Letter from the Dean: Vulnerability and Trust During the COVID-19 Pandemic

It has been more than four months since the COVID-19 virus began to spread around the world, making us enter uncharted terrain with anxiety and fear, impacting all humanity. Our powerful United States of America and even the rich and famous in New York City have become powerless during this pandemic. The science community has yet to come up with a concrete solution to this problem.

Today, there was cautious, but positive news that coronavirus statistics are trending in the right direction:  New York has seen a decrease in hospitalizations for the seventh consecutive
day. The state’s overall confirmed coronavirus death toll is now at 13,319.

Sadly,  many of our loved ones are among these statistics. We have been hearing from students and colleagues impacted by the pandemic for the past few weeks. Several within our community have lost multiple family members. I am wondering how this unprocessed deep loss and sorrow will impact our life, not only personally but also as a society.

While it is as dark and grim as it can be, many people have risen to this challenge. Working day and night, health care workers are taking a significant risk to care for their patients. Social workers are also responding to the call in hospitals, child welfare agencies, homeless shelters, and other sites. Many members of the faith community are delivering meals to those who are in need. People are checking in on each other. While physically separated, we are not necessarily separated socially. Churches do not hold services in their buildings, but the number of visits to their online services are attracting more than their members. They are the light shining in the darkness comforting and connecting with those in sorrow.

We hope that this tunnel will end soon.  While we are still in it, however, it is important for us to know how to go through it and to find meaning and learn from this uncertain time.  It is a critical reminder of our own vulnerability and an opportunity to learn to trust and put our hope in the Lord. May we each adopt the practice of being still and reflecting on the reality of the amazing power of the blood of Jesus shed on the cross. His incredible resurrection gives us hope and strength to overcome the darkness.

Dr. Kwi Yun
Dean of the School of Social Work