A period of readjustment..

It’s been a rather busy weekend as I’ve tried to complete the grading my repeat examinations. I’m almost done but I have six more scripts to do, which I will finish tomorrow morning. Once again I’ve set a bad example by being later than everyone else, but at least I’m not going to miss the deadline. We have our Examination Board on Friday and they’ll all be done and dusted by then.

Friday is 20th August, which means it’s exactly a month from then until the start of teaching in Semester 1 of the new academic year. We have now received draft instructions on how this is planned to start. They are not in final form yet, having been circulated to Heads of Department for comments. I’ll refrain from saying more in public until they are published but in a nutshell we are anticipating more-or-less a full return to on-campus teaching with no reduced capacity in lecture theatres but with slightly shorter lectures and staggered start and end times.

That is if everything is under control in a month. The latest Covid-19 figures are not reassuring. The latest 7-day rolling average is about 1800 new cases to day, which is as high as it was in January. Hospitalizations are increasing, though at a lower level than before presumably because of the vaccination effect. Mortality rates are unclear (to me) because of the continuing disruption to reporting caused by the HSE computer problem. I’m very conscious that all our plans were changed at the last minute at the start of last academic year, so we’ll just have to wait and see. Hopefully the incidence rate will stop rising over the next few weeks.

On Friday I took a prospective PhD student and his family for a walk around campus, mainly to introduce them to the famous Library Cat (who is fine, by the way, but bothered by wasps getting into his dish when I fed him). Most staff and research students in the Department are still working from home, but there were one or two people around to say hello. When I entered my office I saw I hadn’t changed the date on my calendar since June 15th, two months ago. By the look of the sports fields at the back of the college they haven’t been mown for much longer than that: at the moment they look more like hayfields!

I have been fairly content working from home over the summer (with two interruptions for travelling to Cardiff and back), but I really have to get into the habit of going to the office if we’re going to welcome students in person. I think when I’ve finished my marking tomorrow morning I’ll start trying to get back into the routine. For one thing quite a few things we moved before lockdown need to be moved back to their proper places. When I was waiting for the train from Cardiff on Thursday I saw railway workers removing the social distancing signs from the platform. I guess we’ll be doing that too.

I do hope all this isn’t premature, but I have a nagging feeling…

4 Responses to “A period of readjustment..”

  1. Are the students expected to be vaccinated?

    • telescoper Says:

      I don’t think all will be, but I think most will be. I don’t think there will be a requirement to show proof.

  2. […] full guidelines on the return to on-campus teaching in September that I referred to on Monday have now been distributed to all staff, not without […]

  3. This pandemic has altered almost everything. The normal routine has been disrupted. I guess life before this pandemic was much better. Many may disagree and say that pandemic has given a lot more freedom but it is definitely going to be much difficult to go back to our normal routines ever.

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