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Tips for Opening Safely, from a Public Health Expert

In this segment of So Informed, we feature Filipina American Charity Nicolas, a Principal Safety Consultant for ERM (Environmental Resources Manages) and an expert in providing advice on strategic environmental, health and safety issues.

Charity couldn’t have been more perfect to answer queries about opening up our economy despite the rising number of Covid cases. For her, it is still a huge concern having kids who will need to go back to school and be forced to interact with other people. Fortunately, in California schooling will remain virtual which gives her a little bit of relief.

She says she continues to look at reports and have found a slight spike in the numbers around July because this was when people started going out again. She reminds viewers that CA Governor Newsom instituted another lockdown before fall and despite that, cases are still rising. Charity cites California’s Covid-19 October Reports saying cases are doubling every 197 days. In the past week there were 3,266 reported cases and 77 deaths per day. And to her, continuing to open up the economy and allowing people to socialize indoors is still something to be cautious about.

Charity underscores the fact that the virus is highly-infectious, and spread through air droplets in the air; and secondarily spread through contamination from touching contaminated surfaces.  Indoors, Charity emphasizes that the virus is contained in closed quarters, and has a higher rate of infection. With bars and restaurants opening indoor dining, and winter approaching resulting in more indoor activities, she reminds everyone to be very cautious. Charity also cites examples of other countries, such as Hong Kong, that are on the brink of a fourth wave of Coronavirus outbreaks due to more travel, opening of businesses, and relaxing of precautions.

Charity’s top 5 ways to avoid the virus: #covidsafety

  • Continue to social distance, and stay 6 feet away from others not in your immediate family;
  • Continue to wear cloth masks, or N95 masks, if available; – Minimize social events indoors, even with masks;
  • Minimize personal interaction with others;
  • Disinfect and get tested immediately if you show signs of infection

Charity also shares her journey into STEAM which she says started when she was in college and one of her roommates died due to an act of violence in campus. It was then, she says that she started figuring out ways on how to stop the violence and so it became her passion to ensure that there is a “plan in place.” And so she became a “safety” expert which is also needed now as people figure out how to create safety plans so we can return to school, workplaces, and normal life safely.

Charity also talks about FASTER – a group created to encourage young Filipinos to get into science, technology engineering, arts and mathematics. And Charity says this group was formed because we don’t really see Filipinos in #STEAM often enough. Charity says she chooses to be involved int eh group because she recognizes the shortage of mentors that other young Filipinos can relate to.

“It is important to find a community that I can connect with,” she says and adds that FASTER also offers mentorship, education, recruitment and career guidance.

Charity and Jannelle also talk about how common it is for the older Filipino community to be unaware of careers that are available in the STEAM industry. So as part of FASTER, Charity says she would usually talk to the parents of the students they mentor to give them more information on career prospects.

Charity rounds up the conversation by inviting viewers to FASTERCON20 – a conference environment where professionals, such as designers, engineers, researchers and lawyers etc., are brought together to discuss how they got into STEAM. Charity says this is where we will hear unique stories from Filipinos of different generations about their journey into becoming STEAM professionals. Their goal is to see the next generation of Filipinos become entrepreneurs, CEOs, C-Suite executives etc.

FASTERCON20 will happen over two days – October 23rd and 24th.

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