I just made my will today.
The faculty and staff at my university got the email yesterday from Human Resources referring us to a resource available to university employees. It’s a holographic will done with software our human resources area has access to. It doesn’t even cost us anything, because our university has been so kind as to provide this service to us for free.
I am furious.
Not because I made a will, because I should have done that years ago. I knew better, but let it lapse anyhow because, you know, time passes and nobody likes to think about death.
I am furious because this is the response of the university to the faculty and staff’s concerns about Coronavirus in the fall semester. We’ve already watched our cases double in the past week and a half in the county. Nobody has died — yet. What is going to happen when all five thousand-some students come back?
We faculty wanted online classes. We got assistance with wills.
To be fair, we’re trying some alternative classroom arrangements to allow for social distancing. I will have only eight students per class session; I will in effect be teaching only one class session a week six times (two sections x three cohorts of 8). But these students will be in residence halls, where social distancing cannot happen. They will be in the food court. They will get COVID and, hopefully, most of them will survive, except I guess those with comorbidities like diabetes and immune suppression.
We will wear masks — hopefully. I’ve not been told what to do with students who will not wear masks, other than “put them in the corner”.
The death rate from COVID in the US, according to Johns Hopkins, is 3.6%. Most of that is concentrated in minorities, older age groups and people with preexisting conditions that predispose us to complications. I am 56 and obese, and at risk. My husband is 51 with a condition that makes him high-risk.
I am told to prepare to go fully online at any time. When will campus call this? If students return to campus, some of which are already infected from group activities, the dam will already be broken. I am bracing for ugliness. I am bracing for illness.
I am writing my will.