The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent

One year since my last in-person class

On Tuesday, March 10, I told my students we probably wouldn't be back in class after spring break.


On Monday, March 9, 2020, I took a flight to Oklahoma City for the day. As best as I can remember, no one at the airport was wearing a mask. The person sitting next to me on the plane scrubbed her seat down with a Chlorox wipe. I was surprised. I returned back to Houston that evening. And on Tuesday, March 10, I went to school as usual. In the afternoon, I entered my Property I class. The room was full of about 70 students. No one was wearing a mask. No one was social distanced. I noticed that the College had placed a container of Chlorox wipes on the podium, and some hand sanitizer. I didn't think to use either.

As I began class, I told my students "We have a situation" but they should remain calm. I told my students that a number of Universities had cancelled class, and we were likely to do the same. I also doubted that we would be back after spring break. I joked that we had an emergency Zoom training. Then, I proceeded to teach a class on Co-Ownership. At the end of class, I invited everyone up to my office hours, where there is most certainly not six feet of distance. Then I joked, "I hope to see everyone on Thursday." I wouldn't.

Later that evening, I taught another section of Property II. By that point, a few students attended by Zoom–a first for me. I mentioned that we might have a "long spring break." Someone said, "Woo." I replied, "Not woo." At the end of class, I bid my students farewell. I looked over the class somewhat solemnly. I knew we wouldn't be back anytime soon.

By Wednesday, the campus was shut down. And on Thursday, I began my Zoom lectures.

One year later, I am still lecturing on Zoom. My hair is much bigger.