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School workers wonder about eligibility for COVID-19 vaccine appointments

Earlier this week, elementary and secondary teachers were told they could start signing up for the COVID-19 vaccine on March 11. In addition to teachers, day care, and preschool staff, bus drivers/monitors, school admin staff, and custodians will be able to sign up for a vaccine. Noticeably absent from the list is higher education. Dean of the School of Health Sciences Karen Rousseau, RN, PhD, said she’s surprised in the corridor of knowledge - that is western Massachusetts - that college workers are left out, especially those who work in student affairs who have to interact with students quarantined on campus. Full story can be found on WesternMassNews.

Art of the Matter

After retiring from her career as professor and Communication Department chair at American International College in 2018, Mary Ellen Lowney, MEd, who also works part-time as the Communications and Community Relations manager for the Springfield Housing Authority, decided to add watercolor to her world. Retired Professor Lowney's newly-found talent is highlighted in BusinessWest Picture This.

Chicopee working to open COVID vaccine site with Holyoke, Granby, South Hadley; AIC nursing students to assist

Members of the City of Chicopee's vaccine task force have joined forces with officials in Holyoke, South Hadley, and Granby to create a new vaccine location at the Knights of Columbus banquet hall. The Fire Department has teamed up with the three additional communities and is also getting assistance from the nursing staff at American International College and the Hampden Sheriff’s Department so they will have enough personnel to administer the 750 shots five days a week. Full story is available on MassLive.

Chad Moir, Founder and Owner, DopaFit Parkinson’s Movement Center

AIC nontraditional student Chad Moir was recently honored as a Difference Maker by BusinessWest as the founder and owner of DopaFit Parkinson’s Movement Center, the business he started six years ago as the culmination of a tragic event — the premature passing of his mother, who was stricken with an aggressive form of Parkinson’s and was gone five years after her diagnosis. DopaFit members, all of whom are at various stages of the disease, engage in numerous forms of exercise, from cardio work to yoga; from spinning to punching bags, and much more. On one level, activities are designed to help Parkinson’s patients live a more active life by improving their mobility, gait, balance, and motor skills. But research has shown that exercise also releases the neurotransmitter dopamine into the brain, slowing the progress of Parkinson’s symptoms. Moir is positioned to graduate from AIC this spring with a degree in Public Health. Read his story in BusinessWest 2021 Difference Makers Special Edition.

AIC Board of Trustees member Michael Weekes Named A 2021 Black Excellence on the Hill Honoree

AIC Board of Trustees member, Michael Weekes, was celebrated as a 2021 Black Excellence on the Hill honoree at a virtual ceremony hosted by the Massachusetts Black & Latino Legislative Caucus (MBLLC) in celebration of Black History Month. Weekes, who serves as president and CEO of the Providers’ Council, was nominated by state Sen. Eric Lesser as a black leader, trailblazer, and changemaker who contributes to his local community. Full story is available in BusinessWest.