Documenting Ridgefield’s Response to COVID-19: Thomas Main, Head of School, Ridgefield Academy

Documenting Ridgefield’s Response to COVID-19: Thomas Main, Head of School, Ridgefield Academy

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Since 2002, Ridgefield Historical Society has been archiving photographs and artifacts that document Ridgefield’s history. As the keepers of our town’s history, our task now is to collect material documenting the coronavirus pandemic in our community.

We often understand our present by looking to our past, so this month the Scott House Journal recounts how Ridgefield reacted in the 1918 influenza pandemic. In another 100 years, should there be a global event affecting Ridgefielders, the Ridgefield Historical Society’s records of the COVID-19 pandemic will be a valuable resource.

Sharon Dunphy, co-chair of the COVID-19 Archives Committee, introduces the project.

Please fill out the form below before uploading your item for consideration by our collections committee. If accepted, your contribution will become part of the Historical Society’s Documenting Ridgefield’s Response to COVID-19 archive.

Open COVID-19 Archive Submission Form

Note: Please do not put yourself in danger when collecting material. Practice social distancing and official guidelines for staying safe.

Local business owners, students, health care workers, teachers, parents and kids can all help us to preserve this history by sending us photographs, artwork, personal reflections, stories, letters and more. These items, if appropriate, will be stored in our archives and made available to future researchers and visitors to our collection.

This program is supported by the CT Humanities.

Gretchen Kennedy-Graber, at home with two teenage boys and planning a virtual bar mitzvah. A Ridgefield family adjusts to remote school and creating new routines.
John Preli, director of corporate business controls for the IBM Corporation, as well as a professor at Sacred Heart University and UConn, talks about how supply chains affected everyone as the Covid-19 pandemic took hold. A case in point: where did all the toilet paper go?
The Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra’s last indoor performance was in February, before the coronavirus pandemic hit. Like the town’s other arts organizations, the RSO has had to reinvent its programming on the fly, starting with online presentations and continuing with outdoor performances, in collaboration with Keeler Tavern Museum and History Center, the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, and the Ridgefield Playhouse. Meeting the requirements of social distancing means careful arrangements when dealing with musicians, particularly those playing horns or other wind instruments.
Pam Stoddart explains how a very hands-on, people-oriented organization, where interaction is key, has adapted to the realities of social distancing. As she explains, artists are “creative people” and the Guild has come up with some new ways to keep moving forward. There are more challenges ahead as Ridgefield heads into fall and winter, but the Guild of Artists members are continuing to work and express their artistic vision.
Ridgefield’s Director of Social Services Tony Phillips describes how his department, with the assistance of many volunteers and donations from a variety of sources, has worked to meet the needs of dozens of families whose lives have been upended by the Covid-19 pandemic. Normal programs of food distribution had to be redesigned and new clients assisted.
Mike Principi, the owner of Chez Lenard, talks about how life at the hot dog stand changed as the novel Coronavirus spread and what it was like on Main Street this spring and summer. He also reflects on how the pandemic has affected his family.
Suzanne Brennan, Executive Director of the Lounsbury House, talks about how Ridgefield’s community center is navigating the challenges of COVID-19. She notes that this is the second pandemic the Lounsbury House has seen in its 120 years on Main Street.
Ed Briggs, Ridgefield’s Director of Health, discusses the town’s health department’s reaction to the first cases of COVID-19.
Dr. Jim Ahern has been practicing family medicine in Ridgefield since 1982 and founded Copps Hill Family Medicine in 1983. Here he discusses how he has continued to see his patients during the pandemic. Serving as Ridgefield school physician, Dr. Ahern is also on the planning committee to reopen the town’s public schools.
Sal Bagliavio, owner of Bailey’s Backyard Farm to Table Restaurant on Bailey Avenue talks about how his business has responded to the changes brought about by the pandemic.
Kobi Shaw, daughter of Dr. Darla Shaw, was raised in Ridgefield and lives in Colfax, Wisconsin. She created this fun and short video of 70 days of costumed, quarantine cabin fever antics in response to the pandemic.
Pastor Bill Pfohl of Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church speaks about how the church is responding to the needs of others while continuing to hold worship services.
Fit Club co-owner Jenny Conciatore and personal trainer/fitness instructor Naomi Reik discuss their experiences during the pandemic.
Cybele Maylone, Executive Director of The Aldrich, shares her home and work experiences during the pandemic.
Adam Broderick, entrepreneur and salon futurist, shares his salon & spa’s experiences during the pandemic.
Jerry Myers, chief of the Ridgefield Fire Department, shares the experiences of the Department’s first responders during the pandemic.
Brenda McKinley, Director of the Ridgefield Library, shares her organization’s experiences during the pandemic.
Ashley Vidmar, 10th and 12th grade English teacher at Ridgefield High School, shares her experience with teaching during the pandemic.
Dean Miller, Chair of Ridgefield’s Meals on Wheels, shares his organization’s experiences during the pandemic.
Gerri Lewis, Public Information Officer for the Town of Ridgefield’s Office of Emergency Management, shares her experiences.
First Selectman Rudy Marconi shares his experiences of having COVID-19 and being the leader of our town during this pandemic.
Janine Limoncelli, Ridgefield resident and physician at Weill-Cornell Medical Center, shares her experiences on the front lines.
Macklin Reid of the Ridgefield Press provides testimony of his experiences of the pandemic.
Jake Seem, age 22, Boston University student from Ridgefield shares his experience.

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