Note from the Editor: This is an article in a series called "Wethersfield Heroes," where our students work to highlight and honor those in our community going above and beyond amidst the tumultuous year. If you know someone that you would like to nominate as a Wethersfield Hero, please contact Mr. Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By: Fatma Bark
“It turns out that ‘mask’ is a very powerful tool for protection. We learned a big lesson, that mask really works!”
Mrs. Chlo-Anne Bobrowski, a School Nurse Supervisor at Wethersfield Public Schools, is one of those heroes who was in the hot seat every day to make the community safer and to ensure the district was in a good place to deal with COVID.
Throughout her career, Mrs. Bobrowski always dedicated her life to make peoples’ lives better. She worked at Hartford Hospital for 20 years, then worked at Midstate Medical Center as an infection control nurse, then she became a school nurse and now a school nurse supervisor.
“I have to say, it was a journey to get here and I think that everything that I have experienced, what I have done with my work history, has been an important piece and a very important function on why I am able to do what I do today,” she said.
Phases Of Pandemic That We Faced Was Unbearable, Yet We Moved On To Another.
Initially this pandemic was only a 10 days precaution but we never returned back to school at the end of the 2019-2020 year. In the fall of 2020, schools needed to be open and be safe for everyone. While we were stuck at home figuring a way out of boredom during the summer of 2020, Mrs. Bobrowski and other school officials were busy thinking about how they could put things back in normal conditions.
“That has been an adjustment for me as well to balance my life and I think that is an important thing about really eating, living, breathing COVID. I think one of the things that really comes up for me is really allowing myself to have a balance in life, and not just always thinking about COVID.”
We had our times of struggle and decided to switch off every source that provided data after data for all day every day. While we could turn off the TV or skip the channels explaining the death rates, Mrs. Bobrowski did not have an option. As much as she wanted to unplug from the news she needed to know everything that she could to help better.
She added that she knew how hard it was to be in the hot spot every day and making big decisions that would impact many people in the district. She mentioned that besides walking and exercising, she used a couple of apps that helped her to relax her mind and learned how to meditate.
They Never Got A Break From Work, As If 2020 Never Finished!
Summer of 2020, the time period that history will never want to repeat and no people want to recall. Unusual quarantining, running out of supplies as soon as they were available, literally not being able to do anything that we would desire to do during beautiful summer days, but there is always the other side of the medallion, which we might forget from time to time.
Mrs. Bobrowski mentioned that her work never finished and she never had a summer break at all. That was to make sure we, the Wethersfield Public School community members, could safely come back together in fall. On the larger scale it was an offer made to families whether or not they wanted their kids back in school. More like a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ question.
When I was given the opportunity to look closer, it was meeting after meeting held to find a way to do the regular school duties with new safety protocols.There were a lot of people who sacrificed their time to establish a sanitized and safe environment for us. We will never thank them enough for their hard work.
Dear Pre-Pandemic People, Please Consider The Following...
Mrs. Bobrowski mentioned the importance of the Covid vaccine and how essential it is for us to start turning back to our lives. “Some people kind of misunderstand the science behind the vaccine. It is not a light virus that has been injected to your body, it’s like a replica of the virus so that your immune system will respond and build antibodies.” is how she clarified the point that maybe many of us got confused about. She suggested that everyone who has access should consider getting the vaccine sooner rather than later.
Lastly I asked Mrs. Bobrowski, what would she say to people pre-pandemic? She was concerned about whether anyone could predict a world-wide pandemic like the one that we face, or could be prepared enough for what is coming. Her advice was: “Wash your hands!”. She sincerely hoped that people would understand how important hand hygiene is. It is extremely simple to spread the virus, when we don’t keep our hands clean.
Another essential advice of hers was: “Don’t try to work through something if you are not feeling well!”. This is a habit of human nature, we always ‘have to’ do something. But this has changed for good I believe as the government itself requested people to stay home if they don’t feel well. Health is what we should value but we don’t even realize it’s importance before it is damaged.
Pandemic Was Very Challenging For Everyone, Even For A Nurse.
Mrs. Bobrowski almost spent half of her life helping others. As a nurse, she had experienced many challenges that prepared her for any circumstances that are unusual to us but would be manageable for a nurse. Like a worldwide pandemic!
She was a nurse but also she was a grandmother to a newborn baby during the pandemic. Due to her job and her position she could see her granddaughter from the other side of the window. As included, there was an emotional setback in her life besides the mental setback most of us felt.
Mrs. Bobrowski said she created a safety pod of people. She also mentioned that she discovered many beautiful parks during her outdoor walks that she did for stepping out of all the struggle that her job brought and being emotionally stabilized. “There is a tremendous amount of stress and being able to connect with nature was a nice way to debrief and bring down the stress level” is how Mrs. Bobrowski explained the impact of her walks.
It was a pleasure to interview Mrs. Chlo-Anne Bobrowski. I would like to extend my thanks and regards to her and everyone who worked and still works at the forefront for the rest of us. It was an honor to understand the perspective of a nurse who was at the front line everyday during a global pandemic.
Let’s keep those hands clean, masks up and vaccinated! The bright future is coming closer day by day when we work towards it!
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