It is now close to three months that we have all been navigating in the current reality created by the SARS-CoV-2 virus and together have managed to continue our academic journey under the new pretense of online blended learning.
With this academic term coming to an end in a few weeks, I thank all of you for remaining calm and adapting so quickly. We all learned and lived with a new reality and a new terminology.
From a small news item in China, we rapidly went to an epidemic in the City of Wuhan and finally to a pandemic that has affected the whole world.
We learned what the difference is between a lockdown (e.g. France, Italy, Spain, India, …) and a shelter-in-place or stay-at-home (e.g. Germany and the Netherlands), which incorporated social-distancing and home isolation. Self-quarantine, self-isolation, home-office and home-schooling became part of our daily vocabulary and life.
And all of us quickly learned what the coronaviruses are, what the incubation time is, what droplet transmission is, what do we mean by ‘asymptomatic’, what super-spreaders are, what the R-Factor is and that we need to wear facemasks and wash our hands with soap diligently and more often than ever before (Most of us do not leave home without a hand sanitizer in our pockets).
All these measures were focused at slowing the transmission and, by this, reducing the infections – Flattening the Curve. And to a certain extent, the world community has been able to slow, not stop, the spread.
We have been exposed to the medical and economic consequences of the pandemic, but we have also been challenged by a global media landscape that was dictated by competing and at times very confusing and contradictory messages.
Not to forget, the endless word-of-mouth and social media galore that facilitated the easy spread of false news, false hope, conspiracy theories and drama.
During this time, we were also dramatically reminded how systemic racism, social inequality and discrimination are still part of our societies. We all must hope that the death of George Floyd is remembered and that we all contribute to making the world a better place.
So, it fills me with a lot of pride, that we as academics, ranging from our pathway students and our MBA students to our most senior faculty members, despite all of above (and much more) have remained calm and focused on our studies and, with that, the future.
How effective the measures by the government in Germany and Bavaria have been can be seen by the lowering of the regulations concerning our daily lives, which were published yesterday by the Bavarian prime minister Dr. Söder: