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In mid-March SAIT was suddenly, like everyone else across the globe, blindsided by COVID-19. The SAIT community rushed to the frontlines, showing the resilience, dedication and talents of the alumni, employees and students who care about their communities and their neighbours. The four stories below represent the vast number of you who are making the best of this extraordinary new world we are now all experiencing together. Read more stories of SAIT’s everyday heroes — the front-line alumni, instructors, employees and students using their skills to make a difference — at sait.ca/better-together.
Life in the GLOBAL TV news room is definitely not business as usual. Although I’m still on the air and delivering the evening news from the studio, our weather reporter is giving the forecasts from his home. All of our reporters and their camera people are working remotely. Even my co-anchor, Joel Senick, sits a few metres away.
But continuing to broadcast from the Global Calgary headquarters is the right decision. The company has made a lot of changes to keep us as safe as possible — cleaners come in every day and we have sanitizing products to clean our workspaces. They’ve propped open doors so we don’t have to touch surfaces.
This pandemic reminds me of when I was reporting on southern Alberta’s 2013 floods. That’s when I realized we are an essential service.
This isn’t just your local newscast of what’s happening down your street. This is what people need to know to make wise and safe decisions.
Accuracy has always been our mandate — it’s what we always strive for, but the information around the COVID virus is so critical because it has a big impact on people’s lives and their families. We want to be informative and insightful, and we also want to make people smile. — as told to Eric Rosenbaum, April 23
In the weeks before graduation and my new career, my husband, my daughter and I were all excited for me to finish. We were at the end of our savings which went towards paying for school, but we saw the light at the end of the tunnel because I was about to work.
Then COVID-19 came. I lost my job and my husband’s work stopped almost completely. We were going day to day — we couldn’t pay rent and we were getting food from the food bank.
All of this happened while I was finishing my program. The last few papers, exams — it was just so much.
Everything around me was collapsing and, just when it seemed things couldn’t get worse, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
I was close to a breakdown. I told my counsellor from SAIT’s Student Development and Counselling department about everything, and she suggested I apply for the I.G. Lewis Emergency Fund.
I wasn’t sure we’d get it but, when I received the support, it brought such peace of mind.
Then, before I had even received my final grades, I was offered a job at a long-term care facility — and I love it. I’m helping people in a vulnerable situation who need it. — as told to Zachary Robertson, May 6
By the end of May, Alberta’s medical laboratory technologists (MLTs) had performed more than 236,700 COVID-19 tests. The test swabs that MLTs process are helping physicians treat patients, and helping health professionals plan Alberta’s pandemic response. As Cassandra Schwindt (Medical Laboratory Assistant ’95, Medical Laboratory Technology ’02) tells LINK writer Gwendolyn Richards, MLTs are up for the challenge.
Since COVID-19 started, we have changed procedures in the Lethbridge lab where I work. We’ve increased PPE, added physical distancing to common areas such as waiting rooms, lunchrooms and some offices, and limited the number of people where possible.
The more cases we find and isolate, the quicker we can limit COVID. Many people who are exposed don’t have symptoms, so if we can increase testing capacity in accordance with the Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health’s expanded testing parameters, that can limit how this disease spreads — especially as the province begins to re-open.
I’m proud of how lab services across Alberta have responded to this pandemic.
Lab has always been a behind-the-scenes profession with not a lot of people understanding what we do and our role in patient care. It’s good to have gained some recognition and to know we have stepped up to the challenge.
These days, I’m using a lot of sanitizing wipes, gloves and masks during my work as a journeyman residential appliance technician with Appliance Service Centre.
When I go into a house, I’m in personal protective equipment. When I leave, every tool I’ve touched, everything that’s been used gets wiped down and put back into the truck. Then I go to my next call and go through the same thing.
Business has been brisk because people aren’t going out, so they’re putting more wear and tear on their appliances. Before every appointment, our customers are asked a series of questions — most importantly, is anyone sick in the house and is anyone quarantined. If it’s yes, I won’t go, at least not until it is safe.
If it’s no, I go — but I always follow physical distancing rules and I always wear PPE.
I’m a little worried about getting the virus, especially because I have a wife and two small children — but I know it’s important to help people. It comes down to trust between you and your customers. Usually when we go into a house, we’re asking customers to trust us to fix their appliances. These days we’re basically asking customers to make it safe for us to go inside. — as told to Eric Rosenbaum, April 16