Two items came my way in the past 24 hours about institutions changing long-standing practices that involve plenty of hands-on interaction. The institutions couldn’t be more different, but their struggles to cope with the COVID era are pretty similar.

The Diocese of Manchester says Holy Communion, where members one after the other receive the blood and body of Christ in the form of a host and sip of wine from the priest, must start up by the end of the month. I wrote a short piece about how this is going to happen amid social distancing and wearing of masks.

To an extent, this is an experiment to see how they can start holding in-person Mass again.

On the same day, Dartmouth College officials released details on how research can start up again at the college, including the Thayer School of Engineering; and the Geisel School of Medicine.

Beginning Tuesday, May 26, labs whose research requires in-person work may designate one person to be on campus at any given time. However, everyone who can work from home must continue to do so, and all research activity must comply with new guidelines.

“These protocols are completely new—we’ve never done them on campus, but we will need them in the fall if we are doing residential education. We are learning at this time, in this very limited and safe environment, how to refine this so that they’re really effective.” said Den Madden, vice president of research.

That last point is interesting. Folks who work with lab rats are acting as lab rats of their own in a college-wide experiment of how to reopen without spreading disease.

You can see the whole video discussion on the May 20 Community Conversations, on this page.

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