Christine Marizzi, BioBus’ lead scientist, said the project was funded in early 2020. A few weeks later, the coronavirus started to hit the country, and the team was forced to change their plans. But Dr. Marizzi, longtime community-based researcher, is not discouraged. For the remainder of the school year, the team will train its virus hunters through a combination of virtual lessons, work in a remote and masked lab, and collect samples in the field. .
It was a welcome distraction for Ms. Bautista, who, like many other students, had to switch to distance learning at her high school in the spring. “When a pandemic struck, I felt really powerless,” she said. “I felt there was nothing I could do about it. So this program is really special to me ”.
A thousand miles south, students from the Sarasota Prep Military Academy, a charter school in Sarasota, Fla., Have also had to make some drastic changes since the coronavirus landed in the United States. But a handful of them may have entered 2020 a little better prepared than the rest, as they experienced an almost identical plague just weeks before.
These are graduates from Operation Outbreak, a researcher-designed outreach program that has, over the past few years, simulated an annual viral epidemic on campus. Led by Todd Brown, the outreach director of the Sarasota Military Academy, the show started out as a low-tech effort using stickers to mimic the spread of a viral illness. With the guidance of a team of researchers led by Pardis Sabeti, a computational biologist at Harvard University, the program quickly turned into a smartphone app that could ping a magnetically virtual virus. student to student using Bluetooth signal.
The last iteration of Sarasota’s Boom campaign is a strange one in its present form. Held in December 2019, just weeks before the new coronavirus began to spread globally, the simulation focused on a viral pathogen that moves quickly and silently among people, causing a wide range of dizziness symptoms.