BREAKING: Carolina Housing reported two COVID-19 clusters today: one at Granville Towers and one at Ehringhaus Residence Hall.
This is a developing story – check back here soon for more details.
— The Daily Tar Heel (@dailytarheel) August 14, 2020
It’s too late now, but I’m sorry I started teaching in-person classes last week. I apologize to my students for putting them in danger in a classroom, however slight.
I want to teach students in-person. I want to look at them in the eye when I talk to them, and sit with them to go over their stories. I want to have those idle few moments before class starts where we share a laugh or a story. And I want to have the 15 minutes after class when several of them line up to talk about assignments. I’ve written about my plans for this semester here and here. I wanted to do what my colleague Andy Bechtel described here.
I met in person with my classes this week. Carroll Hall, where I teach, was a virtual ghost town. Over the course of seven hours, I saw two other instructors, and only one other class besides my two. (I’m sure there were others.) Normally, Carroll is full of students wandering the halls, lurking outside of classrooms and offices, and sitting in public spaces, it was eerily quiet.
Because there are 30 minutes between classes – there were normally 15 – I could get in my classroom and prepare with no problem. And I could linger if I wished.
Wearing a mask was uncomfortable because it got hot and fogged my glasses. Listening to soft-spoken students wearing a mask was difficult at times. Keeping a six-foot distance from them was constraining because I am used to walking around the class. In one class, where the students work in five-person teams, social distancing was next to impossible.
I could have managed all that. But by Wednesday it didn’t seem worth it. And I woke up to this today, which may or may not have been at a UNC gathering.
— layla :-) (@laylaanna_) August 15, 2020
I’m going to start next week with remote, online classes. And I want to apologize to the students who want to learn in person. I will do everything I can to make this semester valuable and worthwhile.
UPDATE: Thinking about this now, I want to make clear that I make no judgment about my peers who are teaching in-person. This is just me. I trust them to know what is best for themselves and their students.