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COVID 19 Edition

COVID19’s Impact on Emergency Medical Services Program

By Daniel Davis, Sigma Chi Eta Zeta Chapter President 

Covid19 has reared its ugly head at all of us. One of the many programs impacted is the Emergency Medical Services Program. However, this impact has been small thanks to the hard work of everyone at the program.  

The program teaches and trains our emergency personnel, who must be ready when duty calls no matter what is going on in the world. Ambulance drivers can’t stay home because they don’t want to catch a virus. Danger is an everyday reality for these brave men and women.

To get a better sense of the ways in which the program is operating under the new normal I got an interview with the man in charge of this essential program Director James Norris, MAE, EMT-P.   

Director Norris discusses how the program has changed to adapt to the new environment, the challenges faced, the things he’d like to do but can’t, and he offers up some silver linings and encouraging words.

On the whole Director Norris has a positive outlook and believes the program has had minimal impact.

How has the Emergency Medical Services program changed its operating model because of COVID19?

The EMS faculty and students have adapted to remote learning with MicroSoft Teams. Since most of the EMS courses have a significant "hands-on" component, Students continue to attend some lectures that lead directly into a skills lab session.

EMS students also have a clinical (Hospital) and field (Ambulance / Rescue) components too. Even with COVID19, students have been able to continue with their rotations, by practicing appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and hygiene during patient contacts and daily operations.

Most of the program has minimal impact.

What have been the biggest challenges you have faced as program director in continuing to run the program through COVID19?

Insuring student safety with compliance with CDC, ADPH, JSCC, and clinical site guidelines and keeping the channel of communications open , between the program and rotation sites.

Are there things you would like to do but can't because of COVID19?

Encourage a higher level of social interaction between the students in on-campus activities and increase the number of patient contact.

What has been your silver lining throughout conducting your career program during the time of the pandemic?

The ability to emphasize to EMS students, that they will become the "tip-of-the-spear" during a health crisis, natural or man-made disaster, and in the eyes of the public.  

While EMS providers, along with other essential workers, never consider that they are "HEROs", others perceive through the selfless devotion to their mission, they are.

For prospective students who want to join the Emergency Medical Services program but are unsure because of the pandemic, what advice would you like to give them?

EMS providers are always subject to contracting a communicable disease in their daily job, it could be a cold, the flu, a childhood disease like chicken pox, or the mumps; auto accidents, slips or falls, or any number of illnesses or injuries.  

Through the proper use of PPE, education and training, we hope to minimize these incidents.

An EMS provider is there to care and serve their "fellow man", and does so because they care. Their care of you is their reward.

COVID19’s Impact on Culinary Program

By Daniel Davis, Sigma Chi Eta Zeta Chapter President 

We all know COVID19 has impacted everyone’s life in some way. But what you may not know is just how specific programs at Jeff State have been impacted by the crisis.

I had a chance to discuss this topic with the director of the Culinary Arts Program for Jeff State Dr Joseph Mitchell. He told me about the specific challenges the culinary program faced from the pandemic, as well as some surprising benefits, and a little bit more about the pandemic.

Dr Mitchell also shares some really great advice to anyone looking to pursue culinary arts, even while this virus still plagues our world.

My favorite thing about getting to speak with Dr Mitchell was his optimism, and I hope that you will feel more optimistic after reading this article, especially if you have a desire to learn the culinary arts.

What has been the biggest challenge the culinary school has faced in light of COVID19?

Our classes/labs are primarily hand-on classes, in the Spring we had to transition online, this was challenging, also to learn how to film, record, edit, upload demos onto blackboard has been a bit of a learning curve, but faculty, staff, and students have all adapted very well and we feel we have been very successful.

What have been some surprising benefits to the pandemic, if any?

I think having to cap our labs classes to 10 students per lab for safety (now that we are allowed to have students back in the kitchen labs, of course practicing social distancing)  has allowed for more individual instruction and guidance, this has been good for our students, more one on one time, more individual competency covered in their curriculum .

Do you hope things will start returning to normal in 2021?

I was really hoping for end of 2020 for things to get better, I know a bit optimistic but yes without a question we want to return to full operations, I think not just culinary but everyone everywhere is ready to get back on the program of normal day to day functions and activities. So yes we have high hopes of returning to normal in 2021    

What has been your silver lining throughout conducting your career program during the time of the pandemic?

People still love food, maybe even more so since the pandemic has hit, and we all have to eat, so the kitchen fires still have to burn while not as hot or bright they still burn, another silver lining is folks that have been laid off or have lost their jobs indefinitely, have had time to ponder and think about something else they might enjoy doing or have always wanted to go to culinary school and now presented with an opportunity to pursue this dream due to the pandemic.  

What advice would you give students who want to join the culinary school but are unsure because of the pandemic?

Same advice as before the pandemic, know what it is you plan to accomplish, have clear goals and objectives, be present, activate, engaged and work hard. Our industry as all industries will have to adjust, things will be different, slower for a while, but this is temporary. One cannot “not prepare for the future” based on what we are experiencing with the pandemic today, we think the future is bright for those willing to work hard and stay focused.

COVID19’s Impact on Child Development Program

By Daniel Davis, Sigma Chi Eta Zeta Chapter President 

Dr. Cindy Shackelford, director of the Child Development Program, discusses the challenges the program has faced, as well as some uplifting insights, amid the COVID19 pandemic.

She also gives advice to any students interested in being a part of the program.

Dr. Shackelford says the biggest challenge the program has faced is, “not being able to complete our field experience practicums on site at our partner child development centers and schools.”

When it comes to benefits, there aren’t any to the pandemic but Dr. Shackelford is, “grateful that providing the online option only due to the pandemic, gives us the ability to still be able to provide quality teaching, learning, and service to our students while keeping them safe.”

When asked if she hoped things will start returning to normal in 2021 Dr Shackelford replied, “if safety can be guaranteed for every student, faculty, and staff, I do hope that things will be able to return to normal.”

There is a lot to be upset about during these troubling times. But there are silver linings we should be grateful for.

Dr. Shackelford sees that silver lining for the child development program has been, “the implementation of live classrooms in our courses. This has allowed for students to experience engagement with us while still being safe.”

Another silver lining, she states is, “We have also been able to record these live classrooms and provide 24-hour access to these recordings for students who may not be able to attend. We have seen an overall increase in our grade data because of it over the last two semesters.”

Those are two huge silver linings Dr. Shackelford points to that we can all be excited about even though most of us would rather things be normal.

Lets close this article out with a way to reach out to the Child Development Program for anyone who has an interest in the program.

Dr. Shackelford says, “if you have a desire to serve the community as an educator or administrator in child development, the JSCC Child Development Program is prepared and approved to provide continuous guidance and support for you to successfully complete your degree. Even during the pandemic, we are here to serve you and be with you every step of the way.”

The JSCC Child Development program is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children for Higher Education and was the first community college in the state of Alabama to receive this award.

Please do not hesitate to call the program at (205)856-6047 or visit https://www.jeffersonstate.edu/programs/child-development/