COVID-19 News

Remote Learning at Caldwell in Full Swing

Remote learning is in full swing as faculty members and students connect across multiple platforms including Google Hangouts Meet, Zoom, Blackboard and more.

To prepare for engaging remotely, the Offices of Academic Affairs, Information Technology, and Online Education held several comprehensive workshops for faculty and staff. Professors volunteered to help their colleagues learn the ins and outs of teaching via the digital world.

Students from around the globe who returned to their home countries are connecting with their Caldwell community. Antonia Kirdyashkin of Australia appreciates that her professors have been accommodating her with the “bit tricky” time change. “They are working to help me and work this out and it’s been going well so far!”

Heather Cook, MLIS, Director of the Jennings Library, along with library staff and Academic Affairs collected and organized devices from across the campus so the Information Technology Office could update the computers for students and faculty for remote learning.

Heather Cook, MLIS, Director of the Jennings Library, along with library staff and Academic Affairs collected and organized devices from across the campus so the Information Technology Office could update the computers for students and faculty for remote learning.

The Jennings Library staff in conjunction with Academic Affairs collected devices from across the campus and IT updated the computers for students. The library staff organized and created a check out plan.  Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Barbara Chesler reached out to the faculty to ask them to contact students to see who might need a device. History Professor Marie Mullaney and Associate Dean of Business and Computer Science Virginia Rich, among other faculty, made sure their students had what they needed for their studies. “I think these young students, especially first-year students, are growing up fast,” said Mullaney. “We at Caldwell care so much about our students…we had to be tenacious.” She “bombarded” her 77 students with emails until they replied that they did or did not need help. “This is a great pedagogical experiment,” said Mullaney.

Rich said it was a terrific collaborative effort across academic departments to loan their computer lab equipment, including Chromebooks and regular laptops, to students who have been accustomed to working in the computer labs and to faculty who use office computers. “My colleagues in the library and our student workers devised an efficient system to safely hand over clean computers. Everyone kept their hands clean and maintained appropriate social distance. It worked well.”

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COVID-19: Public Health Education Graduate & Professor Dispatches

A picture of Ashley Trommelen

Ashley Trommelen is an adjunct faculty member in the public health education program. She is responding to COVID19 as an employee for the Atlantic Health System.

These days Ashley Trommelen dresses for work a little differently. She stands outside in personal protective equipment at the coronavirus drive-thru testing site for the Atlantic Health System in Morristown, New Jersey.  A health educator for AHS, she is situated adjacent to a security guard and holds up two signs – one requesting all car windows remain up until instructed by a nurse and the other with a phone number for the registration tent.  It is a testing site for patients who have a prescription from an Atlantic Medical Group provider. Trommelen, an adjunct faculty member in Caldwell’s bachelor’s of public health education program, confirms each patient’s identification via his or her license held up to the window and writes each person’s initials with soap on the window before the car may advance to the next step. Often she will say, “Feel better” through the window and patients will respond, “Thank you.” Trommelen is grateful to be one of the many health care workers who are addressing the COVID-19 needs. “I’m proud to work for the system, to be able to make a little positive impact.” In the fall, Trommelen will be teaching Epidemiology and plans to incorporate the COVID-19 pandemic as much as possible. “I never thought I would witness a pandemic so early in my career but plan to teach my students about the crucial roles public health workers played in this situation.”

A picture of Samantha Areson

Samantha Areson ’19 is working in telemedicine at Overlook Medical Center in Summit.

Samantha Areson ’19 feels she was prepared for the possibility of a pandemic and that she would play a role in it as a health care worker.  Her professors in the bachelor’s in public health education at Caldwell readied the students to be “at the forefront” of a pandemic or epidemic, says Areson, who is working in telemedicine at Overlook Medical Center in Summit. Normally a health educator in community health in Union County, in response to COVID-19, Areson was recently redeployed to create the structure for virtual visits with doctors and the follow-up app.  “We are playing a big part in easing patients’ minds that they can see a doctor and not come to the office. And we are keeping the office staff and the other patients healthy.” Even though this is her first job out of college, Areson says she was not nervous about adjusting to her new duties so rapidly. “A lot of people are coming together…my bosses prepared me well for the reassignment…and I also have support from Caldwell because I know I can email my past professors at any time for guidance!”

A picture of Beatrice Turenne

Beatrice Turenne is an adjunct faculty member in the public health education program and a mental health professional. In response to the pandemic, she has been working on the Disaster Mental Health Line for the NJ Mental Cares Call Center through the Mental Health Association of New Jersey,

Public health education adjunct faculty member Beatrice Turenne is seeing “the hunger” build in her students to learn more about their profession’s vital work during the coronavirus pandemic. “Everything we talk about is real and in your face,” says Turenne, who teaches Intro to Public Health, Theories of Health Behavior and Epidemiology. Long before the coronavirus outbreak, Turenne asked students in her Theories of Health Behavior class to create a public service announcement “Handwashing Campaign” aimed at different populations including kindergartners, elderly nurses, commuters and college athletes. They were instructed to think of ways to communicate with people on their terms respecting diverse cultures and environments. Now Turenne is pleased to see her students understand more clearly how their careers will play a vital role in public health. Since the outbreak, Turenne, a mental health professional who works at the NJ Mental Cares Call Center through the Mental Health Association of New Jersey, has also been working on its Disaster Mental Health Line which was activated as a response to the pandemic. They provide essential services to help people navigate through fear and anxiety. Turenne knows these are real-life experiences that are relatable for her students. “They are seeing how beneficial this field is at this moment. They are gaining information that will save lives.”

A picture of Emily Stabile, school health aide for the Fairfax County Health Department in Virginia.

Emily Stabile ’18 is a school health aide for the Fairfax County Health Department in Virginia. During the pandemic, she is taking calls from the public concerning the coronavirus for the county health department.

Emily Stabile ’18 is taking calls from the public these days concerning the coronavirus for the Fairfax County Health Department in Virginia.  She says her team plays “a huge role” in providing guidance and getting information out to the community. That information includes everything from testing sites, to discussing symptoms to easing their worries.  Stabile, a Caldwell University public health education graduate,  is normally employed as a school health aide for the Fairfax County Health Department where she responds to emergencies, administers medications, conducts vision and hearing screenings, and handles other health-related tasks in an elementary school.  The county follows a public health model and does not have nurses in school health rooms except for once a week to oversee everything. “It is a really great experience working with school-age children and giving them the care that they need,” says Stabile. She credits Caldwell’s Public Health Education faculty with giving her a strong foundation in areas such as research and group projects that apply to her job responsibilities today. Even though it is a challenging time, she is grateful to be able to work with her team and the Health Department and answer questions and help people feel a little safer.
“I’m thankful to be able to have that impact on the community.”

To learn more about Caldwell University’s Bachelor of Science in Public Health Education, go to

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Nursing Students See Practical Application in Managing COVID-19

Graduate nursing student Rachel Capote has been watching the White House press conferences on COVID-19 and hearing the speakers use terms and data analysis concepts that she has been learning about in her Advanced Pathophysiology class for the Master of Science in Nursing in Population Health. “It is fascinating.  This area of study interests me because nurses are afforded the opportunity to work with a team of experts to affect change across populations to improve health outcomes,” said Capote, an experienced pediatric nurse and lab assistant for the undergraduate nursing program.

Capote had just finished her paper on “Novel Coronavirus COVID-19” when the outbreak started to peak.

We asked Capote, a graduate of  Caldwell’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, and Dr. Donna Naturale, Capote’s professor and the associate dean of the School of Nursing and Public Health, what the coronavirus is teaching us about health care and nursing and how Caldwell’s MSN in population health is preparing nurses to meet this type of health care crisis.

How is the Master of Science in Nursing in Population Health program relevant to what we are seeing in the coronavirus outbreak? 

Picture of Dr. Donna Naturale, Associate Dean of the School of Nursing and Public Health.

Dr. Donna Naturale is an Associate Dean of the School of Nursing and Public Health.

Dr. Naturale– Caldwell’s MSN in Population Health is directly related to improving the health of vulnerable populations.  Today, more than ever, our nation is undergoing a public health crisis.  We will need more nurses who are prepared to understand, care for and evaluate populations at risk for complications of the disease.  The MSN in Population Health curriculum focuses on epidemiology, assessing disease and identifying trends in data.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is providing us with epidemiological data daily with this pandemic.

What role is technology playing in health care for this pandemic?

Dr. Naturale Technology is helping to keep people connected.  Telemedicine is being implemented in medical practices and healthcare facilities to increase patient engagement and improve the patient experience while reducing the risk of the spread of disease.  The use of electronic medical records in healthcare will help to improve communications among healthcare providers, patient safety and sharing of information such as electronic prescribing.  These types of tools will reduce the need for patients to be seen in the office.  By using advanced technology such as telehealth services, health coaching and various types of digital advanced technology like home blood sugar monitoring and home blood pressure monitoring, access to healthcare will become easier.  Utilizing technology, the nurses graduating with a MSN in Population Health will be prepared to lead interdisciplinary teams and coordinate patient care in order to promote best patient outcomes.

Ms. Capote – As devastating as the pandemic of COVID-19 is, there is much to be learned.  Technology has vastly improved the speed and opportunity for which scientists can collaborate to share information.  The experience will help us to become stronger as a nation and improve and strengthen relationships with our global neighbors.  Emergency preparedness plans will be improved to help us be better prepared in the future.

Ms. Capote, you said you started practicing social distancing earlier this year while you were working on your paper? I’m in New York several times a week and I stopped going to theatres and museums before they called it social distancing. It made sense.

 As devastating as this COVID-19 outbreak is, what do you both think are the takeaways that will benefit healthcare and society?

Dr. Naturale –Having been a nurse for over 30 years I have had the opportunity to run through many disaster drills.  Unfortunately, none of them prepared us for this type of virus that spreads so readily.  As we have already learned, our nation was not fully prepared for the pandemic of COVID-19.  We recognize the need for more personal protective equipment for healthcare staff. We were happy that we could donate equipment from our nursing school to Morristown Medical Center. Society has learned the importance of meticulous hand hygiene in order to prevent the spread of the infection.    Each day we continue to learn that this virus spreads very easily and can live on objects for an extended period of time placing the community at risk.   We are learning the importance of infection prevention and infection control measures.  Social distancing–remaining six feet away from others–is being practiced. It is new and takes some adjustment.   This all requires support and communication with others in a different manner than what we are used to.   Telemedicine will become a more commonly used tool for healthcare.

 Ms. Capote, what have you seen as the benefits of the MSN in Population Health program? The online program has been an incredible opportunity for me to advance my education while maintaining full-time employment.  It’s affordable and relevant to today’s health care crisis.  In the courses, faculty members use the newest technology and provide full academic support and guidance.  I plan to graduate in 2021 using my new degree in an advanced role of population health nursing within a major New York City hospital system.

To learn more about the Master of Science in Nursing in Population Health program, click here.

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School of Nursing donates personal protective equipment for COVID-19 response

Caldwell, N.J., March 24, 2020 – Caldwell University’s School of Nursing and Public Health has donated personal protective equipment to Morristown Picture of Hand Sanitizer donated by Caldwell University School of NursingMedical Center for the dedicated health care professionals who are working during the coronavirus outbreak.

Headshot of Jennifer Rhodes

Nursing Professor Jennifer Rhodes spearheaded a collection of personal protective equipment from Caldwell University’s School of Nursing and Public Health for Morristown Medical Center

When Nursing faculty member Jennifer Rhodes, DNP heard that The American Association of Colleges of Nursing was calling on member schools to donate the much-needed equipment to their community healthcare facilities, she jumped into gear. She spearheaded a collection from the university for Morristown since Caldwell partners with the Center for its nursing students’ clinical work and several alumni work there. The university donated masks, gloves, isolation gowns, Clorox wipes, Purell hand sanitizer, germicidal wipes, sterile dressing kits, and goggles. “As a former emergency room nurse, I cannot imagine what they are experiencing on the front lines right now.” Rhodes has been thinking of her colleagues and nurses who have graduated from Caldwell University who are working in response to COVID-19. “The least I could do was find a way to help.” She is continuing to secure donations from her friends and colleagues who want to help.

Donna Naturale, DNP, associate dean in the School of Nursing and Public Picture of Protective equipment donated by Caldwell University School of NursingHealth, says they are proud of all those who are dedicating their skills to the crisis including Rhodes, and Roxanne Sabatini, an adjunct in the Master in Science in Nursing in Population Health program. Sabatini is a nurse educator who was unable to teach this spring due to her work with COVID-19 response at the hospital. “We need nurses and public health educators more than ever at this challenging time,” said Naturale. 

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Psychology professor, mom gives advice for parents on managing the day during the coronavirus

Photo of Stephanie Sitnick

Stephanie Sitnick, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, School of Psychology and Counseling

The coronavirus has turned the tables upside down in terms of how parents are organizing their families’ daily lives.  Caldwell University School of Counseling and Psychology Professor Stephanie Sitnick, a developmentalist with a focus on children and parenting.  A mother of two boys, ages 3 and 8, Dr. Sitnick provides valuable advice to parents for navigating through the day during this health crisis.

What is there to think about from the child’s perspective?  

Dr. Sitnick: Consider the age of the child.  – Depending on the age of the child the degree of understanding about what is going on will vary. Older children might be anxious or scared.  Sometimes anxiety (and even depression) comes out in children as irritability (so your kiddos are not purposefully being difficult but struggling to figure out what is happening). Let your children know that they can ask questions and do not discourage them from doing so. School age children will likely want to know, “Will I get sick? What will happen if I do? What will happen if mommy and daddy get sick? How long will this last?” Answer them as best as you can.  This is difficult because as adults we do not have a lot of the answers, but do your best to be honest but reassuring with them.

Routines – All children do best with routine and this is a major disruption to their typical routine, so trying to set up a loose schedule can be helpful. It gives children a sense of control and structure if they know what to expect.

If your child is doing school work from home, try to break up the day with time for movement and snacks. Remember even if it if just walking through the halls of school, children get movement and social interaction while at school and they need something to supplement that now.

The little ones – For younger children it is difficult to understand the importance of why we are all stuck inside and why all the grownups keep yelling about hand washing more than normal.  This is helpful to frame in the context of telling them that there are germs out there that are making some people sick, that there are some people in particular we really don’t want to get sick (i.e. grandma, you can insert examples here of people in your life), so our job is to be the protectors of others right now. And you can be a protector by washing your hands a lot and staying inside for a little bit.

Get everyone moving – Physical movement is really important for everyone but especially for children.  We might not be able to use playground equipment right now but you can still play in the backyard, walk around, go to an athletic field, go to the woods and look for bugs, or kick a ball. This will help with mental and physical health, concentration and general boredom.

What’s your advice for parents?

Dr. Sitnick: Admit it is difficult. – Let’s just all take a minute to acknowledge that this is really, really difficult.  For parents working full time, it is overwhelming to try to take care of children, and oversee their schooling and still do your job.  You might keep seeing things on social media that make it look like your friends have got this all under control. They do not. No one is supposed to be good at pandemic-ing.  Do the best that you can.

Be flexible. – Try to come up with a flexible schedule that allows you time to work if possible, but do not be rigid about the schedule.  We all see these colorful social media schedules going around, and they feel unattainable.  Do what works for your family and be willing to change it around a bit if need be.

You might have to relax the screen time “rules”.–  It is time to change our thoughts on screen time for a bit.  If you are a working parent, your children are probably about to be getting a bit more screen time than they typically do.  Whether this is television or video games it is OK.  Yes, there are physician recommendations on screen time limits. No, the doctors planning this were not thinking of a pandemic when they made those recommendations. Do not feel guilty about this. Just make sure that your children are doing SOMETHING else that doesn’t involve screens during the day and try to break it up if possible.  If you notice that your child is becoming more irritable or grumpy, it might be worth it to pull back the screen time a bit and see if that helps since some children do respond with irritability if they spend too much time with screens. These children might need more breaks throughout the day.

Be kind to yourself.  It is ok to take a break.  It is OK if your work is not up to its normal quality.  It is OK if your parenting is not up to its normal quality.  Just get through this.

You – No really, take a break and take care of yourself. This break might mean a break from reading or watching the news. It might just mean a quiet 10 minutes for your cup of coffee in the morning or going for a walk (you need exercise too).

Cherish the time with your children.

Take some time to just enjoy being with your children if you can. Even if it is just a few minutes where you can stop thinking about all that work that you still have to do or the deadline you have coming up.  Give them a block of time of your undivided attention.

Enough already. You don’t need to find the “perfect” resource for your kids. If you are anything like me you are being constantly told to check out some great (free) resource that is perfect for kids (and somehow always involves more screen time).  Just combing through all these resources feels like a full-time job in itself much less figuring out which one is right for your child and how is the best way to use it.  It can make you feel like you are not doing enough because you are not exposing your child to all of the amazing things that are out there.  Stop thinking this way.  Your children will feel just as overwhelmed with all of those choices.  It is great that those opportunities are there.  If you want, pick one of them to check out or even one every few days, but do not feel like you have to check them all out or use them all.

It is OK for children to be bored.  Research shows that boredom is good for creativity.

You are doing a great job.  Yes, you. The one whose house has yelling and tears and whining (sometimes from both the adults and children).  Do not compare yourself to other families. Ignore all of my advice if you want. You know what your family needs better than anyone. You are doing a great job.

Faculty members weigh in on making “double duty” work at home

Photo of Ellina Chenobilsky

Ellina Chernobilsky, Ph.D., Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs

Ellina Chernobilsky, Ph.D., associate vice president for academic affairs, has been on the front lines in preparing Caldwell University faculty members to teach their classes remotely. A wife and mother of three teenagers she knows that even though kids in that age group can generally take care of themselves there is a natural inclination to be tempted to focus on “fun,” like YouTube videos and not their studies. Chernobilsky decided that the best way to help everyone in the home stay focused was to have them create schedules of what their day will look like. “I modeled that by creating my own schedule and shared it with the kids. Then, everyone, including my husband, created their lists.” To make it work she knew she would have to adhere to her own list to “shepherd” everyone to stay on task with theirs. Until it all settles into the routine, Chernobilsky says she will have to remind everyone to switch from task to task as their schedules indicate, even setting alarms. It was tough at the beginning “because I had meetings back to back from 10 a.m. until 5pm and I had to skip lunch,” said Chernobilsky. Is there a silver lining? Oh yes. They have one common time that everyone shares with their daily walk. “I have not done it with the kids in a really long time and the other day we had a blast walking together from 5 to 6 p.m. If nothing else, we can have some really nice quality time together.”

Photo of Aneesa Jeena

Aneesha Jean, DNP, Assistant Professor, School of Nursing and Public Health

Nursing Professor Aneesha Jean, DNP has two boys—a 4th grader and a 6th grader—“First I want to commend the teachers,” says Jean of the quick transition to going online.   Once they found out the kids were going to be learning remotely, she sat down with her boys and they created a schedule for the day, together.  Both of her sons contributed to how the school day was going to unfold, “even scheduling lunch and recreation time based on what they do in school,” said Jean. The routine is important and the boys have “been doing it” and mom has able to participate and see the school work. “It has been rough but I have found the more involved they are, the more they are likely to be accountable for their assignments,” said Jean.




Table manners were on the menu at Caldwell’s spring etiquette dinner

Use the fork on the outside first and work your way in with your utensils. Use the bread plate to your left. Do not ask for more food.  And definitely don’t pick up your phone. 

Perhaps that does not sound like your typVirginia Rich with a group of Caldwell students in the etiquette dinner?eventical college business class, but at Caldwell University, students learned about table manners at the annual Spring Etiquette Dinner, Feb.27. For the second year in a row, the popular event had a waiting list. 

Associate Dean of the School of Business and Computer Science, Virginia Rich, J.D., and Executive Chef and Director of Dining for Gourmet Dining, Tom Duggan educated the students about professional etiquette featuring a delicious five-course dinner, prepared by Gourmet Dining, the university’s food service provider. 

Learning the protocols, “makes life easy,” Professor Rich told the students. A group of Caldwell students in the etiquette dinner?event“Once you know what to do, you know what to do.”   There are two concepts to keep in mind all through the dinner, said Rich–“hygiene, and respect for the people who invited you.” 

The dinner is a valuable learning experience from a career development perspective, said Geraldine Perret, director of Caldwell’s Office of Career Planning and Development, the office that sponsors the event. “Students may find themselves at a meal with their internship supervisor, as part of an interview, or at a professional conference.”

Senior Roshana Hassan agrees. I’m an accounting major so it’s not uncommon to be in a situation, where you’re taking a client out for dinner. Knowing proper dining etiquette will help me present myself and my firm very well for our clients.” 

Among the rules, Duggan told the students that their water glasses are always to their right. “I’ve been at plenty of weddings where someone takes the wrong glass and then everyone has to take the wrong drink.” And of course, there is the A group of Caldwell students in the etiquette dinner?eventever-beckoning cell phone which must be off-limits at a business meeting or interview that takes place over a meal. “The worst thing to do is to pay any attention to the phone,” said Duggan.

For Sonia Godoy Tejada ’20, a business administration major, with a double minor in marketing, the main takeaway was “that there won’t be much eating going on. You’ll be chit-chatting and answering so many questions during an interview or company dinner, that you won’t really be sitting there and enjoying the food.” Eating is not the main reason that you are there.  She appreciated learning pointers like the importance of breaking bread into small pieces, spreading a little bit of butter as one goes along and that “you don’t cut all your food right away–you cut your food as you eat. And [you] never ask for a to-go box.” 

Other faculty members joined the students at the tables to help them navigate the formalities of a business dinner and to provide a networking opportunity.