One Year Ago…


What a difference a year makes.

In mid-February last year, I expressed some doubt to a colleague about my campus’s decision to recall our students from Italy.

Don’t misunderstand — I knew that there was a Level 3 travel advisory for Italy at that point, and I would certainly not have sent students to Italy. But given that they were already there, and not in an area of the country where the virus was most prevalent, I wasn’t sure that bringing them back was necessary.

On March 4, I and several others were in a meeting in which we discussed preparing our colleagues for a shift to online teaching, just in case. While we were all agreed that such preparation was prudent, I really didn’t think that such a move was likely, and I had plenty of company around the table.

Was I ever wrong.

Just one week later — a year ago today — was the Wednesday of Spring Break. Around mid-day that day, Notre Dame canceled in-person classes and extended Spring Break by a week. I assumed my own campus would quickly follow suit.

And I was correct. After lunch, I made a trip to Costco. While there, I ran into two of my colleagues, and we stopped to chat. As we were chatting, an email came in to my phone, informing us that our campus, too, was suspending in-person classes and extending Spring Break. The student newspaper reported on the decision later that afternoon.

I haven’t been in a face-to-face classroom since.

Photo by Rohan on Unsplash

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