The new normal – Day 19

April 4, 2020

Krys Shahin, Editor-in-Chief

Editor’s note: “The new normal” is a continuing series that looks into how members of the Los Medanos College community are coping with a shelter-in-place order amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unlike some who have found the shelter-in-place order socially isolating and their days filled with lots of leisure time — or even boredom —  Ryan Pedersen, dean of Math and Sciences at Los Medanos College, has never been busier.

“Working from home seems more like just living at work,” said Pedersen, who has not been on campus since the order took effect in mid March.

His days are now filled with “going from one Zoom meeting to another,” and as a result his communication with LMC colleagues has increased significantly. Management meets more regularly in small teams, he explained, “as we problem solve the new issues we are facing as a college during this transition.”

Consequently, the father of five — and two dogs — is hoping that in the weeks ahead he is able to find a “healthier work/life balance.”

With five school-aged kids running around a house that now has all occupants working from home, things are still being worked out.

“Our home life is very different,” said Pedersen. “I can’t say it has been without some chaos and noise, but overall we have been grateful that we have what so many others don’t in terms of secure income, housing, and other resources that are not dependent upon leaving our home.”

He said learning to be patient with one another is a key component of sheltering in place and adjusting to the new normal. And keeping busy is, too.

“My teenage daughter told me the other day that she was so bored that she spent a half-hour just staring at the ceiling at one point to pass the time,” he said. “I was shocked! I could not relate to that at all.”

He said he has yet “to experience the phenomenon of figuring out how to pass the time as it has been such an intense stage of work for the college” to move all courses and services online.

As college employees work hard to make the transition to remote working and learning a smooth one, he said he is in awe at how the LMC community has come together.

“The love and care for our students and this college has been on display in an amazing way,” he said, while acknowledging there are still challenges to be faced “during these incredibly difficult times” as the response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold.