Make the Jump

People who are coming back to teach in person keep asking, “But what do we do if a student gets COVID???”

“You do the same as you’ve always done in the past when a student got sick,” I reply. “We’ve always had students who got sick during a semester and couldn’t come to class. There were common colds, the flu, arthritis, and even brain cancer. And we never did anything in particular. If students couldn’t catch up, they withdrew or failed.”

“BUT THIS IS COVID!” they say, making big round eyes at me.

The longer people keep away from normal life, the harder it is to integrate them back. The idea of teaching amongst COVID restrictions becomes daunting. And yes, the restrictions are a stupid, idiotic drag. But after a couple of weeks, everybody forgets about them and just goes on almost as normal.

I know it’s hard to make the jump but you just have to go for it, and then you’ll see that it’s not that big of a deal.

14 thoughts on “Make the Jump

  1. It seems that if the student has COVID we aren’t to treat it as we would the other diseases, and they HAVE TO KEEP STUDYING AT FULL TILT WHILE SICK. This is where I feel disabled. Also I have a section of Spanish 3 and we all have to be on the exact same page at the same time, and cannot assign presentations or compositions.

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    1. The same has happened with mononucleosis aka glandular fever for years. One of the primary symptoms is extreme fatigue. Students had to study full tilt while sick with that as well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Honestly, it’s not like our students do all that much studying or the work is all that onerous. It’s an American university. We are babying them all over the place. A 10-page reading is considered a huge imposition.

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        1. Even if it was a hundred pages what’s the difference. Students are either competent at the end of the course or they’re not. In order to be competent, you have to do the work. If you don’t do the work to become competent, then you don’t pass. Any university that passes incompetent students is incompetent.

          There isn’t a whole lot of wriggle room in this story imo.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Strange… In my allegedly woke corner of the world a student with COVID is supposed to go home, isolate and not infect others. I am moderately worried if discovering one student with COVID would result in switching the whole class to online… But if something like that will happen here, it will happen to prevent transmission among others, not to give the student in question some sort of preferential treatment because COVID is somehow fundamentally different from other illnesses..

    Seriously, Clarissa, the more I read about your university, the more I feel that it is some very special place. Run. Consider the universities that are woke, but have high research profile. If they have strong research agenda or care enough about their reputation, they will simply have much less time for things you are describing, no matter how woke they may be.

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    1. That’s exactly how it is, though. We treat COVID positivity as any other illness. They go home, isolate, and faculty aren’t supposed to do anything. But people who have been online for 18 months don’t understand this. They think COVID positivity is some extinction-level event. I’m trying to calm them down.

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    2. Our students are supposed to isolate if ill, but they are still aupposed to participate in all activities, and we have to make this possible. It is a contradiction that is only resolved … poorly … by going all online and asynchronous at that

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      1. It’s better at my school. We are told specifically that if we decided to teach in-person, we are going to teach in person. No online component.

        The quarantine is just a few days. Students have missed a few days of class with no trouble whatsoever in the past. What’s the big deal? (Says our administration, not just me).

        Why should a whole group be inconvenienced because one person is unwell? I had a student break a leg once. Nobody expected me to visit him at home and teach him there. This was before Zoom. How did we all exist before Zoom and 5G?

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The logical solution imo is to have online material concurrent with in person teaching. So, if a student is infectious (or impeded in any way from attending in person) they can utilise the online material.

    The way I see it, the jump that should be made is by everybody involved that we live in a new time, where for the next few years or more, we have to deal with rampantly spreading diseases.

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    1. We teach languages. It’s all about speaking the language in the classroom. There is no effective method of learning a language online.

      And it’s not just languages. If reading or watching stuff online helped anybody learn, why would anybody pay for college? For the overwhelming number of people, online learning doesn’t work.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My point is that online or pre recorded learning of some kind is the next best thing, and the appropriate redundant system to have in place in a world full of rampantly spreading diseases.

        If you aren’t sick, go to class. If you are sick and present a significant hazard to others, stay home and use the redundant system. If you aren’t sick but are concerned about being infected to go to class, then stay home and try harder using the more difficult redundant system. Everybody gets more or less what they want without coming into conflict with others.

        As for your other question, it’s a long discussion. My position in short is that there are some people (including myself) who prefer autodidactic home study. It isn’t for everybody, but in my opinion, there are enough people who learn as I do that offering comprehensive home learning will, on the balance of it, significantly uplift aggregate knowledge and training achievements in the society that it is implemented in.

        That being said, I don’t think that colleges should be closed down. Having a repository of well trained and informed people is essential for autodidacts too, since everyone gets stuck now and again.

        I don’t know how anyone could disagree since college resources are being used to, as you said, babysit grown adults. In my opinion, funding should be prioritised towards things that improve education well before it is prioritised towards overgrown babies.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Have you actually tried that, George? It really does not work, for one thing, and for another thing, it cuts the class in half and doubles the workload if you don’t get a second instructor.

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