Normally at this time of year we’d be enjoying the graduation ceremonies for our undergraduate students, and the reception that takes place in the big marquee on campus afterwards. For me, as a member of staff, it’s a chance to see some happy students and find out what they are up to next, meet their proud families, and sometimes learn that they really enjoyed my lecture course.
This year, of course, there is no such event where we all get together in close proximity, thanks to the Covid-19 virus. I have been working from home since late March, and made my first trip into the University the other day to pick up some books from my office to help me prepare my teaching for October. I saw the deserted marquee on campus, destined for no graduation reception ceremonies right now. Since March, all our teaching has been remote, using various online technologies. Today we organised an event using one of the now-staple tools, Zoom, to have a celebration of the Physics Class of 2020. It’s not the same as being in the same room, and it wasn’t really possible to have lots of individual chats with the students, since Zoom doesn’t work like that, but we had a good stab at throwing hats into the air, that being the standard thing to do at such events!