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Don Seabrook | Being safe

I’m learning new boundaries of being safe while I’m working. As the only person in our newsroom who is continually in the public, I am always thinking about how to photograph the historical moments that define what our community is going through while not sacrificing my safety and the safety of those around me.

Communication with subjects has become essential as I talk with them about how I can cover their specific situations — how they are dealing with the COVID-19 virus. An OK from my editor is needed before I begin documenting their changing lives.

Here are a few examples of how I’m working through this challenge.

Last Friday, I found out about an exercise class being taught outside the Colonial Vista senior living apartments. I was able to step back and photograph this with a telephoto lens (that’s become the lens of choice) to keep my separation from the instructor and the more vulnerable residents. For caption information, I could talk loudly from a distance to the instructor and shout to the people on the balcony.

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Colonial Vista wellness coach Amanda Olson leads residents of the center's independent living apartments in exercises Friday, March 27, 2020. Because of social distancing needs, she has been unable to have the normal daily exercises in the facility and decided to lead them from the parking lot for the residents on their balconies. 

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Colonial Vista wellness coach Amanda Olson leads residents of the center's independent living apartments in exercises Friday, March 27, 2020 from the facility's parking lot.

At a food box packing event at the Town Toyota Center, I was able to use that telephoto lens to give an overall impression of what was going on and then get closer angles with the same lens of individuals packing the boxes. I was also able to shoot video for our reporter to use in an interview.

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Volunteers pack boxes with food at the new distribution center inside the Town Toyota Center arena Monday, March 30, 2020. 

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Volunteers pack boxes with food at the new distribution center inside the Town Toyota Center arena Monday, March 30, 2020.

While covering a story about in-home education, I phoned Chelsea Mahuika ahead of time to find out when she would be home schooling her children. I made sure to let her know I couldn’t enter the house because of The Wenatchee World’s safety concerns.

Most of the time I’m finding people very knowledgeable about maintaining a safe distance but Chelsea’s children answered the door and held it open thinking I would walk right in. As children, I’m sure it’s a very hard concept to continually think about social distancing. I was able to walk around the back of the house and photograph the teaching through a back door.

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From the dining room of her Sunnyslope house, Chelsea Mahuika holds her daughter Tessa, 1, while helping kindergartener Gabby, 6, with school work Monday, March 30, 2020. Her four school-aged children normally attend Sunnyslope Elementary School and Foothills Intermediate School but are distance learning using resources provided by teachers and the school district.

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It's school time at the Mahuika home in Sunnyslope as Chelsea's four school children find books supplied by their teachers and the district Monday, March 30, 2020.

And earlier this week I was invited to photograph the new daycare at Washington Elementary School. I again kept my distance by using a telephoto lens to capture some interesting and telling moments. Communication with the director helped me know when the children were tested with a thermometer and would go outside to play.

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Brogan Foster, director of child care at the Wenatchee YMCA, takes twice-daily temperatures of students at the Childcare for Healthcare Workers and First Responders at Washington Elementary School Wednesday, April 1, 2020. Ronaldo Nuez, 10, passes with a normal temperature in the afternoon check. The program started Monday.

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Children and adult helpers leave their classroom for recess Wednesday, April 1, 2020, passing through the hallways of Washington Elementary School. 

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Part of Brogan Foster's day is spent cleaning touch points at Washington Elementary School. 

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Alayna Murphy, 6, Wenatchee, kicks a ball during recess at the Childcare for Healthcare Workers and First Responders at Washington Elementary School Wednesday, April 1, 2020.

One thing I’ve noticed and appreciated is the openness to to my photographing and documenting people’s situations and how they are dealing with and affected by COVID-19.

Photo Editor Don Seabrook: (509)661-5225

seabrook@wenatcheeworld.com

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