“Hey, that´s Sandie!” I said to myself. I stopped scrolling through my Facebook feed when I saw a video of my friend Sandie Kopels who is a professor in the School of Social Work where she teaches law. During our mad-dash switch to online teaching at the University of Illinois this semester, I had spoken to Sandie several times. She was learning new technologies creating videos of her lectures for students.
Although moving to distance learning was tough on everyone involved, a silver lining is that a lot of our faculty members’ expertise is now available for anyone to see and use. For example, you can search for “Sandie Kopels Short Term Guardianship” online and learn how to make important plans for your family: who will take care of your children if you cannot? It isn’t a pleasant topic, but it is an important one as the virus makes its way into places have been virus-free up until now.
With so much misinformation running rampant about the novel coronavirus, the COVID 19 illness and public health, I thought it might be a good idea to share information from trusted sources, experts at the University of Illinois.
The university has dedicated an entire webpage --power.illinois.edu-- to stories about how people at Illinois are working toward solutions that use science, technology and an understanding of the human condition. A medical student wrote a book about our frontline heroes, engineers are working on ventilators and personal protective equipment, a student is working on the insulin crisis and much more.
Extension is a familiar source of information and support in all Illinois counties, and at their website --extension.illinois.edu-- they have gathered resources for responding to COVID 19. The information is grouped into four different audiences: families, businesses, food producers and community leaders. They offer long lists of topics, from how to build an emergency food supply to how COVID 19 affects u-pick farms.
At news.illinois.edu you can learn about all kinds of research being done on our campus.in categories from A (agriculture) to V (veterinary science). To find information that is mostly focused on the pandemic, click on “Campus news” and “Expert Viewpoints.” Some of the headlines that most interested me were “What messages best influence public health behavior?” “What protections do no-show workers have during a pandemic?” and “What drives us to blame the marginalized for epidemics?” However, those are just a few of the interviews with experts that provide helpful information.
Many academic centers on campus have compiled helpful, trustworthy links to information related to their fields. For example, the Center for Global Studies--cgs.illinois.edu-- has a COVID 19 resource page with topics such as “pandemics in historical perspective” and “global food security challenges.” On their resources page, Women and Gender in Global Perpsectives --wggp.illinois.edu-- provides links to analyses about the pandemic that consider gender, and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies --clacs.illinois.edu-- gathered information on the pandemic in that region.
Teachers and parents who are looking for high-quality learning materials for children can also find resources from our campus. Take a look at both the “Outreach” and “Resources” tabs at clacs.illinois.edu. Then visit cgs.illinois.edu resources page for K-12 educators; I found the link to social studies modules about COVID 19 to be particularly interesting.
Languages are my area of expertise, and I would simply encourage anyone to use this time while we are all staying home more, because even after the stay-at-home order for Illinois is lifted we will still need to be as cautious as possible, to learn another language or freshen up on one you already learned. The DuoLingo app is a favorite for many. It is fun, easy and keeps you motivated. But don’t stop there. Look at all the language resources gathered at our world-renowned library: library.illinois.edu/litlang.
Maybe, though, you aren’t really interested in using this moment to dig deeper into the pandemic in all its facets. Then just turn on the television, sit back and watch one of the documentaries that my friend Alison Wood, a documentary maker herself, recommends at the “I on the Media” page: media.illinois.edu/IontheMedia.