Desktop-as-a-Service, or DaaS, can help facilitate safe teaching and learning environments as classes resume during the COVID pandemic

Virtual classrooms go a long way in protecting COVID-cautious faculty


Desktop-as-a-Service, or DaaS, can help facilitate safe teaching and learning environments as classes resume during the COVID pandemic

Students are back on campus. In-person instruction has resumed at colleges and universities across the country. While this should be celebrated, the pandemic is not yet behind us.

Many schools have reopened without mask mandates or proof of vaccination requirements in a rush to “return to normal.” Often it’s parents, not the students themselves, that insist on a return to in-person instruction.

Caught in the crossfire between administrators, parents and students, many faculty are being forced back into the classroom, unable to change course modality without prior approval from their provost. Faculty members who move a class online or miss a lecture face disciplinary action. These can include warnings, suspensions, reduction in duties or pay, or even dismissal.

To say faculty are frustrated in this environment is an understatement. This strict teaching regime has left many instructors not just worried about exposure to the virus, but in some cases scared of their students. Many coeds remain unmasked. Some campuses have ended their free Covid testing programs, with no requirement for students to report positive test results to their professors.

Most tenured professors are older and more at risk of serious illness. Many have young children at home who can’t yet be vaccinated. Still others are immunocompromised or diabetic and seek ADA accommodations. The not-yet-tenured, adjunct instructors, and graduate students have even less leverage.

So professors beg and cajole their students to mask up. Some are protesting. Others have quit outright. The remaining work under pressure. In a recent survey of faculty nationwide, most reported feeling “exhausted” and “anxious” this semester.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Cloud desktop technology meets the moment

Desktop virtualization technology, or “VDI,” has been around for nearly 20 years. The first-generation of VDI was hard to manage, hard to integrate, hard to change, and rife with performance and reliability issues. What’s more, it required a virtual private network (VPN) and client software to operate, making it impractical for universities to deploy to a constantly changing student user population. 

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