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Everything posted by lewelma

  1. Not outside, but our Quarantine facilities have been refit to have negative pressure in all rooms so the air only flows out the air vents. So last month, a positive case gave it to the person across the hall before they knew the positive person was positive. Neither had been out of their rooms because they hadn't had their first day 3 test yet, and the only contact was the Positive person opening their door for 3-5 seconds to get their food, and then 3 minutes later the negative person opening his door for 3-5 seconds. They know this through CCTV. In that very short time, the positive person gave it to the negative person and they know this because the cases are a genomic match and no one else in the country had the variant.
  2. Wow guys. I'm really surprised places with tight spaces and a residential program are not more careful. DS's university has a: vaccine mandate for students, faculty, and staff, weekly testing, daily health attestation, and a mask mandate for all indoor locations except your dorm room. That plus you cannot get into the dorm on move in day until you have had a test, and that info is loaded into your key card (which is supposed to take about 20 minutes). Your key card will also be turned off if you don't get your weekly test.
  3. Both the government and the press are handling it well. No one is using it as an antivaccine message, at least not in any of the major press or any of the 5 political parties. Right now vaccination is so high that we are going to run out of supply, and they are trying to source more ASAP to keep up with the surge in demand. They vaccinated TEN percent of the entire population YESTERDAY.
  4. Numbers are down while testing is strong! Last 4 days: 79, 82, 87, 53!
  5. Sorry OP for getting sidetracked. The travel restriction is part of where my worry comes from. Later today I'll write up what I have learned so far about the order of events and how far in advance you student should be planning to be ready to apply.
  6. No one escaped, but the virus did. They know the index case (who was in a military run quarantine) through genome testing, but all the border workers are vaccinated and tested negative. So they don't know how delta escaped quarantine. We currently have about 400 cases in Auckland which is in lockdown, but the rest of the country is covid free. On Tuesday, they are going to cut off the North of the country from the rest of us, until they get it under control.
  7. You reserve the flight, you book the quarantine with the flight number and get a code, then with the code you can then confirm the flight and pay for it. No code, no ticket. Only AirNZ is currently flying into NZ (and it is partly state owned), so the government can dictate the terms of all flights. There are simply not enough spaces for all the people who want to travel, so Quarantine is fully booked up within seconds of releasing rooms (quite literally seconds because people are using bots).
  8. I really hear the fear. My ds cannot get into NZ because the quarantine hotels are full. And if I leave to visit him, I cannot get back in to NZ. This means that he has no home, and I cannot see him. Also, I live in a much safer covid world down here, so I have an added fear component as I don't know the landscape of the USA, only the bits and pieces I read in the news. Then, just now (as in while I was writing this) he has told me there was a homicide on his street, and there was an evacuation order, and the detective just knocked on their door. I just think having adult children is hard, because you want them independent obviously, but you have no way to keep them safe. Perhaps I am more involved in the application process than some, because it is the only thing I can do for him being so far away.
  9. 8fill has been so helpful over the years discussing what he kids have gained by going to good universities that don't have that 'elite' status. And I knew all those years ago that my ds would have to make his own way if he chose to be a small fish in a big pond, and I worried then as I worry now. And I came to believe that my ds could manage on his own, to make his own reality, and really he has. I have been incredibly impressed with how he has handled so much. But it is right about now, that I wish my ds had 8fill's son's UROP adviser to help him. 🙂
  10. Wow! This will be enormously helpful to him. I'll pass on the list. A lot of the schools he is applying to have official ways to contact the graduate students to ask just these types of questions. Most things open up September 1, so he can ask this stuff then. As for picking a prof, he has talked to his main UROP advisor and was told that in physics, that if ds knew who he wanted to work with, that he could approach that person and ask if they are taking students. But otherwise it is a good idea to have 2 (but not more) areas of interest that you discuss in your statement of purpose, both of which are in the department. This way you look like you have focused down, but that the department knows that it can find you a prof to work on because there are a few that would be appropriate. I think applying would be way easier for him if he knew the exact field he wants to go into (but covid really munted that) because then he could directly approach the prof for support, and then have the prof get him into the department.
  11. Excellent idea. He definitely needs to discuss the landscape. He really needs to know ASAP if he is targeting the right schools, or if because of covid there are just way more applicants for fewer positions (which is what I think will happen). What other things would you include in "landscape," that he should ask abou?
  12. Definitely more good ideas. Thanks so much! I will suggest that he talk to the physics department and the career office when he gets back. I think he was thinking that his UROP adviser and his university adviser would be the people to talk to, and they have been helpful. But they are both young, new to MIT, and I'm not sure how many (if any) UG they have helped through this process. His new UROP adviser (the one that is older and doesn't like zoom that ds is struggling to build a relationship with) has actually just won the Best UG UROP adviser at MIT, so we know he is good. This guy just likes to work face to face. So we are really hoping that this prof can offer him some advice once they actually meet.
  13. That is an excellent idea. He didn't end up applying, but that department is designed to help students with what goes in the essays, and all the other important decisions for one of those big scholarships. Even if they don't help with Grad Applications, they would definitely have some clarity as to where to go to ask.
  14. Basically, the counselor told him that he should contact the grad students at departments that he was interested in to ask questions about the labs -- the problem being he doesn't know what questions to ask really. Not much else seemed to have been helpful. His next stop was to talk to his main UROP adviser. He was very helpful, talking recommendations, publications, and professors in PP to consider. Next up he went to his official adviser and got professors names in condensed matter physics. At which point, ds cross listed the PP professors with the condensed matter professors to come up with a list of schools to apply to. No one has yet talked about his statement of purpose or offered to brainstorm/look over it. So it is not like Ruth is directing this search. LOL. It is just that it is so bitsy. He is collecting pieces from different people and trying to make a whole. I am the one asking if his list of schools is realistic given their very low acceptance rate, which may be even lower due to covid. Perhaps that is a non-issue given his level. Perhaps ds can get into all these top schools, but no one seems to be checking his list. Also, no one seems to be able to guide him as to what he wants in a lab. He wouldn't know because he has spent 2 of his 3 UROP summers doing research in his bedroom. So I suggested he write the advisor from his one in-person experience, but that person has not written back, even with 3 bumps. I am also concerned that he is overbooking for next term with 2 writing classes, a grad physic class, 2 UROPs, his music scholarship, a serious girlfriend, being back with friends after 1.5 years, and all these applications. He has talked to his official adviser about some of this, but the attitude is, if you can do it, then we trust you. I'm thinking, hello, mental health. But he is just so keen and excited. Plus, there are a lot of other issues that he needs advice on (some personal) that he is not clear who to ask. So there is some nuance here as to who to ask, who will help, and where to go. Add to this being remote for so long, leads to some confusion as to how to proceed. My main goal is to be there when he asks, and to direct him to consider some things he might not have considered. I'm also directing him to ask people who know way more than me!
  15. He talked to someone early in the summer who was only somewhat helpful, and I think this caused him to thing that the entire office was not worth his time. I will reiterate to him what you are saying, and tell him to go back and talk to someone else. I think it will be way easier when he is on campus in a week. Thanks for taking the time to respond; I very much appreciate your perspective.
  16. This made me laugh. A lot of people pay the big bucks to get professional help that is way better than anything I can offer. 🙂
  17. Thanks for that. I'm being open because I think people need to understand that the pandemic has impacted UG kids in different ways. Yes they are adults, but they are navigating a world that is very difficult and confusing. Seeking help is a very adult thing to do -- this help does not need to be professional help to be valid.
  18. MIT campus was closed for most of the summer. Back in April, DS chose to move to a place that seemed safe when he signed the contract for his apartment (early April), but ended up being a major hotspot this summer. He and his flatmates have been very careful and not gone out much. Move in day for MIT is in a week at which point he will be back on campus in Boston. I think that each person's pandemic experience is so very varied.
  19. All good. We can agree to disagree. I am helping when ds asks for help. He is in a foreign country, with no way to get home, in a pandemic, and looking to plan his future. My typical response is to ask xxx, or go talk to the xxx department, which he does. But he has been living in his bed room for 1.5 years now, navigating a world that is difficult and confusing. He is an adult, and as an adult asks for help when he needs it, whether from me or others. If he asks, I give it.
  20. Another way I am helping, he needs to update his resumes. Well, I have helped a LOT of people with resumes, so have the capability and knowledge. The one he has now he created with a seminar and personal evaluation in his Sophomore year, so we know it is done in the proper format for acedemia. Now he just needs to update it. This I can help him with. Once again, he has gotten other's advice, but then I am doing some of the grunt work *with* him. I just think saying, 'we are in the middle of a pandemic, but I really think this is on you,' is kind of harsh. I'm there for him whenever he asks.
  21. So my ds asked me to help yesterday. His UROP adviser told him that there was another professor at a different university who was tracking my ds's research, and that my ds should ask him for a LoR. (apparently it looks good to admissions if others are tracking your UG research!??!) Anyway, my ds was like I have NO idea how to write a person I have never met or communicated for and ask him for a LoR. LOL. So he and I spent close to an hour crafting something that my ds felt good about sending. And the guy wrote back - Yes. 🙂 But this is an example of where I can help. He has been advised by someone who knows what to do, but then my ds was not sure how to implement it and asked me for help. I'm there.
  22. I am in the middle of this now. And I have the same worries. I think we need to support our kids in any way that they ask. 8fill, I know that your physics boy got a LOT of support from his research adviser, and I think that his whole experience with research at Bama was amazing, but I'm not feeling that my ds is getting quite the same support. He is getting support from his research adviser, but not piles as far as I can tell. His main research adviser said he would definitely get ds into a good program, but this guy is an assistant prof, so with fewer connections and less experience. My ds is the only UG in his lab, and I'm not sure how many other UG he has helped get into grad programs in the past. And I also think that the kids that are applying this year have now had TWO summers (out of 3 in UG) that have been majorly impacted by covid. My son currently has made his third UROP happen, even though he has never met the prof, and the prof is older and not very interested/comfortable with zoom. Because of this, their conversations have been kind of awkward. This guy needs to write ds a rec, but my ds can't really ask him yet, because he really needs to wait until he meets him and works with him face to face a bit and makes a good impression. My ds is currently doing machine learning in particle physics and a second research project in theoretical condensed matter physics from his BEDROOM. The other problem with covid is that my ds has had a difficult time trying to figure out what kind of research he wants to do because the opportunities have been severely limited, and he just hasn't had the 'lab' experience because he has been doing all his research out of his bedroom for his sophomore and junior years. This makes it hard for him to figure out what he should be looking for when researching schools. He has a list of profs to consider, but no personal wisdom as to what to look for to make a good lab for him. My point is that I am kind of trying to advise as best as I can, and trying to send him to ask questions of others, but covid has kind of munted the standard process, so he is not exactly where he needs to be in his experience or in narrowing his choices as he would have been if he had gone to university prepandemic.
  23. Numbers are starting to plateau. They are cautiously optimistic. 68 today and 61 yesterday. And of the 61 yesterday, 37 were household contacts and 24 were community transfer. But importantly, they said today that there are currently NO cases that have been caught in the community *after* lockdown began. I was like WOW. And of the 500 places of interest and 24000 close contacts, only 13 locations have had cases transmitted. This shows me that they have been extremely cautious and have spread the net wide to find every single last case.
  24. There are currently 20,000 people in the close contact list that need to be called everyday. (They spread the net wide, so all 85 people in the lecture hall with 1 infectious person etc). So they have trained people from across the government to join the call centers for the contact tracers. They say they now have 1200 contact tracers for 20,000 people. They are also delivering food to people locked down, and joining the bubble of a home child care worker (who has already been vetted) with essential workers who need child care (so just 2 bubbles joined). We also have the wage subsidy for both the companies and the workers. All homeless have been put in hotels. Domestic violence victims are also supported outside their bubbles. They now are pretty good at the social services to make sure that lockdown is possible.
  25. I will also say it is NOT helpful to have the international press jump to conclusions and not do the research to find out that we are on target. They see numbers going up and tell us to abandon ship after only SEVEN days. Really?!?!?! Go look at the modelling before you tell us what to do.
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