Tuesday I had to stop by my office and was greeted by an empty hallway. It was eerily quiet. And then it hit me. I may not see any of you in-person for a while, and I may not get to celebrate graduation with you this year.
Some of you may be feeling anxious about how you will complete your classes, independent studies, or internships. Know that I am available to help you navigate through these challenges. Some of you may be feeling sad that you have to leave campus especially if you are a senior. This is not how you expected the end of your senior year to go after all of your hard work. I understand! If you are having trouble focusing on getting work done, know that you are not alone. I am too! We are all juggling many things right now, dealing with different challenges, and managing a lot of unknowns. Remember that we are part of a community and people are here to help.
I know many of my current and former students are working in the field. If you are with the federal government, or state or county health departments, know that you are making significant contributions to the public health response. If you are a health care provider, know that everyone appreciates what you are doing right now. Many of you are putting yourselves at risk to help others who are sick and for that we are incredibly grateful. Some of you may be doing work that is important in other ways. Thank you!
And if you are wondering what you can do to help, there is always a need for people to promote clear and accurate information among their social networks. Help people understand what they need to do and why. As a current or former public health student, you are lucky to have a unique insight into what is going on. Whether it is health communication, epidemiology, health policy, or other public health fields, all aspects of public health are playing a role in addressing the current pandemic caused by COVID-19.
Please take care of yourself and know you are in my thoughts. Practice social distancing if you can while staying engaged with your social networks, take social media and news breaks, and reach out if you need help finding resources.