Moving Forward During COVID-19

Many of my friends think that, since I work as an emergency manager, I have more information available to me than the average person, or that I don’t have the same fears as they do during emergency situations. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Like you, I have to deal with the fear of moving back to normal during the COVID-19 crisis, and I rely on information from the same health authorities that you do. My job is in Manhattan, and while I may be able to continue working from home initially, at some point, I will have to venture onto the subway and be around crowds of people. While I’m not looking forward to it, I do believe it is best that we try to get back to a more normal way of living. We cannot hide out in our homes forever and there are precautions we can take while getting back to normal.

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Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

First, acknowledge that normal has changed. Some people have ventured into visiting friends and attending parties and group gatherings like nothing ever happened. We are still in the middle of a global pandemic. The “normal” we knew is gone for now. We have to accept that we need to curtail some of our activities and behaviors in order to avoid getting sick or getting others sick. It’s tempting to want to get back to weddings, parties, and other social gatherings, but the reality is that the more people you are around, the higher your risk of contracting COVID-19. Stay away from large gatherings.

a sign that reads "Caution: Maintain social distancing, at least 6 ft distance from others
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Next, follow the guidelines of health authorities and wear your mask. Acknowledge that no one is trying to curtail your right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Wearing a mask when you are around others is crucial to keeping the number of people who get sick down. Think of it this way: when the ban on cigarette smoking in public was introduced, most people were all for it. The ideas of the greater good and of not making others sick became rallying cries to end smoking in public places. Most people embraced it wholeheartedly, never once thinking about the rights of smokers or how difficult this would be on them. Wearing a mask goes along the same lines. Since you can be asymptomatic and still pass COVID-19 to others, you need to wear a mask. Your children need to wear a mask, and so do your friends. Instead of thinking about wearing a mask as a way to curtail your liberties, think of it as a sign of how much you care for your fellow humans.

By the way, make sure to teach your children that masks are not toys to be traded like Lego blocks. Kids may not understand the importance of masks and could very easily be persuaded to trade their Spiderman mask for their friend’s Batman one, for example. Swapping masks like this could put their health in danger, so make sure your kids understand why they are wearing a mask and how important it is to keep their mask to themselves.

a stack of fabric face masks
Photo by Vera Davidova on Unsplash

If you feel uncomfortable in an environment, say so. Just because your boss wants you to come back to work, doesn’t mean you have to do so if you are not comfortable with the safety precautions at your workplace. Don’t be afraid to ask pointed questions about cleaning schedules and disinfection. If you share an office or space with someone, make sure your employer has social distancing measures in place, and if they are not, speak to human resources. If you see too many people on an elevator, you can say something or wait for the next one.

If you feel more comfortable wearing a face shield and mask in your work environment, then by all means, do so — if people laugh or make fun of you, ignore them. I recently bought face shields to wear when I travel on the subway. While my husband thought it was overkill, using a face shield on the subway will make me more comfortable with the idea of traveling to and from Manhattan. People can laugh or look at me strangely if they want to, but I will feel better and more protected, so I will proudly wear it.

a person wearing a mask and a face shield looking out over a balcony
Photo by Ian Panelo from Pexels

Flu season is coming up, and we have no idea how the twin concerns of the coronavirus and influenza will affect this winter. All we can do is take the best precautions we can and be prepared for the worst. Check out the links below to get further information on how to prepare for going back to work and school. Our health authorities are doing their best to protect us, and we can help them — and ourselves — by following their advice.

For more information on returning to work: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/returning-to-work.html

For specific questions about the virus, see the CDC’s FAQ section: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html

This post was contributed by Shoshana Yehudah, Director of Emergency Preparedness, Touro College

Touro Faculty Poet Series — Part III

by Bob Gwaltney - Brenda Coultas
Brenda Coultas by Bob Gwaltney

As we continue with celebrating National Poetry Month, we briefly interviewed professor Brenda Coultas from Touro’s NYSCAS to tell us a bit about herself as a poet. Professor Coultas is the author of The Tatters, a collection of poetry, recently published by Wesleyan University Press. Other books include The Marvelous Bones of Time (2008) and A Handmade Museum (2003) from Coffee House Press.  Her poetry can be found in The Brooklyn RailWitness and the Denver Quarterly.  she is a mentor in the Emerge-Surface-Be program sponsored by The Poetry Project and The Jerome Foundation. Click here to see more of her literary publications.

What prompted you to write poetry?

I fell in love with reading in the first grade and couldn’t stop. Reading gives me great pleasure: novels, poems, short stories, and plays. I read everything even advertising and graffiti. So falling in love lead to the desire to write what I would want to read.

In what form/style do you compose your poems?

I began as a fiction writer but fell under the influence of poets, so my writing is cross-genre; a hybrid of prose and poetry.

What is the role of poetry in your teaching? or how do you think poetry has an impact on students and their learning?

I am interested in the possibility of poetry for locating oneself in time and space, as an inquiry into the natural world, and as a critique of human-made systems. The classroom is a laboratory in which to experiment with prose and poetry: To try out shapes and test beliefs, to create writing structures, to discover or refine—in a supportive environment—the shape and sound of visions and voices. The students’ generating processes might involve looking at an object or event and connecting the hidden strings or the patterns within. I guide my students with prompts and approaches to circle the subject of their gaze again and again from diverse perspectives.

Brenda Coultas
Professor Coultas reading her poems at the 6th Annual Festival of Touro Faculty & Student Poetry reading on April 16 at the Main Campus (31st Street)

Contributed by Brenda Coultas, professor of Languages and Literature at the New York School of Career and Applied Studies (NYSCAS) at Touro College.

 

 

April is National Poetry Month (Poet’s Series)

In honor of National Poetry Month, Touro Libraries will introduce a Touro professor who is also a poet, every week for the rest of the month of April. Our first pick is Dr. Mark Teaford, Vice Chair of the Department of Basic Science and Coordinator of Fundamentals of Osteopathic Medicine at Touro University California.

Keep reading to see what led Dr. Teaford to the path of becoming a poet, what kind of poems he is composing, and if reading and writing poetry can play a role in the education of medical students.  Continue reading

An Israel Travelogue

When temperatures hit the 30s °C (that’s 80s-90s °F), it’s time to leave my air-conditioned, windowless library located two floors underground in the Givat Shaul neighborhood of Jerusalem, and go touring.

This is how I found myself on an air-conditioned tour bus this past summer with former New Yorker and veteran tour guide Shalom Pollack, traveling through the southern Hevron hills, where the heat was in the low 40s °C (104-106 °F) in the shade!

Continue reading

“Living Life To Its Fullest”: Celebrating Occupational Therapy Month

Occupational Therapy Students at the Chicago conference
Touro OT at the 2016 AOTA Conference in Chicago [From right to left: Elizabeth Chiariello (Touro College professor), Stephanie Jacob (Touro College Bayshore student), Bari Diamond (Touro College Manhattan student), Gabriela Masotti (Touro College Manhattan student), Frank Kronenberg (Touro College professor), Jordan Signorelli (Touro College Bayshore student), Jessica Buchberger (Touro College Bayshore student), Amanda Oppenheim (Touro College Bayshore student), and John Denny (Touro College Bayshore alumnus]
As a third year OT student at Touro College in Manhattan, I have heard, seen, and elaborated on our profession’s slogan, “living life to its fullest,” countless times throughout my educational journey thus far. For me, “living life to its fullest” represents engagement in fruitful, life-changing experiences that facilitate personal growth and exert a positive influence on others. With this quote capturing the essence of OT, I felt it my privilege to honor it by experiencing what life had to offer (educationally and personally) at the 2016 AOTA Conference in Chicago, IL, from April 7th to April 10th. Not only was it my first time frequenting a professional conference, but it also coincided with the 99th OT month since the profession’s founding, and I was able to experience this life-changing event with one of my best friends and classmates, Gabriela Masotti. Continue reading

Guest Post: Roles of Women in Academic Leadership

Panelists and attendees at the Women's Leadership Council Panel Discussion
Panelists and attendees at the Women’s Leadership Council Panel Discussion

On Tuesday, March 8, 2016, the Women’s Leadership Council of Touro College sponsored a panel discussion entitled, “Roles of Women in Academic Leadership.”  This outstanding event celebrated National Women’s History Month, which is observed during March in recognition of women’s many accomplishments throughout history.  The extraordinary panel featured four Touro College women executives: Vice Presidents Nadja Graff, Eva Spinelli-Sexter, Marian Stoltz-Loike, and Dean Sabra Brock.  I, Dean Donne Kampel, moderated the event.  The five of us came together to describe our career experiences in higher education to a packed audience of women and men from inside and outside of the organization. Many women came to the event to learn more about how to become leaders and perhaps the secrets to success of the women who were discussing their careers.   Continue reading

E-Reading for the People of the Book: How Jews will Adapt to the Digital Revolution

Print vs. Electronic, the ongoing debate (CC image by Mobil Yazilar)
Print vs. Electronic, the ongoing debate (CC image by Mobil Yazilar)

This post was contributed by Dr. Henry Abramson, Dean of the Avenue J Campus of Touro College:

We are living in a Gutenberg moment, plunging wildly into an unprecedented age of transformation whose dark contours obscure the uncertain future. The Information Revolution dwarfs the 18th century Industrial Revolution, which was really great at making things bigger and faster: airplanes travel faster than horses, microwaves cook faster than campfires, but they are still all about visiting relatives or making dinner. Our digital technology, by contrast, thrusts us into change that is radically new. Facebook, for example, evolved out of the idea of a printed student phone book, using the online format to easily expand and update its content. Now, twelve years after it was first launched by students at Harvard, is it anything like a phone book? Even more, is it anything like anything? And for those born after 1995: what’s a phone book? Continue reading

How To Be Happier

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Create your own happiness through learned optimism (CC0 image via flickr)

This post was written by guest contributor Sabra Brock, Interim Dean of the Graduate School of Business. This post originally appeared on LinkedIn

I love the concept of Learned Optimism. It is the idea that you can learn how to increase your moments of happiness. Martin Seligman introduced the concept in 1990 when he was president of the American Psychological Association. Up to that point APA presidents had taken on research focused on disease. He focused on health, specifically happiness and optimism. Continue reading

Guest Post: What do you think of when you hear the word graduation?

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photo credit: https://www.facebook.com/WeAreTouro/photos

For many graduation signifies the end of an educational journey. It’s the end of classes, study groups, and tests. However, it does not have to be the end of your relationship with Touro. Graduation is not only about no longer being a student; it’s about transitioning into an alumnus. That new title comes with certain perks that go beyond just the occasional reunion.

Continue reading

Guest Post: OTA Students Participate in NYSOTA Advocacy Day

Visiting Legislative offices to educate about OT issues
Visiting Legislative offices to educate about OT issues

On March 3rd, 2015 Touro College Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) students again participated with enthusiasm in the New York State Occupational Therapy Association’s (NYSOTA) annual Advocacy Day, focusing on the issue of COTA (Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant) licensure. Continue reading