One of the privileges of my role is that I get to talk to lots of brilliant and interesting people. This week I was lucky enough to get an hour with Ben Locwin. Ben is a prominent voice and science communicator in the industry, and is an executive in MedTech and Pharma, and a Task Force Member on the Science & Public Health Task Force dealing with the COVID-19 public health assessment and response for State Government.
As we were chatting, Ben mentioned that he’d written the ‘back-to-school’ protocol for various states in the northeast US. It struck me that this must have been one heck of a challenging task. If you’ve got kids yourself, or know people that do, you’ll know that making decisions about sending children and young people back to school has been fraught with lots of questions about safety, processes, travel, classrooms, timings, distancing, masks and much more, often with few coherent or consistent answers from education and government authorities.
Later when I read the document, I saw how smart Ben had been. He’d avoided the obvious elephant traps that many would have fallen into. He didn’t get drawn into expressing opinions, or pandering to emotions of one faction or another. He stuck to the facts and the data, but he did it in such a way that any parent, teacher, official or high school student could read and understand. To me it’s an exemplar of high-quality scientific writing that uses data to tell a compelling and persuasive story. In the current climate where there is so much dis-information, false claims and plain old bad science, it’s a breath of fresh air.