Einstein Security: Meeting the COVID-19 Challenge Head-On
This Einstein SHOUTout! goes to the Einstein security team for being part of the frontline workforce on our campus during an unprecedented and challenging time, making every effort to ensure that Einstein community members have remained safe throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are 65 individuals who serve our campus as part of security. They protect our community members 24 hours a day, seven days a week, surveying the grounds, manning entrances and checkpoints, and fostering an engaging environment for all faculty, staff, and students.
When COVID-19 began to rapidly spread throughout New York City this spring, our security officers stepped up to continue serving our community in spite of the dangers that the public health crisis posed to them.
Facing the Unknown
When COVID-19 first swept through our community, there was tremendous uncertainty regarding the virus. There were many unknowns, with information seeming to change daily and sometimes even hourly, and New York City quickly becoming an outbreak epicenter. Many people on campus felt confusion and fear. Nevertheless, Einstein's security team adapted to the rapid changes and made sure the College of Medicine could continue its essential research operations.
Ann Marie Pemberton, a duty captain in Forchheimer, recalled, “The worst was the unknown. You would hear the news and the different ways the disease had touched people's lives, and it was scary. Yet despite what was going on in their personal lives and fear of the risks there were, our staff members still showed up.”
“They didn't miss a beat,” agreed Neil Kaplan, chief of security. “In the beginning, there was a lot of elevated concern among our team about what the virus was, whether they should be here, and if they could get infected. While they were aware of the grim circumstances at the hospitals with both illness and fatalities, they did not stop. Our officers continued to come to work and take care of our campus security. They’re amazing.”
Going Above and Beyond
At the height of the outbreak in our area last spring, the city shut down all nonessential businesses and schools. This created numerous challenges, including childcare and getting to work. There were concerns over taking mass transit—both interruptions to service and safety for commuters, along with the general consideration of the risk to oneself.
“One officer traveled more than two hours each way for their commute and never missed a shift,” noted Neil. “And many officers showed up early for their shifts, to ensure we would have coverage for the campus.”
The potential risk was made all too real when one officer fell ill with COVID-19. “The individual was hospitalized, but thankfully has recovered,” said Neil. “And after they were fully well, they were back at work immediately.”
There was a clear note of pride as Neil talked about his team. “With Einstein staying open for essential operations, there was an expectation we would be here,” he said. “Our officers care about the College of Medicine and the people here, and they get it done.”
A Team Effort
One of the key factors that allows Einstein security to be so effective is their team approach. "It’s everyone collectively that makes it work,” said Neil.
Most officers on campus have been at Einstein for an average of five to seven years, though some have worked on campus as long as 30 years. “In many ways, we’re like a family,” said Neil; Ann Marie echoed the sentiment.
Seeing how Einstein security has faced the unknowns of this pandemic and adapted to the many policy changes implemented as we’ve reacted to the various phases of COVID-19, it’s clear how deserving Einstein's security team is to receive an Einstein SHOUTout! When you see an officer, consider sharing your appreciation for their efforts on our behalf.
Posted on: Wednesday, August 19, 2020