COVID-19 Oral Histories – Jim Anderson
For the past few weeks, Packer’s Upper School History Club has been working on an oral history project that documents the Packer community’s experience with COVID-19. Through 30 minute interviews with various people in the community, we have been recording people’s feelings, thoughts, and stories about this global pandemic. In addition to posting select parts of the interviews to the Prism website in both transcript and video form, we are also archiving these interviews at the Brooklyn Historical Society so that we can keep a visual and written record of these testimonies for the future generations. As for now, we hope this project is a way for people to stay connected and share their unique personal stories. Each week, new interviews will be posted, so keep coming back to learn more about your classmates’, teachers’, and colleagues’ experiences during this difficult and unusual time. We hope you enjoy!
-The Leaders of History Club: Sadie Sadler, Amelia Killackey, and Nick Yohn
Jim Anderson: Chief Technology Officer
Interviewed by: Sadie Sadler
Q: How do you feel about the government’s response to this pandemic?
A: Um, it’s been underwhelming….um, you know, it depends on which government you’re talking about. Ahh, I think New York State has done a really good job, ahh, and… Governor Cuomo seems to be a model for how to respond to situations like this so, ahh, the federal, federal response, ahh, seems to be underwhelming.
Q: Has COVID-19 made your job at Packer harder?
A: Oh no, it’s, it’s, it’s been harder…um, ahh, it’s hard doing this work, even though it’s all technology-based, it’s hard doing this work without easy access to other people. So, so getting decisions made and getting answers from people, just takes longer, which, you know, at a time when we needed to move really really fast, so ah that part was hard, plus, just the volume of change and the volume of people who need help because so much is is new.
Q: Has this experience made you a better member of the Packer community?
A: That’s an interesting question too. Um, you know I, I have the privilege of watching… um,… a lot of the faculty and administration at Packer work together, um, and I have a new, a new and deeper appreciation for the expertise and talent and passion for all the people that I work with, ahh because everybody’s had to bring ahh their A-game to ahh, to meet this crisis. And so seeing that in action ahh is a privilege and um really deepens my respect. And helps, helps me understand their perspective and ahh um, the pressures they’re under as well… um, better… so that’s been interesting.
Q: What is the worst thing that has happened to you during this time?
A: Ya, it’s hearing about ahh friends and acquaintances who’ve either gotten sick or passed away, um you know, it’s, it’s also, you know, people that I know that… who’ve lost loved ones for other reasons, um but then couldn’t, you know they couldn’t have a funeral or… that, that to me is really sad. You know close, close on the heels of all the COVID suffering is ahh you know, the loss of… experiences for all sorts of people from graduates to, um, you know, athletes too, you know, everybody… that we’ve collectively lost a whole lot. Um, so all that makes me really sad.
See more of Mr. Anderson’s interview in the video below: