COVID-19 has fundamentally changed how we work. For some, that means heading to a kitchen table instead of an office. Others have found themselves unexpectedly on the frontline. And for many, the pandemic has led to unemployment or underemployment. In our ongoing series "At Work," we hear from folks in the Bay Area about how what they do has changed. 

Amanda Levin

After coming under heat for continuing efforts to rename 44 schools named after controversial public figures before finalizing a plan to reopen schools, the San Francisco Unified School District voted unanimously to reopen before the end of this academic year. As part of our series @WORK, we meet a teacher who has been teaching remotely for nearly a year now. 

Elisabeth Fall
SF-Marin Food Bank

Food pantries are a lifeline for many in San Francisco and Marin but hundreds had to close last year due to social distancing rules. In this edition of our @WORK series, we speak to the program manager behind SF-Marin Food Bank's outdoor pop-up pantries.

Scott Carroll / KALW

As health officials hang hopes on vaccines to get us out of this pandemic, we introduce you to a young local nurse who is helping to run clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines here in the Bay Area. Listen to the latest edition from our @WORK series.

Courtesy of Zach Moses

In this installment of our @WORK series, we meet touring musician Zach Moses Ostroff, a multi-instrumentalist and record producer in Marin, whose main source of income has been cut off, due to music venues closures.

Courtesy of Ramses Escobedo

When the San Francisco Public Library closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many employees were reassigned to new jobs supporting the city's disaster response. For this edition of our ongoing series, @WORK, we speak to a librarian who now leads teams of contact tracers for the Department of Public Health.

Hills Spinal Health / Creative Commons

To combat medical resource shortages, public health officials asked people to postpone or cancel elective care. But what happens when that measure creates another health crisis of its own? As part of our @WORK series, we take a closer look at the consequences of delaying care with Oakland-based Chiropractor Dr. Carrie Ousley.

Courtesy of Calvin Kai Ku / Medical Clown Project


What do you get when a clown, a clinical psychologist, and a patient walk into a hospital? You get something called the Medical Clown Project.  This Bay Area non-profit that sends clowns to hospitals, emergency rooms, and retirement homes. In this installment of our @WORK series, we meet a medical clown. 

IGOR PUTINA / Flickr Creative Commons

During the pandemic, journalists have been the eyes and ears of the community. But, it poses a challenge: how do you tell stories about people without being able to get close to them? In this installment of our @WORK series, we meet Visual journalist Andrew Nixon who covers stories for Cap Radio. 

As part of our @WORK series, we hear from a farmer in Davis, about what it’s been like working through a pandemic. About how COVID-19 has, and hasn’t, changed her world of farming.

Doug Zimmerman

Oakland Public Library is open for curbside pickup, but its doors remain shut. So what happens to families and kids who depend on libraries for more than books? In this installment of The Essentials, meet a children’s librarian who is working to preserve what makes the library so special.

Jenny G. Shao / KALW

The pandemic has forced public transportation to adjust. Now, riders are asking, is it safe to use public transportation during a public health crisis? In this installment of The Essentials, meet Phaethon Brown. He oversees day-day operations at BART in the East Bay. 

Babette Thomas / KALW

Many pets have been seeing a whole lot more of their people during the past few months. Our animal friends probably love the extra company and attention, but what happens when pets develop medical conditions of their own during shelter in place? In this installment of The Essentials, we talk to a veterinarian for some answers.

Jake Bunch

In California, a lot of people whose jobs have been deemed essential during the shelter-in-place work in food, including commercial fishers. The industry is tough even in the best of times. Now, restaurant closures and social distancing have made fishing for a living more complex — and child care plays a role too. In this installment of The Essentials, we meet a commercial fisher and father.

Jimmy Hsu

In our ongoing series, The Essentials, we meet people who are working out in the real world while many of us are sheltered at home. In this installment, we hear how the pandemic has changed the daily routine for Jimmy Hsu, who owns a laundromat in Richmond.

John Taylor


John Taylor, also known as One Shot Johnny, is a mobile butcher. He’s always considered himself essential. But as some of the largest COVID-19 outbreaks have forced some large slaughterhouses to temporarily close, John has never been busier. In this installment of "The Essentials," John gives KALW's Victor Tence an intro to mobile butchery. 

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Madolan Greene / Flickr Creative Commons / cropped

Reuben Houston is the owner and director of one of Colma Cremation and Funeral Services. The Bay Area has seen a relatively low COVID death rate compared to other population centers, but the virus has still affected his work. In this installment of "The Essentials," Reuben says the pandemic may change the way funerals are conducted for good.

Vikki McCloskey is a biologist at the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. The museum has been closed for months, but there are tens of thousands of animals, bugs, and fish that live there. And they still need to eat. In this installment of "The Essentials," McCloskey takes us into a swamp as she feeds four snapping turtles and an albino alligator named Claude.

A Hospital Chaplain On The Front Lines Of COVID-19

May 11, 2020

Rev. Claire Bohman provides support to patients, their loved ones, and staff at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. In this installment of our new series "The Essentials," Rev. Claire says COVID-19 has more caregivers asking for spiritual and emotional support.