must also recognize that students’ expectations of the quality of virtual instruction will be much higher next fall or spring …. Everyone understood this semester that … the great majority of classes offered after spring break were neither intended nor designed for virtual delivery.”

B. DeVos

April 30, 2020: U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos: “‘This administration is committed to the success of HBCUs, minority-serving Institutions and the students they serve.’ The money, under the terms of the $2.2 trillion stimulus bill approved by Congress and signed by President Trump last month, can be used to pay for technology as classes move online during the pandemic, as well as other costs from campus closures, such as lost revenue associated with the transition to distance education, grants to cover the costs of attendance for eligible students and faculty and staff training.” – Kery Murakami, Inside Higher EdContinue reading

Virginia’s WHRO Digital Course Resources: Free During COVID-19 Pandemic

By Jim Shimabukuro

WHRO’s digital course offerings and resources, including eMediaVA, are available free to all during the COVID-19 pandemic. Access to this content will be available until the HRETA school divisions return to normal operations. The online resources are excellent for independent as well as course-related learning. They are also exemplary for instructional designers exploring models for online course delivery. WHRO is not a credit-granting organization and does not provide instruction. For assistance using the courses provided here, access the Technical Information Document or view the Curriculum and Technology Assistance Videos linked below. For questions, please write to:

WHRO header

Digital Course Offerings

Overview of WHRO Digital Learning Courses (14:32) 

Algebra I
Algebra II
Digital Citizenship (Module)
Earth Science
Economics and Personal Finance
English 9
English 10
English 11
English 12
French I
Health/PE 9
Health/PE 10
Middle School Career Investigations
Virginia and United States Government
Virginia and United States History
World Geography
World History and Geography to 1500 A.D. (C.E.)
World History and Geography 1500 A.D. (C.E.) to the Present

Continue reading

Colleges Preparing for Fall 2020 (4/30/20)

April 28, 2020: “Another possibility would be to use multiple rooms for a single class, with the faculty member in one of the rooms and the class broadcast live to the other rooms. The faculty member could rotate through the rooms each time the class meets in order to provide a more personal experience…. Theatre departments will have to change their play selection, choosing plays without intimate scenes…. At a minimum schools are considering having teams play without spectators as well as frequent testing of the teams. ” -Lucie Lapovsky, Forbes.

E. Boynton

April 2, 2020: Re switching to modular classes: “No one prefers remote instruction over in-person learning at Beloit [a private liberal arts college in Beloit, Wisconsin], and our in-real-life, grounded community is what makes Beloit the distinctive place it is…. Even if we have to switch to or from remote learning mid-module, that switch will only affect two of your total units for fewer than seven weeks of time…. Being able to tackle just two courses in shorter bursts of time (as opposed to four-plus courses over four months) is going to help us all (faculty and administrators included!) be better able to succeed in our educational aims.” -Eric Boynton, Provost & Dean, et al., Beloit College.  Continue reading

Colleges Preparing for Fall 2020 (4/29/20)

R. Blank

April 29, 2020: “[UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca] Blank said … that students may be split on their preference for class delivery in the fall, with some unable or unwilling to attend classes on campus and others wanting to be taught in a physical classroom. The university is preparing for the possibility of delivering some classes in both learning formats. But one implication of the massive amount of work involved in executing both modes of delivery would be a smaller course curriculum than UW-Madison has offered in the past.” -Kelly Meyerhofer, Wisconsin State Journal.

S. Green

April 28, 2020: “According to Darwin’s ‘Origin of Species,’ it is not the most intellectual of the species that survives, it is not the strongest that survives, but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.” – Sha-Rhonda Green, University of Alabama.

April 28, 2020: In a tweet, Sierra College, a community college located outside Sacramento, said it is planning to stay online come fall to keep students and staff safe. The college made the decision early so faculty could better prepare to continue online learning. If the novel coronavirus surges in the fall, as many researchers have said is a possibility, students will not have to once again quickly transition to online learning, the college said. Sierra intends to find alternatives like hybrid learning for courses that cannot be fully remote. -Madeline St. Amour​, Inside Higher Ed.


April 28, 2020: Kelli Armstrong, president of Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island: “If the crisis has not simmered by late August or September, but it is safe to return to campus, Salve Regina may create quarantine housing for sick students, use fever gauges at the entrances of classrooms, or consider other measures. But these solutions are not fail-proof. Temperature screenings are only partially effective because they can’t detect asymptomatic carriers — people who don’t get sick but can still spread the virus. Screening tests can also deliver false positives or negatives, potentially sending sick people into spaces where others are healthy.” -Evan Thompson, The Best Schools.

Zoom Webinar 5/6/20: Implementing Competency-Based Education Strategies

Implementing competency-based education strategies:
From research to practice
Wednesday, May 6, 2020
3:00–4:30 p.m. Central Time
Event Agenda (PDF)

This free Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest webinar (Zoom) showcases how competency-based education (CBE) strategies can positively impact student learning outcomes and how to create structures within a school or classroom to effectively implement CBE strategies.


Kristina L. Zeiser

A senior researcher, Kristina L. Zeiser, from the American Institutes for Research will present an overview and key findings from a study that examined the relationship between CBE practices and students’ learning skills, behaviors, and dispositions. Participants also will hear from a school leader with a high school in Illinois about her experience implementing CBE instructional strategies, including challenges and lessons learned. Finally, representatives from the Minnesota Department of Education will discuss how the Department is supporting state-approved alternative and online learning programs implementing CBE.

For more on CBE in higher ed, see Paul Fain, “Slow and Steady for Competency-Based Education,” Inside Higher Ed, 28 Jan. 2019.

The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!™ boosts preschoolers’ understanding of science

URI study finds PBS KIDS Series The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!™ boosts preschoolers’ understanding of science, engineering

KINGSTON, R.I. — April 23, 2020 — A study led by the University of Rhode Island has found that preschool children who interacted with multimedia learning materials created for the PBS KIDS show The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!™ provided opportunities to learn about science for all participating children. The results of multiple analyses revealed that the free and accessible media had a positive effect on children, regardless of gender, socioeconomic status of the family or whether they receive special education services.

The University of Rhode Island team that researched the effectiveness of multimedia learning materials created for the PBS KIDS show The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!™ enjoys a light moment. From left are: Susan Brand, professor of education; Kayon Murray-Johnson, assistant professor of education; Sara Sweetman, assistant professor of education and research team leader; Beth Holland, a postdoctoral fellow; Hyunjin Kim, associate professor of human development and family studies; and Kelly Shea, an education specialist with URI’s Guiding Education in Math and Science Network. URI photo by Nora Lewis.

Findings suggest that by the end of the eight-week study twice as many children (56%) were able to accurately depict what scientists and engineers do than at the start of the study (24%). Continue reading

My Life in LA County During COVID-19: April 26

Harry Keller 80By Harry Keller
Former ETCJ Science Editor
& President of SmartScience

For others, like myself, with small businesses, I offer a bit of advice…

Apr 26, 2020 at 6:50 AM. Many people are very upset here about the beaches being closed. A surfer received a $1,000 fine for violating that rule. The current hot weather (a persistent Santa Ana condition) has them even more upset. Local residents are asking for the beaches to open while keeping the parking lots closed “to prevent overcrowding.” We all know what that really means. They are keeping out the “undesirables” from farther inland, the people who are suffering most from the heat.

As I continue to make my own bread, muffins, and other baked goods, I have encountered a shortage of flour. I cannot find 5-pound bags anywhere online. So, I ordered a 25-pound bag that I may never use up if the crisis ends too soon. It cannot end too soon for so many. Most people have problems just getting by and aren’t allowed to congregate. Helping each other is difficult in these times.

The entire world is fighting this virus. You might call this World War III if you were a journalist.

The things we all have to do to keep apart keep piling up. It seems awful until you realize that the life you save could be yours, a member of your family, a friend, or just someone who didn’t deserve to die now. How do we keep our perspectives as cabin fever mounts? The looming recession must make most of us very anxious. How can we juice the economy without more people dying unnecessarily? Will the stimulus packages work? How will we pay for them?  Continue reading

Honolulu Stays Home at Night: A Photo Lightscape

By Jim Shimabukuro

In response to the growing threat of COVID-19, a stay-at-home order for Honolulu County went into effect on March 23 at the end of spring break. The order is in effect until April 30. (Update 4/26: The order has been extended to May 31.) These photos were taken at about 8:30 PM on Thursday, April 23.  All photos are high-res. Click them to enlarge.

This view is toward the South Shore (Waikiki). The Hawaii Convention Center is visible in the lower right quarter.

The order has changed the city’s nightscape, with apartment buildings lit up like never before. This view is toward the north, Punchbowl and the Koolaus beyond. The entire UH System has been shut down, and all classes have been moved online. Since all of my classes have been online for years, there was no transition for me and my students.

Continue reading

My Life in LA County During COVID-19: April 23

Harry Keller 80By Harry Keller
Former ETCJ Science Editor
& President of SmartScience

Explore cooking dishes that use what you have on hand.

Apr 23, 2020 at 7:41 AM. Everyone has their own individual ways of coping with the shelter-in-place rules we are living with. It took some experimenting, but we have settled into a routine of sorts here. We are fortunate to have Social Security checks. Our salaries have been eliminated until we see the proverbial light at tunnel’s end. We continue to work from home as we always have, another piece of good fortune for us. We also have some modest savings to carry us through the hard times.

Photo of turmeric, fresh knobby brown rhizome and orange powder by Simon A. Eugster.

One thing that my wife and I enjoy is our turmeric-ginger tea (really an infusion, but who cares?). We had no means to obtain this without venturing out into the infectious world or buying brands we have never heard of. I can imagine many other families suddenly missing something that only a physical trip to a store can provide. In the spirit of these difficult times, we chose the DIY approach. I checked the ingredients of our favorite brand and ordered bulk quantities of them along with 300 tea bags. Each morning, I fill up the tea bags. We experimented a bit with various amounts of turmeric, ginger, licorice, and orange rind (all powders or particulates). Continue reading

My Life in LA County During COVID-19: April 15

Harry Keller 80By Harry Keller
Former ETCJ Science Editor
& President of SmartScience

Toilet paper can now be had, and I ordered a dozen rolls in case that situation changes.

Apr 15, 2020 at 12:48 PM: My worst fears are realized as I read that the number of grocery-store workers dying from COVID-19 has risen from four, as I wrote previously, to over 40. Everyone should be considerate of these people who are literally risking their lives so that you can have food and critical supplies at this stressful time. Wear a face mask or bandana to avoid spreading the virus that you may unknowingly have. You can transmit it when you are merely talking. You can infect others with just a few spoken words. They may go on to infect still others, and some will die.  Continue reading

KISS in ICU: A Lesson for Online Educators

By Jim Shimabukuro

In an article this morning on, Elizabeth Cohen1 reports that Dr. Mangala Narasimhan, regional director for critical care at Northwell Health in New York, and other doctors “are finding that placing the sickest coronavirus patients on their stomachs — called prone positioning — helps increase the amount of oxygen that’s getting to their lungs.”

Stock photo from Wikimedia Commons.

According to Dr. Narasimhan, “We’re saving lives with this, one hundred percent. It’s such a simple thing to do, and we’ve seen remarkable improvement. We can see it for every single patient.” The downside is that “ventilated patients require more sedation when they’re on their stomachs, which could mean a longer stay in the ICU.” Still, this simple practice is proving effective for patients “who are sickest and have the most to gain from being in that position.”  Continue reading

High Schools Allowed Free Use of Copyrighted Music Until 15 June 2020

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (April 14, 2020) – Several prominent music publishers have temporarily allowed the use of their copyrighted music for educational purposes through an agreement with the NFHS and the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). These guidelines are designed to allow high school musicians to complete their year-end assessments and for classroom instruction while schools are closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The agreement will expire on June 15.

“The publishers have been gracious with their permissions to allow students the ability to complete their year-end assessments while remaining copyright compliant,” said Dr. James Weaver, director of performing arts and sports. “The NFHS has worked for many years to help schools be copyright compliant. This move by the publishers should be applauded for the assistance they are providing schools in this unprecedented time.”  Continue reading

My Life in LA County During COVID-19: April 12

Harry Keller 80By Harry Keller
Former ETCJ Science Editor
& President of SmartScience

I feel as though going to stores right now is tantamount to going out in the worst part of a hurricane.

Apr 12, 2020 at 4:54 PM: I did it again. It’s easy to score deliveries on Amazon Fresh. You just have to be sitting at your computer ready to go at midnight. Keep refreshing your screen until you see the time slots available. Ignore messages about stuff being removed from your cart. If you try to fix that, all of the slots may vanish before you’re done. You must have filled your cart earlier in the day with whatever you could find, realizing that many things are just unavailable and that you must await another time or find another source. It is becoming slowly easier to buy your necessities.

Continue reading

Our Future World When COVID-19 Is Over?

Harry Keller 80By Harry Keller
Former ETCJ Science Editor
& President of SmartScience

What changes will we see in society après le deluge?

Apr 10, 2020 at 12:42 PM: As we all attempt to avoid cabin fever during this very real crisis, many — maybe most — of us think of the future world we will inhabit when it is over. The virus may be with us indefinitely unless massive vaccinations can eradicate it in the same way that smallpox was destroyed. Right now, we are banned from restaurants, concerts, movie theaters, and gatherings of all sorts. We cannot come close to others. We certainly are not shaking hands. Dr. Fauci suggested that the handshake may go the way of the dodo. What changes will we see in society après le deluge? It certainly is hard to predict. Will habit or fear prevail? A second wave, if it appears, will make everyone gun-shy and increase the likelihood of permanent societal change.

On the positive side, districts, schools, and teachers have finally been dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century. I would rather not have had this happen by tossing them all in the deep end of the pool, but here we are. Now that their toes are wet, how many will return to the friendly waters of remote learning tools, and how many will retreat to the dry land of traditional classroom instruction? Much will depend on which remote learning tools were being used. Some are not all that great.

On the positive side, districts, schools, and teachers have finally been dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

The remote-learning water may look cold, but it is great once you are used to it. Just choose the right pool and gear up first.  Continue reading

My Life in LA County During COVID-19: April 9

Harry Keller 80By Harry Keller
Former ETCJ Science Editor
& President of SmartScience

Face masks are required of all store visitors in California beginning tomorrow.

Apr 9, 2020 at 5:35 AM: I finally managed a second Amazon Prime order. It wasn’t easy. I woke up at 11:55 pm and waited for midnight. My shopping cart was already set up. Amazon no longer gives me an hour after the reservation to fill it up. In fact, it won’t even allow me a reservation unless I have my cart ready to go. My delivery will be on Sunday between 7 am and 9 am. I repeatedly put toilet paper in my cart only to have it removed as out of stock or as not deliverable at my location. What’s with that?

I have been thinking about those delivery services for groceries. How many people touch your delivery before you receive it? One or more people pick the items from the shelves. They may specialize with one doing frozen, one doing produce, one doing canned goods, etc. Then, someone must pack them. Someone labels and loads the bags on the truck, and the truck driver, who is exposed to all of those other people, carries them to your door. Any of those people could have coughed on your order. Do they wear face shields? I hope that are forced to wear face masks, but I cannot say. If you receive a food delivery, take great care. Wash your hands after opening the bags and again after putting away the contents.

If you receive a food delivery, take great care. Wash your hands after opening the bags and again after putting away the contents.

Fortunately, I have two surgical masks that I picked up on previous visits to my doctor’s office (UCLA Health) and nitrile gloves that I have used when creating chemistry experiments for my business. Based on previous visits, my best hope for an uncrowded visit to a partially stocked store is Gelson’s. My wife and I will walk there early next week to fill in any gaps in our supplies.  Continue reading

Grocery-store Workers Are Risking Their Lives to Stay Alive

Harry Keller 80By Harry Keller
Former ETCJ Science Editor
& President of SmartScience

Thank them. Then, thank them again. -HK

In an earlier comment, I mentioned the grocery-store workers who are risking their lives to provide the essential materials for our daily lives — food and other consumables. I had hoped that none of these would pay the ultimate price for their efforts. When you realize that too many of the workers faced the choice of safety or a minimal income to sustain them and their families, such a cost would be doubly unfortunate. With great sadness, I read of the deaths of four such workers from COVID-19.

Grocery-store employee was never a heroic job before, but things have changed dramatically. They, like those hospital employees who are not health-care professionals, also serve. -HK

In these times, when far too many families are living from paycheck to paycheck, it is morally wrong to force such choices on them. They do not have any financial reserves to weather this crisis. This tragedy of disease makes me even more sad when I think that the dead workers probably were infected from one of the hundreds of customers who patronize these stores daily. That a careless customer could have wreaked such pain on the family of someone who was probably working extra hours to ensure that that customer could buy necessities hurts my soul.  Continue reading

My Life in LA County During COVID-19: April 6

Harry Keller 80By Harry Keller
Former ETCJ Science Editor
& President of SmartScience

Sure enough, at about 10 pm, I was up and peeked at the front porch to see four large brown paper bags nicely illuminated by the porch light. -HK

Apr 6, 2020 at 6:57 AM: When I scored the very last Amazon Fresh slot for Sunday (7-9 pm), it was with some trepidation that I placed an order. I had read of some unpleasant experiences during this time of trial and lots of tribulation. I also thought of those who are risking exposure to make the deliveries in order to have a modest income while unemployment soars. My wife and I are usually in bed by 9 pm but could stay up until that time to receive this important delivery. I really had no idea what to expect.

Of course, I chose an unattended delivery so that I wouldn’t have to be physically present to receive the groceries. When an email from Amazon appeared that informed me of a two-hour delay in the delivery, I was very happy that I made this selection. At my age, some amount of BPH is to be expected (darn prostate!) so that I am usually up around 10 to 10:30 pm each night on my first of 2-4 trips. I left the porch light on upon retiring and settled down to sleep worry-free.  Continue reading