Report from Louisiana: COVID-19 and online teaching

By: Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – What a difference a day makes.  Wednesday, last week, I was cutting across the Atchafalaya Basin on an airboat enjoying Spring Break, and within twenty-four hours of that Governor John Bel Edwards closed down K-12 schools, universities were shuttered, and everyone is practicing social distancing. Well, except New Orleans; they do their own thing there.

As an educator, I can tell you that my students are full of anxiety. Fortunately, I’m in a better position than a lot of people in that my kids have already been using Google Classroom. I immediately posted a sort of “check-in” assignment and on Sunday, still technically on Spring Break, most of my kids responded. Since then, most have filled in.

By Friday, my husband and I had returned to Shreveport and decided we needed a few groceries after being out of town for a week.

Big mistake.

The store was chaos.

You’ve seen images from all over the country, or seen it yourself, I’m sure. Even today, days later, there are zero paper products in the stores. Zero dried beans, no rice, canned goods are sparse. Things are restocking, but good grief – what chaos.

In Louisiana, our schools are closed until mid-April; I’ve got friends in other states who have said they won’t return to school at all this year. So far there are no directives from the Louisiana State Department of Education on graduation or testing, which has filled my students with anxiety.

As of today, all casinos in Louisiana are closed for two weeks, except those on Indian reservation. The economic loss to the state is estimated at $22 million.

With bars and restaurants closing, people staying home from work, schools closed…I don’t even want to think about the long-term economic effects of this.  It’s mind blowing, to me.

So, meanwhile, I’m teaching school from home, trying to reassure my students and still be sure they are learning. We are staying in as much as possible. Louisiana currently has 114 positive cases and two deaths. Most are in the Orleans parish area – no surprise given that Mardi Gras just happened.

Stay safe where you are. Be smart. Don’t panic or overreact.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport and is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and her Circle at Melrose Plantation. Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25 and Twitter @paustin110.

The story of Brer Media, Brer Donkey , Brer Trump & the Corona Virus Brier Patch

Once upon a time in the land of Brer Eagle, there was a Political Party which thought that they had the right to always be in power. That part was run by Brer Donkey and was supported by their friend Brer Media who had a big platform in news and entertainment and was supported by academic, the news media and the entertainment media.

That party, got very upset when their preferred candidate for president, Sis Paintsuit (Wife of Brer Horny Toad) , lost to an outsider Brer Trump who had never run for office and promised to fix thing for people.

Brer Donkey & Brer media, decided that they were going to get rid of Brer Trump and joined by Brer Deepstate and Brer Rino launched all kind of plans to get rid of him. But despite all the efforts by Brer Mueller and Sis Nancy and all the rants by Brer Media that the was doomed, Brer Trump not only got away from all their traps but seemed to get more and more popular.

Well one day the land of of Brer Pooh, people started to get very sick and fall into the Briarpatch where they couldn’t get out. Brer Pooh downplayed this at 1st but Brer Trump saw the danger and decided to restrict travel from Brer Pooh’s land to Brer Eagle’s land that Brer Trump was in charge of and started to consult Brer Owl & the wisest doctors in Brer Eagle land to keep an eye on what was going on and to see what might be done in case . Brer Media wasn’t happy with this decision and along with Brer Donkey and their new candidate Brer old tired Joe said that Brer Trump was very nasty for not letting people from Brer Pooh’s land come to visit even if they might be sick.

Well after a little wile Brer media, Brer Donkey and Brer Deepstate unable to think of any other way to stop Brer Trump saw that Brer Pooh was in deep trouble in the Coronabriarpatch and thought that they might be able to catch Brer Trump in it. After all the CoronaBriarPatch was a dangerous place and Brer Donkey, Brer Deepstate, Brer Rino and Brer Media were convinced that even though was lucky enough to get out of their other traps Brer Trump would be too stupid to get out of the CoronaBriarPatch.

Meanwhile Brer Trump, who wasn’t as foolish as Brer Donkey thought saw what Brer media was up to and call them out on it saying they were trying to panic people in Brer Eagle country about the CoronaBriarPatch. When he did Brer Media and their friends all screamed that Brer Trump said the Brer Trump said the CoronaBriarPatch wasn’t real but all the Time Brer Trump was keeping an eye on the CoronaBriarPatch and kept consulting Brer Owl & the smartest Doctors on how to be ready coronabriarpatch started growing in Brer Eagles land.

Brer Trump figured out that Brer Owl and the rest of the smartest Doctors would be able to come up with a way to control the CoronaBriarPatch if given enough time and that the if the right precautions made that he would be able to get out of the CoronaBriarpatch and lead most of Brer Eagle’s people through it after some time and with a little help from industry.

Meanwhile Brer Media, Brer Donkey and their candidate Brer old tired Joe managed to scare a lot of people in the areas of Brer Eagle’s country that they were in the majority in and started to tell everybody all over Brer Eagle’s land that the coronabriarpatch was all Brer Trump’s fault, and when Brer Pooh started to say that the coronabriarpatch didn’t start in his land but came from Brer Eagle’s land they repeated it. They demanded that Brer Trump be thrown into the coronabriarpatch convinced the he would never be able to get out of it again.

Meanwhile Brer Trump took Brer Owl and his team’s advice and coordinated with industry. He realized that while you couldn’t destroy the #coronabriarpatch he started taking the steps needed to keep the #coronabriarpatch under control and did such a good job that even Brer Newsom and Brer Cuomo who worked for Brer Donkey had some nice things to say about him.

Nevertheless Brer Media, Brer Deepstate Brer Rino and Brer Donkey kept insisting that millions of people where going to die and the economy of Brer Eagle’s land was going to tank in the #coronabriarpatch because Brer Trump was doing a bad job. They insisted be thrown in the CornoaBriarPatch and prove there was a safe way out. They were convinced that he wouldn’t be able to get out before election day to stop Brer Old Slow Joe.

Well Brer Trump decided he was ready and went straight into the #coronabriarpatch and told the people he and Brer Owl and the rest of his team would do their best. When he did the stock market that had dropped really far because they were afraid of the conronabriarpatch jumped way up, but it didn’t matter to Brer Donkey, Brer Deepstate, Brer Media and Brer old slow Joe. They were sure that once he was in the Coronabriarpatch Brer Trump would never get out again and that Brer Old Joe would be put in charge of Brer Eagle’s land.

I know that you all want to know the end of the story, but I’m afraid the story isn’t over yet, but if I know Brer Trump he’s going to cut his way out of the #coronabriarpatch and because Brer Media, and Brer Democrats and Brer Slow Old Joe said he’s couldn’t what when he what do you think the people who live in Brer Eagle’s land are going to say?

I think they’ll say: Wow! Brer Media and Brer Donkey said that millions were going to die and the economy was going to be destroyed by the coronabriarpatch but Brer Trump got us out if it. Let’s keep him in charge.