Grinnellian Covid Experiences - Nathaniel Hopkins ’98

“Thank goodness for virtual backgrounds.”

June 24, 2020 — Nathaniel Hopkins ’98 is a senior staff psychologist and coordinator for information and systems for the University of Kentucky Counseling Center.

Nathaniel Hopkins ’98
    Nathaniel Hopkins ’98

On Monday, March 2, I was wolfing down lunch and reading a Facebook post about what people thought about the news that COVID-19 was coming, and what we were doing to get ready for quarantine.

The post gave me a moment of “Oh crud, if someone is going to make things work in my office for this, it is me.” That is what I do in my job: think through all the ways things can go wrong so we can build ethical systems of practice.

I have spent a lot of my work time since then building out tech solutions to be able to do our work remotely. One of the biggest challenges is that health care provider licensure is fragmented both by state and by credential. The result is we are unable to continue to provide therapy to our students who have gone home to 49 other states and multiple other countries.

It has been really awful to say to a student, “Sorry you were forced to go home to Cincinnati, an hour away. I can’t continue to provide therapy to you because you’re not in Kentucky.”

My spouse and I, both psychologists in our counseling center, both need to be doing confidential therapy sessions at the same time, all while our kids are also trying to do remote school work. Every space in our house has become a meeting room. Thank goodness for virtual backgrounds.

Read more stories about Grinnellians facing COVID-19 head-on.