The Global Health Fellows of the Batten Leadership Program have spent many hours in recent years and months examining case studies of past health crises around the world.
This spring, they are delivering updated and comprehensive situation report about the novel coronavirus pandemic, a crisis that is engulfing the globe and changing the daily lives of citizens across the U.S. and in Hampton Roads.
The Fellows' first situation report came March 27, when they presented to Headmaster Dennis Manning and Upper School Director Linda Gorsline. Since schools across Virginia are closed through the end of the academic year by order of the governor, they gave their report via Zoom, a videoconferencing platform that Norfolk Academy has adopted to provide distance learning.
Their report, modeled on the Emergency Support Function 8 reports used by federal public health and medical officials, covered multiple aspects of the pandemic:
- statistics on cases and fatalities globally, nationally, and locally;
- the impact of delayed responses in various countries, including the United States, Italy, China, and Iran;
- the impact on the U.S. economy;
- positive impacts on the environment, due to a reduction in vehicular traffic around the globe;
- and inventive ideas about how Norfolk Academy can continue to innovate in its approach.
Connor Tiffany '20, who moderated the discussion as various students presented the topics, emphasized that the Fellows wanted to help, as that is a central purpose of the Batten Leadership Program.
Headmaster Manning told the students that he was impressed by their work, particularly in their ability to distill the barrage of information coming from various sources. “You have put it together in an expressive and cogent fashion," he said. “I am overwhelmed by what you have done--the breadth and depth of it."
The presentation closed in a way that demonstrated a significant, and heartfelt, difference from an ESF-8 report: The students and Mr. Manning, as well as teachers watching the video-conference, shared how much they are missing one another. “Keep up the good work," Mr. Manning said. “We care deeply for you," and everyone waved good-bye.
The Fellows have given weekly updates since April 17. They plan to continue providing these presentations during the remainder of the school year.