Brief teaching experience facing COVID-19

Erika Janet Zamora-Macorra
2021 Revista Mexicana de Fitopatología Mexican Journal of Phytopathology  
<p>These questions and comments that genuinely arose in my remote classes with youngsters aged 15 to 18 showed me the impact of the pandemic on their way of thinking regarding a topic I have been explaining for years: VIRUSES. Now, these youngsters understood that answering the question they always had asked me every cycle (Are viruses alive or dead?) was irrelevant, and they focused on what really matters: How can something so small cause such an impact on the human lives? So, they understood
more » ... hat all tiny living beings, which they cannot see, are crucial to the balance of life and we do have the responsibility of making the least possible impact on that microbiological world. I realized that the pandemic had awoken interest in teenagers, and probably in all people, regarding viruses. From the agronomic point of view, I hope the minds of young men and women who are preparing to become future agronomists in Mexico, also become interested in phytopathogenic viruses, a somewhat forgotten area in the Mexican field. Thus, it is desirable for more virologists to be present to understand the role of these biological entities on an agricultural crop, in vectors and weeds. And maybe, in the mind of parasitologists would also be relevant to understand better the viruses, and the automatic approach for a plant with viruses on the field, not only would be eliminated them immediately. As an agronomist/phytopathologist, I understood the importance of viruses on plants in the few years I have been studying them, and not only because they cause diseases, but I have often seen that viruses "have learned" to coexist with plants without causing great harm to them. In fact, I dare to guarantee that some even help their host to survive adverse situations, although it is easier to claim it than to prove it scientifically. The current knowledge of microorganisms in the biome of the plant will soon help us recognize beneficial viruses. The same surely happens in viruses that are able to infect humans, but because they are invisible, we have focused on those that harm us, leaving a large scientific omission that must be explored. As an investigative professor, I explained to my worried and stressed students that we may have to accept that viruses are sometimes deadly, but sooner or later, with the help of scientists working on developing vaccines, this pandemic would pass. They then understood that, in order to survive this health crisis, they should better understand the viruses, know how and what they are made up of, how they are transmitted and how they can use the cells of their host to replicate and cause diseases. In this way they could make reasonable decisions that will benefit them and their families.</p>
doi:10.18781/ fatcat:pkdpksfw4bc6rmktxxbnyeq3ei