Day Three: Fearful

Active cases of COVID-19 in Virginia jumped to 77 today. We also have a confirmed case in a care facility near Richmond. Confirmed cases in the US number 7,660. But you can’t help but wonder how many undocumented (!!) cases are out there due to the shortage of tests. The administration is sending a hospital ship to the New York harbor in anticipation of hospitals exceeding capacity.  During a call-in show with physicians from the Mayo Clinic it became clear that public health officials anticipate needing to keep people isolated for many weeks, if not months. The stock market had another very bad day, with trading temporarily suspended early this afternoon. A federal relief package to provide sick leave, unemployment benefits, food, and free virus testing to people most affected by the pandemic is in the works, as is another stabilization package for the airlines and other particularly hard-hit industries.

Everything suggests this will be a long, stressful haul.

COVID-19 cases in Virginia 3-18-20
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Virginia as of March 18, 2020 from the Virginia Department of Health: http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/

We are focusing on staying safe, but also want to be in (remote) touch with our neighbors and support our local businesses and community.  Even if you can’t physically visit, you can order shoes from your favorite running store  and accessories from the local bike shop. They are happy to deliver these items or work out a drop-off  / pick-up that keeps everyone appropriately distanced from each other.

Now is a great time to support local farmers by buying  a CSA share. We are getting vegetables (lots of vegetables!) and flowers this year. With so many spring wedding celebrations now on hold, this is a great time to check in with your favorite flower farmer to see what delightful blooms they have that might liven up your home full of anxious, stir-crazy people. It’s also a good time to think about how you might help people who are incarcerated and face incredible challenges where the virus is concerned. I know where our extra soap and toiletries are going.

Today was also the day when perfection did not become the enemy of making progress in re-vamping my course. I realized there was significant daylight between what is theoretically possible in terms of maximizing the learning experience and what is appropriate and realistic given how much flux is out there and how stressed out we all are.  I made a plan. Pared it down by 20%. Ate lunch. Trimmed a bit more. Called it good.

I’ve been in hybrid / asynchronous mode for many years, so the shift for me is not as wrenching as for some folks. But it’s still a big ask. I dialed back what we “cover” but tried to maintain quality interaction by recognizing that our class on Soviet History also needs to support us humans living through a major disaster.

So, not fearful after all. Everything will be just fine.

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