By John Kanelis
So, just how serious should we take the current outbreak of a dangerous infectious disease, the coronavirus that is sweeping across Planet Earth?
Try this: Texas A&M University-Commerce has just canceled all “face to face” classes on campus, telling students and faculty to go to online coursework only.
That, I submit, is a very good call.
TAMUC isn’t the only university in Texas to make this move. Other campuses in the Texas A&M University System have done so, as has the University of Texas-Austin.
Are we in panic mode? No. We are not. Nor should we go there. The nation is employing what’s become a sort of term of art – an abundance of caution – in dealing with the outbreak that is threatening to get even worse across the nation.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading epidemiologist, has issued a stern warning. The worst has yet to arrive, he has said repeatedly. The World Health Organization has labeled the outbreak a “pandemic,” which is as bad as it gets.
So, the folks who run Texas A&M University-Commerce have taken a monumentally prudent step in determining that face-to-face classwork cannot occur while the virus is striking down victims of all ages.
Yes, the most vulnerable are the elderly and those who have other underlying medical conditions. Moreover, those individuals are potentially exposed to the virus from the younger and healthier among us who might be vulnerable to exposure during their daily routines.
How might that manifest itself? Let’s see … perhaps in a university classroom full of individuals who might test positive for the coronavirus.
Accordingly, the university has made the correct decision.
John Kanelis, former editorial page editor for the Amarillo Globe-News and the Beaumont Enterprise, is also a former blogger for Panhandle PBS in Amarillo. He is now retired, but still writing. Kanelis can be contacted via Twitter @jkanelis, on Facebook, or his blog, www.highplainsblogger.com. Kanelis' blog for KETR, "Piece of Mind," presents his views, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of KETR, its staff, or its members.
Kanelis lives in Princeton with his wife, Kathy.