Screen fatigue is real, y’all. After six weeks of a four-by-four schedule of remote classes, I have discovered genuine antipathy for looking at screens of any size. I find myself wishing for an old-fashioned landline. I don’t especially care to stream movies I’ve put on the watchlist. I’d as soon go grabbling for alligators as turn on my laptop once I get home.
I’d like to tell you that your physical return to MSMS will result in significantly less screen time. However, social distancing guidelines mean that very few classes will be able to meet with all participants in the same room–only a couple of spaces in Hooper and Shack can accommodate even eleven students at the same time. As a result, we will have to deal with “hybrid” models in which some students are physically present and others Zoom–which in effect means that even those in the room will be watching Zoom to monitor the questions and chats of their colleagues in other places. Social distancing will also mean courses that rely on groupwork–labs, performance classes, robotics classes, etc–will not quite be normal.
This begs a series of questions: because health needs continue to require social distancing, would students be better off at home, both educationally and socially, until the third or fourth quarter? If students do return to campus in October. what should the tipping point be for a resumption of distance learning? Do we send everyone home after ten students test positive? Twenty?