Silver Linings of Zoom Life

Dr. Jarryd Willis PhD
11 min readSep 24, 2021

The first day of the first mostly in-person Quarter in 18 months … since January — (early) March 2020.

Students really liked not having to worry about their hair/ makeup/ appearance because they could simply turn the camera off, as well as #Zoomchats enabling them to message the professor during lecture.

Days For Virtual Instruction

“The Mondays after Halloween & Thanksgiving Break are Zoom-Only days.

If you start feeling weird at all Monday or Tuesday, please don’t come to in-person lecture that Wednesday or Friday.”

What does it mean in practice that one may teach up to 50% of a class remotely?

¨The UC San Diego Policy on Distance Education Courses states: “A course will be considered a Distance Education course if (for some or all students) less than 50% of student-instructor interaction time was designed to occur face-to-face (meaning physically in the same room).” Therefore, in a normal course (non-R-designated) an instructor may opt to provide either synchronous or asynchronous remote content to suit their instructional needs, provided they do not exceed the 50% upper limit on non-face-to-face interaction. From a practical perspective, this means that instructors have flexibility in how they teach and may augment their classes with remote content to suit varied instructional circumstances.

Can I require students to socially distance in my classroom, lab, etc.?

¨Classrooms will return to standard occupancy levels. Physical distancing protocols for campus have ended, unless an area or group is specifically directed otherwise¨

Mascot Battle

Students prefer Triton to Sunbirdgod, especially males

The Delta Variant reduced optimism of May/June

A majority support student orgs requiring vaccine passports for in-person events

Sleeping Pills & COVID19

We should probably give students a moment to get back into their pre-COVID circadian cycles before assigning anything heavy this Autumn.

Women increased their consumption of sleeping pills & reported more sleep disturbances following COVID-19 crisis than men (Uri Mandelkorn et al., 2021).


- Female students are having more nightmares
- Sleeping pill utilization increased
- Students are going to bed later & waking up later

Everyone has more nightmares while in a relationship compared to when single …especially women.

Male nightmare… technology malfunction Women reported more sleep disturbances following COVID-19 crisis than men (Uri Mandelkorn et al., 2021).


Teachers’ Resistance to Illness

In a recent commentary in the New England Journal of Medicine, Torriani and her colleagues examined the rates of symptomatic COVID infections in UC San Diego healthcare workers. They found that in July, even though 86.7% of healthcare workers were fully vaccinated, vaccine effectiveness dropped from 94.3% to 65.5%.

The COVID “attack rate” also was higher in people who completed their vaccination series in January or February at 6.7 cases per 1,000 people compared to 3.7 cases per 1,000 people for those who completed vaccination between March to May. This suggests that immunity is waning but still protective, Torriani said.

But the emerging data about breakthrough infections in people who were fully vaccinated still indicate that the vaccines protect against severe illness requiring hospitalization and against death, researchers say. A recent CDC study found that unvaccinated Americans were 4.5 times more likely than vaccinated people to become infected with the virus, 10 times more likely to be hospitalized and 11 times more likely to die from the virus.

In Los Angeles, about a quarter of new coronavirus infections from May 1 to July 25 were in people who had been fully vaccinated, another CDC study found. However, unvaccinated people were 29 times more likely to be hospitalized than those who were fully vaccinated.

“The purpose of the COVID vaccine was not to stop transmission,” Carlson said. “It was to stop severe disease — to stop hospitalizations and deaths.”

This is why other COVID safety measures — like universal masking policies, improved indoor ventilation standards and frequent testing — are important, scientists say.

Torriani and her colleagues point to the increase in COVID cases among healthcare workers at UC San Diego as coinciding with California dropping its state-wide mask mandate, the dominance of the delta variant and high levels of what the CDC defines as community transmission.

David Zweig David Zweig (2021 — September 14)

“The overall tallies of COVID hospitalizations, made available on various state and federal dashboards and widely reported on by the media, do not differentiate based on severity of illness.

According to Shira Doron (infectious-disease physician & hospital epidemiologist at Tufts Medical Center): “…we should refine the definition of hospitalization. Those patients who are there with rather than from COVID don’t belong in the metric” (Fillmore et al., 2021 — Preprint).


Immunologic Diversity & Teachers

(assume direct quotes)

Remarkably, teachers, especially those with years in the system, have developed incredibly robust immune systems. It’s statistically miraculous how few of them get really sick in view of what they have sprayed on them on a daily basis. They are scientific and medical anomalies. I’ve always felt that in the event of a nuclear or chemical attack, only cockroaches and teachers will survive to repopulate the earth.

Living with one, however, provides you with no such immunity. Quite the contrary. Sharing a bed with one is tantamount to lying down beside a smallpox blanket. But nobody, as I say, tells you this. And by the time you find out, it’s too late. You’re already in the ICU with her sitting at your bedside, holding your hand and complaining about the new curriculum guidelines.

Much has been made about the number of sick days afforded teachers. What I personally find incredulous is not the number of sick days they are given, but how few they actually end up using. Teachers are a very resilient lot. Not so, however, their feeble, germ-riddled, unsuspecting partners.

According to a number of studies aimed at identifying which occupational groups were at an increased risk of suffering from occupational voice disorders [27,28], teachers were found to be particularly vulnerable to developing such problems. Smith et al. [29] showed that compared to a control group, teachers were significantly more likely to report having 6 voice symptoms, among which hoarseness was the most frequent, and 5 related physical discomfort symptoms (tiring, effortful, ache, uncomfortable and rough).

Probably because of their occupational environment, characterized by permanent contact with people and particularly with children, the Lerman et al. study [30] opened the door to the idea that teachers could be at a higher risk of developing infectious diseases by documenting a significant increased risk of Hepatitis A infection in Israel among kindergarten staff and teachers in comparison to the general population.

It is worth mentioning that there are a few additional studies that have shown a different impact of a few other diseases on teachers: an excessive rate of some major cancers, in particular breast [31,32] and thyroid [33] cancers and surprisingly enough, an association between school teaching and mortality from autoimmune diseases [34].

Paul Fulbrook

1. Repeated Exposure to Several Pathogens

Several teachers’ health experiences show that, even though they’re exposed to pathogens daily, they overcome sickness more quickly because of their developed resilience.

Teachers generally have a better immune system than other professionals. Studies show that constant exposure to pathogens strengthens an immune system and fights future related infections. That’s why most teachers feel less sick after remaining in the same school for an extended time.

Teachers’ constant exposure to pathogens strengthens their immune system due to the resilience they develop over time.

Moreover, many teachers report being prone to getting sick before they began teaching but rarely getting sick after.

This, of course, is true for similar pathogenic environments only. For instance, if a teacher transfers from one school to another, they meet another set of pathogens they have to adapt to.

Also, if a teacher starts teaching a different class in the same school, they develop illnesses more often than usual before they develop resistance.

These conclusions are deducted from teachers’ testimonials. They show that teachers likely have a more robust immune system than other professionals.

2. Time for Developing Resistance

Teachers rarely develop immunity within a week in a particular school. It takes time for different people due to a myriad of factors. Some teachers say it only takes a year while others say it took them more than five years to stop getting sick regularly.

The rate of developing resistance depends on the type and number of pathogens in a specific school compared to your experience.

If you switch from a public school to a private, more health-conscious school, chances are, you won’t acquire sickness as much as you used to. Every teacher’s experience will depend on their general well-being, as well.

A hydrated body is difficult to attack


While sleeping more won’t prevent you from getting sick, sleeping less leaves you vulnerable to sickness. Since your body systems won’t regenerate like they should during rest, the immune system is also affected.

With insufficient sleep, your body will produce fewer cytokines, which are proteins that target infections.

This leaves you more vulnerable to diseases, and if they come, they’ll affect you adversely.

Closing Thoughts

Teachers generally possess a better immune system than other professionals. The constant exposure to Pathogen-filled institutions helps their bodies battle diseases early to resist them in the future.

Why do teachers have a better immune system than other professionals?

A class full of children is a breeding ground for pathogens. Repeated exposure to similar pathogens helps teachers build a very strong immune response (although lifestyle and genetics play a role too).

by Paul Fulbrook

Personality & Aversive Environments

Gupta et al., 2008: People walked significantly faster at -15 ºC (1.43 m/s) and 25 ºC (1.28 m/s) than at 15 ºC versus (1.23 m/s). People walk faster in aversive environments to find a preferable habitat as soon as possible.

Finnis & Walton, 2007 (N = 1327)

People walking on flat ground were significantly slower than those walking uphill (p < .001) or (the fastest scenario) downhill (p < .001). People walk faster to get out of aversive environments. For example, men shop faster than women because they’re trying to leave an aversive environment (Mary Graham, 2012; Eva Mahlangu & K. M. Makhitha, 2019; Kirgiz, 2014; Tifferet and Herstein, 2012).

Introversion & Extroversion

Marek Franek et al., 2014: “Extraversion was significantly associated with slower walking while listening to non-motivational music.”

→ Regardless of the music subjects listened to, the descriptive trend (and in one case significant trend) was that extraverts walked more slowly than introverts.

Arefi & Ghaffari, 2020: Introverts may walk faster because… “People who limit information about themselves walk faster & with purpose” (i.e., avoiding making eye contact, chatting with, or greeting others), “are typically more likely to look down to” avoid goal-incongruent social interactions, looking up enough to see the orientation of someone’s shoes to avoid colliding, and in an effort to “avoid social interaction, they deliberately walk longer distances and go around” — consistent with Slavit & Sklar (2012) finding that introverts took more steps in social spaces because they’re looking for solitary areas.

Some researchers have suggested that #SocialDistancing was a “Golden Age For #Introverts” (Brooks & Moser, 2020). Social Distancing had a smaller impact in introverts’ lives (Folk et al., 2020).

“…historically, extraverted individuals were less likely to survive pathogen threats because their proclivity for social contact heightened their risk of contracting and transmitting contagious diseases” (Peters et al., 2020).

“Indeed, regional levels of Extraversion were related to earlier infection onsets, steeper initial growth rates & a higher case rate on September 30, 2020 both in the US & Germany, suggesting that regional Extraversion acted as a risk factor throughout the pandemic” (Peters et al., 2020).

#Extraverts felt more deprived during #COVID19 lockdown than introverts (Anglim & Horwood, 2020) given that “introverts typically have fewer social interactions than extraverts (Lucas et al., 2008), and therefore physical or social distancing measures during the pandemic may have produced relatively small shifts in their regular social behavior” (Liu et al., 2021).

Several studies found that introversion predicted higher adherence to social distancing (Carvalho et al., 2020; Clark et al., 2020; Coker & 23AndMe et al., 2020; Liu et al., 2020; Robillard et al., 2020).

‘Mitigation strategies like using microphones’ “to decrease vocal effort will reduce the risk of transmitting #COVID19” (Kopechek, 2020). By reducing the loudness of the professors’ voices, microphones help ensure that asymptomatic teachers don’t infect students.

Raised voices = greater projection of COVID19 aerosols
(Barreda et al., 2020; Dirk Mürbe et al., 2020; Eiche & Kuster, 2020; Gerhard Scheuch, 2020; Jarvis, 2020; Kopechek, 2020; Matthias Echternac et al., 2021; Patel et al., 2021; Santosh K. Das et al., 2020; Shirun Ding et al., 2021 ; Valentyn Stadnytskyi et al., 2020; Vermeulen et al., 2020).

Research generally finds poorer sleep quality for women (Fatima et al., 2016; Tang et al., 2016 ; Ohayon et al., 2017) & the pandemic exacerbated this (Trakada et al., 2020; Xiao et al., 2020; Huang & Zhao, 2020; Charles Morin et al., 2021; Nicola Cellini et al., 2021; Paiva et al., 2021; Teresa Mika Argo et al., 2021).

Our study examined the cultural underpinnings of mask-wearing behavior across 45 U.S. states, using three cultural frameworks. Tighter and collectivistic states demonstrated clearer norms and adaptive mask-wearing habits.

Respondents from honor states felt that mask-wearing is a sign of weakness.

Culture qualified conservatives’ opposition to masks.

(Jami & Kemmelmeier, 2021)



Dr. Jarryd Willis PhD

I'm passionate about making a tangible difference in the lives of others, & that's something I have the opportunity to do a professor & researcher.