United States of Work

The community college administrator dealing with COVID-19 disruption at work and at home

Kai Ryssdal and Maria Hollenhorst Mar 18, 2020
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Caroline Yang
United States of Work

The community college administrator dealing with COVID-19 disruption at work and at home

Kai Ryssdal and Maria Hollenhorst Mar 18, 2020
Caroline Yang
Share Now on:
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The disruption that’s come to K-12 education and colleges and universities over the past several weeks has upended millions of lives. It affects every member of the family of Derrick Lindstrom, one of the 10 people we’re following in our series re-imagining the American labor force.

As dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Cultures at Minneapolis Community and Technical college, COVID-19 has upended Lindstrom’s work life.

“It’s been a whirlwind,” he told “Marketplace” host Kai Ryssdal. Lindstrom has spent the past week in meetings trying to prepare the faculty to shift all classes online.

“Once that gets going and gets moving, what happens to the summer sessions and what possible impact could this have on fall courses, as well as enrollment?” he asked. 

His wife Christina also works in education. A middle school librarian, she had to make sure that every child had access to the internet or a WiFi hotspot before sending them home on Friday. 

Soon, Lindstrom, Christina and Christina’s mother who lives with them, will all be working from home at the same time that their two children, Ella and Charlie, will be doing schoolwork online. When that happens, Lindstrom said, the big question is: “Will the internet infrastructure in our neighborhood be able to withstand that type of demand?”

For Lindstrom, one thing keeping stress at bay are his morning jogs.

“Regardless of whether the United States is on quarantine or not, no one’s up at 4:45 in the morning. And so I’m still able to manage to get my exercise in,” he said.

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