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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

Remote Schooling Also A Challenge For Employers

remote learning
Many mployers realize that with remote learning, some of their employees will have responsibilities at home.

As businesses around the world begin to bring back employees, there are now new challenges beyond mask wearing and securing hand sanitizer. Companies are having to implement varying work schedules because of the need for employees to be home to supervise their kids during remote learning.

During anhttps://vimeo.com/440324882" target="_blank"> Eggs 'N Issues remote meeting sponsored by the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, a panel of human resources executives discussed "Return to Work Strategies."

At the Cincinnati Northern Kentucky International Airport, Vice President of Human Resources Sybil Murphy says employees are concerned about their kids and the varying return-to-school plans. "Do you come to work from six to nine, go home, then do the NTI (non-traditional instruction) that you need to do and then come back? Do you work your regular hours? Do you work the second shift hours instead of your normal work hours?"

Murphy urges employees and employers to get creative and step out of the status quo.

Pat Dearing, vice president of global human resources for Clinical Trial and Consulting - also a panelist on the virtual meeting - says most of his Northern Kentucky employees are working an alternating schedule which will extend through the end of August. One week they come into the office and the next week they are at home.

"We do have some with childcare issues, with health care conditions with either themselves or family members, that we allow to work completely from home," he says.

John Parran, Meritor's senior talent management specialist, told participants the employer has to be proactive and "more human." Some employees are eager to return to work, he says, while others are uncomfortable. He says you have to ask people how they're feeling because "you want employees to show up at their best." 

To make employees more comfortable in these uncertain times, CVG's Murphy says the airport's CEO Candace McGraw makes videos saying, "Things are going to be OK. Here are the measures we're taking. Here's where we're at; here's where we're going."

When hiring (mostly by Zoom), panelists said different skills have emerged that seem important. They include collaborative skills, leadership and crisis management.