Reflections on the Pandemic – the Omicron Variant and Beyond
Students in Mrs. Janine Koenig’s Biology I-Honors class and Mrs. Madelyn Maldonado’s Anatomy class at St. Mary’s Dominican High School welcomed Dr. Brian Credo who gave a presentation, “Reflections on the Pandemic – the Omicron Variant and Beyond.” An Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at Tulane School of Medicine, Dr. Credo is a pediatric adolescent specialist, with a specific focus on Adolescent Medicine and Pediatrics. He also is Director of the Bio-Med track in the pre-professional program at Archbishop Rummel High School.
Dr. Credo began his presentation with a recitation from memory of the poem, Invictus, by William Earnest Henley (1849-1903). He told the students, “You should be very proud of what you have overcome these past two years, living in a pandemic. You will have stories to tell.”
The class then watched, Cocoon, a 12-minute film that captures reflections of students, ranging in age from four to 17, during the early months of the pandemic in Portland, Oregon. Credo asked the students to be open to learning, in perhaps a slightly different way than some might have learned in the past. “We will teach each other because you learn much better when you teach others,” he said.
Students broke into two groups. While Dr. Credo taught one group facts about what is a variant, the other group learned about covid vocabulary through use of a puzzle. “The science facts have to do with how we can use wastewater to gauge how bad the infection rate is, what factors contribute to the R naught value – transmissibility,” explained Dr. Credo.
The groups reversed roles. At the end of the session, the two groups taught each other by filling out a brief worksheet together. Acknowledging that his teaching style may seem a bit unorthodox, Dr. Credo shared, “Much of what I learned about how to remember things came at three in the morning in the hallways of Charity Hospital – sometimes with a child’s health in peril. I have been pleasantly surprised by how many of those lessons are of great use in the modern Catholic classroom.”
Over the years, Dr. Credo has been a guest lecturer at Dominican to which he has a strong connection through his wife, Linda, Class of 1979. In previous talks at Dominican, he has shared how faith has impacted his career in medicine. As a product of Catholic schools, Dr. Credo encourages schools and Catholic educators, “to nurture the body, mind, and soul of students and share the light of Christ to them.”
Matthew Foss, Chair of Dominican’s Science Department, said, “It was great for our students to learn about the coronavirus from Dr. Credo through his insights and experiences as both a teacher and a medical doctor. He shared much knowledge with them about vaccinations, transmission rates, and variants, which their teachers will be able to continue discussing in future classes.”