Fair warning, I am in a grouchy mood.
My institution continues to press ahead with an “in-person” Fall semester. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t think that is a great idea and truthfully, given how the pandemic situation here in the U.S. continues to worsen, they may be forced to move entirely online, after all.
What makes it worse to me, though — and here is where the grouch begins — is that this plan incorporates things like a silly slogan. Seriously, people? Like a catchy mantra is what we really need right now? Ugh.
The plan also puts the onus on students by requiring them to be tested for COVID-19 at their own expense, not the institution’s. That is so not ok. The institution also requires people who work there to provide their own set of masks to wear. Yep, employees are expected to provide “up to five” masks to have on hand at their own expense. It’s true that if someone forgets to bring a mask, there will be a modicum of supplies available. But the primary onus is still on someone other than the institution.
And then, important and specific details about how this plan is really supposed to work are still missing or nonexistent. An example: say, you have two employees who are in the same building; one wants to just drop by in-person to talk over issues with the other employee, but that other employee has a medical accommodation that means contact with someone else is to be avoided as much as possible. In this scenario, the onus is then put unfairly on the employee with a medical accommodation issue to say No to the other employee who wants to drop by for a chat. Is that fair? I don’t think so.
One of the people in my group mentioned how sad they feel about the Fall semester as the full extent of how difficult it will be becomes more and more clear. My response was essentially and perhaps unhelpfully: Yep, this is all coming to pass pretty much exactly as expected. There will be hardly anything positive about a Fall plan for students to be on campus that forces everyone, not least of all students, to jump through multiple, ongoing hoops to try to teach and learn in community.
Don’t even get me started on the likelihood of employees getting furloughed or laid off…A grim prospect.
Meanwhile, the pandemic simply doesn’t care about any such plans. It continues its ravaging ways, largely unabated.