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Coronavirus - China - New Semester

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by Lana55, Jan 29, 2020.

  1. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    In Shanghai the situation is looking stable and Hong Kong is the same. Its possible now to see the facts about the flu, fatality rate outside Wuhan if <1% and the people most at risk have other serious health issues. If you look outside of mainland China it looks like only 2 fatalities so it seems the flu does not travel well. As of the 1st February there should have been 150,000 infected cases by medical computer models(based on SARS) but there are only 75,000 at the moment.

    Shanghai and Hong Kong give a better reflection on the flu, its infection rate and mortality figures and its looking like a bad winter cold instead of a world ending plague.

    So where a mask and wash you hands!
    TeacherMan19 likes this.
  2. clovispoint

    clovispoint Occasional commenter

    I would be hopeful that there'd be no new cases at that point but there's so many unknowns and so many factors at play.

    I would be surprised if we are back on 2 March given that the numbers of people falling ill are ticking upwards all this week. The daily increase is has still been increasing (although it has just dipped, if you believe the figures). I'm no epidemiologist but it would make sense that there would still need to be a decline in cases sustained for a period, then a two week quarantine period to ensure no new outbreaks in schools once kids are back.
  3. clovispoint

    clovispoint Occasional commenter

    I am doubtful the figures given represent the true numbers. Only the severest cases are being recorded officially so the numbers are likely well beyond that- hopefully only mild cases, not people locked into their homes. :-(
    Outlaw2012 and Redparrotfish like this.
  4. kpjf

    kpjf Occasional commenter

    How are students going to catch up on all the missed class time I wonder? Will teachers need to work extra hours?

    I remember when I worked in a uni in France when there was a public holiday we had to make up the classes missed that day later on. This more trouble than it was worth as I had to agree on a suitable time with the students and would have preferred just to work on the public holiday. So I wonder with so much time missed what unis will do.
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2020
  5. StrangePanda

    StrangePanda Occasional commenter


    I think that we are still waiting for the number in HK to inflate.

    Are you expected to be in school at the moment? How have the parents at your school been?
  6. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    kpjf- we (and a lot of other schools) have been doing online learning, following the normal curriculum as best we can. As a result, I’d strongly argue that the kids actually won’t have lost out educationally, especially in KS3 and below.

    I know a few (and it’s only a few) parents are grumbling about this, but I think that in part it’s because they don’t understand how we work and also because they’re having to interact with their kids and are missing the babysitter.....
    coupedeville, kpjf and StrangePanda like this.
  7. clovispoint

    clovispoint Occasional commenter

    Yes, time bomb ticking- and just hoping it doesn't go off. I can see the cruise ship docked at Kai Tak from near where I live. Those poor people sitting there waiting to see if they will become ill.

    Last minute cancellation of staff at school, so that was relief. School has been deep cleaned and pretty much all staff now away from school.

    We hit the ground running with lessons on Monday and have been flat out all week. Hangouts / Meet / Skype / Flip grid / Google classroom. It's nuts. Actually a lot more tiring that teaching as everything takes longer and far too much screen time for adults and kids. There could be no justification for catch-up lessons. Local schools (from what I've read) did not seem to be doing this so they may well have to offer catch-up down the line unless they get their act together quickly.

    If 'they' want catch-up lessons from my school then we should be working and be well away from here. I would be out of HK now if I could be. It's not much fun- we're running low on toilet roll!
  8. StrangePanda

    StrangePanda Occasional commenter

    @clovispoint (again- sorry!) because I like your measured approach: what do you think that the chances are of the Foreign Office extending their advice about leaving China to HK? I can't see schools loving this.
  9. clovispoint

    clovispoint Occasional commenter

    As I understand it, the advice to leave China is more down to the withdrawal of embassy staff, so no one will be available to provide support.

    We've had a couple of scares already with Vietnam cancelling flights and reductions of flights by major airlines (for economic reasons). If it gets that serious, I doubt our employers will have much enthusiasm for heading to work, nor the families we cater for. Everyone, who can, will want to leave. Although should things worsen, I can't see us being welcome in our home countries in number. We may have to stick it out.

    We are reducing exposure to confined public spaces, being fastidiously clean and hoping toilet roll comes back into stock before we run out!
  10. kpjf

    kpjf Occasional commenter

    Thanks for info. Sounds tiring, yes! I mentioned it because of this previous comment

    Anyway, I wonder how this could affect job applications in neighbouring countries to China? Of course it will affect China itself, but just wonder if it will affect other Asian countries for August/September (such as Korea, Japan, Taiwan, HK).
  11. Radian43

    Radian43 New commenter

    Off until March 2nd. Doing online learning as well currently. This situation has given rise to a number of questions that I feel are going to be asked over the next few weeks.

    1. My school has already mentioned 'extra days.' They have said this will be paid. So, are we obliged to work extra days or hours? In the UK in similar situations, I have never been asked to make the time up. Add in that pay has been offered and this makes me believe the answer is that we are not obliged to do it. Does it make a difference if this extra time is (i) an hour or so afterschool, (ii) an extra day per week, ie. Saturdays or (iii) a full on extra week or two at the end of the year cutting in to the summer break? What amount would you consider fair for an extra day? Personally, I would not choose to work a 6 day week for an extra days pay, but I'm sure some would. What amount, if any, would make you give up say 2 weeks of your summer break?

    2. Return and FCO advice. Many staff left China or avoided returning after the FCO stated that people should leave if they could. Personally, I don't see nCoV2019 as a significant threat to my health - so I am not too worried about returning. But in my WeChat groups plenty of staff have stated they wont return until FCO advice has changed either out of genuine fear or a convenient excuse to avoid work. FCO advice for China though is still to avoid 'all but essential travel.' So, is a job an essential reason for travel? If a school asks you to come back by a certain date and you don't wish to return due to FCO advice what happens? I asked the question about returning against FCO advice and my school gave me a response which merely avoided the question. I imagine the answer is that we can choose to not return if we wish, but that the school would consider it a sackable offence. But this then begs the question, what happens if some teachers don't return and therefore the school cant run?

    The mix of 1 and 2 amongst staff is going to be interesting. People have different priorities. I'm not worried by the virus, but don't want to work extra hours because my free time is my own. However, I'm sure there are some who would love the paid 'overtime' but are scared of returning to China.
  12. shazzamac

    shazzamac New commenter

    Many teachers working in China were overseas on Chinese New Year holiday when this crisis broke. Some teachers resident in China have no choice but TO RETURN and it hasn't always been an easy decision, but every family has their own criteria. They have been told by the compound where they live, not necessarily by the government, they have to self quarantine for 14 days...
    I'm not going to return, and I'm staying in Thailand for now, but for different reasons, my school had 2 staff, with families, arrive back in Shanghai just yesterday (Friday 7th).

    BUT in response to another post, SHANGHAI IS NOT RETURNING TO NORMAL!
    Friends still there say things started to open and improve after CNY, but they have now closed again, including Starbucks (some closed, some takeout only) . Ikea is now closed (boredom at one point made that an exciting excursion). You have temperature taken before entering supermarkets, metro...in fact pretty much at every corner. Their compounds now have curfews from 00.00 to 06.00 no entering or leaving. And strict controls going in and out of compounds outside that time; no visitors. They are not supposed to meet up with others. And told to stay indoors as much as possible. It seems like internet is reduced, since sites, apps that worked ok before this, are now not. It's mandatory to wear masks in public. But these are now rationed, not sold in general shops, and families need to register with area committees to get them. Food is delivered so most people order groceries online. But all deliveries are left at the entrance of the compound, not brought to your door. They are not so worried about catching the virus but some are entering their 3rd week indoors and they are bored, bored, bored. Luckily delivery guys are working, so they've ordered many board games online.

    Shanghai schools are closed by municipality order until at least end of Feb. My school is paying salaries, but then we are working!

    Don't think that working online from Thailand is something to enjoy. For sure I'd rather be here than Shanghai right now, but it's not easy logistically working away from home/school, and training yourself to not spend every minute on a computer is actually hard. Besides none of us were prepared, nor trained to teach this way. Some teachers are also parents. One colleague was so stressed working from the Philippines having to set work using dodgy internet, and an iPad and phones, that were also being shared amongst her 3 boys trying to do tasks set by their teachers.

    We're also concerned for many of our students and parents who are now trying to act as parent, breadwinner (maybe) and tutor. Parents are concerned about their child's education. Some children have not really been outdoors for 3 weeks. It's hard on them. Some have not so perfect home lives and school was a highlight...that has now gone! Some are only children and are lonely. They miss their friends and school family terribly. Not one of them has said how fun it is not being at school! It's difficult emotionally for teachers, parents and pupils. But we soldier on, doing the best we can, since you have to.

    Then there's the uncertainty. For me, visas will run out, I'll be forced to move airbnb or country again, not knowing how long, whilst all the time eating into money I would not usually spend. We calculated that flying back to UK would cost even more, but it might yet come to that. I don't have access to correct medication (not life threatening - but life improving). So... It's not a holiday, especially since we don't have the budget to live like that for an indefinite period. But, we at least get to go out, enjoy coffee shops, mountain views and local bands. So I'm not complaining at all.

    It's a difficult time for everyone involved. I don't doubt it will blow over eventually. And I won't have any problem with going back as soon as the FCO lift their advisory. China is an amazing place. It's people are fantastic...and are really trying to do their best to help themselves and the world. I admire their dedication to home quarantine and their stoicism in difficult times.
    #jiayouwuhan #jiayouchina

    If you signed a contract I'd keep it. You could sign for Japan and a huge earthquake could hit, you could sign for Brazil, and there could be a coup, you could sign for Lebanon and a war with Syria breaks out. Over the years, either me or friends have been caught up in tsunamis, earthquakes, war, epidemics, terrible administrations/ management, bullying, salaries not being paid, good schools gone rogue, unfair sackings etc etc.
    If you're not prepared for the unexpected, stay at home. I'd never change this life for staying in UK, but it's not all rosey all the time. Enjoy it when it is!
  13. grdwdgrrrl

    grdwdgrrrl Occasional commenter

    Have a look at the BBC website as it gives information on the validity of insurance and the like if you travel against advice from your FCO.
    suem75 likes this.
  14. suem75

    suem75 Occasional commenter

    I agree. It's very difficult juggling flights, accommodation, visas, etc. and still working remotely to support students. All with a lack of information about how long the situation will go on.

    I'm coming to Thailand tomorrow from India. It worked out cheaper than staying here, but is still not sustainable for more than a couple of weeks.

    At some point, I will have to return to Beijing, but am putting it off as long as possible.
  15. PuertaDelVino

    PuertaDelVino New commenter

    i am surprised teachers want to work in China if they have families. They are taking a big risk. Viruses don't discriminate.
  16. We are not in China at the moment but are due back to Shanghai when school reopens. We both work as teachers and have young children and it does feel very counter-intuitive to be planning a flight back into Shanghai when there is so much bad news pouring out of China at the moment.

    It isn't the virus itself we are worried about, but the increasingly severe crackdown, forced mass quarantines and so forth. I haven't seen anything from any experts that suggests we have reached peak virus yet, and the morbidity effects of the disease are obviously so severe that it can take out a city's healthcare in only a few weeks. What if we are back and my children get "discovered" with a high temperature? Or we do and are carted off? There are a number of things that could happen and bringing our children back feels like putting them in danger as the situation is not yet stable.

    Maybe things will look different in by the end of Feb, but I am not rushing back until I feel happy with the wider situation, although my school is painting it as job done - containment is working and let's get back to work (and ignoring FCO advice).
  17. GreenGlover

    GreenGlover New commenter

    If the Government tells schools to open on 3 March they will have do so, which means they will need staff to fulfil the contracts and be there.
  18. T0nyGT

    T0nyGT Lead commenter

    You have some very difficult decisions to make. Personally there's no way on earth I'd be taking children to China until this all blows over. You're right that the scariest thing isn't the virus itself, but the police chasing people down the streets, welding apartment doors closed so people can't get out and grassing them from their houses to quarantine units.

    I know this is very localised at the moment, but we simply don't know enough to say it's staying like that
  19. clovispoint

    clovispoint Occasional commenter

    This would be my concern. Children get fevers all the time. Getting off the plane.(or from what I'm reading, walking into public buildings and shopping centres) and being met with a thermometer wielding official who can decide my child is a danger. What happens next?

    Until things are calm I would stay away. People here in HK are really keeping themselves to themselves. It's not a normal situation here and we are not on lockdown.
  20. MissTilscher

    MissTilscher New commenter

    Quarantine because whenever you return, be it now or for the beginning of March, you will be getting on a plane, with 600 other people, some of whom might be carriers, and you are sitting with them for a 12hr flight. Planes are notorious for spreading infection because of the air system, so if you're flying back, you should THEN quarantine yourself.

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