LOUDONVILLE — Both had high hopes for where their spring seasons could head.
Instead, Siena lacrosse players Kait Lembo and Anthony Tebbano find themselves focusing on much different roles than the ones they envisioned playing this spring for the Saints’ men’s and women’s teams. Both work as medical technicians at Loudonville Assisted Living Residence, and each has taken on additional hours at the facility in the last month as their schedules freed up and the need for help increased amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“And I would definitely consider my job as a coping mechanism for the loss of lacrosse and my [regular] school schedule,” said Lembo, a senior attack. “This has been a great way to still see people.”
“For sure,” agreed Tebbano, a junior goalie who played at Shenendehowa High School before heading to Siena. “I’m extremely grateful to have the opportunity to be working — and not just working, but working in healthcare because it’s such an important job, especially right now. I feel honored to have the opportunity to be helping people out.”
Both Lembo and Tebbano plan to head to medical school after their time at Siena, where Tebbano is a biology major and Lembo is a health sciences major. Lembo has worked at Loudonville Assisted Living Residence for nearly a year, while Tebbano started working at the facility last fall. Both kept regular part-time hours during the school year and even during lacrosse season, but as the need for help has grown, so has their involvement at the facility located a few miles from Siena’s campus while they still maintain their schoolwork in an online setting.
“Now,” Lembo said, “there’s a crisis, so they need more help. It’s been difficult balancing everything, but I love to help the facility.”
Before the lacrosse season was canceled, Lembo was working two eight-hour shifts each week and Tebbano was working one such shift per week. In the last month, Tebbano said he’s upped his normal weekly workload to three shifts, while Lembo — “Dr. Lembo,” her teammates would call her as she hurried through the locker room after practice to head to work — has nearly worked a full-time schedule, sometimes more. Last week, Lembo said she worked 56 hours as the role for medical technicians has grown.
“You do get a little tired,” the 22-year-old Lembo said, “but I enjoy the residents. They’re such good company.”
While the normal responsibility for a medical technician revolves around making sure medications are dispersed and received at the appropriate times, that role has changed in the last few weeks. While the technical side of the job remains and has expanded to include extra tasks such as administering temperature checks to help monitor the health of residents, a key aspect to Lembo’s and Tebbano’s work is to make sure the residents’ spirits are kept up during a time when visitors are not allowed. A week ago, that part of the week included running a game of Bingo for the residents . . . and that assignment literally involved running, as the residents needed to stay in their rooms to play, so workers had to make their way through the hallways to call out the directions.
“A huge focus of everyone at our work is making them feel as comfortable as possible, and assuming the role of family member,” Lembo said.
“But,” the 21-year-old Tebbano said, “the main job is just to keep everyone healthy.”
As part of that aim, Lembo and Tebbano need to put on masks before they step out of their cars and keep them on throughout their shifts. Their temperatures are checked, too, multiple times during their shifts. Wearing protective gloves, though, was already normal.
“It’s a little stressful just because you’re worried about bringing something from the outside world into there,” Tebbano said. “We have to do our part in preventing anything.”
Tebbano’s lacrosse career will continue next spring, but Lembo’s playing career is likely complete. While the NCAA granted an eligibility exception that would allow Lembo to come back for another season, Lembo plans to graduate from Siena this year and attend New York Medical College. From Corning, Lembo is currently staying with a family member in Troy, primarily so she can continue her work at Loudonville Assisted Living Residence through the end of July before she readies to start at New York Medical College.
“I wanted to help out the facility as much as I could with everything going on,” Lembo said. “Everyone needs that extra help right now.”