The COVID-19 pandemic has adversely impacted educational systems worldwide. Students have been thrust into a world of disappointment from school closures to learning virtually to having extracurricular events put on hold. Graduation ceremonies are either postponed or cancelled. During these challenging times, our employees have found creative ways to continue their support for education, including holding virtual graduation ceremonies, hosting online classes and engaging in knowledge sharing with the chemical industry.
Pomp and Circumstance COVID-19 style
Kenneth Dryier, senior safety engineer at LyondellBasell’s Morris Complex in Illinois was one of those individuals who was excited to celebrate his daughter’s 8th grade graduation, but COVID-19 put that and other events on hold. The devasted look on Dryier’s daughter’s face when it became clear her school year was in jeopardy served as the driving force for Dryier to jump into action.
“It started with the cancellation of her Washington D.C. class trip, and then spring concerts, athletic events, and finally, the cancellation of the remaining classes and traditional graduation ceremony,” said Dryier. “Recognizing all the hard work that students have put into this school year will hopefully help to remove some of the heartache and disappointment that our kids have endured during this pandemic.”
To lift the spirits of local students and help them feel proud of their accomplishments, Dryier and his colleague, Ross Hubbard, asked Morris, IL employees to submit 30-second videos of the employee’s graduates. The compiled video footage served as a virtual graduation ceremony for employees and their families. It recognizes and supports 2020 graduates from kindergarten to college, highlighting their successes, awards, extracurricular activities, athletic accomplishments, hobbies and future aspirations.
Several colleagues in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, devoted time to administer online classes to secondary schools around plastics and the environment. Collaborating with C3, an organization that coordinates chemistry and life science educational programs for students, LyondellBasell employees acted as host lecturers to deliver online courses involving discussions around plastic usage, recycling and sustainability.
“Our employee volunteers are helping educate students through presentations about the benefits of plastics, work being done to end plastic waste and how the industry is assisting in the fight against the coronavirus,” said Patrick Ottens, senior account manager and program coordinator at LyondellBasell in Rotterdam.
The work employees are doing to educate extends beyond the virtual classroom. The company is also advancing education within the chemical industry. On April 24, our Clinton, Iowa site manager, Yarelis Hernandez, joined the American Chemistry Council’s (ACC) Political Mobilization team’s virtual roundtable with Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA).
During the roundtable, Hernandez shared best practices for safety measures the site has implemented to mitigate spread of COVID-19 and discussed materials the site produces, such as food packaging, leak-proof and shatter-proof containers and cleaning disinfectant, essential to combating the virus.
Globally, our employees are stepping up to the challenge of this virus in different ways that include keeping our plants running safely and reliably and ensuring the health and safety of the communities where we operate. The resilience and giving nature of our employees throughout this pandemic has been unmatched and reflective of what it truly means to be #TeamLYB.