Nuclear Science Week Looks a Little Different During COVID

By adapting to our virtual environment, Exelon’s Kennett Square U.S. WIN Chapter has been selected as the recipient of the U.S. WIN Most Reactive Chapter Award again for 2020. In 2019, we were able to host in person events such as a fundraising bake sale for a local charity and create a team to run in a charity 5k. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, our normal outreach activities were too risky. We couldn’t read to children at the local library or sit in on the rotary meeting to speak about nuclear power while practicing proper social distancing and COVID protocols.

Initially we feared that our outreach activities for Nuclear Science Week 2020 would be a wash. How would we make an impact when we couldn’t even be in a room with other people? The Kennett Square U.S. WIN Leadership Team created a Nuclear Science Week Outreach Committee, just like we’d done in the past, but this time we focused on what was still available to us, and new, creative ways to get out into the community without leaving our homes.

We looked back at what we had done in the past to see how it could be adapted for our current situation. In 2019, we did a daily Nuclear Science Week (NSW) trivia with physical prizes. This was easily adapted to an online quiz and an Amazon gift card prize. Last year, we read Marie’s Electric Adventure at the local library during story time. That wasn’t available to us, however, we recorded a reading of the story and shared it with local schools to show their classes on demand. In 2019, we had a team run the Laurel House 5k Dash Against Domestic Violence. In 2020 the race was still happening virtually, so we were able to continue to support the event. There was a Teams kickoff meeting for the runners, but we all ran separately. While we couldn’t host a food drive or blood drive because of the pandemic, we encouraged our members to donate to their local food pantry and give blood when they could.

Through the planning process, we actual found a silver lining in the social distancing. With schools being virtual, and Zoom meeting being readily available, we were able to speak to schools all over the country during Nuclear Science Week. Our members gave talks at Cornell University, University of Illinois and Virginia Commonwealth University all from the comfort of their homes in Pennsylvania. We also gave three NSW themed talks to local middle and high schools.

If 2020 has taught us anything, it has taught us how to adapt. This past year has been a challenge on so many levels. I am so incredibly proud of the Kennett Square U.S. WIN chapter for banding together, from a distance, to create such a successful Nuclear Science Week.