Last Day Off Again

So I find myself almost at the end of the Christmas break as I did on the same day last year. Today being a Bank Holiday because New Year’s Day was on Saturday, tomorrow is officially my first day back at work. I don’t think I’ll be going back to my office on campus in the morning, though, as I think I can probably manage all the things I have to do from home. I haven’t looked in my mailbox since before Christmas so I imagine I’ll spend most of the day mucking that out.

Thanks to the state of the Covid-19 pandemic I will be working from home most of the time at least until Semester 2 teaching starts. Here is the situation, with cases clearly out of control, but no sign yet of an increase in mortality. We’ll see what happens when the weekly death figures are released on Wednesday.

No doubt as we get back to work there will be detailed instructions on what we can and can’t do. Semester Two of teaching in Maynooth doesn’t start for another 4 weeks so we have a bit of time to see how things progress before deciding what will happen. I expect various edicts will be issued from on high in the next few days.

I have been virtually incommunicado so am not sure how everyone else in the Department has been. I do hope nobody has fallen ill.

The January examination period starts on Friday (7th January) and ends two weeks later (Saturday 22nd January) so getting through that and getting the examinations marked is going to be the first priority. Yet again all these examinations will be in the form of online assessments. We have done this sort of examination before, which makes it a bit easier than last year, but they still cause a lot of stress for staff and students alike. I will have over a hundred scripts to mark and will have to do all of them on screen. I’m not looking forward to that at all, but it has to be done. My first exam is on Saturday afternoon (8th January) but there’s a gap of 10 days until the second one so hopefully I can get the first marked before the second is due.

I was tempted at this point to make a list of all the things I have to do tomorrow, but that would be breaking my resolution to take a complete break so I will leave that until the morning. I have done a few bits and pieces for the Open Journal of Astrophysics, though, as we embark on Vol. 5 (2022).

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