It was only a couple of weeks ago that I wrote about the possibilities of in-person teaching now that 90% of university students had had at least one Covid jab.
One thing we do need to recognise though, is that the pandemic is far from over. We may not go into another lockdown situation, but are universities prepared to pivot again to online delivery and teaching? Hopefully we will start to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but we do need to be prepared, as that light may be further away than we think it is.
I also wrote
Also new variants can reduce the efficacy of the vaccines, as well as the fact that the efficacy of the vaccine declines over time.
On Saturday morning I was reading the news about the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
I posted this tweet.
With Omicron on the horizon, maybe today is the day you start wearing your mask again and reducing social contact. #JustSaying
— James Clay (@jamesclay) November 27, 2021
By the afternoon the government announced that mask wearing in shops and on public transport would become mandatory again on Tuesday the 30th November.
The government also announced that face masks would be compulsory in educational institutions.
The measure, which applies from Monday, covers all education establishments including universities, as well as childcare settings such as early years care.
That light at the end of the tunnel now seems a litter further away than it did back at the beginning of November.
I also wrote in that earlier blog post:
We may not go into another lockdown situation, but are universities prepared to pivot again to online delivery and teaching?
What we do know about the Omicron variant is that it is highly transmissible and with some of the population deciding to refuse to wear masks, I think it will only be a matter of time before we see rising infection rates and the possibility of another lockdown.
So I ask again are universities prepared to pivot again to online delivery and teaching?
Are we in a better position than we were before?
Well much of those early teething issues will have been resolved, and people will have a better idea of what to do. However I still think we will see just more translation, or lift and shift of existing in-person practice to remote delivery. What we won’t see is the transformation to what is possible, taking full advantage of the affordances of online and digital delivery. With a lift and shift approach it shouldn’t be a surprise that we will see complaints from students, zoom fatigue and so on…
Hopefully the vaccination rollout and mask wearing will reduce the chance of lockdown, but I would still be preparing for the possibilities of another lockdown regardless.