SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – These days, it seems like COVID-19 is all anyone is talking about. A local university is hoping that conversation can help people escape their feeling of isolation.

Augustana Pastor Ann Rosendale’s voice warmly invites you to listen in on her latest conversation. For the past five weeks, she’s been interviewing staff and students about their lives through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think when we hear from other people that they’re experiencing similar frustrations, insights or learning, we don’t feel so alone,” Co-Host of ‘Alone Together’ Ann Rosendale said.

They record all episodes using ‘Zoom.’ They are collected in a new podcast series titled ‘Alone Together.’ While it’s her voice you hear along with co-host Joel Gackle, the man behind the scenes, producer Peter Folliard, puts it all together.

Folliard editing at the University’s Studio 47

“I’m the one who gets to listen to all the episodes and hear the common threads and the individual differences and that’s amazing,” Podcast Producer Peter Folliard said.

One day, his voice took center stage when he unofficially came down with COVID-19.
After experiencing all the symptoms, he got tested and, surprisingly, it came back negative.

“My doctor said this has got to be a false negative. You’ve got to stay home,” Folliard said.

He quarantined at home for 17 days. But he didn’t stay quiet. He decided to share his experience on an episode.

“I just stayed in my room sweating and shaking, coughing, and totally out of it and fatigued,” Folliard said.

He also shared a different perspective on his fears.

“If my parents got sick and I was stuck in a room and then they got sick, what does that look like? Does everything fall on my wife to take care of them? Then what if my wife gets sick?” Folliard said.

He’s mostly recovered now, still regaining his stamina. It’s these personal stories that he and Rosendale hope can connect to a larger audience.

“Our hope is that people will know that they aren’t alone… that their friend down the street, maybe they haven’t seen in weeks, is also trying to figure out how to do life online, and that even though we don’t see each other, we’re together in spirit,” Rosendale said.

And that once this is over, that the COVID conversation will continue.

“I think it’s going to go in the – I think, 500 years, it’ll be a mark in the box of, ‘Hey, remember when the 2020 plague hit,’ it’s pretty… remarkable,” Folliard said.

They’ve recorded 20 episodes of the podcast, with new a new episode released every Monday and Friday. You can find them and their other podcasts on most major podcast platforms.