On Wednesday I had the opportunity to be part of a live educational Zoom meeting that was part of the University of Minnesota Department of Mortuary Science distance learning. Geared for students, this presentation was aimed at letting those in the funeral profession describe to students what conditions they, as funeral directors, were working under during the COVIC-19 pandemic.
I don’t know what the students thought of the presentation, but this 40 year licensee learned a lot that he did not know.
The panel included management from a large publicly traded funeral home company which has been working in what we would describe as one of our nation’s COVID-19 “hotspots”, another owner/manager from a metropolitan family owned firm, an owner/manager of a metropolitan cremation driven company, and a rural funeral director.
The “hotspot” location was described as a funeral home that would normally do about 300 cases per month, but will be doing an additional 100-150 death cases in April due to COVID-19. It was interesting to note that they had brought in portable cooling buildings in order to house the remains. Another thing that I thought was interesting in that presentation is that the management said they have rented rooms at an extended stay hotel for many of their professional staff.
The staff is willing to work, but almost universally were concerned about bringing potential COVID-19 home to loved ones. To solve that issue
the funeral home had rented each employee an extended stay room so that they have a reclusive place to go in their down time and not worry about bringing the virus home should they be a carrier. Of course, they sacrifice by not being able to see their family.
Shortly after I watched that educational presentation I found this article from the Yale Times of Yale University located in New Haven, Connecticut – not very far from New York City. It turns out that they have six staff members from the community’s McClam Funeral Home staying at their dormitories for the same reasons. Yale’s Assistant Police Department Chief, Anthony Campbell, is quoted in the article, “We were able to extend housing to these workers so that they could implement social distancing while still doing their much-needed jobs. This keeps their families safe from being exposed to COVID-19.”
As you have heard me say before, “Funeral directors will find a way. . . .they are resourceful”. These types of housing arrangements are just another example how we are finding a way during this difficult time for our professions workers.
Have a great and safe weekend!!