June 24, 2020
|“||No staff, student, or faculty member will be compelled to be face to face. There will be no penalty, either subtle or overt, for requesting online-only engagement in the Fall. This includes supervisor evaluations for faculty and staff and attendance grades for students. No medical documentation will be required.||”|
Good luck with our state government.
I’m too exhausted by all this to write about it too much more. As the ridiculousness continues, I may change my mind, yet I can’t see with the numbers trending up again that we’ll be starting back on campus in August. We all know it’s not right, yet because COVID-19 has become politicized and our state is run by a ’rumper, we have no choice but to make the best of it. This is pure insanity, and my blood pressure rises just thinking about it.
Here’s how I think I will approach it: right now, I have four classes, one fully online and three hybrid. I’m going to design them all for fully online delivery. So, those weeks I’m forced—and that’s exactly what this is—to be in the classroom, I’ll have three classes a week wherein I take attendance, but do not require students to attend as everything is online. If it’s true what the chair wrote in an email two days ago,
|“||We need to remember that students have registered for face-to-face courses. So, some face-to-face element needs to be maintained in these courses.||”|
|“||The bottom line here is that we need to arrange our courses in a manner that reduces the number of students in the classroom at a given time.||”|
Yeah, the easiest way to to this is to take classes online. I have taught all of the courses I’m scheduled for online before. While we certainly can argue the merits of whether an online treatment of literature is as effective as face-to-face, we certainly can’t deny that this is not a normal set of circumstances. However, earlier in the email, it states:
|“||Courses currently listed as face-to-face will not be made online, and individual faculty may not make those courses online.||”|
Logically, this has to do with money or some sort of bizarre directive from the highest levels because it’s an ethically incorrect decision and everyone knows it. I have a feeling both of these reasons are accurate. As Kevin R. McClure recently stated it, all of this is addressing how we’ll open the campus, but no one has explained why we should. What’s missing is a rationale. I do not blame my chair who is likely just the mouthpiece for middle management, but the higher it goes up the food chain, the more complicit the decisions become. They all know it’s not right, but choose to be complicit rather than standing up for the morally correct decision. I honestly think the legal teams can’t like any of this.
We have meetings on Monday, so it’ll be interesting to see what’s said. Honestly, like every other meeting or “town hall” called by the Powers-that-Be to “discuss these matters/ideas/plans,” I can’t see where any discussion will change what’s already been decided.
- Back when quarantine started, we had around 200 cases per day, but just two days ago, we were up to over-1700 per day. Someone explain the logic of even talking about opening a campus for face-to-face course. Explain it to me like I’m five.
- Only up to 50% of course content may be delivered online.
- I’m pretty certain that’s where we’ll end up anyway. Cases will spike, we’ll even get some positives on campus, and the “governor” will be forced to pull back the madness and risk the disapproval of 45.
- The only reason they signed up for F2F is because that is how they were put on the roster. Students seem to always choose the online sections first—not all, but most oline sections fill up first.
- Student caps for classes have been steadily increasing over the years. My world literature sections, for example, are capped at 30. I swear it used to be under 20 when I started in ’02. The caps remain high despite the new reality, and classrooms are all small in our building—some way more than others—making social distancing impossible.
- I’m sure the classroom experience will be wonderful, too: everyone sitting around in masks too close together worrying if the person next to them who just coughed and is not wearing his mask correctly just gave them a virus that might kill them. I’ll be lecturing, too, with a mask, and this will likely make me difficult to understand—especially if we are moved to a larger room to accommodate social distancing. I really wonder if they’ve really thought about this at all.
- We have a brand new dorm that needs to be filled. On-campus student services, room and board, are some of the biggest money-makers for universities.
- McClure, Kevin R. (June 25, 2020). "College Leaders Must Explain Why—Not Just How—to Return to Campus". EdSurge. Retrieved 2020-06-27.
Autumn made a reservation for a place on Manasota Key early in July. This is near Kip’s place, and they will be there at the same time. This is exciting, but as Florida cases of COVID-19 rise, I grow concerned that they could close the state. I’m not sure we should even be going. Am I so privileged, too?