In Depth: Healthcare workers, homeschooling and pets

Segment One: Emergency Health workers

Hal Eisner speaks to an emergency medical professional: Dr. Shannon Sovndal, of Boulder Community Health, who explains how hospital workers' lives have changed during the pandemic.

He says his days are both physically and mentally and emotionally challenging, and that they put on their elaborate PPE upon starting their shifts, knowing they won't take it off until they are done, despite the fact that they can't eat or drink with it on.  He says he goes home and just goes to sleep from exhaustion every day.

Sovndal tells us about the book he wrote about his experiences in the ER :"Fragile- Beauty in chaos, grace in tragedy, and the hope that lives in between".  He says that despite being witness to daily tragedy,  his realization of the fragility of human life gives him a better appreciation for it.

Segment Two: Homeschooling

Parenting journalist Donna Tetreault has a podcast called "Kids Under Construction" and she has some experience with homeschooling her own two boys during this crisis.

She offers some advice for parents who may be overwhelmed trying to teach their kids at home. She tells parents not to feel bad if they are struggling, as even those trained as teachers have trouble.
She says the biggest problem faced by students and parents is the "digital divide"  because not all families have the resources to homeschool effectively, as some students may not have computers or tablets or wifi at home.

Tetreault reminds parents to not be too hard on themselves, because learning can be more than just schoolwork- it can be reading a book or learning to cook as well. She urges parents to make some time for themselves as well so they don't burn out.

Segment Three: Coronavirus and Pets

Animal trainer Laura Nativo talks to us about the impact of the pandemic on our pets.  Hal and Laura discuss recent revelations that the virus was found in a couple of domestic cats.  The virus is thought to have been transmitted to them by humans.

They discuss ways of providing security for pets if their owners become ill. Nativo discusses ways of conditioning our pets to be more independent so that they will not be traumatized when their humans have to go back to work.   She suggests coupling the usual "prep" actions- picking up keys, grabbing a purse- be coupled with treats so that the animals will associate it with something positive.

She also suggests making feeding time a more "active" time by hiding food in toys that make the animal search for it, rather than just passively eating out of a bowl.  She shows ways of creating those toys from objects around the house during quarantine.