Hopefully this message finds you adjusting to your new normal. It definitely has been a whirlwind of constant changes the past three months and, for most, extremely stressful keeping up with: the informational webinars, online platform trainings, electronic sticker marking, knowing what are the electronic notary rules, will I get unemployment or PPP or EIDL, does this mask offend anyone, and listening to the voices through the computer say, “Can you hear me now?”
There have been some wonderful and less exhausting events. We’ve had some virtual Zoom happy hours that have been informational and fun. I know some reporters have enjoyed the downtime to visit with family or help family.
The board of VCRA has been staying very busy for you. You’ll see in this issue a Q & A article about the electronic notary. Though I had a very pleasant conversation with the Commonwealth Notary Commission Office, I was unable to get responses to the questions. It just solidifies for me, as your president, as a reporter, as an agency owner, how our profession has very little guidance even with a notary license. They just don’t know what to do with us. We don’t fit into the typical notary practice. I do plan to have our voices be heard in a different venue, virus or no virus.
The convention committee has spoken with the hotel and we have peace of mind knowing we can successfully hold our convention with social distancing. Their ballroom is more than adequate to accommodate social distancing for our seminars and meals being served by staff.
We added a Facebook Members-Only page to help lend clarity when members are reaching out for help or to discuss topics that pertain to Virginia procedures so not to be confused by other wonderful state’s suggestions. Our volunteer seamstresses Michele Eddy, Tasiana Basdekis, and Rose Marie Adams created three different style masks to give to our members. The idea was thought of early on. Once we saw there was no escaping wearing them, the material we had preselected was ordered and they were fast at work.
We had our first board meeting in person with social distancing in Richmond on June 20. I feel so blessed to have a great board working for us. They are enthusiastic, have tons of ideas, are implementing those ideas, and are always speaking about what is best for the members. With social distancing in place, one of the hardest things to plan for is career education days. We still don’t know what the school schedule is going to look like, but we have some ideas of how to bring attention to our profession.
On behalf of our members, I wrote to VTLA to remind them to go to VCRA’s membership directory for hiring a court reporter. We have CCRs that take their continuing education serious like they do. Why wouldn’t they want to reach out to you for reporting services first, right? We all stick together to be the best that we can, so why wouldn’t they want the best!
Also, I wrote on behalf of VCRA to the Supreme Court Task Force on Jury Trials requesting they consider putting a court reporter on their task force to give input on bench conferences, seeing witnesses without a mask to testify, courtroom setup, and the like.
Finally, I leave you with this little story and thought that popped into my head walking my dog a few weeks ago. We’re going around the lake like we usually do for our afternoon stroll, and I say hello to fellow neighbors passing by. Most are wearing masks. I notice that they don’t look up. They barely say hello. It’s as if looking down will keep them safe. It’s as if not saying a word will keep me safe. We have to take precautions, yes. But we cannot look down. We cannot stay silent. When reporting remotely, if you can’t hear, say something. We have to protect the record. It’s our job. When together in a room, hold your head up high. You are the MVP, as one attorney just told me today. Be the strong protector of the record. Spread your love of the profession, not your germs: get your free member mask.
Looking forward sharing in an educational and roaring fun time with you October 23 in Lynchburg, VA.
Donna Linton, RMR,CCR,CLR