Some changes caused by COVID-19 will continue
A patriotic light show, online and streaming public meetings, and live virtual fitness programs that began in the wake of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic will likely continue due to their popularity and effectiveness in Westerville .
Ellen Cathers, president of the Lights of Liberty via the Rotary Club of Westerville, said the patriotic drive-thru light show has definitely started due to a desire to provide something safe for the community during COVID.
âWe are partnering with Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights,â she said of the show, which was offered for the second year in a row from June 25 to July 2.
âThis is really a big event for our friends who suffer from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder),â Cathers said. “We are hosting the event this year because we believe it could be a successful event.”
Proceeds from this year’s light show – after covering costs – went to SEALKIDS, supporting the children and families of Navy SEAL.
City of Westerville Schools Superintendent John Kellogg said the district will continue to assess whether anything that has changed because of COVID-19 has a significant long-term benefit.
âFor example, we need to work with our teachers to look at how we can capitalize on our experience with instructional technology and distance learning,â he said. âOperationally, our proven disinfection practices will be easily replicated as needed in the future.
âWe also have extensive experience with online meeting platforms,â he said. âWhere it makes sense, online meetings could be incorporated into our operational practices as a possible strategy to improve organizational effectiveness. “
Greg Viebranz, executive director of communications and family engagement for the district, said tapes of all education council meetings have been posted on the district’s YouTube channel for many years.
âHowever, when we switched to virtual meetings during the pandemic, we started broadcasting them live to comply with state laws on open meetings,â he said. âWe have decided to continue broadcasting the board meetings now that they have returned to their traditional format. “
Scott Dorne, deputy superintendent of operations, said the district will continue to use electrostatic sprayers on a regular basis to keep surfaces clean and disinfected.
“We will also continue to provide hand sanitizer and other PPE (personal protective equipment) as needed,” he said.
The pillars of the city
Christa Dickey, director of community affairs for Westerville, said many utility and tax clients have started using online methods to obtain account information and make payments during the pandemic.
“We hope that these options will continue to be the benchmark,” she said.
In the parks and recreation department, an online reservation system will remain for the community center pool and online capacity will remain for the sale and renewal of community center passes, according to Dickey.
She said some senior programs will remain virtual and Zoom live fitness programs will be introduced and remain a mainstay.
Santa’s virtual tours at Snowflake Castle will also remain an option, as well as the in-person experience, she said.
In Westerville’s electrical division, Dickey said, virtual field trips will continue for students.
She said the human resources department also plans to continue with the first round virtual interviews for open positions, which allows more applicants to be admitted within a shorter time frame.
Dickey said all bidding opportunities have also been moved to an electronic format during the pandemic and that will continue.