Last week I needed to be in my office on Wednesday and it was the first time I’d been on campus since the “stay at home” orders began. Of course, I was out of the habit of “going to work” and arrived in boots, swapped to shoes, and then left at the end of the day in my shoes. My adult kids tease me about finally becoming an absent minded professor. They also blame it on keeping track of so many things at once, #deanbrain. This necessitated a follow up trip to campus to rescue my boots. (And yes, I remembered to fill out the U of G Covid-19 screening form.)
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how much more difficult it’s going to be moving back to campus than it was moving to “work from home.” I’m glad we’ve got the spring and summer to come back gradually at a pace that suits our differing levels of enthusiasm and unease. The university at various leadership levels is starting to think about the fall more seriously but of course it’s all tied to the vaccination roll out. I’m on the university’s committee, chaired by Deans Byron Sheldrick and Gerarda Darlington, that is beginning conversations about planning for Fall 2021. We know that Fall 2021 won’t look like Fall 2020. It also won’t look like Fall 2019 either.
But beyond that it’s complicated and a lot remains uncertain. I don’t know about you but I’m finding this stage of the pandemic and our exit plan to be a bit of an emotional roller coaster ride. In conversation someone recently compared it to the transition stage of childbirth. I think that’s about right. Yes, here in Ontario our number of cases is getting smaller. But there are increasing numbers of the UK variant and other variants out there too. It’s terrific to have so many vaccines but there are also so many questions unanswered. When will we get vaccinated? Will they protect against the new variants? As academics we like to know things. This is all so uncertain. Also, personally, I find I’m okay with bad news. And good news, obviously. But this up and down news cycle is extra stressful. We’ll know a lot more by late spring, I keep telling myself. Deep breaths all round.
But I do have a good news photo to share.
Look, progress on the MacKinnon renovations and the Improv Lab!