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Passaic Valley Posters Promote Health and Safety Practices

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Valley Echo Staff
31 August 2020


In an effort to inform students on proper procedures to keep themselves and their loved ones healthy amid COVID-19, Dr. JoAnn Cardillo enlisted the help of Ms. Christine Hiel, parent and community member, to create personalized posters of CDC guidelines to adorn the halls as the school welcomes back its student body.

Official CDC poster on wearing masks Personalized wearing masks poster; photo credit: Ms. Christine Hiel Dr. Cardillo knew that keeping students and staff informed was imperative to a successful reopening. However, cultivating Hornet Pride and capturing viewers' attention was equally important. Having produced wonderful promotional material for Passaic Valley in the past, Ms. Hiel was contacted to help tackle the difficult task. Using the information released by the CDC, Ms. Hiel designed posters featuring PV students from all grade levels modeling responsible social practices, identifying common symptoms of COVID-19, and fostering healthy lifestyles. "This way the tone would be friendly and positive, instead of just another poster about following rules," said Ms. Hiel.

Personalized poster on COVID-19 symptoms; photo credit: Ms. Christine Hiel Personalized poster on hand washing; photo credit: Ms. Christine Hiel The concept of utilizing PV students and the campus to convey the message came from feedback from Ms. Hiel's son and his friends. "I asked my son's friends, who are seniors this year, what they thought of the first draft that used clipart as imagery. The feedback was that it felt a little too childish and it was suggested I use photography instead," said Ms. Hiel. "We took that thought a step further and thought it would be even better to take photos of PV students on campus and really personalize the feel."

Personalized poster on slowing the spread of COVID-19; photo credit: Ms. Christine Hiel Personalized poster fostering a healthy lifestyle; photo credit: Ms. Christine Hiel At first, students were hesitant to participate in the project. However, many warmed up to the idea as they learned more about the initiative and its goals. "Word is already spreading because students' peers are featured in the posters," said Ms. Hiel. "Some of the photography is a bit humorous which also helps bring more attention to what a specific symptom or guideline might be." In addition to the hallways, the posters will also be featured on PV's social media and website.

Photo credit: Ms. Christine Hiel These posters will go a long way towards keeping students and staff safe and ensuring a smooth reopening that follows federal mandates. Ms. Hiel also hopes that her work will help lessen any student anxieties. "I hope that no matter what students are feeling when they first walk in the building, the posters will put them at ease knowing the school is doing what they can to keep them safe," she said. "I want them to be able to relate to the posters and feel comfortable complying with the safety guidelines. By seeing their classmates featured, I hope it will draw more attention to the posters, in turn making students want to look at them and learn from them."

Photo credit: Ms. Christine Hiel Ms. Hiel estimates that the entire project took about 15 hours to complete. She began by researching the materials provided by the CDC. Then, she organized two photoshoots, one inside Passaic Valley and one outside. These steps collectively took about five hours. The rest of the time was spent designing the final products.

Photo credit: Ms. Christine Hiel Ms. Hiel, who owns Creative Ink in Little Falls, has been producing graphic design work for the Passaic Valley community for the last three years. Her involvement began through the Football Parents Association when she volunteered to work on the Football and Cheer Ad Book. Then, she designed the Homecoming poster for the past two years. When Ms. Hiel's work came to Dr. Cardillo's attention, a working relationship began when Dr. Cardillo reached out for assistance designing the Open House flyer, postcard, and brochure. Most recently, Ms. Hiel designed the June Events poster that was featured on the PV website and social media during the final weeks of the 2019-20 school year. "Ms. Hiel is a community member from Woodland Park and is always available to share her talents with us in designing print communications specific to PV," said Dr. Cardillo. "She provides her services as a gift to the school."