Dear UK academic friends currently facing the completely predictable clusterfuck of forced in-person teaching: this is a letter from your near future, as we in the US have gone through this, oh, just two months ago. This is how it's gonna go down:
You will lure students back on campus with promise of F2F. Students will pay tuition/fees. They will move into dorms. There will be massive covid outbreaks. University will after, say, 2 weeks, move most classes back online (as you argued in vain for months).
University will blame "irresponsible students" who are partying for the outbreak. Some of these students will be expelled/suspended and "made example of." Meanwhile, you will now scramble to quickly adapt your F2F classes into their sad online versions. Students will hate this.
They will complain to their parents, who will write angry letters to university administration and insist on return to F2F or "refunds." Your university administration will share these parent testimonials to you as a sign of how bad you are at online teaching.
You will be threatened with forced return to F2F unless you dramatically improve your online classes. "But, Deanlet, what is it that students hate so much about online? I am working my ass off trying to do the best class I can" - you will ask, tearfully. (or 'arse off', tbh)
Ah, glad you asked, Deanlet says. Students hate isolation of working from home, no sense of cohort, no social events, parties, sports. But, but, you say, I'm just a professor, I can't fix the massive fucking social disaster that my government has created through murderous apathy.
What students are complaining about is the social collapse - I can't fix that with more bells and whistles, videos, and fancy interactive animations. I can't fix that they miss going out. I haven't gone out since March, I haven't seen my family in more than a year! "FIX IT!!!!!!"
Other than, that, my friends, news from the future are mostly good. We are 18 days out from the election, things are looking up and the weather is nice.

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