How safe would you feel teaching in-person classes this fall? Why or why not?
Based on my understanding of how it would work, I feel relatively safe teaching in person in the fall. I would be in two main spaces: my office and a classroom, and I believe it would be fairly easy to maintain appropriate distances in those spaces and to wear a mask as needed. I believe it’s likely that other people on campus would be more at risk, particularly students.
What precautions need to be put into place for you to feel safe?
The main precautions that have been suggested would work for me. I’ve heard discussions of sanitization stations, so that everyone is using hand sanitizer in a classroom and shared technologies are being cleaned and people are wearing masks as needed. Again, I am more concerned about the precautions being put in place for students. If I were expected to live, eat, and socialize with hundreds of other people who are all coming from different places, I’m not sure what precautions it would take for me to feel entirely safe.
What were your biggest takeaways from teaching online? If you had to do it again this year, would you be okay with that?
I have taught summer courses online before and would be fine teaching online in the fall. There is a difference between doing your best when forced to move online, as happened in the spring, and planning a course to be online. To me, the main challenge is facilitating student interaction and engagement. There are digital technologies that help, but this requires more coordination.
What were your thoughts on the email from HR?
The email from HR seemed fine to me. The main concern would be whether people who prefer not to teach on campus in the fall will be able to obtain a doctor’s note. It would be interesting to know what doctors think about this. Are they willing to offer a note for anyone who feels uncomfortable? Do you have to have a certain health condition or be of a certain age for a doctor to give you a note? What if different doctors have different policies? What if you would prefer to teach online but can’t get a doctor’s note – what happens if you get sick? Does the university have any liability here? I also wonder whether students are being sent the same email. Do they have the option of not coming to campus if they don’t want to? If so, how will their classes be addressed?