Thursday, March 19, 2020

Days of Dwindling (Towards Lock Down?)

At some point, I'd like to start thinking about something else.  I have trouble focusing on anything but this new virus.  I've been checking this COVID 19 dashboard a bit obsessively, watching our numbers get close to France and then, this morning, edge ahead.

I'd like to start thinking about something else, but I may not be successful in that goal until this week-end.  Much of my day at work revolves around getting ready for a situation that's still not exactly clear to us.  Will we be told to stay home, like those people who live in San Francisco?  Will we be able to report to work?

It's been strange reporting to work in a world where so many academic folks are moving their classes online and teaching from home.  I would like to do some stress baking, but my office has no stove.

Our winter quarter ends on Tuesday, so we've been trying to get to the end as we hope we don't go into total lockdown as a society.  Some of our teachers decided to administer exams from a distance, primarily by way of e-mail. Some of our teachers decided that their exams couldn't possibly be administered that way, so their students report for exams, with the knowledge that if a student wanted to maintain physical distance from the others, that faculty must accommodate those wishes--and I asked each faculty member to be thinking about what they would do for a final exam if we were suddenly ordered not to leave our houses. I don't think that will happen between now and next Wednesday, but it might.

For Spring quarter, which starts on April 6, we've moved students to online classes where those classes exist with our online division. Almost all of my GE faculty will be suddenly out of work. Maybe it will only be for a quarter. Our Program classes will be done by way of "synchronous distant learning." What that means: the faculty member will teach class during the specified day and time on the schedule using Go to Meeting software (it's more commonly used for conference calls, not teaching). Students will log in from a distance--like a conference call. The pluses: social distancing, the ability to record classes, the ease of use of the software. I do worry about having no tech support the way we might if we used a more traditional LMS.

I spent the afternoon strategizing in light of these changes.  As I drove home yesterday, I noticed that the traffic was significantly lighter.  It felt like early on a week-end morning--in fact, I checked the clock in the car to make sure that I hadn't left work significantly earlier or later than usual.  Could I have been that absent minded?  

I was not--it was really just after 6 p.m., when there would usually be lots of people headed in the direction opposite of me, headed to western suburbs.  Yesterday there was barely any traffic.

As the days go by, there will be less and less.  I got an e-mail notification from the city of Hollywood yesterday, notifying us that bars and nightclubs would remain closed until April 16.  Restaurants can only offer carry out.  Gyms, bowling alleys, movie theatres, dance studios--basically all entertainment will be halted.

This morning I headed to the Wellness Center for spin class.  I knew this day would come--the wellness center is closed.  There was an e-mail that went out on Tuesday.  Tuesday afternoon was intensely hectic for me, so I missed it.

And this morning, I saw that the public library's last open day will be today.  Do I want to try to get more books?  Let me ponder.   It's not like I'm out of work--far from it.  I don't know if I need to have an unusual stockpile.

Since I didn't get to spin, let me take a quick walk to the lake to watch the sunrise.  

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