It wasn’t until late February that we became rather anxious about the severity of the Corona Virus. News about the spread of the virus in the Western countries began to circulate on all news channels.
B B Duggal
And then came the month of March, completely changing the way things used to be- to say the least. The news of various schools being shut down around the globe was an indication for us, the teachers, to be mentally prepared for the challenges which lay ahead of us. Having realised that we needed to switch to online teaching, a strong sense of responsibility, fear and trepidation overwhelmed me. Initially, we decided to send video lectures to the students, but we did not receive the desired result. Ultimately, we switched to the online teaching mode through Zoom. This was a Herculean task and required a lot of advance planning and preparation.
Another challenge for me, as a parent and the head of the family was to safeguard my wife, children and aged parents. The horrifying news circulating all over the city terrified each one of us. A sense of fear surrounded my family. During the lockdown period, being locked inside our house was very challenging as it largely affected our mental health. We, vaguely, understood that the virus could linger on objects and infected surfaces called fomites, so we let durable goods sit outside till their surfaces became sterile and tried as far as possible to scrub packaged perishables with soap and water. Fresh produce was soaked in a solution of potassium permanganate and rinsed in the hope that this would keep the novel corona virus at bay.
With nothing much to do, all our family members sat glued to the T.V. set all day. The petrifying visuals of citizens begging for their loved ones to be saved really made us thank the Almighty who had kept us safe at a time when the world was gasping for oxygen ( especially during the second wave of the pandemic in the country ).
One of the biggest challenges was to cope with the unfamiliar feeling and untested scenario of taking the classes from home, with family members in close proximity. The challenge was to strike a balance and achieve harmony between our professional duties and family responsibilities-both at the same time. But then, with the passage of time, we came to learn the skill of a juggler and deliver effectively on both fronts.
Besides this, a feeling of financial insecurity was always lurking somewhere at the back of my mind. The fact that the pace at which the companies were being shut leaving the people unemployed, really bothered me. It was a very kind gesture of our school to take care of each and every member of its staff. Vaccines being the only way out of this apocalypse- like situation, the school organized vaccination camps for the staff and students.
As the lockdown was eased, I began to occasionally take my evening walk around the neighbourhood with my mask on, veering away from approaching people at abrupt tangents. Given the repeated assurances of epidemiologists that the possibility of catching the virus outdoors was a bare minimal (provided social distance was maintained) I reassured myself that those walks would not be a source of infection.
With the passage of time, the willingness to follow the new learning/teaching path has definitely paid off. The transition from real to virtual classroom has been so perfect that it appears negligible and insignificant now. The whole journey proves the dictum, ‘Where there is will, there is definitely a way!’