We’ve been under social distancing restrictions in Egypt for about three weeks now. I am fortunate enough to work in education, so I can carry out most of my job remotely.

I’ve always liked to work electronically, and so was partially prepared for this lockdown. My files are in Dropbox. My calendar is synced across all my devices on google calendar, and I keep my notes in Evernote.

That part, the administrative part, of transitioning to remote work was relatively easy. The main problem has been getting other faculty members to transition to online — I have to do this as I’m the department chair for computer engineering.

The other problem was transitioning my teaching to an online platform. Zoom was my video conferencing tool of choice, but the problem was in the courses that needed to be taught on a board.

For those courses, I bought a graphics tablet to allow me to write on a digital whiteboard — it’s a mixed success to be honest. I can write, but the quality of my digital writing is not the best. But we have to do what we have to do.

Another problem has been on boarding the students, some have disappeared from the online system — I’m still trying to track them down. But mostly, the transition has been relatively ok.

On a personal note, I’ve gone a bit paranoid. I stocked up on some essentials before the lockdown — I anticipated it a while back — but not well enough it seems. For fresh fruits and vegetables and dairy, I have to order every week or so. With each interaction, I worry that I’ll bring the disease to my 8 months pregnant wife, or my above sixty mom, or my sister or brother in law.

We are in the same building and we interact daily. It’s a very stressful time. Personally, I have high blood pressure — which is now thankfully back under control after a few wild days at the start of the lockdown period — and chronic sinusitis and respiratory problems. I’m a high risk individual for complications from this virus.

This brings worry every day. Every cough, every sneeze, every pain in the chest is interpreted as Coronavirus. The guilt of possibly infecting my family members makes this ten times more difficult that it already is. I hope we are able to pass this period safely.

I’m writing this post to help me get things out, maybe it will help me maintain some of my sanity. Stay safe everyone and may we meet again under different circumstances.

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