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Avuncular Advice


Isn't that a great word—"avuncular"? It means "pertaining to an uncle" and Merriam-Webster goes a bit further: "suggestive of an uncle, especially in kindliness or geniality."

So here's some avuncular advice concerning the coronavirus and Covid-19. We closed the college down in mid-March (actually, we just never came back from Spring Break), and I spent weeks hiding in my tiny apartment, teaching my courses as Distance Ed projects. I almost never went out the front door—about once every two weeks to buy an enormous load of groceries. I got pretty sick of that lifestyle. I suspect your lifestyle was similar to mine, and I suspect you got pretty tired of it too.

Somehow, on Memorial Day, we all got the feeling that the siege was over and the problem behind us.

It's not.

None of us built immunity by staying indoors; the most we gained was a set of strategies for avoiding infection. One of my Facebook friends commented that the "reopening" just means that hospitals are catching up and they now have space for you in the emergency room when you get sick.

So now the advice:
  • Keep doing the smart stuff. Keep washing your hands, wearing your face mask, and staying six feet away from people.
  • Find virus-safe summer activities that work for you. Hiking, bicycling, and bird-watching are naturals for social distancing. Golfing and tennis sound like winners. Football and wrestling probably not. Reading a book under a shade tree is a definite yes.
  • Try to control your anger. Newspapers are full of accounts of people blaming everyone from Asia, blaming the scientists or the liberals for overstating the danger, etc. Armed protesters stormed the Michigan State House to demand the restrictions be dropped. These regulations aren't attempting to destroy your freedom; they are trying to save your life.
There should be a number in the back of your mind: 100,000. That's about how many the virus has killed in the USA this year. It's as if the entire population of Ashland County, Holmes County, and the towns of Bellville, Fredericktown, and Lucas had all died since January.

For the future

We really don't know how this virus will affect us in the Fall. Ashland University is still working on plans, which will be announced in mid-June, to conduct classes. I'm setting up a hybrid course (but I won't say much about it until the official rules come down), and I expect us to somehow open. With face masks, sitting six feet away from each other, and trying to keep a good attitude about the whole thing.

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