After a long and turbulent year of virtual programming, the Longview-Ithaca College Partnership is being reinstated in person for the 2021–22 academic year with new guidelines in order to ensure everyone’s safety.
Longview, a senior living community located across the street from campus on Bella Vista Dr., has maintained a relationship with the college for over 20 years. The partnership has students host activities for residents and allows Longview residents to become a part of the campus community by auditing courses. When COVID-19 became a prominent danger in the U.S. in March 2020, the college was forced to continue the semester virtually, including the Longview program, which has remained virtual until Fall 2021.
The program will be running with certain guidelines in place in order to ensure the safety of all communities, since the residents are in a vulnerable age group and the college is nearly back to normal concerning student interaction, said Jessica Valdez Taves, IC Partnership Coordinator and assistant professor in the Department of Gerontology. Any visitor going to Longview from the college must be fully vaccinated, complete daily health screenings, take a temperature check, wear a face mask and wear a face shield or goggles in addition to a mask if visiting the Assisted Living Residence or the Enhanced Living Residence.
Taves said the college is taking everything day-by-day in order to keep everyone safe and to follow the necessary guidelines.
“We here in the Ithaca community are making changes on the fly and trying to figure out what’s best for each of our communities,” she said. “Trying to figure out where the safety is, how can we make sure the folks at Longview feel safe with Ithaca College students coming down and vice versa.”
The entire Longview staff will have to have the first dose of the vaccine by Oct. 7 because it is required for senior living facilities under New York State Health Department regulations, Paul Phillips, CEO of Longview, said.
Phillips said the relationship between Longview residents and students at the college is special in comparison to other similar programs.
“IC and Longview have the real deal,” he said. “This is really collaborative learning, it’s intergenerational education. It’s a wonderful free-flow of ideas, perspectives, across generations.”
Bree Nash, Longview’s Ithaca College liaison and member of the Department of Recreation, said all precautions are being taken to ensure that everyone stays safe.
“The sign-in process takes a little bit longer and the front lobby gets a little busy, but it kind of adds to the excitement of the students being back,” she said.
Recreational therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, gerontology and speech-language pathology students, as well as Center for Life Skills members, often attend activities at Longview, said Catherine Gooch, director of clinical education, clinical assistant professor in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies and program manager for Center for Life Skills. The Center for Life Skills program is housed in Longview and works with members of the community who have experienced a stroke. The program was entirely remote last semester and students would see residents virtually through Zoom rather than host activities in person.
Gooch said the participants are assigned a number of students from multiple disciplines to provide rehabilitation services to meet their specific needs with the goal of improving their quality of life and regaining their independence.
“We have a comprehensive approach with the program, where a big component of the program is interdisciplinary work,” she said. “So we have multiple disciplines working with the same participant.”
Junior Telden Lopes-Lotufo, a therapeutic recreation student involved with the Center for Life Skills this semester, said on her first day she did a fall-themed bingo game with her participants to observe their motor functions and verbal skills.
“It is the first time that I have worked with occupational therapy and speech pathology,” she said. “So I think that’s a really, really good opportunity to know how to work in a team and know how to collaborate on ideas, collaborate on patients and figure out what patients need and create a program plan for them.”
Senior Haley Crumlish, Longview student representative and activities director, said the most impactful experience she had at Longview was a project she did her second year at the college. She said she took a class called the Sociology of Aging and was paired with a resident to write a biography on that resident’s life.
“The best part about having the relationship with Longview is how involved the students can get,” she said. “It gives me an opportunity to work with older adults and that’s the field I want to go into.”