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Am I the Only One Freaking Out About Starting 1L Online

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Posted (edited)
3 minutes ago, ProfReader said:

I said nothing about going back to normal. Quite the opposite. Campuses will definitely reopen at some point without a vaccine, albeit in a more limited fashion. Many, if not most, will open to some extent in the fall. I have no idea what has led you to believe otherwise. As I've already told you, there will be online options. Those who cannot travel will avail themselves of those options.

You can believe they'll reopen, but it's pretty clear - without a vaccine, social distancing will come back, and then you're going to be probably stuck back in the same scenario if another full lockdown is needed. We just don't know and the only safe assumption is that nothing will look like it did, or even kinda resemble it, without a vaccine.

Edited by BeltOfScotch
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3 minutes ago, BeltOfScotch said:

You can believe they'll reopen, but it's pretty clear - without a vaccine, social distancing will come back, and then you're going to be probably stuck back in the same scenario if another full lockdown is needed. We just don't know and the only safe assumption is that nothing will look like it did, or even kinda resemble it, without a vaccine.

It's not a "belief". I'm privy to these discussions at the administrative level, directly at my own institution and through gossip at other institutions. Also, basically all of the announcements that have come out suggest some amount of in-person activities subject to restrictions. Whether you or I agree with that isn't relevant because that's what will happen.

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Posted (edited)

I don’t doubt they’re *planning* to reopen - but without a vaccine there is a probable and ever-present chance that the virus will come surging back. Today the WHO stated that we may just be dealing with this virus from now on, as a new common viral infection. The world sucks and seems to enjoy torturing us, so I’m guessing it’ll be the worst outcome. We don’t know. That will be a possibility until we have a vaccine. We are stuck without any certainty in anything beyond a few weeks from now without one. Epidemiologists are continually making this point, again and again. 

Edited by BeltOfScotch
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5 minutes ago, BeltOfScotch said:

I don’t doubt they’re *planning* to reopen - but without a vaccine there is a probable and ever-present chance that the virus will come surging back. Today the WHO stated that we may just be dealing with this virus from now on, as a new common viral infection. The world sucks and seems to enjoy torturing us, so I’m guessing it’ll be the worst outcome. We don’t know. That will be a possibility until we have a vaccine. We are stuck without any certainty in anything beyond a few weeks from now without one. Epidemiologists are continually making this point, again and again. 

Clearly you would prioritize minimizing any health risks at all, even relatively small ones, if you were designing policy. Right or wrong, that's not the way society is headed. Policy-makers, including universities, are balancing health risks with other socio-economic concerns.

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, ProfReader said:

Clearly you would prioritize minimizing any health risks at all, even relatively small ones, if you were designing policy. Right or wrong, that's not the way society is headed. Policy-makers, including universities, are balancing health risks with other socio-economic concerns.

But that doesn't change what I've stated, nor does it change the fact that without a vaccine, the risk is variable, and above all else, basically unknowable. We have no certainty and we could very easily be dealing with another crippling wave of COVID-19 in the short-term, long-term, medium-term, the who-knows term. Our modelling is probably pretty accurate assuming most things stay consistent, but we have no idea what the virus could do to completely upend trends. It's also pretty unclear if people can get sick again from the virus. I'm on the side of experts and our health care workers interested in protecting as many human beings as possible, and I am perfectly content in criticizing policy-makers when they don't do that as well.

 

Edited by BeltOfScotch

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7 minutes ago, BeltOfScotch said:

I don’t doubt they’re *planning* to reopen - but without a vaccine there is a probable and ever-present chance that the virus will come surging back. Today the WHO stated that we may just be dealing with this virus from now on, as a new common viral infection. The world sucks and seems to enjoy torturing us, so I’m guessing it’ll be the worst outcome. We don’t know. That will be a possibility until we have a vaccine. We are stuck without any certainty in anything beyond a few weeks from now without one. Epidemiologists are continually making this point, again and again. 

[Emphasis added]

With all due respect to Dr. Ryan, he was reckless in making such a statement, precisely because it leads to this kind of inaccurate rhetoric and the broader inaccurate reporting in the media we saw today.

COVID-19 has an R0 value of somewhere between 3.8 and 9.0, based on the most recent research. Without a vaccine and with such a high basic reproduction number, we'll eventually work through the population and establish herd immunity. That option sucks, because it would involve massive loss of life, but it will happen eventually if we never develop a vaccine. 

His comparison to HIV becoming endemic in society was off for a whole host of reasons, not least of which is the fact that HIV, by its very nature, doesn't allow for herd immunity to be established (without the use of ARTs). 

There is a exceptionally slim possibility that COVID-19 immunity is short lasting – but we don't have any evidence to support that hypothesis and there's essentially no diseases that trigger an active immune response without a corresponding memory system in healthy individuals. This is probably what Dr. Ryan was thinking about when he warned that COVID-19 might "never go away", and shows why a perfectly reasonable statement made amongst medical colleagues (who understand this important context) can be reckless when shared more broadly. 

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1 minute ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

[Emphasis added]

With all due respect to Dr. Ryan, he was reckless in making such a statement, precisely because it leads to this kind of inaccurate rhetoric and the broader inaccurate reporting in the media we saw today.

COVID-19 has an R0 value of somewhere between 3.8 and 9.0, based on the most recent research. Without a vaccine and with such a high basic reproduction number, we'll eventually work through the population and establish herd immunity. That option sucks, because it would involve massive loss of life, but it will happen eventually if we never develop a vaccine. 

His comparison to HIV becoming endemic in society was off for a whole host of reasons, not least of which is the fact that HIV, by its very nature, doesn't allow for herd immunity to be established (without the use of ARTs). 

There is a exceptionally slim possibility that COVID-19 immunity is short lasting – but we don't have any evidence to support that hypothesis and there's essentially no diseases that trigger an active immune response without a corresponding memory system in healthy individuals. This is probably what Dr. Ryan was thinking about when he warned that COVID-19 might "never go away", and shows why a perfectly reasonable statement made amongst medical colleagues (who understand this important context) can be reckless when shared more broadly. 

This is fair and would seem correct on the point of it being a possible future infection, and really, probably not a super huge problem like you said with a vaccine. I'm not saying that ProfReader is wrong, though. They could very well be completely on the nose. It does genuinely seem without a vaccine that there is indeed a real and distinct possibility of a very dangerous second wave, and with that hanging over us, I am incredibly reluctant to assume anything good will happen.

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7 minutes ago, BeltOfScotch said:

This is fair and would seem correct on the point of it being a possible future infection, and really, probably not a super huge problem like you said with a vaccine. I'm not saying that ProfReader is wrong, though. They could very well be completely on the nose. It does genuinely seem without a vaccine that there is indeed a real and distinct possibility of a very dangerous second wave, and with that hanging over us, I am incredibly reluctant to assume anything good will happen.

To be clear, I never disagreed there would be a second wave. I only ever disagreed that your protect health at all costs until there is a vaccine approach was realistic.

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3 minutes ago, BeltOfScotch said:

This is fair and would seem correct on the point of it being a possible future infection, and really, probably not a super huge problem like you said with a vaccine. I'm not saying that ProfReader is wrong, though. They could very well be completely on the nose. It does genuinely seem without a vaccine that there is indeed a real and distinct possibility of a very dangerous second wave, and with that hanging over us, I am incredibly reluctant to assume anything good will happen.

Sure, nobody knows what's going to happen. We could also have a new, ART-resistant HIV jump from apes to humans tomorrow, with an R0 value of 100, and we could all be dead by the end of the year. 

At the end of the day, people have to continue living their lives, even with this kind of thing hanging over their heads. It may take a long time for us to go back to "normal", but the idea that we'll be in cycling lockdowns indefinitely is likely incorrect. At a certain point, government's would start issuing N-95 masks and goggles to everyone, and we'd all just start going about our lives looking marginally more silly than people did in the 90s with those big ugly ties. 

It seems like you, and a lot of others in this thread, spend a lot of time reading and thinking about what the future will hold due to COVID, and although I don't know any of the participants here personally, it seems like it's causing a lot of stress. That's fair – a lot of people are rightfully stressed out about the current situation. 

With that said, my general advice relating to a lot of concerns being raised in this thread (and not specifically by @BeltOfScotch) is this: I think a lot of people would be wise to step back from coronavirus coverage in the media.

First off, the quality of journalistic reporting on COVID-19 is *very* low, because broadly speaking it's not being reported on by science journalists who are used to reviewing scientific papers and reporting on scientific issues, but by... well... essentially every journalist in the world. That leads to comments like Dr. Ryan's being reported as "this is never ending", and leads to unnecessary stress. Secondly, there's a lot of research out there showing that we consume way too much news pre-COVID-19, and that that over consumption causes negative affects on us in a million different ways – it makes us less happy and more anxious, causes us to make unwise financial decisions, and often affects our ability to form our own opinions. Third and finally, there is essentially no benefit to monitoring the news in relation to COVID-19. With one notable exception (the wearing of masks), the actionable information relating to COVID-19 for the public has been exceptionally static since community spread began – stay home, wash your hands, stay six feet away from each other. Nothing the media reports on for a good while is likely to be actionable information for individuals. And let's be realistic, if actionable information is discovered and reported, COVID-19 is cured, or we conclusively discover that we're all going to die from COVID-19 in a year, that news will get through to you even if you block every news-media website on the internet. 

Things are very likely to move forward, stop, and reverse as we move through the coming months and/or years. Nobody is going to know whether or not schools next year are open, shut, open up then shut down, or start online then move in person until, in all likelihood, the end of next year. The best thing any of us can do right now is sit back and try to go with the flow, accepting things as they come and dealing with issues as they arise, instead of worrying for months in advance. And to me, the best way to do that is to step back from the constant COVID-19 noise and focus on what is controllable in our own lives.

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3 hours ago, BeltOfScotch said:

It does genuinely seem without a vaccine that there is indeed a real and distinct possibility of a very dangerous second wave, and with that hanging over us, I am incredibly reluctant to assume anything good will happen.

I mean, mortalities rates for Covid-19 are pretty good. This may sound insensitive to the deaths that have occurred but the data is showing that the concerns that Covid-19 was going to be the next Spanish flue were unsupported. So I’m not so sure about a really dangerous second wave coming. Sure people will get sick, but that’s bound to happen even with lockdown measures. Should we be safe and alert? Yes, but being anxious and perpetually worrying about covid-19 isn’t very productive, in my opinion. 
 

At the beginning, public health officials were shooting in the dark. There was a ton they didn’t know. Today however, there’s more that we do know, and still plenty we don’t. That being said, better decisions and more precise decisions can be made today rather than assuming the worse. 
 

I also completely agree with @BlockedQuebecois regarding the need to not consume media surrounding Covid-19 to an obsessive extent. The constant wall to wall coverage that people are consuming is not healthy, and that’s empirically supported. 

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Got this in an email from York today on the topic of the fall term. Seems like they are following the voluntary and partial in-person approach as well. Not sure how this will translate at Osgoode.

***

Ensuring our students have access to a high-quality experience
To the extent possible and with physical distancing measures in place, we are planning to offer selected in-person smaller classes and tutorials, experiential activities such as studio and labs, and re-establish access to our research facilities.

Being sufficiently flexible to provide equitable access for students
We understand that not everyone will be able to make it to campus in the fall. Course delivery is being planned with enough flexibility to provide access for all students, considering your different geographic locations and time zones, as well as considerations for health, family status and accommodations for students with disabilities.

Whether you join us on or off campus, we will connect you with peers, mentors and your Faculty advising team to enhance your experience.

 

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3 hours ago, Owen said:

Got this in an email from York today on the topic of the fall term. Seems like they are following the voluntary and partial in-person approach as well. Not sure how this will translate at Osgoode.

***

Ensuring our students have access to a high-quality experience
To the extent possible and with physical distancing measures in place, we are planning to offer selected in-person smaller classes and tutorials, experiential activities such as studio and labs, and re-establish access to our research facilities.

Being sufficiently flexible to provide equitable access for students
We understand that not everyone will be able to make it to campus in the fall. Course delivery is being planned with enough flexibility to provide access for all students, considering your different geographic locations and time zones, as well as considerations for health, family status and accommodations for students with disabilities.

Whether you join us on or off campus, we will connect you with peers, mentors and your Faculty advising team to enhance your experience.

 

In a previous email from a few weeks back, the Dean Of Osgoode had advised they were going to be  largely following the direction of York. So I imagine Osgoode will be updating students soon.

Flexibility is great to see. For those who can’t move then this provides solution for them. For those who don’t want to move for only a partial experience, this helps them. Likewise, for those wanting some sort of in person, this solution would enable that. 
 

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Posted (edited)

An update... The word on the street is that both Alberta schools are going primarily online.

Update: Both have now emailed their students, so this is now official news.

Another update: Lots of universities have made announcements this week, but I would hold off on making any big decisions about moving, etc. until you hear from the law schools. The university guidance is pretty general and faculty-level information will be more specific. Information from law schools may take another week or two. I just talked to a colleague, and both of our schools have faculty meetings scheduled next week when all of this will be discussed and details ironed out. You will want to know what things will look like at the law school before making any decisions about moving, etc.

Edited by ProfReader
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17 minutes ago, ProfReader said:

An update... The word on the street is that both Alberta schools are going primarily online.

Update: Both have now emailed their students, so this is now official news.

Another update: Lots of schools have made announcements this week, but I would hold off on making any big decisions about moving, etc. until you hear from the law schools. The university guidance is pretty general and faculty-level information will be more specific. Information from law schools may take another week or two. I just talked to a colleague, and both of our schools have faculty meetings scheduled next week when all of this will be discussed and details ironed out. You will want to know what things will look like at the law school before making any decisions about moving, etc.

Thanks again for providing us with updates! 

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Re: people not being able to WFH - for anyone else who has been WFH during COVID, or had to work with people WFH, it's truly miraculous how some people have little-to-no experience with basic tech stuff (i.e. muting yourself on calls, turning off cameras, converting a document to pdf, etc.)

Re: what @BlockedQuebecois said - taking breaks from the media,  practicing hobbies, or doing something you enjoy every day are all as important as the other COVID measures

And no matter what happens, it'll be an interesting September - we're all riding this struggle bus together 🤪

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Posted (edited)
On 5/13/2020 at 3:46 PM, lawcat said:

Hey everyone!

Western just released a statement that they are officially moving forward with a mixed model. Some courses will be online and some will be taught in person. The president said students can plan to be on campus and should proceed accordingly in terms of housing, etc. 
 

THIS GIVES ME HOPE :)

 

link: https://www.uwo.ca/coronavirus/presidents-updates/

Saying Western is "officially moving forward with a mixed model" is inaccurate. Western said they are anticipating a mixed model, with a final decision to be announced by June 1st:

We will do our best to finalize fall plans in advance of June 1.

This will enable all of us – students, future students and their families, staff, faculty members – to organize our own decisions, our own work, and the University’s work in the best possible ways under less-than-ideal conditions.

That will give incoming students plenty of time to find an apartment (I found mine in July last year), so I wouldn't jump the gun on housing before June 1st. In fact, the president's letter doesn't say anything about planning to be on campus or proceeding with housing. There's some talk about faculty and staff moving back to campus in the coming weeks, but that's not relevant to what fall instruction will be like.

The president also emphasizes that they're planning things as flexibly as possible so that if things change they can adapt quickly.

Edited by lewcifer
clarification

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Posted (edited)

There’s some talk about deferring. Is anyone actually deferring their offer or have thought about it, due to the unprecedented circumstances of Covid-19? If so, which school and why? 

Edited by Yoko

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3 minutes ago, Yoko said:

There’s some talk about deferring. Is anyone actually deferring their offer or have thought about it, due to the unprecedented circumstances of Covid-19? If so, which school and why? 

Schools won't be granting them just because of COVID without extenuating circumstances.

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Posted (edited)

University of Toronto central admin just released this. Kind of just says they don’t have a concrete plan yet, but under “Academic Excellence,” it says the tentative plan is a mixed model with smaller courses/seminars/labs in person and larger courses online. 
https://www.utoronto.ca/uoft-roadmap

Edited by masterofnut

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Three schools that I know of had/are having faculty meetings today or tomorrow to start to iron out the details. There will likely be some stuff in person at some schools, but it isn't clear what. I've only heard of one school that seems determined to put some first year stuff in person, whereas the others seem to be considering things like optional upper year seminars. As I said before, you should expect more concrete details specific to law schools by the end of the month.

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