How safe would you feel teaching in-person classes this fall? Why or why not?
If everyone follows regulations- social distancing, wearing face covers in shared public space, and washing hands frequently, I would feel safe enough to teach in-person. But it means all faculty, staff and students do that, which can be challenging. Especially at times if faculty and/or staff don't wear face covers while walking around or talking to each other, students could easily follow these examples and not covering their faces. This could cause a ripple effect and spread quickly among students. Another concern could be that students may file complains against faculty if some faculty strictly follow regulations while some others don't. The university needs to give faculty the needed authorization to dismiss a student if such a student refused to follow regulations in class repeatedly and/or after warning. This should also be the same standard for everyone on campus, including faculty, staff and students in order to prevent a potential outbreak on campus.
What precautions need to be put into place for you to feel safe?
Not only announce the rules, reinforce them, set up a surveillance mechanism for it and put in action. Let parents and students know early that they need to take it seriously, otherwise they are not allowed to come to campus and bring potential risk to everyone else. It is important to have faculty and staff as good role models for students, in addition to protecting ourselves. It takes a village to build a new campus culture. Everyone needs to be held accountable.
What were your biggest takeaways from teaching online? If you had to do it again this year, would you be okay with that?
I enjoyed my classes while teaching online. There was a lot of additional work and emailing than a direct conversation in person. My students and I were pretty good at staying on top of our email communications, which is crucial for a good online teaching experience. But I can see that not everyone stays on top of their email communications. It would make learning online difficult for students if either instructors or students don't check and respond to emails effectively and efficiently. There is only so much an instructor can do to reach out to a missing student if they don't respond. Like-wise, there is only so much a student can do if an instructor does not respond to their questions in email. It is a two-way street.
What were your thoughts on the email from HR?
The email itself sounds pretty strict. But think about the definition of high risk population (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/groups-at-higher-risk.html) and look at people on campus. We actually have quite a few faculty and staff who fit the definition. In addition to the age cutoff for high risk, the SBU population also consists of individuals of high risk due to their health status. In general, Cattaraugus County has been considered a high risk area due to the health status of the residents.