Link love

Not a lot of links this week. Our university official sent out an email telling us not to advertise the whereabouts of people in Afghanistan on social media as that is being used by the Taliban. They’re trying to get alumni out in conjunction with the US military. Here’s a Time article on how to help.

Updates to the covid schooling situation:  They are now putting up total number of cases at each school on the school website each day.  The first day of school had 2 new cases.  The second day of school had 10 new cases.

On the second day of school, the district decided that the elementary school classrooms will alert parents when an elementary school has been exposed (I assume because the first two cases were at elementary schools and they were inundated with phone calls from parents asking if their kid was exposed).  DH went to a school board meeting and they stood firm on refusing to do the same at the middle schools or high school because “that would be 7 emails per kid”… which no, you could just send out ONE email every day with which classes were exposed to everybody.  In about a week it won’t be possible to figure out which kid is out by class schedule because multiple kids will be out!  Or they could just note which classes are still within 10 days of exposure.  They have also decided, without reason given, to not mandate masks on busses even though the other town is mandating them because busses are covered under federal, not state, law.  They refuse to collect even voluntary information on how many staff/faculty are vaccinated.  They do not have a threshhold/cutoff for when the school should be shut down even though they had one last year (and never shut the school down).

On the first day of school, DC1’s principal sent an email talking about how great it was to see all the kids’ shining faces, and DC1 says she isn’t wearing a mask at school.  So… that’s the leadership at the high school.

Speaking of leadership, all our work meetings have been hybrid and nobody in person has been masked. Our (maskless) department head went on a thing about how our students are likely to mask because they care about people and one of our adjuncts asked if he should mask when teaching because he hates it and I started shaking and lost my cool. Oh, did I mention our uni President has told all department heads to inform the faculty that the expectation is that we are in our offices from 8-5 M-F? I spent a good portion of Friday working on a job application and the rest hiding in my closet (it’s an anxiety thing—-all these weird coping mechanisms I haven’t used since grad school are resurfacing).

Young fire knight notes that it is easier to save money when you make a lot of money.

A gai shan life contemplates how she should/will stop putting herself down (and why she has done it in the past)

22 Responses to “Link love”

  1. Alice Says:

    Re: your uni president: what the heck?!? I was on a ph.d. track before I opted out (humanities/saw the dismal job market ahead)– It wasn’t an expectation then that professors or grad students be in their offices from 8-5 then. The expectation was that people would be in their offices for office hours. The rest of the time, they might be in their office, or teaching class, or eating lunch, or at the library, or WFH, or whatever.

    Forgive me for offering some advice that’s coming from someone not in your field and situation and thus may be completely wrong for you, but– I would give some serious consideration to just quietly not doing it. Especially if your office isn’t shared or is shared by people who like you. My personal guess is that the department head’s first step if your absence is noticed or reported would be an email message to you, followed by a conversation a couple of weeks later if they don’t see a change. Do you care if they send you a message saying, “we noticed that you aren’t in your office 8-5”? Or have a conversation with you about it? I’m such a rule-follower that I don’t usually think about what the consequences actually are or if I even mind the consequences… but in this case, I think if it was me, I’d decide that I didn’t care about the consequences. The few times I’ve been pushed enough to think concretely about how much I cared about a consequence and realized that I didn’t care, it’s been liberating.

    I would also think about the personalities involved, because– when I think of the department heads I knew back in grad school–none of them would’ve wanted to open the can of worms that even sending a message would entail. There wasn’t a global pandemic back then, but I remember their personalities: they’d drag their feet on dealing with it. If your department head is like that, the longer they drag their feet, the more likely it is that things work in your favor. Either (likely) the local pandemic situation worsens and circumstances force the university to step back from the expectation or (unlikely) the virus dies down enough their position is less irrational and you’re more willing to start doing the 8-5 thing without anyone talking to you. Either way, time is on your side.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Oh I’m definitely not doing it. I’m going in to teach and nothing else until DC2 is vaccinated. Especially with my department head going about unmasked along with a handful of other colleagues.

      Basically if this becomes a problem I will take unpaid leave and they’ll have to find someone to cover my classes and nobody to do all the freaking service I do. This job needs me more than I need them.

      • rose Says:

        SO glad re what you are doing.
        I am sure it would be unwise to ask about survivor benefits, and attendance at student and staff funerals, family leave for medical reasons, etc. OR even why the department head does not care about others as much as they think the students will care ….. It is hard to fire a tenured prof but the administration can make your life miserable and that is not a good plan. RUN SILENT, RUN DEEP, apply for other locations with careful thought about their policies….. PS: Some locations in blue states are even more head in sand that what you are describing.
        THANK YOU FOR SHARING! You broaden my understandings and awareness.

  2. delagar Says:

    We’re requiring masks on campus, and our U. police chief said to call him if anyone decides to make a political statement by refusing to wear one. (He said ask them nicely first, and remind them that masks are required.) We were also told that we’re not allowed to ask anyone’s vaccination status, or “to bully” anyone about being unvaaccinated.

    On the other hand, we’re not required to keep office hours AT ALL this semester: we just have to “be available” somehow, either through email or zoom, though we can meet F2F if we want to.

    Enrollment is up. So that part is good news.

    Also: agree with Alice. You have to be in your office from 8 to 5? WTAF? Do they think they’re running a factory?

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Yay requiring masks! Yay U police chief!

      If we have in person office hours we must allow unmasked people in them. We cannot have separate office hours for masked and unmasked people. So it’s safest to only have zoom office hours.

      Our grad enrollment is down… lots of melt over the summer.

  3. Lisa Says:

    Our city mayor finally had to step in and order a mask mandate in K-12 schools last week (our district starts Tues). Leaders up the chain had tried and been voted down by their respective legislative bodies, so it will only be our district. But I am so grateful that someone stepped up, even if this mandate gets voted down in a couple of weeks. Now I’m trying to decide whether to trust the data showing that, with universal masking and the other precautions our schools attempt, school transmission is very low. Or if I should err on the side of extreme caution because – Delta – and higher transmission rates now than when school was last in session. It might end up being a last minute decision, or even after the fact.

    I was feeling OK about teaching in person on campus because masks are required in our buildings. But then we had orientation for the new students over the last couple of days and watching the large groups of people eating lunch and chatting inside with no masks made me worried. We’ll see if orientation was a superspreader event!

    That 8-5 thing really chaps my hide. Even under normal circumstances, it’s completely unrealistic – faculty in my field often travel all of the time, and some of us have multiple offices because of administrative positions. Who has the bandwidth to track all of that crap? And what is the upside of doing so? However, I find that it’s really hard to get out of the time-based work ruts, even after a year and a half of COVID disruptions. I find myself staying in my office until 5 no matter what I’m doing. This year, I’m hoping to break myself of this habit by working from home more (my kids should all be in school, so I’ll have the house to myself!) and coming home mid afternoon sometimes to be with the kids.

  4. accm Says:

    We’re still waiting here for provincial officials to provide information on what requirements are going to be in the entire education system. Everything starts up again Sept. 7. Last year the K-12 schools managed to stay open with masking only gr. 4 and up because community transmission was kept low. This year, we have Delta on a steep upward trajectory. Apparently some lovely bureaucrat in the government forbade the universities to enact any stronger regulations than what Public Health has listed, which is why our faculty, staff and students, and now our President, have been increasingly vocally openly pleading for vaccine and mask mandates. Supposedly we will hear something early next week. I’m sure two weeks will be plenty of time to figure out new logistics if large classes have to go online (sarcasm. Of course, the university only made formal plans for everything being in-person.). Meanwhile I’m trying to figure out if handheld mikes have a chance of working will with N95 masks, since apparently lapel mikes won’t. And I still don’t know what classroom I’m going to be in.

    Oh, and 8-5 is ridiculous. Even pre-pandemic, even pre-kids, I only made it in for 8 am stuff a few times a year. And are they really asking for a 45-hour week, or is there an implied lunch hour in there?

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      During pre-pandemic times I was literally the only person in the office at 8am besides the cleaning staff. It was quite nice. Last year it was just my students and me and one cleaning person on the days I taught my 8am sections.

      Nobody is actually going to change anything, I’m sure.

  5. middle_class Says:

    Your Uni president sounds horrible!

  6. Debbie M Says:

    I also wanted to come here with good news. My boyfriend often gets jobs checking up on the IT at various home improvement branches within a couple of hours of driving distance. One of these is in a small town he has dubbed as the scariest. There are still Trump for president posters, no one wears masks or social distances, etc.

    Well, after 3 days of class, their school district had 87 (known) cases of COVID. And now I finally come to the good part. They are now mandating masks in their public schools, even though our governor has made it illegal to do so. I never in a million years would have guessed that would have happened.

    So sorry for your horrible environment.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Wooo masks! But 87 cases is a lot for a small town. We only have ~30 cases as of Friday…

      But also I’ve seen tweets to call your state legislators about their attempt to have a state law through emergency session. I don’t know if there’s different levels of illegal or what.

      • Debbie M Says:

        Yes 87 is crazy! And that’s just schoolchildren.

        I’m not sure what you mean by the “attempt to have a state law through emergency session” but there are definitely plenty of reasons to call my state legislators. They have called a third “special session” now that the Democrats have returned from Washington (where they succeeded in ruining the Texas’ House’s quorum requirements but failed to get the Federal Government to pass any laws prohibiting the anti-voting laws we’re trying to pass). However, I did read that the current version of the election suppression law is a bit less horrifying than the original one (https://www.kut.org/politics/2021-08-20/texas-democrats-quorum-voting-elections-bill-legislature), so all is not lost.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Let me dig through ..
        here it is:

        RED ALERT🚨
        CALL TO ACTION🚨

        We need ALL hands on deck! HB 141 is being called to committee. It was introduced by Rep. Jeff Leach last week. It was DOA without quorum. That is no longer the case and it is being called first.

        This bill reads:

        Sec.A38.0021.A
        A FACE COVERING MANDATE PROHIBITED. Notwithstanding any other law, a student in any grade level from kindergarten through grade 12 may not be required to wear a face mask or a face covering as a students admission to a, continued enrollment in, or attendance at any public school in the state.

        I need everyone to call ALL members of the State Affairs Committee and oppose this bill.
        Get 10 friends to do it too!

        My husband asked me to pull the phone numbers, so he can quickly call on work breaks today. Here they are:

        Chris Paddie – (512) 463-0556 or (903) 935-1141

        Ana Hernandez – (512) 463-0614 or (713) 675-8596

        Joe DesHotel – (512) 463-0662 or (409) 724-0788

        Sam Harless – (512) 463-0496 or (281) 251-0194

        John Smithee – (512) 463-0702 or (806) 372-3327

        Shelby Slawson – (512) 463-0628

        Matt Shaheen – (512) 463-0594

        Richard Pena Raymond – (512) 463-0558 or (956) 753-7722

        Will Metcalf – (512) 463-0726 or (936) 539-0068

        Eddie Lucio – (512) 463-0606 or (956) 542-2800

        Phil King – (512) 463-0738 or (817) 596-4796

        Todd Hunter – (512) 463-0672 or (361) 949-4603

        Donna Howard – (512) 463-0631

        ****************
        You can find the committee members here.
        Click their photo to find their contact information.

        https://house.texas.gov/committees/committee/?committee=C450

        We are also drafting an email that we will share with you to send. For those in Austin, we can walk you through testifying and registering opposition at The Capitol if you want.

        We have to be LOUD and we have to stop this bill.

      • Debbie M Says:

        Thank you. I hadn’t even heard of that! I called most of the numbers (starting from the bottom) until technical issues broke my phone. Mostly I left messages, but of the four staff members I got to speak to, one is expected to oppose the bill, one supports it, one has no position because it has not yet been presented to committee (yeah, right), and it was so far down on one person’s radar that these phone calls are how he’s found out about it, so it sounds like it’s possible it will never even come up.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        130+ cases in our district

  7. Living in the time of pandemic: COVID-19 (65) « A Gai Shan Life Says:

    […] 162: We’re still cautious about in person school but we’re also well aware that unlike our friends across the country, our district has at least some of the most needed mitigation strategies in place: universal mask […]


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