Back to school this week…except most of us are not back at all, but are working from home this semester.

There are benefits to that: I can eat breakfast while checking email. Walk the dog when I need a break from the computer screen. Take advantage of flexible hours such as starting work at 6:30 am and then taking a mid morning break to go for a bike ride or practice yoga. I think on the whole it is healthier in many ways.

But it is not the same for teaching, and although I am confident that delivery online can be of equal value and just as robust as onsite delivery, I know I will miss the energy and vibe of the classroom.

I’m also going to miss daily engagement with colleagues. It is amazing how much gets done almost inadvertently when we see each other every day, and it is a certainty that there are gaps in knowledge that result from being wholly online.

But here’s the punch. Twenty years ago, heck even ten years ago, we would all have lost this year due to COVID. Students–like my own daughters, both starting university this fall–would have to take a year off, but without any opportunity to travel or work full time. A lost year in fact.

The ability to continue to study online means that however imperfect the reality is, we do all get to continue moving forward. And that’s good news.

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