My Labor Day began with the labor of rearranging a covid test for myself, plus the work of planning how I will teach most of my classes online this week.
That’s because last night, one of my employers announced that the whole campus is switching to remote instruction temporarily—until at least Friday. The reason for this change is a rapid increase in known COVID-19 cases among students, combined with the risks of Labor Day holiday travel.
In the same email, the university announced that about 90% of all the students and workers on campus are at least partially vaccinated. We have had five days of class so far this semester.
UPDATE: I’m pleased to say we’ve been told we will head back into the classroom on Monday.
The university has determined that only two (i.e., about four percent) of the known cases have been traced to possible classroom transmission. Most of the rest come from “large social gatherings in off-campus venues.” (I assume some cases were simply instances in which a student arrived on campus for the semester with an infection contracted elsewhere, but we haven’t been told that.) Symptoms, we’re told, have been generally mild; some of the infected students assumed they were suffering from seasonal allergies.
And on a personal note, I got a negative result on my PCR test this week.
I think it’s important to provide this update because as far as I can tell, this university’s key precautions—required COVID-19 vaccination, an indoor mask mandate, and a dedicated team working on testing and contact tracing—have been successful so far. That’s in spite of the fact that we have full classrooms and are working in the middle of a large city.
As we look ahead toward a near future in which covid is an endemic problem, we seem to be finding ways to make things work.