The Flu, Colds, Corona: Practice is Caring for Ourselves and One Another Effectively & Generously When Here

Dear Folks;  Most of you may not know that my academic and early career background was in  biology and ecology.  As this flu and corona virus season has unfolded I have been very interested and mindful about global and local situation, our classroom space, our presence with one another in the classrooms, and the ecology of contagion in a science-based way.  While it is true that we cannot isolate ourselves into hermetically sealed units, we can minimize our exposure to the these difficulties in very effective and common-sense ways.  What I am doing in our classrooms and recommending for you in this post are based on the best science, medical advice, and epidemiology from the Washington County Health Department, the Oregon Health Authority, and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  You can be assured that I continue to be up-to-date on all this as a way of supporting us when we are in our classrooms.   I invite you to care for yourself and care for all of us in class by learning and modifying your way of life in a positive and caring way during this challenging time.

CLASSES HERE WILL BE ONLINE THIS SPRING AS WE DEAL WITH THIS CHALLENGE BEFORE US.  

  • Governor Brown’s Stay-at-Home Order is now in place as of March 23rd
  • One of my students, Jani, provided this excellent and thorough perspective on the jog ahead for people around the globe manage this difficult disease.  Corona Virus Can Be Stopped.

Encouragements from Recent Research:  A recent comprehensive study published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine found that the lethality of the corona virus, COVID-19 is less than had previously been thought.  As we learn more there will be less fear and panic and more effective ways to meet this challenge.  We have become accustomed to and learned how to live full lives in the presence of the seasonal flu which results in tens of thousands of fatalities each year in the US and we will learn and live with corona virus and find ways to live and work well with this new challenge in the months ahead.  Let’s support one another.

Very recent and credible research notes that folks who have few symptoms or no symptoms may carry the virus without knowing it.  This makes it doubly important for all of us to practice hygiene that is very proactive; wash hands often, sanitize if you can’t wash, wipe down restroom fixtures after use, and the notes below.

MEETING THIS CHALLENGE AS PRACTICE

Can this be another opportunity for practice?  Rather than pushing to get, avoiding reactively, fighting without need, can we meet this difficulty honestly and face-to-face and lean forward to live generously, openly and be actively engaged?

I have been preparing our classroom spaces and teaching methods for common sense, science-based, and effective cleanliness and interpersonal safety.  Likewise I am asking that we all learn how to take care of ourselves and one another during this season of uncertainty.  Here is what I am asking of myself and every student so we can meet the challenges together in a effective and caring way this spring term:

SANITATION IN OUR CLASSROOMS WHEN IT IS TIME TO RETURN TO IN-PERSON CLASSES: 

  1. Before my classes I sanitize the frequently touched surfaces; switches, door knobs, bathroom fixtures, hard surfaces.  Check with your teacher to see what they are doing in this regard.  Fortunately most flu, cold, and similar viruses generally live only a short time outside the body.  They can remain viable on hard surfaces listed above for more than a day in cool temperatures hence those are sanitized frequently here.  
  2. Research has shown that dry, porous materials like fabric at warmer temperatures (60 degrees and above) are generally very inhospitable to such viruses and they will generally perish in minutes or at most a day.  Blankets, yoga straps, blocks, and even the fabric-based yoga mats here are porous and the classrooms are kept at 60 to 75 degrees.  I be miming the use of props here and, moving classes from upstairs to downstairs to minimize exposure and modifying my teaching methods so props are unused for at least 72 hours between uses.  As I mentioned above, I advise that you bring your own yoga set (Here is a highly rated and affordable yoga set at Amazon).   
  3. There are numerous hand sanitizer/tissue stations in the classrooms.  Feel free at anytime before, during, or after class to use them.  Likewise, the restrooms have hand soap and sanitizer always available. 
  4. I am setting up options to pay online and via my new credit card device. I prefer that you pay with check though don’t be concerned if that is inconvenient.  Just pay electronically or when you have your checkbook with you.  I will gladly accept cash and keep a supply of crisp, new unhandled bills to provide change. As usual, I will not be concerned if you happen to forget your payment and we’ll take care of it later in some kind way. 

TEACHING METHODS:

  1. SOCIAL DISTANCING:  Class size will be limited to 10 students and spacing between students will be generous and in line with CDC and WHO guidelines (do our best to keep 6 feet distance with a minimum of 3 feet always.  Folded blankets will mark the wide spaces between mats.
  2. During this season of uncertainty I will omit partner-supported and close contact or touching activities.  This will not effect the vitality of learning with one another and will reassure you that your time here will be appropriate, safe, and helpful.
  3. This term I will focus more generally on stress reduction, softening the sharp edges of anxiety and fear as well inviting a generous sense of openness and extension outward from the tensions that my hold us inward as we encounter the difficulties around us;  politics, financial system uncertainties,  COVID-19, and more.  Liberal applications of emotional and practical assurances as I speak the cues in class as well as a generous application of guided progressive relaxation for stress relief. 

TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF & OTHERS: This will require all of us to change many of our unconscious behaviors in daily life.

  1. If you have cold or flu symptoms stay home to recuperate, consult your doctor, and minimize exposing others.  You will be credited all classes you miss without question.  I will provide you with a link to my recordings of yoga class so you can practice at home.
  2. While here in the classrooms make ample use of the many hand sanitizer/tissue stations.  When you wash your hands do so for at least 20 seconds as health authorities suggest.
  3. When you use the restroom wipe down those fixtures (knobs, faucet, sink, switch, etc) you touch with the nearby sanitizer or wipe.
  4. Before you flush put the lid down.
  5. If you sneeze or cough do so into a tissue or your clean shirt sleeve and dispose of the tissue.  Many of us simple turn our head or cough into our hand.  That will not work to halt the spread of these viruses.  There are tissue boxes all around the rooms.  I recommend wearing clean long-sleeved and long-legged garments as an added layer of cleanliness for you and others.
  6. Practice patient social distancing when arriving or leaving.  Shoe can be placed on the shoe shelf, beneath the bench, or on the floor nearby as you practice social distancing of 3 to 6 feet as the World Health Organization and CDC advise.
  7. Bring your own yoga props or a full set; mat, yoga towel, strap, blocks. (Here is a highly rated and affordable yoga set at Amazon).   If you borrow one of the classroom’s mats use a yoga mat towel.  There will be some here if you need one.  The available props to borrow have been untouched for at least 72 hours by rotating classes upstairs and downstairs and setting aside used props after each class so they are not touched for those 72 hours.
  8. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. These are the principle routes of these viruses into our bodies.  We do this unconsciously and many times an hour so good practice can include noticing the tendency and choosing another mode of action perhaps with a tissue or a cleansed hand.
  9. When greeting one another substitute a handshake or hug with firm, reassuring eye contact or verbal greeting..