“Social Distancing.” Up until a few weeks ago, who’d heard of that expression? Perhaps chaperones at high school dances. Remember those dances—the boys on one side of the gym, the girls on the other? Or, if you didn’t attend one of those dances, just think of the prom scene from Footloose, with the genders socially (and awkwardly) distanced, until Kevin Bacon shows up to save the day. You can always count on Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, can’t you?
What a difference a few weeks makes. Our lives have changed, at a pace we never could have predicted. As I write this, I’m cognizant that 500 Americans died yesterday (in one day) from this COVID-19 virus. I fear that number may seem low in the coming weeks. If you do not know someone who has been impacted by this virus already, you will soon. Experts say social distancing is the best preventive action for now, along with washing our hands, coughing into our elbows, and not touching our faces.
CSU leadership took immediate action when we learned of the severity of the virus and implications of bringing students, faculty/staff to campus. In this issue of Viking Pride we cover the virus from a number of perspectives. Please read the stories to learn more and follow President Harlan Sands as he regularly hosts Facebook live sessions to provide updates and respond to questions. The University’s updates can also be found daily on the CSU website, www.csuohio.edu
As an alumni director, my daily work life has been guided by bringing alumni together. Now I’m advocating you stay apart. Apart, physically, however. We’ve introduced a number of online ways to engage with fellow Vikings and CSU. Participate in a trivia contest. Re-watch a big NCAA win. Share your stories. Connect with the alumni facebook page to continue to engage. Social distancing should not mean social isolation.
Personally, along with doing my very best to physically distance, I’m connecting with family, friends, and colleagues through Zoom, FaceTime, phone calls and writing letters—something I haven’t done in quite some time. My staff meetings may no longer be held around a conference table, but we do assemble online and connecting that way is meaningful to me. I order in a few meals each week through different meal delivery services to support local businesses—and to escape my horrid cooking. As a single person, I’m extra sensitive to other singles in my life who may not have become classroom teachers overnight, but may be struggling with loneliness and isolation. And, when possible, I thank the first responders and healthcare workers I know who are on the front lines of this battle. So many heroes in our midst.
Much love to well wishes to you all, Viking Family. Be safe, and wash your hands.