How COVID-19 Has Affected Me

How COVID-19 has affected me is mainly with school. I get my school work from the school here in Chefornak, which comes in packets. I am still enrolled at Bethel Regional High School, so my teachers have to send the school work to the principal here in Chefornak, and then my sister picks it up when she gets our school meals every day.

It is tough because I was having school in Bethel and was staying at the dorms. During spring break, we were sent home.

Even though the virus didn’t get to my village it has affected it. There are no large gatherings such as going to school. The main thing that teens do is play basketball at the basketball court, but the hoop was taken down.

The main corporation store gets low on some groceries at times because the planes that bring freight don’t come here now at regular times. Stores have a maximum of 10 people at a time. Sometimes when there are lots of shoppers, people wait outside the store in a line to go in.

This all makes me worry, for my future and everything, but I really hope this will all pass and everything goes back to normal.

My plan for this year was to go to a program called Take Wing and it is a really great opportunity for my post-secondary school. Also, this summer I was going to get my braces in Anchorage and take a road trip to Wasilla to visit my sister; she was going to teach me more about driving a car.

I want to go back to school this fall and finish high school as a senior. After that, I plan on going to training in AVTEC and either learn about accounting or something in the health field.

Tatyana Avugiak

Chefornak, AK

Hunting During COVID 19

Something that I wanted to do but can’t right now is meeting up with my other family members in Mekoryuk for hunting, but I cannot because of Covid-19. The second thing that I wanted to do was bring Nicholai out geese hunting with us.

I love to bird hunt. My favorite kind of birds to hunt are geese because those are what we catch the most out of all the birds. The second ones I like to hunt are the black ducks because those are one of my favorite kinds of birds to eat.

The most challenging birds to hunt are swans and cranes because their wings have enough wind to redirect the shot. And another one that is a challenge to hunt is the black duck. Why? Because they are really fast flying little ducks; they fly as fast as probably 40 mph, which makes them very hard to catch.

Bird hunting is one of my favorite hunting seasons.

Ronald Martin, BRHS

Bethel, AK

Building community, contribution and care in the time of COVID

The University of Alaska has demonstrated resilience and resolve over many years and across many challenging issues. Alaskans support the university in helping our students, employing our graduates, providing generous contributions, and offering their time and expertise on advisory and governing boards. This partnership with our state is highlighted by how the university is giving back to help our communities and our state during the COVID-19 pandemic.

I continue to be impressed by how our faculty, students, and staff collaborate, support one another, and conduct innovative and meaningful work. I am proud to be a part of a university system that serves our communities and our state as we work daily to build a stronger, more resilient Alaska. I believe it is UA’s responsibility to examine both current and far-reaching impacts of the current crisis and to help identify solutions.

Our microbiologists are working closely with the state virology lab to assist in processing COVID-19 tests. Our epidemiologists and economists are mapping the outbreak, modeling the post-COVID economy – including the economic impacts over time across various economic sectors – and providing recommendations for economic recovery.

Our universities and community campuses have donated thousands of face masks, isolation gowns, face shields, head caps, goggles and shoe covers to the state or to local health care providers. We are also providing 3-D printing services for personal protective equipment to assist with the response.

The UAA College of Health is working with the Alaska Board of Nursing to certify and graduate our senior nursing students early so that they can join the health care workforce now to help respond to the pandemic. The federally-funded Small Business Development Center at UAA has consulted with more than 200 small businesses in the state on strategies to mitigate financial losses due to business closures.

We now have in place agreements with municipalities in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau to make our larger facilities available to health care providers to house COVID-19 patients and health care workers. At UAF, a team is making hand sanitizer for medical facilities and collaborating on a novel portable UV-sanitization system designed to increase the ability to re-use respirators.

In addition to serving our community, we are taking care of our own students, faculty, and staff. We acted early to contain the novel coronavirus. We implemented distance learning for our students and shifted to work-from-home, restricted travel to countries on the CDC Level 3 and 4 list, closed buildings on our campuses, worked with our telecommunication partners to provide free, faster broadband services for students and employees, and set up a relief fund to help students meet basic needs.

We are supporting training for K-12 teachers in on-line education, working to find alternative ways to celebrate our graduating classes, and planning now for how best to deliver fall classes.

All of this underscores the values that bind us together – grit, resolve, compassion, service – and it means we are here for all Alaskans and for each other.

Even as we work through these dark hours, we continue to model what our university will look like after this pandemic has passed, and to ensure that we continue to provide high-quality, meaningful education for Alaskans. We are looking at what will happen with our fall semester, five years out, and 20 years from now to ensure that we deliver what Alaskans need for the jobs of the future.

COVID-19 and the global response will, without a doubt, change our lives, our needs, our economies and our educational systems. How do we evaluate the jobs our economy will need? How will we adapt and get out in front of those needs and account for these changing conditions?

We are adapting and learning along the way, and while there are many unknowns to be decoded and understood, we know that the University of Alaska will always be a partner in leading our state with strength and a deep commitment to Alaska’s future.

Jim Johnsen, President

University of Alaska

Fairbanks, AK

Everyone has to do their part because we are all part of the Earth

This is the real irony on Earth as it exists now. One that is gripping humanity in a fight for life, the other a more healthier planet we get with the standstill of carbon dioxide emissions practically all over the world.

This irony is both heart wrenching due to the loss of so many lives to the disease taking hold of the world, and the other, joy for the life of Earth with less gas in the atmosphere and promising a cleaner atmosphere – leaving hope for the continuation of life on Earth.

We and regrettably so have reached our time with little regard for life on Earth, with over-consumption and disregard for Earth’s cleanliness. For the life of people that is in peril from what was not asked for, a disease that has a grasp on our able-minded scientists to find the solution.

For Earth the standstill of pollution emissions is proving how clean it can actually be … or should be. Saving Earth is no different than trying to save precious lives of people; it is the disease that is the solution in humans as it is pollution for Earth.

Both are very precious for each other; one that can save humanity and the other being humankind that can save the Earth. The facts speak for themselves, for the human disease it is not known if it will get worse before a solution is found.

Just as for Earth it is not known if it will get worse from what has gripped it for so long. It is evident pollution in the atmosphere has brought climate change. If this standstill of industrial slow-down of emissions could help to reverse climate change it will bring a healthier life on Earth.

When you think of this as climate change that is happening, bringing violent weather and bringing it as more common, every year will get worse.

Vital rain forests that do the most to capture carbon dioxide are being decimated through clear-cutting even as we read. Is this something to be scared of? Yes it is and there is no room for people that say climate change is fake. We, ourselves, as inhabitants of Earth, the trend of deadly pollutions has to be reversed just as the world is trying to save lives of people from the dreaded disease. Everyone needs to do their part because it is everyone that is part of the Earth – everyone.

Billy Lincoln Jr.

Toksook Bay, AK

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