Leading in the time of COVID-19

Updated 4/8/2020 9:02 AM

I've been a community leader for six years. When people are in need, I get calls and messages with questions and requests for support. It's my favorite part of the job.

When the COVID-19 crisis hit, I was part of the response committee for our school district. We discussed how to get meals to families in need, remote learning and more. I participated in calls with other district leaders giving and receiving information about how to somehow hold public meetings the public couldn't possibly attend, using virtual tools.


My husband and I were diagnosed with COVID-19 by our doctor over the phone. We were told that test kits were reserved for those who were at high risk. We should recover at home, and we should call back if we experience extreme symptoms.

Over several feverish days, we experienced an outpouring of messages and support. It was humbling and moving and gave me a deeper appreciation of how, when things get really bad, our community pulls together.

As I write this, today is my first day without fever in several days, and my husband recovered two days ago. So far, we seem to be two of the lucky ones. My heart is with our community members who are high-risk, those who are essential workers, especially our health workers, my fellow community leaders who are working day and night, and those who are fighting for their lives right now. I look forward to contributing, once I'm well.

When we emerge from this, I hope we'll remember the community ties that brought us to overcome it. Leading in the time of COVID-19 is not at all what I expected. For me, it's been an important reminder that the fabric that binds us is stronger than any one of us, alone.

Carissa Casbon

Lake Villa

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