Telecommuting, Thinking/Learning

Spring Break Schedule?

This is how Day 3 actually ended:

And, yes. I did wake up like that. Working from home has shortened my morning routine.

Day four was much better. It was Friday (not that weekends are really a thing at the moment) and the weather was gorgeous. Sunny and nearly 80 F. Also, I got to see my colleagues on Zoom for the first time since Monday.

I actually like my colleagues. I miss being able to wonder into their offices (and they into mine) to just shoot the breeze. We have the group text, but it isn’t the same.

We played around with breakout rooms (to see if it might be a good option for our tutors), assigning someone else as a host, procedures, scheduling. We got a lot done in 1.75 hours. (It was a nice line item on my Work From Home Activity Log.) We also had some actionable items at the end. (Shocking, I know.)

Normally over spring break, I grade midterms and essays. We all take some comp hours here and there, usually based on the weather forecast. I just got to grading midterms on Friday afternoon. Yet, all week, via email and a banner across every University webpage, we see the below message:

No. We are not “operating on a spring break schedule.” We are operating on a COVID-19 Ad Hoc schedule. We are all scrambling to get our classes up-and-running online. Some of my colleagues have never taught online before. Some of them don’t even use an LMS. None of us are operating on any schedule that any of us have ever seen before. “Spring break schedule” doesn’t acknowledge that fact.

I know I’m getting semantic here. But to be constantly reminded via official communications from the University that we are on “spring break” is maddening. I know our administration isn’t working on a “spring break schedule.” I know Information Technology Services and the Center for Learning Design aren’t on a “spring break schedule.” A reply-all email chain of 19 responses (starting as a reply to a message from the President), including messages from faculty and staff who do not normally participate in such communications, praising the fantastic job everyone is doing getting us VDI access, fielding Blackboard questions, troubleshooting Zoom hiccups. The Chief Information Officer has been attached to email and responding with a friendly tone. He even thanked everyone in the email chain and praised his team.

People working high up the chain are acutely aware that this is not “spring break.”

So, I propose a new banner:

There we go. Not perfect, but better.

I opened with how day three ended, so I will end with how day four ended.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

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