Shelton high freshman to join Yale scientist, CT superintendent on Back to School Panel
SHELTON — A Shelton High student will be a panelist on a webinar titled “Connecticut Gears up for Back to School: A COVID-19 Crash Course” at 6 p.m. Thursday.
The free webinar, hosted by Be (A)Part, a youth and community development program in Connecticut, is designed to open a dialogue between students, teachers, parents and scientists in the state around school reopening and safety procedures.
It also aims to discuss how parents and student leaders can help the community, its organizers said.
Shelton High freshman Simrin Khan will be on the panel with Waterbury school Superintendent Verna D. Ruffin and scientists Dr. Mari Armstrong-Hough and Dr. Anne Wyllie.
“This is my first week of high school,” Khan said. “I think it’s important for the community to hear students’ perspectives, questions and concerns.”
Khan said this opportunity was presented thanks to a family friend, who recommended her for the panel because he knew she was attending high school in-person and could offer hands-on experiences on being back in the building again.
“I feel that I bring a fresh and different perspective into the conversation,” Khan said, “and that I can bring interesting ideas and point of view to the topic. I feel that not enough topics have a young and fresh voice to express their concerns.”
Wyllie is an associate research scientist who co-leads Yale’s SalviaDirect team, the new spit-based COVID-19 testing method. The test was developed by Wyllie and her team and funded by the National Basketball Association and NBA Players’ Association.
SalviaDirect has been called a “testing innovation game changer” by Admiral Brett P. Giroir, M.D., a pediatrician and President Donald Trump’s assistant secretary for health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
“This, I hope, is a turning point,” said Wyllie in an ABC News report. “Our work isn’t over.”
Wyllie and Armstrong-Hough, a public health professor, are also founding scientific partners of Be (A)Part. Founded in March, Be (A)Part’s mission, according to its official statement, is to stand together as scientists, young leaders and local advocates working with communities by engaging new volunteers, educating and inspiring to build toward health and resilience in the face of COVID-19.
Khan said webinars such as this offer people a chance to learn more about what remains a relatively new topic.
“We should hear the opinions from others about how we feel about everything especially since it’s a topic occurring right now,” Khan said. “I think I made a good fit (for the panel) because I like to speak my opinion and am able to express that with my writing as well as my voice.
“I am able to bring new ideas and point of views for those older than me,” Khan added.
Be (A)Part is the sister organization of Shelton-based nonprofit Moving With H.O.P.E. The event is co-hosted by UConn senior Brooke Seymour and Yale junior Kate Kelly. To register, visit https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_QKUkDZnQTAmFeHwlcybZOA.