Wednesday, July 15, 2020
Wall Street Journal op-ed: Why I’ll Be on Campus This Fall, by John Hasnas (Georgetown):
Georgetown University has given all its faculty, including me, the option to teach in the classroom or remotely via computer during the fall semester. Even though my age places me in the high-risk category, I’ve elected to teach in person. I feel I have an obligation to do so.
Covid-19 is a fact of life. There is no alternative to learning to live with the risk of infection as generations before us lived with similar dangers. ...
For the past four months, I have watched people younger than myself risk infection for my benefit. People who are often the age of my students have kept grocery stores open for me, cooked and delivered food to my home, worked in warehouses, loaded and driven trucks to deliver packages to me, worked in meat-processing plants and other links in the supply chain to ensure that I have what I need for a comfortable life, and worked in hospitals so that I can get treatment if I get sick. I would feel ungenerous if I were unwilling to run some risk of infection myself to provide my services to them. ...
[I]t is important to be on campus. I have taught at Georgetown for many years, and hope to continue teaching there for many more. For me, missing one year in the classroom is not much of a sacrifice. But my undergraduate students have only four years in college and my law students only three in law school. I have clear memories of how personally meaningful and fleeting those years are, of how much emotional growth and character development takes place though interactions with classmates and faculty.
My current students have already lost several months of this precious time. It looks as if they are destined to lose more. I feel obliged to minimize that loss as much as I can by providing them with as close to a normal educational experience as possible under the circumstances. The least I can do is be in the room with them.