On Wednesday evening, the university announced that all classes will be cancelled until October 4 due to a decree by the government shutting down all schools in the country as a supposedly proactive measure against the spread of H1N1 flu. It is not exactly clear to me what this will accomplish. The World Health Organization has issued a statement addressing the best ways to fight the disease, and does identify schools as an important site (and their closure as way to address it). In part it may be that there is a fear that travelers who are going abroad for the Eid, which begins this weekend, to places like Saudi Arabia will return with the disease. There is no outbreak. And my university is shut down even though there are no reported cases. One can only imagine what will happen if there are reported cases. Plus we do have flu season coming up in January and February.
For me, it means that I am scrambling to reinvent my two classes after just spending a lot of time inventing them. I am afraid of losing whatever kind of momentum we started gaining during the first two weeks of the term. The official policy is that missed days will be assigned to Tuesdays (a day when few classes are actually scheduled) throughout the semester. I have decided that my graduate seminar will continue to meet at undisclosed locations (hush hush) during the cancellation period. For my undergraduate class, I am trying to do a lot of things electronically via email and the course website, but that still requires a massive reconfiguration and adjustment on my part. There are lots of unanswered questions.
I am trying to find something clever or interesting to say but am at something of a loss. I am burnt out from reading 19 student essays, typing up my comments, sending them out individually by email, composing a class email, responding to follow-up queries from students, and planning the next assignment.
Kulli sana w’intu tayyibu!