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Essential Connection

In late March, the Cleveland Clinic posted a photo on its social media showing a message of thanks from a recently discharged COVID-19 patient. The message was written in marker on the glass door of the patient’s hospital room. 

“This window has been the most impactful window in my life,” the patient wrote. “I watched some of you have good nights and some bad nights but what was consistent every night was that you care for people.”

From his isolation room, the patient relied on the glass to create human connection. During his stay, caregivers would frequently communicate messages to him by writing on the glass. And from inside the room, he could watch the hospital workers around him. 

In the glass industry, we often discuss the benefits of glass to building occupants—the ways that daylighting and views correspond to improved test scores among students, increases in productivity among office workers and faster healing times among patients in health care facilities. One critical component of this is glass’ ability to provide connection—connection to the outdoors, to nature and, most importantly, to people. 

In the era of COVID-19, people are more isolated—whether in ICU rooms like the patient from Cleveland Clinic; in senior care facilities, where visiting has been disallowed; or in homes and apartments around the globe, where people are socially distanced and apart from extended family, friends and community. In the face of this isolation, glass provides opportunities to safely interact and communicate. 

Social media is filled with such stories—a grandparent meeting a newborn grandchild through a sliding glass door, a nursing home patient celebrating a birthday with family through the windows of a care facility, a priest offering blessings from the other side of a sidelite window. 

During this pandemic, most glass companies have been allowed to continue operations, as they have been deemed essential businesses. Glass companies manufacturer, fabricate and install products that keep building occupants safe. This issue of Glass Magazine spotlights the essential work of industry companies, beginning with coverage of glass solutions to protect workers. This continues with a look at the important work of glazing contractors in the Top 50 Glaziers report, a feature of multi-functional fire-rated glass and glazing products, and a spotlight of additional protective glazing offerings

Yes, glass is essential. But what COVID-19 reinforces is that, even in isolation, glass creates the possibility for an essential connection.


Katy Devlin

Katy Devlin

Katy Devlin is content director for the National Glass Association and editor in chief of Glass Magazine. E-mail Katy at