Creative Solutions during Covid Teaching Regulations

«We all did what we had to do. And in those circumstances, we did the best we could.»
V for Vendetta

Strange how things develop. We had a time when people were monitoring themselves for symptoms and stayed home, then there were tests, now there are vaccines, but somehow things get worse and worse. It’s like society (and esp. politicians) is on a one-track train to more and more control.

I mean, for the next round of exams, students have to write their exams while wearing a mask. Last time there were exams (that were not online), they could at least take it off once they were seated. And coming winter semester, you actually need a permit [“Passierschein”] to be allowed in the lecture halls on campus. And lecturers are supposed to do at least part of the controls. Nice way of making them into accomplices to this insanity. Well, screw that — this doesn’t have to end a «V for Vendetta» way (quotation above).

Best case, I find a way to offer the lectures completely remotely, incl. as hybrid lectures (in presence and online at the same time, but given that lecturers also fall under these 3G regulations — i.e. if unvaccinated they have to get tested regularly — with myself being remote as well). Worst case, something will die in me and I won’t do any lectures this winter semester.

But it’s up in the air at the moment — as the goal of these regulations seems to be to pressure students to get vaccinated and creative solutions are unlikely to be welcomed. After all, the pressure doesn’t work anymore if people find creative ways to bypass regulations. And that pressure is really strange. I mean, sure, if you think you are only alive due to a vaccination, you want others to have it too, but this fervor — there’s something else at play here. It’s much too totalitarian to be just about safety. Hmm, moral panic perhaps, or some people have found meaning in it, or cognitive dissonance.

But yeah, wanting people to get vaccinated, strange, especially when it comes to students. In Germany, in the age group of 20-29 years, there have been 55 men and 33 women who died of Covid so far (88 in total). Likely not all of them were students and it’s highly likely at least some of them had comorbidities. In contrast, between 2017 and 2020, there have been between 326 and 394 traffic deaths per year in the 18 to 25 age group. Again, likely not all of them students, and probably only a small part got killed on their way to and from university. But looking at it in comparison? What’s the danger for students here? Perhaps we should just lock down universities for good, do everything remote and never leave the house. Heck, we could even just play recorded lectures and pretend they are done live, just to have more time for research and waste less time on those screen-faces.

Yeah, some cynicism getting through. Looking back, earlier resistance to these measures would have been better.

But we’ll see. It’s all extremely depressing. Perhaps I should have gone to trade school instead of university (doing something with my hands was helpful to think about something else today). At the moment, I wouldn’t recommend to anyone to go to university under 3G rules. If you did get vaccinated, fine, if you want to get vaccinated, also fine, and if you do not want to get vaccinated even though you could (e.g., you distrust the quick development, or a state that has proven untrustworthy when dealing with Covid), that’s also fine.

But pressure is not, well, at least if individual freedom is still a thing.