Updated Sept. 16, 2020 at 12:02 p.m. to include information about the length of Patch's quarantine.
Senior Lecturer in English Paula Patch had been teaching all of her classes in-person. She had plans for students to learn remotely, but never thought she would have to use them herself. Patch said she thought she might get COVID-19 from being on campus, but never thought the virus would be brought into her home. She’s quarantining after a family member tested positive for COVID-19 last week.
“I've been reading Elon’s plan. I know what the protocol is for, you know, you have someone who's seen a suspected case, and you've been exposed,” she said. “And I still felt like I didn't know what to do. Like, it was just a weird moment. I really wanted somebody to reaffirm to me what the steps were that I needed to take and who I needed to call and where we needed to go from there.”
Once her family member tested positive for COVID-19, Patch reported her situation to HR, but was unsure of what her next steps would be. Patch knew that every time one of her students was in quarantine, she would get notified by the university. However, Patch was not sure if a similar process happened for faculty. She soon found out that the university does not notify her students of her quarantine situation. Instead, that is her responsibility as a professor.
While Patch was comfortable being open about her quarantine situation with her students, she knows that some of her colleagues would not be. As a professor in quarantine, Patch is hoping she can advise faculty who might have trouble navigating through a situation such as this one.
“I've been trying to really monitor the places where maybe we could do a little bit better for some people, if they needed it. And that's been actually a luxury that I have,”she said. “I know the process really well. I feel comfortable in the process. I can see where it might need to be slightly modified for people who are less comfortable or less informed.”
Nonetheless, Patch notified the English department of her situation with her plan to transition all 60 of her students to remote learning for the duration of her quarantine. Within a day, all of her classes were being held over Zoom.
She has made an effort to make this a positive experience for her students. While she relies on Moodle to manage her daily class activities, the biggest shift for Patch was reimagining lessons that could only be done in-person.
As a parent of a college student and a professor of higher education in quarantine, Patch said she hopes to bring a different perspective on COVID-19 to her students.
“I don't want anyone to feel stigmatized. I don't want anyone to feel like they can't not only say that they've been exposed or have the virus I also don't want them to feel like they can't ask for help and I don't want them to feel like they have to pretend like nothing is happening,” Patch said. “What I really want my students to know is if you're exposed, if you have it, don't cover it up.”
In a tweet, Patch said she will be back out of quarantine Sept. 17.