Coping with social distancing measures
I had forgotten how taxing the flu can be and getting the strength back after being horizontal for five days is proving to require patience. At least I’m not contagious anymore! High fever was controlled by ibuprofen/acetaminophen but body aches and incessant coughs made it hard to get sleep. To pass time during this artificial insomnia, the Flipster app enabled me access to the magazine collection at Bay Village Library and Westlake Porter Public Library 24 hours a day. Not to mention the community benefit of not sharing my flu virus with other in-library patrons.
In the first five days of my flu, I also read a lot of online articles about the coronavirus, aka COVID-19. A New York Times article piqued my interest when the director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases mentioned that communities should plan for “social distancing measures” to minimize outbreak.
Digital-world tools, I believe, are a readily available option where infrastructure reliant on the cloud, aka internet, will keep people connected despite temporary community-wide enforcement of social distancing measures to minimize transmission.
In this scenario, districts may be required to close schools to minimize the chance of transmission and spread of the virus. Schools already using G Suite for Education or Google Classroom products in their curriculum will be able to continue educating their pupils who are at their own homes but connected to the internet.
Long distance learning has been a staple for higher education institutions for quite some time now so they will have the expertise to convert even traditional on-campus classes into long distance learning offerings.
Companies may be asked to enable telecommuting when possible so employees can connect to their office computers over the internet securely from home to continue working. Many meetings have already moved to the cloud in the past for cost-cutting benefits.
Even during the temporary social distancing initiative for public health’s sake, making sure that our beloved seniors do not succumb to loneliness and social isolation is critical. Options such as video chat through Google Duo, Facebook Messenger or Apple FaceTime are available when visitation is too risky. Telephone calls are good but visuals are better. If social distancing becomes necessary and access to senior centers and other regular gatherings are minimized, albeit temporarily, digital-world tools again come to the rescue.
What I write here is all too simple, I admit, but I believe having some options are better than not having any. Can you imagine how schools, for example, can continue teaching pupils at home if a new highly infectious coronavirus came before the consumerization of the internet and internet access? Or how businesses would survive if they had to have their employees work from home, again, before the consumerization of the internet?
Whether you are young, old, or anywhere in-between, this only shows the importance of obtaining the life skill of digital literacy in the 21st century!
Strategist and technologist with almost 30 years of experience in the private sector. Holds Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Science and Executive MBA from Cleveland State University.
As Founder of the Center for Aging in the Digital World, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit empowering seniors with digital literacy, Tak connects the dots to help people utilize appropriate technology in their personal and professional lives while using digital literacy as a tool for seniors to avoid loneliness and social isolation.