Perhaps, no two groups have suffered more since the “China virus” was first unleashed almost two years ago than seniors and children, the two most vulnerable groups within most societies.
The pandemic initially decimated the elderly population around the world, including hundreds of thousands of seniors in America, dying in hospitals, at home, and within nursing facilities across the country. That is, until health professionals were able to create a series of vaccines to combat the deadly virus within record time.
Ironically, while children as a group were somehow immune from the virus, they suffered disproportionately more than any other group due to government mandated lockdowns. Suddenly, schools, theaters, amusement parks, and libraries around the country were forced to close, despite the evidence that children were the least likely group to be negatively impacted by the virus. They were, however, the most likely to suffer irreputable psychological damage due to forced isolation at home.
Kelly Passek, a school librarian in Virginia, realized that something needed to be done to creatively occupy a child’s day on lockdown. This is how she came up with a brilliant idea to deliver books using drones.
“As a school librarian, it is extremely important to me to have connections with my students,” Passek said in a video about her drone deliveries. “So that I can make sure that they have got access to the resources that they need and the resources that will allow them to be successful, not just academically, but also in life.”
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Passek, who works for the Montgomery County Public Schools, acknowledged that the challenge for her began when remote learning became the norm due to the coronavirus.
“How was I going to keep that connection with my students without actually being in the same physical space with them?” she asked herself.
That’s when she suddenly got the idea of using drones to get merchandise delivered straight to her home, similar to the service she often used at home by Google’s parent company Alphabet.
Passek figured she could use the same Wing drone technology to fulfill library book requests from students.
“Montgomery County Public Schools will be the first public school system in the world to use Wing to deliver library books to our students,” Passek said. “We are thrilled for this opportunity to have a really unique way to deliver resources to our students and do it practically on demand.”
#Librarians, check out how #drones from a delivery service called Wing are going to help kids in VA keep summer #reading alive. Read about it in this article where middle school librarian, Kelly Passek & her idea take flight. There's a short #video, too! https://t.co/S2SzbZWjhH pic.twitter.com/1rSv3HasX0— springshare (@springshare) June 15, 2020
Passek has devised a simple delivery system in which students request a book to take out of the library using an online form. Passek fulfills the request and packages the books in a special delivery box, then drops the box’s off at Wing, who then handles the drone deliveries.
“Our libraries are essential and unique parts of our community and it is extremely important for our students to continue to have access to the resources that are here in our libraries in order to guarantee their success,” Passek said.
The drone service began several weeks ago on a limited trial basis. Students can choose from more than 150,000 titles and have their books delivered right to their front door.