Today, along with many other universities, my niece’s school, Penn State, sent a notice telling kids not to report back on Sunday, the end of spring break, but to plan for remote classes until April 6. My nephew’s school, Temple University, quickly followed suit. Neither of them is happy about it—they’d rather go to class and my niece has only brought a week’s worth of clothes, contact lenses, and other stuff from State College.
Then comes the cascade of closing workplaces, sports events—the NBA, for God’s sake—and K-12 schools in some of the hotspots, and the WHO declaring this a global pandemic.
I work from home and my children are grown. I don’t have many adjustments to make. But I worry about people who don’t get paid if they don’t show up, who have no paid leave time, and those without insurance. The flimsiness of the American safety net is showing.
I’ve been talking to several young people in my life—teens and college age kids—about this and what I’m finding is that they’re at one end of the response (Why is everyone making such a big deal out of this?) or the other (Is the world going to end?) Maybe that’s because they get their damn news from You Tube.
Then we got the zombie speech from the Oval Office, which did not reassure anyone of anything except that the President and his administration are in no way prepared for this pandemic and that he isn’t a very good reader.
Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson? Wow. Well, I guess they are often in large crowds.