May 1, 2020Print | PDF
The COVID-19 pandemic has created additional challenges for first responders attending emergency and crisis situations. The Special Constable Service at Wilfrid Laurier University is not immune to these challenges.
On May 1, First Responders Day in Ontario, Laurier extends its sincere thanks and gratitude to the dedicated members of its Special Constable Service for their continued service that keeps our campus communities safe during this unprecedented time.
“Our Special Constable Service is a critical part of Laurier’s commitment to ensuring the health and safety of our community,” says Tony Araujo, acting vice-president: finance and administration. “This is a very challenging time for Laurier, but it’s made better thanks to the dedication and professionalism of our Special Constables. We all owe them a debt of gratitude for the excellent and selfless work they do.”
As an essential service, Laurier’s Special Constables do not have the option to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. While only a small number of students and essential staff members remain on Laurier campuses, that hasn’t eased the challenges special constables face.
“There is added stress for special constables when interacting with members of the public who come onto campus during this time,” says Justin Korga, a member of Laurier’s Special Constable Service. “The coronavirus is in Laurier’s host cities and is contagious. We worry about bringing that home to our families and loved ones or unknowingly passing it on.”
Laurier’s Special Constable Service has adapted to ensure the safety of community members and staff during COVID-19. All constables have completed mandatory training to recognize the signs and symptoms of someone experiencing COVID-19 and how to respond to those showing symptoms but refusing to seek medical assistance. Disinfectant wipes, masks and gloves have been added to all platoon vehicles and constables change into fresh uniforms after being in close contact with the general public. At headquarters, workspaces have been properly distanced from each other and equipped with disinfectant and hand sanitizer.
Despite empty-looking campuses, the Special Constable Service remains highly connected with Laurier students through the SafeHawk smartphone app and social media.
“We want students to know that we are here for them, even though they may not be on campus,” says Korga. “Keeping our community members safe and informed wherever they may be is important to us.”
Through the SafeHawk app, the Special Constable Service has connected students living in remote communities with mental health and wellness resources, while Special Constable Service Twitter and Instagram accounts continue to keep followers informed about health and safety issues relevant to Laurier’s campus communities.
With news outlets beginning to report that Ontario is flattening the curve of the coronavirus spread, Korga says the Special Constable Service commends the Laurier community for doing its part.
“We are so pleased with the Laurier community’s response to government stay-at-home orders and physical distancing measures,” says Korga. “We know it’s hard. We want to be back to normal life on campus, too, but this is what we all need to do. We thank you for your efforts. They are making a difference.”
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