From Grants Website

The international response to the coronavirus pandemic, SARS-CoV-2 known as COVID-19 has changed the world. The rate of change has been dramatic. As nations or states declare a state of emergency and exercise powers defined in bio-security legislation to close borders, limit travel, require people to self-isolate, practice social distancing in public, limit the number of people in groups or indoor spaces, close all non-essential businesses - the list seems to grow daily - society has to change and people have to adapt to a new normal. At least until the pandemic is over. With comprehensive media coverage, government websites, scientific journals, books and internet resources there is a vast amount of information available so the articles linked from this page are focused, concise, and do not attempt to restate what is already well known.

These articles, from a personal perspective, include practical ideas (non-medical responses) to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Information and Mental Overload

At first I was curious, I wanted to know what the problem in China was about. So I created a filter on my news reader for media articles related to Wuhan, Hubei, coronavirus and COVID-19 to collect content which I could read and become better informed. As the virus spread, however, the number of media articles increased rapidly and soon I had over 30,000 items related to coronavirus in my news feeds. I felt overloaded, overwhelmed. So I deleted it.

This article comments on other aspects of mental health and coping with change.

Working from Home

A week ago there was a shortage of stand-up desks and computer monitors in Australia, as so many people suddenly began working from home. For years we've talked about teleworking but it has never been a widespread practice. After the pandemic people may not all return to their traditional workplace. Our workstyle and lifestyle may have shifted to a new balance. But with it comes a few issues which may be relevant now:-

  1. Custom User Accounts
    I use my computer for several quite distinct purposes and experimented with Microsoft's virtual desktops but found them unsatisfactory. So I created separate User accounts for each purpose. The concept broadens, but also justifies, the use of multiple user accounts (for the same person) when working from home. With the rapid growth in telework it makes sense to separate your Work from your Home and your Kids.

  2. Data Backup and Network Attached Storage devices
    This article was written in the aftermath of widespread fires in Australia which destroyed homes and businesses and undoubtedly led to loss of significant digital data. I realised that my own portable drives were inadequate when we were also advised to evacuate. So more recently I installed and configured a Network Attached Storage device. With more people teleworking, and children at home while schools are closed, or continuing their education online, there is also an opportunity and need to consider backup options. Cloud services and NAS devices have different or complimentary uses. This article describes my experiences with a NAS.

Online Learning

I have been involved with development of online course content and this article covers some issues which will be significant to teachers coping with the sudden shift to online learning.

Home Education for Children

By March 2020 over thirty countries have closed schools. Australia is not one of those countries. This worries many parents who, naturally, are concerned for their own children. Keeping schools open may be for the benefit of the society as a whole, but individual parents are free to make their own decisions. As a parent whose adult children were schooled at home through their Primary years, the debate interests me and I wondered what I would do if my kids were still at school age. This article was written from that perspective.

Update, March 24: schools remain open but parents will not be penalised for keeping children at home. The term 'distance learning' was used by the Australian Prime Minister.

Some References

Some in-depth media content is based on scientific papers. The number of published papers is also growing, so only the first few are linked from this page.