When I was first assigned to write a blog post for this week, I was pretty relieved not to have the challenge of writing about English 105 class over spring break. Thanks to COVID-19, I now have to get a little creative. Don’t get me wrong, I am very thankful for the extended spring break; even if there hadn’t been a pandemic ravaging the planet, I’m not sure that a week would have been enough recovery time from university life.
Although, what the university is calling “extended spring break” has not exactly been a break. Instructors at UNC and universities across the country have been faced with the challenge of switching to remote instruction to facilitate social distancing, making sure it’s accessible to all students, and making up for the lost week of classes. From the countless emails I’ve received from my instructors (that I’m sure many other students have seen in their inboxes), I can tell that this unprecedented course of action has professors and teaching assistants on edge. As a person who is fairly technologically challenged, I am also a little stressed over the transition.
Despite class not being in session, English 105 has been chugging along. In lieu of our discussion of how to write introductions, we’ve had two optional workshops over the last week in preparation for the completion of our unit two project. You could tell most students were still feeling the spirit of spring break; there was not a high level of participation in either workshop. In response to effects of COVID-19, Paul has been keeping us informed of the upcoming changes to the course via email. Because this class has always integrated a high level of technology in the coursework, hopefully the transition will go smoothly. Even though Zoom won’t feel like our little classroom (who’s tiny and impractical window I will never forget), I’m sure our standing classroom silence will find a place in our online meetings. Although our in-person class meetings rarely offered exuberant energy, I’m thankful for time I had with Group Name and Middle Finger and for the positive effect that teamwork has had on my writing. I hope that other students in the class feel similarly, and that we can keep up the hard work together during the rest of this semester.
However, in light of the university’s turn towards this uncharted territory, it’s important to remember why. We’re doing this to stop the spread of the coronavirus among our peers, mentors, friends, loved ones, and even strangers. Not only are we doing our part to stop the virus, but also the death and destruction it leaves in its wake. It’s true that the virus and the university’s response have put a strain on our education as dorms have closed, spring and summer study abroad programs have been cancelled, and even commencement has been postponed. The faster the virus is contained, the faster we can all return to our old reality. I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy, and remember to wash your hands!