9:00-11:00 AM at Saint Joesph’s University
I cry a little on the drive to work today.
Waiting at the crosswalk at City Line Avenue, a student is not wearing a mask.
I walk across campus to the tents organized along the track to get my mandatory COVID-19 saliva test. I sit under the canopy until I fill up a plastic vial with saliva. The results are supposed to take 2-3 days.
While waiting to cross City Line Avenue on the way back from the COVID-19 test there is another student with no mask. I debate what to do, (keep my distance? say nothing?) but end up saying, “Hey, would you mind putting your mask on, please?”
The student says, “yes,” and gives me a look.
Walking back to my office my bag begins to drip. I was so nervous when I had to get my glasses out of my bag during the spit test that my pencil case contents spilled everywhere along with a container of hand sanitizer. Sadly, this is not the first time something like this has happened.
I see groups of students walking 3 in a row down the sidewalk. One group is giving a university tour.
11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Back in my office, I light a lavender travel candle for aromatherapy.
I put tissues in my pocket because I’ve been getting spontaneous nose bleeds this past week.
I answer emails, read the department Slack channel, fill out forms.
As a member of the Community Standards Board, I sign up for training sessions to serve on appeal panels related to pandemic-related violations (e.g. off-campus parties).
I take my books back to the library which I’ve had out since March. I drop them in the outdoor box, which has previously been locked.
Another university tour with parents goes by.
Cross the street again, walk back to my office, which thankfully, is a relatively private.
The roses that I planted in March are blooming for the second time this summer, but all the indoor plants have died.
Since the inter-library loan has opened up, I order some books from other universities; hopefully, they arrive before it shuts down again.
Look in my bag and there is still a library book in there.
Look in my drawers for something to eat.
Pop some microwave popcorn for stress eating.
We receive an email that the saliva test results will be delayed.
1:00 – 2:00 PM
Continue to line up our community partner projects for the Beautiful Social Research Collaborative.
Meet with four students before class to discuss upcoming community projects.
Bring out some chairs to the outdoor tents on the patio for class.
Chat with Mike, our department chair. We talk about anxiety and exposure therapy. He suggests maybe it won’t be so challenging in the coming weeks, once I’m used to this.
2:00 – 3:30 PM
Teaching my first class of the semester, COM 441 Social Media and Community Engagement.
We are spread out among three rooms on the lower level of Bronstein Hall.
I go from room to room explaining the course structure.
I keep repeating myself.
I talk to students about anxiety and the strangeness of being back.
I have to tell students not to sit on seats that have a sign “do not sit.”
They generally ignore the signs to stay six feet away from each other.
There’s no projector or slides because we are all spread out.
I’ve made a writable PDF worksheet for them to accompany the readings.
We have outdoor tents on the patio, but no one wants to sit out there.
It’s 90 degrees.
4 students sit on the patio when I ask them to.
I sit with them while we talk about this semester’s virtual projects with community partners.
Mike snaps a photo as he walks by.
The university issues an energy curtailment, due to the heat.
Students install hypothes.is a social annotation tool for social reading and we populate a text with annotations.
Students are diligent, polite, and quietly work on a writing activity.
All of this could be better facilitated online.
I’m looking into student’s eyes more as I speak to them.
Some of them look familiar, but it’s hard for my brain to conjure up the other half of their face, although I keep trying to.
I go back to my office to breathe for a moment and Mike visits me to see how it went and offers his support.
My second course begins: Visual Design.
Again we are spread out in different rooms.
No one wants to be outdoors under the canopies.
I explain that 15 minutes ago I sent them an email with a PDF with the day’s agenda.
Several students raise their hands to say they didn’t receive it.
Some received it on their phone but not the email on their laptop.
One cannot open the PDF.
Two student-athletes come in during class and ask how to borrow laptops from the gear room.
I say there is a protocol for that but I don’t know what it is off the top of my head.
The gear information on our website has not been updated.
15 minutes later, the rest of the students receive the email.
The one student still cannot open the PDF.
The two student-athletes are sitting in the room listening to me as I explain the week’s activity.
Some students are coming right up to me trying to show me their laptop screens, to discuss where they are having problems.
I can’t really see their screens while trying to back away and keep some distance. I give them my best guess.
I go to my office, in the building behind Bronstein Hall, to resend the PDF for the student.
I have forgotten my keys.
I go back to Bronstein Hall to get the keys from my bag, go back to my office and post the PDF to Canvas in our Learning Management System.
I check on her but she still cannot open the PDF.
I explain that she needs to go to IT if she cannot figure out how to open it because she will need to open PDF’s every week.
Different students are all at different places in the activity.
The student-athletes have procured laptops and are trying to do the assignment.
Oh, they are in my course!?
I try to help them while still maintaining a modicum of social distance.
One student says he is so lost, is that okay to not do it right now?
Students talk to me about how strange the campus feels. I tell them how anxious I was/am.
They say they too are anxious, “this year is so different and confusing compared to last year, with signs and arrows, masks, and distancing.”
One student says her computer is fried.
Class is now over and I sit and talk to the student who was lost for a while.
I pack my things.