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Aerial Norwich Campus View in early spring

SPECIAL EDITION: Thinking about COVID-19? So is Norwich faculty.

Everyone is adapting to new realities as we learn to work remotely, educate students and serve people in need and this transition has stimulated intellectual curiosities. Norwich has a series of interdisciplinary essays featuring faculty members’ perspectives on the coronavirus to help us all think through the consequences our nation is facing.

What explains the disparate impact of COVID-19 on African Americans? History professor explores the reasons

In “Notes of a Native Son,” his first work of nonfiction published in 1955, James Baldwin asserted, “The questions which one asks oneself begin, at least, to illuminate the world, and become one’s key to the experience of others.” This statement was, arguably, a touchstone for his challenging, insightful, and argumentative writings about race relations. Since white folk often choose to dodge conversations about race, a tactic Robin DiAngelo terms “white fragility,” they tend to ignore, dismiss, or victim blame when data demonstrate continued racial inequality.

Mathematical constructs can help make predictions about coronavirus’ spread, but not without pitfalls

Our thirst for daily information on the coronavirus pandemic finds us exploring the mountains of articles pushed by our newsfeeds. Inevitably, stories that profess the projected number of expected COVID-19 cases and death toll in your local community, the U.S., and globally, are everywhere.

Seeing current contagion mitigation approach might give ancestors déjà vu, history professor says

The people of Norwich slowly filed in to White Chapel and took seats in the pews, keeping a careful and somewhat suspicious distance from one another. They had difficult decisions to make regarding the pestilence that was spreading rapidly through other towns and may have already arrived in Norwich.

U.S. Army officer says ‘I will try’ motto and Defense Department ‘kill the virus’ hashtag offered inspiration

EDITOR’S NOTE: U.S. Army Reserve officer Thomas Parshall ’94 has been part of the Army’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Response Enterprise since 2013, serving on a mobilization tour in Massachusetts from Oct. 1, 2013, to May 31, 2019. Lt. Col. Parshall describes testing positive for COVID-19 in an essay submitted to Norwich University’s Archives and Special Collections. This essay has been edited for presentation.

With coronavirus patients surge possibly looming, health care professionals respond to greatest challenge of their careers

My mother sent me a photo of herself today in her work uniform goggles, gloves, N95 face mask, disposable gown and a surgical scrub cap. Working in her mid-60s for this Veterans Hospital Clinic was her dream retirement job as a licensed practical nurse (LPN) however, this was not what she anticipated a retirement job would be after leaving the American Red Cross with over 30 years of service. Continuing the job she loves, she wants to care for veterans in this outpatient clinic and continue the family tradition of serving during times of conflict. While my family has served in various capacities since World War I, providing medical care is the path my mother chose.

Coronavirus crisis has disrupted life’s cadences, leaving life habits and perspectives askew, professor argues

During this pandemic’s lockdown, my “where” and “when” have changed meaning. My “how” and “why” are shifted out of position too. And now I’m asking myself: “Who even am I?”

I’m like the figure on the right in Diagram A. And I’m so out of joint I don’t even know what kept me in balance before. I need to find the line that held it all together like the left figure. What is my life’s Archimedean line? And why didn’t I know what it was before all of this happened?

Sports rivalry-style animosity manifests in election year politics, reaction to coronavirus pandemic response

Sports fanaticism

David Ortiz was a Yankee killer. The Boston Red Sox slugger’s batting statistics against the New York Yankees (.307 batting average, 171 runs batted in over 884 lifetime at-bats) were nothing short of crushing to me as one of the proud and few Yankees fans surrounded by the denizens of Red Sox Nation in Vermont. I grew up on Long Island, New York, and learned very early that my love for the Yankees was also defined by my hatred of the Red Sox. I found pleasure in the Sox’s pain — Bill Buckner’s game-blowing crucial error against the Mets in the 1986 World Series is one of my favorite baseball memories, even in the face of countless Yankees team and player achievements. I am, after all, a fanatic about baseball and the Yanks-Sox rivalry in particular.

Coronavirus pandemic-triggered dash to online learning puts teachers’ skill, empathy into sharp relief, professor says

For the past several weeks, the field of education has been flipped on its head as state agencies and postsecondary institutions have mandated that students stay home. We knew it was coming. Anyone who works in the field of education knows that schools are a petri dish for the spread of sickness.

Finding COVID-19-fighting medicine will require collaboration, collectivism and proper trials, chemistry lecturer says

Unlike the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, which most chemists find annoying or frustrating, the COVID-19 pandemic uncertainty is very scary. The scientific community understands how virulent our foe is; yet, the indistinct facet is that we cannot pinpoint the virus’s exact location, or spreading velocity, with certainty at all times. Like electrons in atoms, viruses are extremely small compared with the hosts they invade. Individuals not on the front lines of this fight may be inconvenienced by current recommended restrictions, but recognize that essential personnel are working exhaustively to combat this contagion.

Norwich University alumna Kimvy Lor, left, stands in her protective mask and scrubs with nursing colleagues at Stanford Hospital in California. She has been on the medical front lines fighting the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo courtesy Kimvy Lor.)

Even as it scatters and sequesters, Norwich community shows resilience, cohesion

How has Norwich’s community adapted to the coronavirus pandemic’s brave new world? Recent picture-and-narrative-packed missives suggest it’s with trademark mettle and moxie and sometimes merriment.

Skilled actors working onstage render ‘liveness’ even through digital channels, across miles, professor says

In the United States and large parts of the world, theatre has disappeared. Here at Norwich, theatre projects in the works for more than a year were shut down before finishing rehearsals. It was dispiriting and even disorienting to see our work evaporate, but, rather than dwell on what is lost, we should also consider what remains of theatre.

Fight against COVID-19, unlike a war, transcends politics, religion, race and ideology, professor argues

Military historians have a tendency to see everything through the lens of war. The public does too: The War on Poverty. The War on Drugs. The War on Terror.

But I would say this of our present struggle with COVID-19: It’s not a war. A fight, yes. One of the biggest fights ever. But not a war.

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