Are you still working from the university or are you working from home?

“I moved to my pied-à-terre in Ghent on Saturday so I can help my parents. They’re in the category that is most at risk, which is why they’ve self-quarantined. To avoid them having to go to the supermarket, I’m doing groceries for them. I leave food on their doorstep or they come pick it up in their car.”

How is it in Ghent? Completely deserted?

“Restaurants and bars have been closed since Friday evening, but things haven’t quieted down entirely. I can look towards the railway station from my window and I can see quite a few students who seem to be on their way to their digs. Although I wonder why, because the universities are closed here too.”

What did you do yourself in response to this situation?

“I’ve stocked up on some food, buying a bit more than I normally would. And I’ve also promised to help my 8-year-old goddaughter. She’ll be stuck at home the whole day over the next few weeks. This has complicated things for her parents somewhat – so I’ve promised to keep her busy a bit. Either via Skype or maybe I’ll drop by in person, although that may be slightly risky. These kids are all doing a ‘corona challenge’ so they can learn something new while schools are closed. My plan was to teach her musical notes.”

To which extent can you still do your work for the university?

“Normally speaking, two of my courses would have started today: Logic and Epistemology. I’m currently conferring with my colleague on our plan of action. Because we need to determine how we can ensure that the lectures and the exam can still go ahead. I’ll be checking whether last year’s videos can still be used, and I’ll definitely be recording several new clips next week. Those clips could prove a challenge, though, because they need to be fun and creative and contain a lot of information. It will be interesting to see how that works out with other lectures: actually recording a video like that tends to come at the end of the process – you can’t simply start from scratch.”