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Thursday, July 30, 2020

Are you thinking about this fall? If you are, you’re in good company. Stores, conferences, entertainment, sports, and anyone associated with education– colleges, schools, students, teachers, professors, parents, administrators, and staff–are all struggling to craft a Plan B we hoped we’d never need.

“Courage to Reimagine.” A good thought for this year. How little we knew. The Kaiser Permanente float, January, 2020.

As soon as Pasadena cancelled the 2021 New Year’s Rose Parade in mid-July I knew it was just the beginning. Here are a few ways that the next six months will be different:

  • Schools in every state are faced with reopening decisions. The decisions are made by district and range from classroom teaching to online instruction and everything in between. High school sports? Check your school. Some are cancelled completely, others are planning some sports with no spectators.
Harvard posts plans for labs, library, workforce, and classrooms. https://www.harvard.edu/coronavirus
  • Conferences: I checked on a few I used to attend: The American Historical Association (AHA) annual meeting, scheduled for Seattle in January 2021, is now cancelled. The American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) plans a virtual conference for October 3-5, with live and streaming sessions, which sounds like a good model. You can attend sessions, visit the exhibit hall, participate in a panel discussion, browse the poster hall, network, and job hunt using the message board. Sounds like good planning to me: http://www.aabb.org/annual-meeting/go/Pages/about.aspx
  • Elections: It is an election year, after all, and we have two national conventions coming up back to back in August: Check out the web sites for information: https://www.demconvention.com/ (Aug. 17-20) and https://www.2020gopconvention.com/ (Aug. 21-24).

Even I’m caught up in school year planning. I’ve been asked to give a Zoom guest lecture in an upper division medieval history class. I’ll be talking about al-Razi, the physician and alchemist I researched for my Master’s Degree, so I’ll be doing some preparation for that.

In the meantime, my heart goes out to all those whose plans have been so abruptly interrupted this year by this viral pandemic. This isn’t an ordinary year and this isn’t an ordinary virus. As Dr. Michael Osterholm always says at the end of his lectures– please, be kind.

Today’s Notable Headlines

“Where some of the country’s biggest school districts stand on reopening schools,” CNN, July 20, 2020. https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/20/us/schools-reopening-at-home-parents-choice-wellness-trnd/index.html

“‘The virus beat us’: Colleges are increasingly going online for fall 2020 semester as COVID-19 cases rise,” USA Today, July 29, 2020. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/education/2020/07/29/covid-college-fall-semester-2020-reopening-online/5530096002/

“Holiday shopping is changing amid COVID-19 pandemic with Best Buy, Kohl’s, Walmart, Target closed Thanksgiving,” USA Today, July 28, 2020. https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2020/07/28/thanksgiving-2020-store-closures-list-holiday-shopping-changes/5481009002/

“The NBA restart is here, and this is what we’re most looking forward to in the basketball bubble,” ESPN, July 30, 2020. https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/page/nbareturn29558590/the-nba-restart-here-what-most-looking-forward-basketball-bubble

“Episode 18: Preparing for the Fall,” Osterholm Update, COVID-19, July 30, 2020. https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/covid-19/podcasts-webinars/episode-18

Why am I doing this?

The coronavirus pandemic will be indelibly written on our memories just as the Great Depression or the Battle of Britain left their mark on past generations. It is my intention to journal the events of these days from three perspectives: as a retired medical technologist, a historian (Ph.D., 2014), and an ordinary person living through an extraordinary crisis.

You are on History’s Edge.

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