Jaya Bremer is two months into a job that by all means can only be described as uncharted territory.
As a Royal Roads student, she’s spent countless hours interning with the City of Langford in its Emergency Operations Centre, which was activated when the pandemic hit in March.
“I do worry that we feel like we’re in a protective bubble here on the Island in Dr. Henry’s care because that can change anytime,” said Bremer, who’s less than a year away from completing her Master of Arts in Disaster and Emergency Management.
“It’s interesting trying to get to know a community when most of it is shut down. We have to make sure we’re staying on top of everything because our pandemic plan is being adjusted day by day. What are the best face masks? How is the virus affecting different professions? There has to be someone who stays on top of what’s going on in the news every single day.”
That’s been a key part of Bremer’s position. In April, she wrote several reports on how other countries are adapting to COVID-19 in various facets – one day she’ll be an expert on how best to approach care homes and the next she’ll be tackling how to safely reopen playgrounds and parks.
Though most days you can find her running between city hall and the Langford fire hall to present reports, she started her temporary gig from the comfort of home.
One of the projects she worked on in May gave her to chance to summarize how Langford responded to the pandemic during its first wave. Bremer and her supervisors interviewed more than a dozen people remotely within a few days. By the end of the week, they had prepared their full report.
Now, the Royal Roads student has her eyes set on the second wave, a spike in COVID cases expected due to flu season in the fall. She’s currently preparing a report on how Langford can set themselves up for success after summer ends.
“If borders open too soon with the US, that would be my biggest worry,” said Bremer. “By not having any travel with them, I feel that’s what keeps us safe the most. Also, I’m worried about how many people’s businesses could get lost in the pandemic. I really feel for those people.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced June 17 that the Canadian Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB) will be extended for two more months, which will help tide over those who still haven’t returned to work since the pandemic began.
“The best thing we can do is to prepare for the worst. Vancouver Island has been so lucky and we have to make sure we know how to deal with new roadblocks that we can’t control. We can always do better.”