Interview with Pam Massey, 05/31/2022

UW Oshkosh Campus Stories
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´╗┐GL: Hi. This is Grace Lim interviewing Pam Massey on Tuesday, May 31, 2022. For Campus COVID stories, Canvas COVID stories is a collection of oral stories from students and staff at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh about their experiences in a time of COVID. Thank you for sharing your stories with us. Before we get started, could you please state your name and spell it for us?

PM: Pam Massey, P-A-M M-A-S-S-E-Y.

GL: And now for the purposes of getting a good audio recording. Tell us again who you are and what your title is here at UW Oshkosh.

PM: Pam Massey, I'm a professor in the human Education and Human Kinetics department, um Health Education and Human Kinetics. And then I'm also the campus administrator at the Fox Cities campus.

GL: Okay, before we dive into your campus COVID story, we'd like to get to know you a little bit better. Just tell us a little bit about where you grew up.

PM: I'm from the Green Bay area, so I stayed relatively close. I came to UW 00:01:00Oshkosh got my bachelor's degree in physical education and health. And then I went, and I started teaching in middle school for three years. And then I started to go back for my master's. I did it all on the weekends through UW LA Crosse, got my Master's in sports administration. And at that time, I also started working at UW Fond du Lac. So I was there for three years. And then I came up to UW Fox Valley as it was at the time. And that was in 2000. And I've been there through all the merges, the transitions, everything and now at UWO Fox Cities. So I teach and I'm campus administrator.

GL: Okay, so what year did you graduate? UWO.

PM: 1993?

GL: Okay. And then you started at UW Fond du Lac, were on what year was

00:02:00

PM: 1997?

GL: And then and then you went to UW Fox?

PM: Then I went to the UW Fox Valley? Yep. UW Fox Valley in 2000.

GL: Okay. Okay. And what was your position at UW Fox?

PM: Um, I was the assistant professor, and also athletic director.

GL: What an you got your PhD where?

PM: I don't I got my masters.

GL: You have a master's? Yeah,

PM: Yeah, I got that at La Crosse.

GL: La Crosse, and tell me again, what that was in

PM: Sports administration.

GL: Okay. All right. And then, right before COVID? So we're talking, you know, spring, you know, February, March of 2020. What was your position?

PM: I was interim campus administrator at the Fox Cities campus and professor.

GL: And what does that mean, on the campus administrator.

PM: It's one of those positions that was kind of created when we had this merger 00:03:00of all the campuses coming together. So I basically manage how the campus runs and make sure that it goes smoothly. If there's emergencies, if you know, classrooms are needed, space needed, it's all those little things that you don't really think about. So it doesn't have anything to do with the curriculum, or the student affairs or any of that part. But it's more the bigger general picture. One example like this spring, we created our event. Next steps, which is similar to the almost alumni. And so I created that for our campus. Organized, it's central reservations, you know, so events like that, that deal with the entire campus. But otherwise, I deal with facilities a lot trying to find spaces for groups to go to and make sure if we're repurposing spaces, what's gonna happen with it? The COVID testing that we had on campus, I was in charge of the space there and making sure you know, so coordinating all those 00:04:00types of things.

GL: Tell us a little bit about the fox. UW Aw, Fox Valley is the official name?

PM: UWO Fox Cities campus.

GL: Okay, tell us about that.

PM: So that we're located in Menasha. We have right now we have approximately 950 students. We our highest was around 1400 to 1600. I think and that was obviously when we the enrollments were high for everybody. We're two years basically. But we also have an agreement with Platteville. They have their engineering program. So we have a separate engineering building. Students can go get their Bachelor's in engineering, and otherwise mainly we get those students that are coming to just start or if not a lot of non-traditional students that if they're working, they're able to come take some class is on they can get 00:05:00their Associate's degree.

GL: Do you have a breakdown of how many of our students are our nontraditional students,

PM: I don't know those numbers, but I know every year it's increasing or getting more and more, because I think more people are becoming aware of us and then trying going back to school needing to get degrees, things like that.

GL: So you were the campus administrator and also a professor. So and you told me about your, your, your, your administrator position, what, how many people were you supervising?

PM: Direct supervision. I only have two because all the other faculty and staff fall underneath other departments here on the Oshkosh campus. So but as a building and people they're over 100. Just on that day to day, what's going on, you know, if there's some major curricular issues or facilities, there's 00:06:00obviously the contact department at Oshkosh that they would run to, but it's something it's immediate. If there's an emergency there. I have to go and deal with that.

GL: And how many classes were you teaching? Pre- COVID?

PM: Three, I do three, because my admin and then the teaching, it's a 50/50 split.

GL: Okay. Okay, so let's move to the early days of COVID. I mean, do you remember the first time you heard about this virus?

PM: Yeah, it was actually it was over that Christmas break of? Was it into 2019? I can't even remember the years. It's 2019. Okay, so I heard about it. And it was right, though was next, January 3, 4th, something like that. I went to school and our associate or assistant Chancellor Martin Rudd, he's on our campus. And we have the Kings Education Program, which is a lot of students coming from China, Korea. Places over there. And I was hearing about COVID on 00:07:00the news and about the where it was starting where there was more cases, having to worry about international travel. And so I went, and I asked him like, hey, I kind of hear about this. How is that going to affect our King students that are coming for the start of the semester, and he hadn't he it didn't even dawn on him when this was going. And that's he came in? I don't know who he talked about Oshkosh. But it was like, right around that same time. That's when the focus because all sudden, it's like, hey, we have these international students that are coming. What do we need to do? So that was kind of the precipitous to the whole thing.

GL: Tell us a little bit about the King's Education program.

PM: It's through. It's called King's Education we have on our Fox Cities campus. We had at the peak, again, about 130 international students that come from Asia generally. And they, they come, and they take our classes, and their goal is to 00:08:00transfer on to another school, generally Madison, that was mainly the one that they wanted to, we're getting more students that will look to transfer to Oshkosh or elsewhere. But they come and they get two years of education. They generally stay in our we have the Fox Village. So there's the apartments, which is right next to campus. It's not campus housing, but that's what it's generally used for. And then they're integrated into the campus life, and they can get all the advantages every other student because they're enrolled as a UWO Fox Cities student.

GL: And at that time, in early January, were they already on campus? No,

PM: No, there might have been one or two that stayed. But the majority of them had gone home for that winter break. So that was the issue of how all of this was going to happen. Allowing them to come back.

GL: Did they come back?

PM: Most of them did not. I think that's when we because there was a lot of 00:09:00restrictions on the passports and everything. So a lot of them. But I believe had to do some online or some of them just couldn't come back at that time. And then when we moved into the fall of going starting online, we were able to get more of those students back enrolled because they were able to get on their courses online from their home. So that spring semester, some of them were not able to come back.

GL: And then no, you saw the news, but what were you I mean, were you really worried about it. Were you as something that just some for some people, it seemed like it this is something that doesn't really affect us,

PM: Right? Um, it was more so for the students. Hey, it's something it's out there, these are going to be some of our students that are going to be affected. 00:10:00So it's going to affect us in some way. So that was my main thought at that time.

GL: Did you ever think that it was going to be something that became what did become?

PM: No, I don't think anybody could ever imagine that it became what it became.

GL: So starting March, you know, you'd start getting rumble hearing more rumblings. Right. And then, but then University started shutting down, and sporting events started shutting down. I mean, what were your thoughts, then?

PM: I kind of had some idea that it was that's the way we were going to end up going I was part of the they brought me in as a one of the members of the EOC, not the immediate committee, but the larger one, just so that we can be looking at different areas of the university. And as the campus admin for Fox it was, so I could, I could know what was happening, how we were going to deal with it there. So I could see it happening. I didn't think it was going to be as big or 00:11:00as long, sustained the effects that had had on so many people. I obviously, nobody thought it was going to last as long as it did.

GL: So when did you get word that we are actually going to send the kids home? The students home a week before Christmas break, and that Christmas break spring break? And an then flip, you know, and then flip online?

PM: I think it was basically when everybody got that official word. I think it was that Tuesday before right part of it was also listening to the governor, what was happening, what those the orders that he was putting out, and it's like, the more you heard, and the more it's like, yes, it's inevitable, you know, everyone's going to be coming home

GL: And describe what happened to your department. But what was being discussed? I mean, how did you do? You know, what did you have to do?

00:12:00

PM: We didn't really discuss it too much as a department. Again, we've, we're our own little kind of department, because just being on the campuses, we can get the general information from our department chair, and there's good communication that way. But it was okay, we're going to put everything online and our department has had classes online for quite a long time. And there's people, myself and my colleague on the Fox Cities campus, and the final I campus we have taught online prior when we were with UW Colleges, so we had that experience. So we weren't totally unprepared of what goes into teaching it online. So it was just a matter of Okay, make sure you've got everything, your syllabus, everything stated what to do, what kind of accommodations, things like that. So it was that basic, okay, here's your time. You've got it. Let's get it up, take what you have, put it online and try and make it work.

00:13:00

GL: I just faculty, I mean, instructor staff or sent home. I mean, we were all sent home with you, or campus administrators were you also sent home?

PM: I was sent home. I have my assistant under me was deemed essential, essential, right. So she was on campus. She was basically her and one or two maintenance people and that was it. But I was able to be at home and do everything virtual meetings, obviously, if there was something that really came up that I needed to be, I could go to campus, I live relatively close, but as it was with basically everything shut down, nothing was happening anyways.

GL: And your assistant is on what's her role?

PM: She is the campus administrative services. So she's, she's right, in charge of a lot of scheduling. And you know,

GL: And you said you were teaching three classes at the time, how many? How many students?

PM: Total? Probably close to 100.

00:14:00

GL: Okay. And what was? What was that? Like? I mean, did you? Which classes were you teaching?

PM: Um, let's see in the spring, trying to remember what I had. I had a nutrition and weight control class. I had fitness for life. And there's one more because I'm getting confused. Yeah. Going into the fall too.

GL: That's yeah. Okay. So and those are all I mean, they had been in person. Yes. And then and then you had to put it online that what? Tell us how that

PM: The fitness one was probably the hardest one to put online, even though now we're able to establish it and make it viable. But being physically active, how are you going to know that students are actually doing what they're supposed to be doing because we always had them in the classroom and then going into the fitness center or the gym or actually being able to work out, and we could watch 00:15:00them. So that one was the hardest. Plus, there was a lot of students that aren't familiar with what to do with fitness. And so it's hard to teach that online, you know, you can't just be there and show them how to do an exercise. You can't just tell them okay, yep, you're try it this way or that way. So that was more difficult. The nutrition one not so much, because you're able to get a lot of that information online, and you can use the videos and you can use images and things like that. So the fitness one was a little bit more challenging,

GL: Were you teaching it via Teams, or via Zoom where you were, they came to class. And

PM: no, I did mine asynchronously. Especially for the for the nutrition one, I did have a few specific times that yes, everybody meet. It was actually that I did keep that first semester now that you say that I did keep it the same times that it was scheduled because students were supposed to be there, they had those 00:16:00times. So that first semester, when we write went into it after spring break, I did keep it during those times. And then I was available, I had some discussion group discussions where the students could at least meet so that they could continue talking and trying to do some of it. And then in the fall, I went to just totally synchronous, so that it wasn't at that meeting time, but then it was arranged and have specific times that we could meet. And for the group meetings, things like that.

GL: This will tell us a little bit of that last six weeks or so when we so we had I mean, you know, we how effective were you as an instructor, I mean,

PM: You know, a lot of it dependent upon the student. And that's the way it kind of is whether you're online or not, some of the students really grasped the online and were able to understand how to use the tools. And thus they were able to get the materials and understand the assignments and all that I had quite a 00:17:00few students that didn't know anything about Canvas didn't know about getting online, some of them didn't have the access to the web, or the cameras or anything like that. So that was obviously more difficult. Try to get in and do the teams meetings with them zoom meetings and kind of walk them through. Part of a big challenge with that. And both semesters, a spring and the fall was that there were a lot of those Kings Education students that were home. So they were on like an eight- or nine-hour difference time difference. So then trying to meet with them. When it was time to talk, they'd be talking at like 12 o'clock at night, you know, so but they still they got on they were able to do it. And we could communicate that way. For the most part, I think that most kids got the basis of what I wanted to teach and wanted them to get out of it. Could it have been better? Absolutely.

GL: Aside from the content material that they were getting from the courses, did 00:18:00you get any feedback regarding their state of mind?

PM: A lot of them, the comments that I got, they needed extensions, just because everything was overwhelming. I actually had in some of my classes, and I teach. And this isn't for Oshkosh, but it's a flex course. And that is a more on your own type as well. But similar to online, a lot of nursing students, and they were the frontline. So there was a lot of students that way. And whether they had family members as well, that were either affected, that were sick, many of them died within their jobs, they just didn't have time to do it, you know, so it was okay, just let me know what's happening. And we'll work with you, you know, so any, any time frame was pretty much out the door, it was like, let's just get you through this emotionally, for the most part, you know, and 00:19:00academically will kind of be second.

GL: And then so through the fall of that coming into the fall of 2020, we still don't have the vaccines didn't have the vaccines, where you said you were teaching asynchronously that at that time were synchronously.

PM: Asynchronously.

GL: Okay, so, you did you have any classes that were in person?

PM: No, not in the fall.

GL: Did you make it that? What made you decide to teach in that, that modality,

PM: um, we were finding that there were students that actually enjoyed and wanted the online and to keep doing that offering it. Our numbers showed that they still did enroll. So my numbers were high. It also it provided them that flexibility. So with our courses, feeling that we could change the format a little bit and get it so that the students are really learning what we want them to meeting those objectives. We were able to keep it online that way. And there 00:20:00were still many students that were nervous, didn't want to come to campus. So it's like, Alright, our classes, we can get it, we can make it work. Let's give them some options.

GL: What about those? That class? So you said that you couldn't really tell if they're actually able to do the exercise? I mean, thankfully, they may have not have the equipment at home or anything like, right, where the kids who have internet, you know, lack of internet, reliable internet access?

PM: Yeah. So we tried, there's a tool, an app that they can use, but I really stress that you don't need to belong to a gym, or have a lot of equipment, because there's enough fitness things that you can do at home, outside with some of the things that you have around your house. So that was really the focus. And to me, that was important, because there are many people that can't go to a gym can't afford to pay it. And so or don't have access to one. So that in itself 00:21:00was helping to teach them how they can still be active, without all any of that equipment.

GL: And what did you encounter any, you know, teaching challenges in the fall,

PM: um, the teaching challenges for like the nutrition and I had in the fall, I had a social aspects sport class, I like to do discussions. And that's where the students really can share everything. And it was very hard to do those discussions, I tried putting them into groups. And I'm sure as you know, some groups work, some groups don't work. So you'd have some students that were always you know, participating, and others were not I kept changing the group so that they always had different people. But I think that biggest piece that was lost, especially in my sport class, because again, you were talking the social aspects, well, they're not social, they're not, you know, interacting and doing that. So that was the biggest challenge, I think was actually losing the 00:22:00discussion from the students.

GL: No, I want to ask you this before I forget. Is that that you had about 130 Kings education students in the spring of 2020? How many did you actually end up? What?

PM: I don't know how many I don't have the actual number. It couldn't have been many. I know that. And then especially because then some were, they just wasn't going to be worth it for them to come back and go through all that. So I think some that were still here stayed, but then they eventually went home as well. And then others who couldn't come back. They just didn't enroll. So then the fall, right, the fall, we had probably close to 100. I think so we actually got quite a few. And again, because they could do it online. They had those options. 00:23:00It the enrollment went back up. And we're good. And now we're back to where we were. So.

GL: So throughout all this, I mean, again, this is the time where we still don't have the vaccines. And during that summer, were you working as a campus administrator? Yes. And what did you have to do?

PM: A lot of that was trying to work to figure out what we were going to do, how we were going to what type of masking regulations we were going to have how we were going to that was the summer of getting things, all the wipes and the space, distancing and all that. So that was a lot on the facility side of it. And then trying to find out, are we going to have access to testing? What's going to happen? How is that going to work? Where we're going to do it? How you know, so all of the it was all it was basically COVID? How are we dealing with 00:24:00COVID in order to try and you know, come back and teacher, however it's going to look

GL: And when did the testing center come on campus for you?

PM: I want to say it was that? Did we start testing in the fall? We were so on the fall of 2020. And we repurposed our art gallery. We use that because it was a bigger, wide-open space that we could have the barriers and let a couple people in we had the Oshkosh staff come up once a week, once a week, or once every other week to the Fox Cities campus because they rotated between Fond du Lac and Fox

GL: And you know, on your campus on the access campus. How many dorms are there?

PM: There's no There's no campus housing, but there is the Fox Village, which is an apartment and that I want to say probably 100 Because again, it's most of the King's Students are in there. There's others from wherever. But yeah, that's 00:25:00around 100 Probably.

GL: Okay. So tell me about your in your role in getting the Testing Center.

PM: I'm basically in connection, a lot of discussions with Tara Zochert. Yeah. So trying to find out how we can do it, get the get the Prevea app going, making sure that as people went in to try and register and sign up for a time that it would actually give them the right location. That was that I had its flaws. Because again, a lot of times, it would just be the Oshkosh campus, that was the only option. So trying to work through all those little bugs to make sure that it was specific to the access campus so that they could go and do it. So it was setting that up getting the space, making sure that there was the hookups and things that they needed, and just kind of going from what the Oshkosh staff was 00:26:00telling us.

GL: So in that 2020, the spring of 2020, to the end of 2020. What were your biggest, you know, I mean, you talked about the discussions as instructor, um, what were your biggest challenges? I mean, you had your half role as a campus administrator, and then your instructor role,

PM: um, a lot of dealing with people making sure that they were their masks. So making sure that there were masks available if they weren't going, you know, you're walking through the hall and you see people and it's like, hey, you know, mask up, just try and not be like, get your mask on just joke not jokingly but lightheartedly in classrooms, making sure that there was enough of the wipes that students were okay. When they got any notification that there was a positive or a close contact that they would then okay, what's happening with the 00:27:00class? So making sure that the instructors knew okay, what's the protocol? What do we do now? Being able to switch if an instructor was out to go online for them get that communication out to the students in the classes. So making sure that it was everyone stayed masked up and follow those regulations?

GL: So you are physically walking? I mean, when you were walking around, you would sort of be like a monitor?

PM: Yeah. Yep. Yep.

GL: So here on the central campus, you know, a student that is from, you know, tested positive. If they were if they lived in the dorm, they had to go to isolation, quarantine dorm? Did you have something like that?

PM: No they could. We had some of our King students that tested positive, and they did come down to use the isolation on campus here. But otherwise, it was because they're commuters, they all they have to go home. So they just had to isolate at home or if they're in a different apartment or something.

00:28:00

GL: So when we talked about the challenges, I mean, was there something about how you responded to the COVID-19 that yours you're actually proud of?

PM: I think the way everybody just persevered. You know, it really for the most part, everybody did what they needed to do to make it work, whether it was through facilities, whether it was through Student Affairs, whether it was the instructors, you know, every piece came together, and we're patient, you know, we're all losing our patience, and we just had enough of it and want to be done. But yet we all persevered. And now we're trying, we're continuing to build, you know, some of the biggest things that we found as a campus. And I think it's Oshkosh, phones versus the access campuses were different ways that we can do things better, because we had the merge, and we weren't together very long, still trying to figure things out. And then also when we shut down. Now coming 00:29:00back out to COVID. It's like, hey, this, you know, we can do this better, or we're missing something here. So that has been beneficial in that way. Hard that you're still we're at this point. And it's, you know, still not happening. But COVID has made us all really reevaluate and look at how we do things. There's a lot of things that we can be more efficient at.

GL: Like what?

PM: Well, the community, I think some of the biggest ones that we have are the virtual being able with the with meetings, you know, how can we communicate with people? How can we get everybody okay, we've got a quick get together. Let's get as many people as we can at one time, so learning that we can meet virtually and still get things accomplished that we want to. That's good. Some of the other things that we're learning is with the registrations, you know, with student 00:30:00enrollments and courses, we now see more students that are taking classes at all campuses, online, in person, you know, different modalities that way, just because that's what's fitting their schedule. So we're learning some of those things and how to make it work because it might not have been easy for one for an Oshkosh student to take a fox course. Now we're making that a lot easier.

GL: What year did we merge? 2017? Okay, so just a little over two years later than we had this pandemic? Yep. Did the pandemic How do I phrase this? Because? Well, I mean, the access campuses had to, you know, sort of, in the central 00:31:00campus had to work finding a way to work with work, work with each other. And you said, there were so you were just in the early stages of finding your way, right? Yes. How did that how did the pandemic affect that?

PM: I think you put a lot of things on hold. And some of it like the curriculum, some of that, that enrollment, those types of pieces. So it was more within the, I don't know, not necessarily student affairs, student, you know, Academic Affairs, those pieces coming together as a university, because everyone was virtual, everybody could be in that same spot. I think that has really helped us come back together. And it's also I don't want to say make people not forget the axis campuses, but make sure that we're included, you know, we are there we've had people that are representatives on different committees, we have to it's helped us because through a pandemic, we have the Oshkosh campus, and all the leaders there that are helping guide us through it. It's not just Fox Cities 00:32:00campus, okay, you're off on your own, try and figure out how you're going to get through this. So we were able to use the resources and the people. That helped us tremendously, because otherwise, as a small campus like that, who knows how we would have been?

GL: So in the fall of 2021, vaccines are now readily available. And the ministry, you know, CDC and our administrators have been pushing it. And we even offered it on the campuses. I mean, what were your initial thoughts about the vaccine?

PM: Myself, personally, I went, and I got it as soon as I could. So my kids, my partner, same thing, we all got it. I would not push it on to anybody. That's their personal choice. And I, you know, that's the way it is. But if somebody is not going to be you still no matter what, vaccinate or not, you still have to take those precautions that are out there. So

00:33:00

GL: That's, so we're now I mean, we're now a little over two years past the none the time that we were all went remote. On how much do you think we're getting back to normal?

PM: Um, I think we're getting there. We're close this like for us on the Fox Cities campus this past semester, we saw a lot more student interaction, more student activities. But what we found is that it's not necessarily the large group activities that are working on our campus. It's more like the hallway events. But there was a lot that our Student Life Coordinator did. And it was you're seeing more students come out and want to be engaged in some of those different activities. It's made us more aware of the stress and pressures that are on everybody, as a staff, it's, you know, with the students, whether it's instructor or whatever, it's like, hey, just take a deep breath, give everyone a break, just kind of slow down a little bit. It's hard, because you have that 00:34:00balance of coming out of COVID. And not having been able to do anything. Now you want to do everything, right, because we all miss that. But then it's too much, because you're doing too much, and you're too busy, and you can't handle that. So it really is a balance of trying to find out what's working for everybody. And the students coming back, it's the same thing they have to find out, okay, are they going to be a full-time student? Are they going to work? Are they How involved are they going to be? What modality are they going to be able to take the courses so it's really trying to work with the students where they're at and looking to where they want to go forward? So overall, I think COVID has changed the university as a whole for the better, specifically to access campuses because it has opened up different possibilities. So in that regard, I think it was a Good. It's a good thing.

00:35:00

GL: We touched on this a little bit, but how do you think your job has changed? Because of this pandemic? No, because of what we went through?

PM: Or has it? It probably hasn't, I think it's because my job is kind of as things happen, deal with them. And so COVID happened, I had to deal with that. Now we're on the back end of COVID, not as much to do with that. So now, like, focus on other things that are happening on campus, so it's, for me, what's happened is all my time isn't focusing on COVID. And dealing with COVID related issues, which is nice.

GL: So what has living through this last, you know, two and a half years, taught you about yourself, you know, living through this, you know, in working through this, you know, during this pandemic.

PM: Kind of related to what I was saying about wanting to do everything now. But 00:36:00you can't, you have to really and I, know I have to watch what I do. But I have how much try and keep things balanced. But also step back and give people that benefit of the doubt right now. Because you don't know what people are going through. Some people will share what's happening, some people won't. But like for students, because we're always all you have to have excuses, you know, if you're going to miss a day or what's happening, and it's, and we all know that there's going to be some that will take advantage of that, right. But for the most part, it's alright, we're going to be empathetic, let's hear it, let's work with you. We're going to try and get all of us through this, no matter what it takes, because again, it's still happening. It's still affecting people. And I think there'll be long standing effects from that. But it's just to really keep doing what you're doing. But stay engaged. Because I think the mental the 00:37:00emotional toll on everybody has been the biggest thing, obviously, the physical with, you know, all the deaths and sicknesses and everything, but that emotional is going to be long lasting.

GL: We're going to touch on talk about that in a little bit. But y'all knowing what you know, now, would you have done anything in regards to how you responded to you? You know, the pandemic in regards to your work? Would you have done anything differently?

PM: Um, probably with that class, when we first went online, I probably should have looking back made it a synchronously. I know, the fitness one would have been difficult with that. But I could have tried and get more interaction. But it was such a, let's, let's get it on, let's do what we can. And not knowing where students were at or what they were doing that I think I would change, you know, obviously, now that I'm past that, and have taught it more online, I'm 00:38:00able to adjust things accordingly. But initially, that would have been something and to keep just to stay in contact with the students.

GL: So if you don't mind, we're going to talk to you about your life outside of work. You know, old home were all sent home. Who were you living with?

PM: My partner? My two kids.

GL: Okay, how old were you kids?

PM: Six, a sixth grader, and ninth grader. So they were just starting middle school, just starting high school.

GL: And then they were also sent home? Yes. And how did you deal with the or their online?

PM: Thankfully, they were old enough that they're able the school sent Chromebooks home with each of the kids. So they were able to have that they had their schedule that first, the first semester that right after it was not it wasn't scheduled very well. So it was okay, just go on and do it. And I was constantly on my computer, so I could make sure you know, they'd come in and ask 00:39:00for some help with some things and, you know, try and balance all that because Tracy was working on her. You know, she works at Harbor halls. So she was on meetings constantly. And it's just, it was hard. The two of us, Tracy and I were in the office, and then each kid mainly went in their room. But it worked for them. They were able to do it. But it didn't really work. So they got the classes done what they were supposed to do. I got my work done. And, you know, I think we're all in the impression. Okay, let's just get through the school year. And then, you know, we'll go from there, and hopefully it won't continue.

GL: When we were sent home. Did you think that we were going to be really or that the whole semester was going to go like that, or did you think we're going to be back in a couple of weeks, maybe a month?

PM: I figured it was probably going to be the rest of the semester. I just Seeing how things were progressing. It just I think, thought it would be too 00:40:00much chaos to keep going. Okay, go online now come back. And if we'd have to switch again, so I figured we just remained online.

GL: And you said you were you and your partner were working in the, in the,

PM: in our house in our office. So yeah, okay. Yep.

GL: So did you have like a routine that you wake up and go to work?

PM: Yep, I tried doing my same thing. Basically get up, do what I have to get the kids up, get them fed and get them off onto their computers. And we just all kind of went and logged on and got the day going.

GL: And the for you. Meal. You're in your family? Were you following the CDC guidelines regarding like, social distancing sheltering place? I mean,

PM: all that Yeah, yeah, we were we did not do anything. We did not go anywhere. We saw some of our friends that were our neighbors a little bit. That was the most interaction. If I had to go to the store to get some food or something, you 00:41:00know, it was where the mask, but Tracy did not go much. She's diabetic and asthma. So she was more the high risk. So it was like, yep, you stay home. And it was the kids didn't do anything. So

GL: How did they do?

PM: My daughter, who was the youngest and sixth grade, she did not do well, throughout the whole period of COVID. Her mental health, I think from the isolation, and then you've got the social media that has really played a toll on her. I'm, we're just trying now at this point, we're seeing that she's getting better. Our son, he was he seemed okay. You know, I think it was getting to be a lot for him at the end, again, that social, he's not as outgoing. But he still, you know, kids want to be with their friends they want to be, and he was in sport, what the kids were in sports. So they couldn't do their sports, they couldn't do any of that. He did, he did better. But still, I think the biggest 00:42:00thing was that social isolation, and just I know my daughter, she just kind of went through into herself because she was the one that was outgoing. And now she's not, you know, so it really, it's affected them.

GL: How about you and your partner?

PM: Um, oh, we have your moments, you know, when it's, you get on each other's nerves a little better. You're all in the house at the same time, but for the most part. We did. We're doing fine. You know, we able to, thankfully that summer that year, it was nice. So you could at least get outside and do a lot. So overall, we're all doing good. No.

GL: Did anyone did you get COVID and anyone in your family close to you get COVID on how gotten really sick?

PM: Um, no, our family. Nobody during like the peak of when it was got it. We had obviously got tested a few times, just not knowing Tracy. We went to Florida 00:43:00this year, my son played baseball down for with his high school in Florida. For spring break, we came back, and she got COVID. So it was way after you would think that you would have gotten it. And she still has some, you know, the cost sometimes the breathing. So that was in April, beginning of April. So there's still some after effects with that, but otherwise immediate family, no. Extended family, none of my siblings or any of their kids that I'm aware of. Got it.

GL: Do you mind my asking? Is your family vaccinated? Yes.

PM: Yes, we're all vaccinated and have gotten the booster.

GL: Okay, um, is there you know, we touched on so many things. Is there anything I'm missing regarding, you know, your work at UW Oshkosh? And, you know, and living through this thing here?

PM: Not that I can think of it's just, you know, it's surreal that it's actually 00:44:00happened. One of one thing that I I'm always saying is that I've lost track of time. You know, what year what month, what day? How long ago? Did that happen? You know, it just seems like we lost those years. And there's no way of getting those back. And that's what's hard. It's like there's a black in your in my head that you try remembering, okay, what was it pre COVID versus post COVID. And there's a lot that you just can't remember when that happened. You know, I was asking was that fall of 2019. And, you know, it's a lot of it's a blur, because when you're just doing the same thing day after day after day and not being able to go anywhere. It just, it's kind of crazy that it's happened this long.

GL: Let's say you know, you know, 20-30 years from now, and your grandkids are asking you Oh, hey, have you heard of this? This COVID-19- This global pandemic 00:45:00and then they asked you about what did you do? What happened to you during that time? Wow, what would you say?

PM: Um, boy, that's a hard one. It's almost like things stopped in a way. It was more it was you were with your family, your immediate family and that was it. You know, anything else going on outside of you, you were afraid to do anything? Because you didn't want to get it. So, things really stopped slow down. And you just, you know, you really had to kind of watch out for each other.

GL: Okay, all thank you for sharing your stories with us. We appreciate your contribution to campus cover stories like UW Oshkosh.

PM: You're welcome. Thank you.