Thoughts On A Sunday - Coronavirus Edition

I kept thinking that I should devote this entire TOAS to the coronavirus, but is being done to death by just about everyone else. Not that I won’t make mention of it here and there during this ‘episode’, but I’m not going to obsess about it like so many others.

I will mention that I saw plenty of empty toilet paper shelves at out local Walmart while shopping there this morning. Not that we needed any, but I did notice them as I was making my way to the drinks aisle to pick up a couple of 2 liter bottles of Dr. Pepper.

I admit I did make one concession to the coronavirus ‘hysteria’, that being buying a new spray bottle of Clorox Clean Up. That’s it. No 55-gallon drums of hand sanitizer. No one-dozen 48-roll packs of toilet paper. Just a single spray bottle of Clorox Clean Up.

People need to get a grip on reality.


As one last concession to coronavirus, I am going to mention the large number of schools and colleges here in New Hampshire closing for the next two or three weeks with instruction moving inline for many of them, as well as town/city offices limiting access and canceling/postponing meetings. Even our state legislature is suspending their session and closing legislative offices for a week or so. Churches have canceled services for the next couple of weeks. Some towns have postponed their town meetings until April.

My little town has suspended use of the town hall meeting facilities for non-government meetings, canceled all out-of-state travel (mostly for training purposes), and has been making preparations in case some town employees have to work from home. My place of work has changed all meetings to teleconferences (no face-to-face meetings), canceled all travel including any travel between company facilities, and closed facilities to outside visitors.

I’ll admit it’s all a little eerie.


I agree with Skip on this: Make them live up to their own rules.

Seems fair to me.


I was hoping to limit my coverage of coronavirus, but it seems that the media and most of my usual sources are focused entirely on the subject, so I figure maybe I can cover subjects tangentially related to Covid-19. In this case, the subject is remote schooling, aka online schooling. (Link is paywalled.)

Remote schooling is nothing new. Goodness knows homeschoolers have been using resources like Khan Academy, VLACS, and K12 as well as a host of other online education resources. Maybe it’s time for towns and cities to consider making more use of online schooling.

Fortunately, we live in a different world than we did in 2005, when Hurricane Katrina decimated New Orleans and closed all but a handful of schools for almost a year. We now have the technology necessary to teach students effectively and efficiently using the internet. These tools can ensure that learning continues uninterrupted during a crisis, while providing schools with collateral educational and financial benefits.

Many schools and districts already use laptops, tablet computers, smart boards and other devices to support classroom instruction. Not every district in the country has the ability to convene students in virtual classrooms, but every school system has at least thought about ways to instruct students remotely in the event of a disruption. For those that haven’t yet developed strategic plans to build an instructional system with remote-learning capacity, the current crisis should drive home the need to do so.

A ready and waiting remote-learning system is a game changer during a major emergency, not to mention more common disturbances such as weather-related disruptions, localized health hazards and students forced into long-term absences for various reasons. Even when school is in regular, nonemergency session, remote-learning infrastructure enhances classroom instruction and individualizes students’ learning experiences. Students who can’t attend school in a traditional setting because of disabilities or health issues can “dial in” and participate fully in class through the remote-learning system.

One of the advantages is that remote learning can help effectively expand existing school facilities because not as much classroom space will be needed if some students are learning from home.

I can see another positive aspect to this, that being that students can learn at their own pace. For some this means they aren’t being held back from learning at an accelerated pace and for others that they aren’t being left behind.

Is remote learning a cure-all for educational issues? Of course not, not by any means. But it is one more tool in the education ‘arsenal’ we should be exploiting.

UPDATE: New Hampshire Governor Sununu has ordered all New Hampshire schools closed for the next three weeks. Education will be moving online starting Monday, March 23rd. (Some schools are already doing so.) This coming week will be used to move schooling online.


And that’s the coronavirus abbreviated news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where most folks aren’t panic buying, some folks from away have decided it’s a good time to ‘visit’ their vacation homes up here for a couple of weeks, and where we’re waiting for all of this to blow over.