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The COVID-19 evacuation wasn’t Harvard’s first

first_img“I certainly think that many Americans, and certainly Harvard men, felt an obligation to serve following the war,” said Wright. “Speaking of today, I’m reminded of one of my daughters, who is in her second year of medical school. I’ll be willing to bet that for many people at her stage of training, careers in public health are going to seem very appealing. Circumstances, opportunities, and training can go together to influence the courses people follow.”On her last class on campus on March 11, Chaplin walked by the Widener Library, where the Class of 2020 was having their class picture taken, and felt a mix of emotions.“I remember saying to my colleague, ‘This is very sad, but they are going to have an epic class reunion when they come back,’” said Chaplin. “They will have an amazing story, and amazing grounds for solidarity.” The evacuation of campus two months ago due to the mushrooming coronavirus outbreak was a jarring if orderly affair. But then, it turns out, Harvard has had significant and varied experience with upheaval.In 1775 George Washington’s Continental Army occupied the campus, and the Massachusetts Committee of Safety ordered Harvard to vacate its grounds. Professor Joyce Chaplin reminded her students of that earlier crisis during their last on-campus class on March 11 as a way to offer some comfort by putting the move to distance learning into a historical context.“I wanted to try to reassure students that this was not unprecedented,” said Chaplin, the James Duncan Phillips Professor of Early American History. “The assumption was that Harvard had never had to do this before.” And other experts of the period note that not only has Harvard faced other trials, but the one in the early days of the Revolution left many students then with a renewed sense of commitment to make a difference.In that earlier evacuation students were told to leave the campus on May 1 and move to nearby Concord, where they stayed for eight months. Commencement was postponed “in consideration of the difficult and unsettled state of our public affairs,” according to records of Harvard’s Board of Overseers from that time. Students reconvened in Cambridge on June 21 the following year.This year, March brought similar changes. As the threat from COVID-19 rose globally in the first part of the year, the disease drew inexorably closer until reaching the Boston area. Before it struck hard, but when it became clear it would, Harvard decided to conduct the rest of the semester remotely through digital learning. Students shortly left for spring break, but this year not to return. Faculty had about 10 days to pivot their teaching toward online platforms. Staff members had to adapt to doing their jobs remotely, or to add masks, gloves, and caution to their campus routines if they were essential personnel.For a major university, these were lightning-quick changes. But in the weeks to come, the internet systems held strong, professors taught, students learned, and Harvard continued its mission, to the point of having its graduation ceremony, this year called “Honoring the Harvard Class of 2020,” online this Thursday morning. The program begins at 10:30, with the ceremony starting at 11. A grander, in-person celebration of the class will await safer times.Harvard has weathered other disruptions during its long history, though they were more common in the University’s early years, said Zach Nowak ’18, a College Fellow at the History Department.In 1639, Harvard shut down for a year after Nathaniel Eaton, the School’s first head, was fired over allegations that he’d severely beaten students and that his wife had served them spoiled fish and hasty pudding that had somehow been laced with goat dung.,“There are periodic student rebellions,” said Nowak, who taught the class “Intro to Harvard History: Beyond the Three Lies” last fall. “Most of these rebellions are set off by bad-quality food, but the ultimate causes are a really boring curriculum in Latin and Greek, a strict discipline, and a very paternalistic system. Remember, there were kids who were 12, 13, 14 years old going to Harvard in the 1700s.”Smallpox and diphtheria were public-health crises in the 17th and 18th centuries. In 1752, a smallpox epidemic shut down Harvard for five months and canceled Commencement for that year.For historians, it is too early to know how the coronavirus pandemic will be remembered in Harvard’s records. “We are probably pretty early in the pandemic, though, so there is no way to be sure of its long-term consequences,” said Conrad Wright ’72, Sibley Editor at the Massachusetts Historical Society. “Only when it is in our rear view will we really be able to take its measure.”Historians hope students will learn from their counterparts who lived through the first student evacuation. Students from that era showed greater interest in government and public service than their predecessors or those who came after them. The end of the war and a new federal government provided new opportunities to hold office and serve, Wright said. In 1775 Commencement was postponed “in consideration of the difficult and unsettled state of our public affairs.” — Harvard’s Board of Overseers The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news.last_img read more

Healthy habits

first_imgBy Faith PeppersUniversity of GeorgiaAmerican girls who are overweight in their “tween” years — between 9 and 12 years old — are 10 times more likely to grow into overweight adults, says a recent Journal of Pediatrics report. Experts say good family nutrition habits and plenty of exercise are keys to helping these girls stay healthy.”The best way is to adopt family nutrition and physical activity habits that promote healthy food choices,” said Connie Crawley, a University of Georgia Cooperative Extension food and nutrition specialist.The new U.S. Dietary Guidelines say children and youths need at least one hour per day of physical activity. “That doesn’t necessarily mean a solid hour of formal exercise,” said Crawley, who is also a professor in the UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences.It could be “a combination of sports, play and just increased activity, like biking or walking,” she said “Any activity is better than always sitting in front of the TV or computer or riding in cars.”Healthy habit modeling by parents, Crawley said, is vital, too. “Parents’ attitudes are paramount for younger children,” she said.”A big no-no is for female family members to say negative things about their own bodies or the bodies of others,” she said. “This just makes the body be seen as an enemy to overcome instead of a wonderful entity that has all these capabilities.”The goal is to make sure a girl’s looks aren’t the primary criteria for her self worth. “It’s important to honestly compliment her other gifts,” Crawley said. “Poor self-esteem is a primary cause of over- and undereating.”Determining a healthy weight can be tricky. Crawley recommends having a pediatrician chart the girl’s growth pattern. This compares her growth to a standard set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Ideally, she should be between the 25th and 85th percentiles for her body mass index,” she said. A less formal healthy weight goal is the girl’s weight when she’s regularly eating a healthy diet with regular physical activity.”Most people can look at their children and decide if they’re carrying too much weight,” she said.Weight loss isn’t the answer, though, unless she’s morbidly overweight. “Ideally, girls will stabilize their weight gain for a while and grow into it by changing to healthier eating and activity habits,” she said.If more exercise and healthier eating isn’t working for your child, consult a registered and licensed dietitian at a local hospital or clinic. Before you try to help her manage her weight, it’s wise to talk to a nutritionist. Eating too few calories can slow growth and hamper school performance.Make sure your child is getting a healthy diet without sacrificing needed protein, calcium and other nutrients. Crawley suggests serving low fat and nonfat dairy foods, more cooked dried beans and peas, skinless poultry and fish (not fried), and leaner cuts of red meat.”Eat the least processed foods possible, as fresh as possible and only when you’re truly hungry, not just because it’s there or tastes good or it’s time for a meal or snack,” she said.”Not having healthier food choices available at home, school and when eating out is a big challenge for young girls,” Crawley said. “Along with wanting to eat what all their friends eat, they often have the ‘dieting’ mentality that starts very early in this country and makes eating feast or famine.”Other obstacles to healthy tweens, she said, are eating while watching TV and other sedentary activities and linking any social event with food.While doing their best to model healthy habits, she said, parents “need to keep an eye out for the signs of eating disorders. They’re usually the last to know or recognize this problem.”For good tips on healthy eating, Crawley recommends the new MyPyramid Web site ( read more


first_imgBullying is no longer solely an in-person issue. The problem has moved online, and it has University of Georgia Cooperative Extension 4-H Youth Development specialist Cheryl Varnadoe concerned, especially given that the start of the new school year is just a few weeks away.With access to the internet at children’s fingertips via their phone, tablet or personal computer, cyberbullying, sometimes by an anonymous bully, is on the rise.“I think bullying is more prevalent now because kids can do it much more easily than in years past. With technology, kids can bully anonymously — that’s what’s scary,” said Varnadoe, who has worked with children of all ages during her 32 years in UGA Extension. “Sometimes the ones being bullied don’t know who’s attacking them. Unfortunately, there are many phone and web apps now — like Secret, Whisper and Yik Yak — that can enable the bullying of people anonymously.”Part of Varnadoe’s role with UGA Extension has involved developing workshops on bullying prevention at the state and national levels. She educates 4-H Youth Development and Family and Consumer Sciences Extension agents and students about the dangers of bullying and what to do to prevent it.“We need to realize that wherever kids are, they may bully. We also need to realize what bullying is and what it’s not, take preventative steps to ensure that it doesn’t happen and also make sure the kids know what bullying is and why it’s important not to act that way,” Varnadoe said.Varnadoe said “bullying” involves repeated aggression by an individual or group toward someone else. The aggressors don’t know when to stop and continuously pursue the person being bullied, whether in person or online.She added that kids today are more aware of bullying and what it involves, which has made youth today more sensitive to what bullying is and how they can help those being bullied. Not all children react the same to what some consider simple teasing, Varnadoe said.“Kids tend to pick on each other. They need to realize, though, when they’ve gone too far. Traditional teasing — and there’s going to be a lot of that amongst kids and amongst friends — can go too far, and kids need to know when to stop.”According to Varnadoe, bullying is scary because any child can be a bully, given the right circumstances. Factors like a broken home or unstable family environment may contribute to bullying behavior, but there’s not a profile for what a bully looks like. “Some people who bully, particularly those online, are not what you would define as the traditional schoolyard bully. They may look like an average kid, but exhibit bullying behavior. When you think about it, though, what does a bully really look like? It could be anybody,” Varnadoe said. “Somebody that may feel threatened by others may, in turn, turn into a bully. They may take on a bully’s behavior to prevent being threatened or for self-protection. There’s not really a set descriptor for a bully. It really could be anyone in any place in any situation.”Varnadoe suggests these guidelines for parents to share with their children: – It is not possible to avoid all conflict. Learn how to handle conflict while treating yourself and the other person with dignity. – Think of an in-the-moment strategy. Take a moment to take a deep breath and then address the bad behavior by trying to find the courage to voice your feelings. – Stop and strategize where and when you are going to talk to the person, explain what you don’t like, affirm your right to be treated with dignity and acknowledge anything you may have done to escalate the problem. – Ask for help. It is not a sign of weakness. Reporting bullying is not snitching. – Don’t ignore bullying when you see it. Although it is scary to witness bullying in person or online, it is important to speak out. Report it to an ally. For more information, contact Varnadoe at 706-542-4H4H or by email at [email protected]last_img read more

ANR offers advice for homeowners with failed septic systems

first_imgToday the Agency of Natural Resources issued guidance to homeowners about the need to take action if they have reason to believe their septic system has failed.‘Vermont homeowners and businesses served by onsite wastewater disposal systems who see wastewater on the ground must take action,’ said Agency of Natural Resources Secretary Deb Markowitz. ‘Improperly treated wastewater is a risk to human health, both through direct exposure and by entering and contaminating water supplies.’‘Many wastewater systems will properly function once the water recedes, while other systems will require repair or replacement,” said Ernie Christianson, program manager for the Wastewater Management Division of the Department of Environmental Conservation. ‘Call our regional offices for help.’The Wastewater Management Division has five regional offices that can provide assistance and answer questions about wastewater systems, water supplies and the permitting process. The new guidelines advise anyone who has an onsite sewage system to take the following actions if they find wastewater above ground:1. Contact your town health officer. Your town office can provide you with the appropriate name and phone number.2. Anyone who has a wastewater system that continues to have surfacing of household waste after the water recedes should take steps to prevent people and animals from entering the contaminated area.3. As much as possible, take steps to prevent surfacing wastewater from flowing toward wells or off your property.4. If you have a pump station as part of your household system, do not immediately pump the wastewater from the septic tank until it is known that the water table has dropped to an acceptable depth. An elevated groundwater table may cause an empty tank to collapse or shift in the ground.5. Hydrated lime (also known as calcium hydroxide) may be applied to help disinfect the area. Lime is caustic so you must follow the instructions, wear rubber boots, gloves, goggles, and other protective clothing, and prevent people and animals from exposure.6. Contact your ANR regional office and staff will assist you through the process of replacing the failed wastewater system and will provide information on how to obtain a permit if one is needed.  Contact information can be found at is external)7. A licensed designer will need to design the wastewater system if the failed system needs reconstruction or replacing. Licensed designers who are professional engineers may be found in the phone book or on the Vermont  Secretary of State website at: is external)Licensed designers who are not professional engineers are sorted by county at is external)8.  A guidance document about the general process for determining whether a wastewater system requires reconstruction or replacement may be found at:…(link is external) Safe Drinking Water After the FloodPrivate drinking wells that were subject to flooding should be tested for bacterial contamination. Contact your Health Department district office or town health officer for a free test kit and disinfection instructions. Until a test confirms that your water is safe, boil water for one minute before use in drinking, cooking, making juice or ice, washing fruits and vegetables and brushing teeth. This also applies to water that is dispensed by a refrigerator system. Shower with caution. Avoid getting water in eyes, mouth and wounds. Do not allow children to swallow bath water if on a boil-water notice.Residents who get their drinking water from a public system should look for boil water or other instructions put out by their own system.If there is a smell of petroleum or fuel, do not use water at all for cooking, bathing or washing. Use bottled water or water from a known safe source. Call the Health Department’s drinking water program at 1-800-439-8550 for consultation and testing information.For more information about drinking water safety and health concerns after a flood, go to the Health Department’s website at is external)For more information about flood clean up and mitigation and to download a copy of the new guidelines, visit the flood page on the ANR website at is external)last_img read more

Mountain Mama: Back on the Bike

first_imgRiding my bike felt revolutionary after a winter hunched over my laptop.I’d spent the past few months reminding myself of one thing – finish writing the darn book already. Digging in to finish the book I’d been writing for the past five years required letting something go. Of course I still had to care for my five-year-old son and earn money to support us, so I let fitness and pretty much every social opportunity slide.Then comes along a seventy degree day in February, the kind of bright blue sunshine day that takes most of us zero encouragement to enjoy. Still I needed a nudge. By that point I’d existed more as a cerebral being than a physical one for months on end – my neck and upper back perpetually tight, my abs had disappeared under a protective layer of cookie dough and red wine.When the Facebook notification about the local women’s ride in Dupont State Forest popped up, my hand hovered over the “going” button. I’d been living halfway up a mountain cultivating a rich inner life, my bike a painful reminder of  my neglected outdoor pursuits.Through a small series of miracles involving working ahead of deadlines and lining up a babysitter, I showed up at the Fawn Lake parking as a group of fourteen women circled up for introductions, decidedly female in pink, aqua and teal cycling gear. I waved to acquaintances and smiled at the women I’d never met before. Their smiles were contagious and we rode up the mountainside happily chatting.As I pedaled, I began to sweat. My skin tingled with the raw release, even my pores felt alive. I existed at the edges of my body. Everything I saw struck me with amazement – the way the roots held the trees, that my bike could go up and over the terrain, how a trail was chiseled into the side of a mountain like a ribbon of dirt. Mostly I was grateful that the woods and the lake continued to exist the whole winter even as I was holed up inside. On the ride back I had a chance to catch up with Charisma Herndon Arbogast, the fearless leader of the women’s rides in Brevard, NC. I’m sharing our conversation here, for those who may need a little nudge to reacquaint yourself with your outdoor passions.How did you start leading women rides?Four or five years ago I took over the organization for the rides. I started riding with the group six years ago and one by one the leaders moved out of town. I had to buy a map because I could only piece together three or four loops. I knew the ladies would get bored of riding the same trails so I figured out new routes.How long have you been riding?Fifteen years ago my husband told me he was going to start riding again and he said I could start riding with him or spend more time alone. My whole life I’d been an athletic induced asthmatic and hadn’t considered myself an athlete. I started on road biking on a tandem. I’ve gotten a little better each year and gain more skills. Something I struggled with becomes a little easier. Cycling is a constant work in progress for me.I sign up for races to stay motivated and consider racing a competition with myself. I get to ride something I haven’t ridden before. I reach the goals I’ve set for myself. When I go out there, it’s not about competing with other people. We are all winning when we show up and give it our best.It’s really easy to give up and really hard to finish.Have you ever struggled to fit riding in with your teaching career and raising two boys?From 2005- 2009 I only rode a handful of times. My boys were little and it took so much work to get childcare and arrange all of my biking stuff, and then I was in such terrible shape that it wasn’t even fun. That all changed when I started coming to ladies rides. My friends kept asking me to come out.‘But I’m in horrible shape,’ I’d say.‘It’s ladies ride, c’mon.’ So I did and little by little I started to get back in shape.Why do you think having a specified ladies ride is important?When I first started riding, there wasn’t Dupont and there wasn’t a ladies ride. I learned to ride in Pisgah and I was always getting dropped. It’s the worst feeling in the world to get to an intersection and nobody is there waiting for you.Ladies ride is meant to be a social, fun ride. Nobody gets left behind.I love seeing all the women riding in the woods. I have a blast with whoever shows up, sometimes it’s four women and sometimes it’s twenty-five. It brings me so much gratification to see the progress of other riders. What advice do you have for women who want to try mountain biking but are nervous?Give it a try! You don’t have to be fabulous to have fun with it. It’s so much fun to ride bikes with your friends in the forest and nobody cares what you can or can’t ride.last_img read more

Man-made climate change? Do the math

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionThe debate over climate change as the result of man-caused carbon dioxide levels continues to grow. Most individuals on both sides of the argument haven’t realistically done the calculations based on three measured facts. These are the weight of the atmosphere, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the calculated surface area of the Earth. This calculation should be within the capability of a six-grade student and her teacher. This is not rocket science.  An October 2007 National Geographic magazine has the carbon dioxide level increasing by two parts per million annually (ppm). This calculates at over 400 billion metric tons/year.  However, National Geographic can only account for 8 billion tons/year added to the atmosphere by humans. That is only 2 percent of the measured annual rise. So, human activity must not be the cause for the rise in this greenhouse gas.  Rather, it’s most likely coming from hydro thermal vents at the ocean floor or other sources which we can do nothing about except add stilts to our building foundations and move inland as the ocean levels rise. Rodger AndersonGlenvilleMore from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homeslast_img read more

London police reassure elderly amid pandemic

first_imgIn the suburbs of south London, police are paying special visits to vulnerable elderly and isolated people in the community at risk from scams and loneliness during the coronavirus pandemic.This morning, uniformed and gloved officers Simon Hardwick and Liam Hack spend ten minutes talking to Gwendalyn Iles on the doorstep of her red brick house, being mindful to stay three meters away.The 94-year-old stoic resident of Croydon, south London, says the outbreak “doesn’t really bother me”. She still goes out occasionally to do her shopping.   “So I think it’s incredibly important that now, more than ever, we’re getting out and meeting these people.” Topics : “Other than that, I talk to the cat and that’s it,” she tells AFP, appearing appreciative of the opportunity to have a chat with the two officers.The cop duo have spent the past few weeks roaming the area’s streets in a vehicle specially chartered for the scheme, called Operation Nogi, talking to vulnerable people like Iles. “It [has] served a purpose to prevent them from becoming victims or further victims of crime, to provide them with some reassurance,” said Hack.He added their interactions with some people were the first that the residents had had since a nationwide coronavirus lockdown was introduced in late March. Scammer ‘samaritan’ Later in the same morning, the duo get further evidence of the operation’s necessity. They meet Sidney Alder, 91, tending to his flower garden, and hear he has recently been robbed of £260 ($325, 300 euros) by a scammer posing as a good Samaritan.The fraudster had offered to buy Alder his medicine so he did not have to go out, but never returned once he had the elderly man’s credit card.The idea for “Operation Nogi” actually predated the outbreak, thought up by an eager inspector who wanted to do more to help the elderly in the community.So in August last year, London’s Metropolitan Police launched the operation locally, deploying two uniformed officers and a welfare car to carry out reassurance visits to the elderly and isolated.It also began working with other agencies and bodies, such as trading standards officials and adult social carers, to ensure a joined-up approach. But since the arrival of COVID-19 the operation has morphed to include officers delivering food and household essentials donated by local supermarkets, which joined the scheme.But the virus has also meant visits have had to change, with officers now staying a maximum of 15 minutes due to increased demand, keeping their distance and wearing personal protective equipment like gloves and masks.”I’m really proud of the positive impact this initiative is having on helping the most vulnerable, elderly and isolated people in our communities during such a challenging time,” Chief Inspector Luke Mooney, a local commander, said last month.last_img read more

Schroders stresses Dobson’s experience as CEO promoted to chairman

first_imgSchroders has promoted Peter Harrison, its current head of equities, to chief executive after incumbent Michael Dobson decided to step down after 15 years in the role.Harrison first worked for Schroders in 1988 when he was a graduate and re-joined in 2013.A year later, he was promoted to the board and named head of investment.He has also worked at Newton Asset Management, JP Morgan and Deutsche Asset Management. Dobson is instead set to succeed Andrew Beeson as Schroders’s non-executive chairman following Beeson’s decision to retire.Philip Howard, senior independent director at Schroders, said he was “delighted” with Harrison’s succeeding Dobson as chief executive. “Peter has great experience of the investment industry and a deep knowledge of the firm, its culture and values,” he said.Howard added that Dobson was an “outstanding” candidate for chairman and the board’s unanimous choice.Dobson’s appointment as chairman will raise some eyebrows, however, as naming a current chief executive to the role is against the UK Corporate Governance Code.Schroders sought to address the concerns in a letter by Howard to shareholders.In it, Howard acknowledges that the appointment goes against best practice laid out in the code but notes that the company consulted major shareholders ahead of today’s announcement.“Michael has enjoyed the strong support of the shareholders as chief executive, and we believe that he will, as chairman, continue to serve their interests as effectively as he has in the past,” Howard said.“The board does not regard this appointment as setting a precedent at Schroders, and the separation of the roles of chairman and chief executive remains in place.”Both Harrison and Dobson will assume their new positions in early April.last_img read more

France investigates child abuse allegations by its troops in C.A.R.

first_img‘No mercy’ if French troops guilty of child sex abuse: Hollande (Reuters) – France is investigating allegations of child abuse in Central African Republic by soldiers that it sent there to stem an outbreak of sectarian killing, officials said on Wednesday.The alleged abuse took place between December 2013 and June 2014 at a center for displaced people at M’Poko airport in the capital Bangui, and concerned about 10 children, France’s Defence Ministry said.“A preliminary investigation by the Paris prosecutor has been open since July 31, 2014,” a Justice Ministry spokesman said. “The investigation is ongoing.” A Defence Ministry source said no suspects had yet been identified.France intervened in Central Africa, a former French colony, some 18 months ago to stem violence between Christian militias and largely Muslim Seleka rebels who had seized power. It started withdrawing some of its 2,000 troops this year, handing over to U.N. peacekeepers.The allegations are acutely embarrassing for a country that prides itself on its ability to dispatch rapid intervention forces, notably as a way of maintaining stability and French influence in its former African colonies.Britain’s Guardian newspaper said it had acquired a U.N. report that first raised allegations of the rape of young boys by French troops.A French judicial source said the prosecutor’s office had received that report in July 2014, and had asked for assistance from Central African authorities in investigating whether there had been abuse of minors.A spokesman for U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon confirmed that the U.N. Office of Human Rights in Bangui had conducted a human rights investigation in the late spring of 2014.It said the probe followed serious allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse of children by French military personnel, before the establishment of a U.N. peacekeeping mission.It said the unedited version of the internal report had been leaked to French authorities in late July, even before it had been passed to senior U.N. officials, and that a Geneva-based U.N. official had been suspended for a “serious breach of protocol”.France’s defence and foreign ministries issued a joint statement saying that “all necessary measures” would be take to establish the truth, and that “the toughest sanctions” would be applied to anyone proven to be guilty of abuse.Related France disciplines 5 troops over C. Africa abusecenter_img Central African Republic Child Abuse Claimslast_img read more