Locked Out of China

When the lockdown went into effect, these International Educators, on holiday outside China, found their reentry had been blocked. After 3 months in an Airbnb, with only the clothes they packed for their trip, these educators are ready to call it quits:



“On March 28, the Chinese government closed its borders to foreigners, with an “exception” for travelers who hold very specific Visa types. Inexplicably, the “Z” Visa under which International Educators work does not appear on this “exception” list. With no projected end date to the entrance restriction, educators who left China during the New Year holiday now find themselves inadvertently locked out, indefinitely.

“My significant other and I are in this situation. We are still paying rent, house helpers and utility bills in China, but have no idea when we might be able to return. This is our third month in an Airbnb in a foreign country, with only the clothes we brought for our vacation. Our Chinese bank account is accessible through a credit card, but with no cash withdrawals and limits on charges.

“I’ve heard some negative sentiment from teachers who stayed in China. They’re saying that people who are locked out are “sitting around getting a fat paycheck.” I’ve read this on ISR Discussions Boards and expressed by teachers from our school. The truth is we are currently teaching online from out of country. As of now, our future is uncertain with schools beginning to reopen throughout China.

“We’ve decided to cut our losses and leave China. We are leaving our teaching Contracts and our apartment lease a year early, both potentially with financial penalties. I don’t know yet how we will manage to get our belongings out of China. I would like to know what other teachers locked out of China, and other countries if that is happening elsewhere, are doing to manage this situation.”

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44 thoughts on “Locked Out of China

  1. I work for Dipont. They have been quite supportive. No salary reductions, everything paid on time. Our school in Canton province is excellent in terms of overall support.
    As far as someone saying that teachers will be responsible for a $60,000 bill if they get sick — that doesn’t sound correct to me. You are required to have medical insurance if you live here, and if you don’t have medical insurance then you are not acting wisely. Also, Covid-19 is typically quite mild and very unlikely to result in a medical bill on that scale anyway regardless of who pays for it, you or your insurer. So I’d like to know the basis for that claim.
    Another issue is that Chinese medical care is not yet at the standard of the US, Australia, France, etc., so there is concern at not having access to high level medical care if needed. You used to be able to go to Hong Kong or fly home if necessary. With that window closing, it’s a concern. I would suggest making arrangements with a doctor in China who has been trained in the US, Australia, or France.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This is the message we specifically received in Hubei, 8000 rmb for quarantine (if green pass code changed to yellow) and would bear all the costs of going out into public after March 23rd, places such as the subway or grocery store. This is when the government messaging changed increasingly to wariness over imported cases (even though 90% were students and permanent coming back from US and abroad to places like HK, Beijing, Shanghai, etc.). That said, it was more of a threat…that 400,000 responsibility or burden that would be borne by foreigners who contracted Covid after that time. We haven’t yet heard of it actually being imposed, because the huge majority have left and are now blocked from returning by that flight ban. I can say they are more likely to question foreigners in the subway (asking for permission to return to work, wondering why we didn’t “scan in” with Weixin app…because we don’t have that integrated one, it’s a separate system not connected to WeChat or Alipay.)


  2. Everything I own is stuck in an apartment in China. I can’t get to it. My friends can’t get to it because not possible to enter an apartment compound not your own. I can’t sort it to decide which clothes, shoes, photos I want to bring back to my home country. I left for a Chinese Lunar New Year Holiday. I don’t know what will happen to my lovely things but I suspect I will have to pay a haul away removal fee to the landlord and my beautiful things will all be treated as “trash”.

    But, things are replaceable, so I won’t complain except to say I am very tired of wearing the 3 tops and 2 pairs of pants I brought with me for vacation. Have been wearing them since January 23 in hopes things will be normal again. I will never again take my ratty, daggy, old clothes on a trekking vacation without taking some nice stuff too. My holes are getting holes, lol. Where I am now is on lockdown (outside of China) and nothing is being sold except for groceries. [sigh]

    I am happy to have a job because so many do not have jobs. I look forward to the much better times ahead.


    1. Many housing communities are starting to loosen their restrictions. My community in Shanghai started letting in outsiders about a month ago. Other are just starting to allow that now. Make a deal with a friend or coworker (preferable a Chinese since many communities guards are suspicious of foreigners now) to go into your apartment when possible to take out a few things you really want to keep and ship them to you. Tell them they can keep what they want if they can just throw the rest away (and only the things they can easily grab and set outside the building – don’t even worry about the garbage is supposed to go since there are people who will be happy to take it away and pick through it). They won’t be able to bring a car or truck in so they will be limited to what they can carry out by hand. You can talk to your friend on wechat video while they are in your apartment to guide them to find your things that you want. Don’t even tell your landlord until it is done (your friend can hide the key outside your apt for him to find later when you finally tell him). If you pay all your rent up to date and let him keep your deposit, then no reason to feel bad for your landlord. If he tries to harass you to pay more then just tell him you are not coming back to China and then delete him on wechat. I realize that this is not a perfect solution, but this is what I was planning to do if I wasn’t lucky enough to find out at 10 pm on 3/26 about the ban on foreigners entering China after 3/27, and I made it back on 3/27. I paid 4 times the price normal plan for those tickets and had to quarantine for 2 weeks in a hotel very far from home, but I feel lucky that I made it back.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I have been stuck in Phuket since Jan 20 when I came on vacation. I bought a ticket the day before they shut the borders to return to Beijing. However, our school managed to get our salaries sent to our US banks, a Herculean feat in China. I’m out a lot of money from hotels, food and now a small condo. The worst is my cats in China. I’m concerned about getting my possessions, too, and dreading the now three-week lockdown when and if foreigners are allowed back in before I start my new job in Vietnam in August.


  4. Some teachers are taking advantage of the situation to remain overseas. I was ordered back too China in March and had no trouble getting a flight. I was in Corona lockdown for 14 days and now am teaching again. It really annoys me that colleagues who made excuses – yes there were flights – to stay overseas didn’t return and get paid for doing sweet nothing!


    1. I doubt they are being paid for doing “sweet nothing.” They must be teaching their pupils online. I can’t think of any Chinese employer who pays their staff for doing nothing at all. I have a friend and former colleague who hasn’t been teaching since the Lunar New Years’ holidays because his training center in Xian closed its doors. Since then, he’s been sitting in his apartment all day with nothing to do but surf the Internet. All he’s been getting is a weekly living allowance for food and other personal essentials. His employer pays the rent and covers the utilities as stipulated in the contract. Elementary schools and training centers are scheduled to open in Shaanxi province around mid-May.


    2. Actually, I consider popping up online occasionally – doing “sweet nothing” when being paid a full salary with housing in China provided so no rents to pay. This is surely nothing compared to those who returned and have to gear up and enter school every day!


    3. oh please, cut your holier than thou rhetoric. what’s so heroic about going back to teach in the epicenter of the Outbreak? They don’t give a crap for your health or wellbeing, nothing to celebrate there.


    4. It is depressing that people’s unhappiness can drive them to be so hateful and irrational as a couple of the posters here.

      It is never a good or wise thing to resent others who ‘appear’ to be better off than yourself.

      a) They’re probably not. They’re just in a different situation, with their own difficulties – which you might have no insight into.

      b) You should take some responsibility for your own decisions. If you find being in China now, or the particular working conditions required at your school, to be intolerable – maybe you shouldn’t have gone back; or maybe you should now leave. It has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with other teachers at your school who made a different decision. And even less to do with other teachers at other schools who made their decisions under even more different circumstances.

      Respect other people, respect their choices – and recognise the consequences of your own.

      In January/February, there was no case for staying in China: everyone, including the Chinese government, was telling foreigners to leave.

      Choosing to return in March was, I would say, a very weird and risky decision. No schools as yet had a confirmed re-opening date, but it had already been widely announced that re-opening was extremely unlikely until late April/early May at the earliest (as is indeed starting to happen; but thus far only with state schools, it seems, not private ones). The Covid situation was rapidly escalating in many other countries around the world by the beginning of the month (making the risk of travel within one’s present country or through airports very high); flights were already becoming few and far between, and very expensive (and no schools that I have heard were offering any financial support for return – except perhaps, on the hush-hush, to a few key members of ‘leadership’). And it was not evident that China was yet completely safe: there was – not unreasonable – scepticism about the accuracy and honesty of official reporting of the drop-off of cases, the hazards of asymptomatic and long-term carriers were just beginning to be appreciated, and even China’s own top epidemiologists were counselling caution and warning that a resurgence of the disease was likely.

      So, if people never left, or went back in March, and now find themselves in a poor situation – they really might have anticipated that.

      Those who chose not to go back had many, many strong reasons for that choice; and for almost all of us it has involved many sacrifices (friends and belongings left behind, perhaps lost forever; money, also, potentially lost, since there seems to be no way to authorise transfer out of the country remotely by proxy…), considerable extra expenditure (again, schools are not offering any support with emergency accommodation overseas), and the common hardships that we are all suffering (lockdown is a pretty miserable experience anywhere – everywhere – in the world).

      I sympathise with my colleagues who are stuck in China (mostly Chinese; my school did not pressure foreign staff to return, and very few did), and with other teachers at other schools there. Being trapped in a country you’d like to leave is just as bad as being trapped outside a country you need to return to. We are all suffering. Let’s try to be a little kinder and more tolerant to each other.

      Liked by 1 person

    5. I know that Nord Anglia paid for flights for everyone that came back company wide.

      They have done other things that I don’t agree with but I think that was a choice that I respect. It was optional to come back but they did encourage people to return.


    6. I have to say I agree with almost everything you have said. However, I was never advised by the Chinese government to leave. I don’t know anyone who was. Those who were out of the country were advised by the Chinese government not to return, but no one was advised to leave. And no one was blocked from returning until March 28, so advice is just that. If you know someone in the government whose personal opinion it was that foreigners should leave, then maybe that happened, but there was no official announcement advising foreigners to leave.

      And, while those of us in China need to take responsibility for staying in China, (and it turned out to be the better decision, it seems for most people) those who decided not to return have to take equal responsibility for their decision.

      This entire thread was based on the premise that people who left China or did not return after holidays had no choice. They had a choice and they are responsible for that choice. I still sympathize with them. I might have been them except I had reasons that would have made it nearly impossible to leave (just as those who left or did not return had good reasons they stayed away.) If you say that we who stayed “might have anticipated” how we would find ourselves, the same is true of those who did not return.

      Liked by 2 people

    7. Well, good for you!

      I was in Europe at that time. Only flights were around $700 per person one way, and no guarantee of getting there. I also have kids over 12 who – at that time – would have had to quarantine seperately from us (Beijing had different rules to elsewhere) and not at home.

      Fortunately my school was sensible and told us to stay where we were.

      There was no right or wrong situation here. And I hope you don’t have that attitude with colleagues when they return, otherwise you will no doubt lose some friends…

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I was a teacher at a Chinese international school in Nanjing until April 3. I had left China on January 23 and expected to return February 9. My school opened after Chinese New Year with online classes which I taught faithfully. I was paid my March salary but it is unclear if I will receive my one-month severance which is owed to me by my contract or my flight allowance. My school has had trouble keeping foreign teachers; we have five foreign teachers and five have been let go after serving abut three weeks. The students are on their fourth math teacher. I am still paying rent and utility bills and asking friends to mail me back all the documents that the school holds (diplomas, teaching certificates, Chinese verifications, etc.) and help me with getting some of my possessions from my apartment. I moved to China in 2003 after teaching internationally for twenty yearsI left china from 2009 to 2014 . As I look to turning sixty next year I know I will not be able to get a new Chinese work visa. I love China but I am leaving on a sour note.


    1. I as far as I understand, schools cannot hold original documents such as your diploma, teaching certificate, or even anyone’s passport. I taught at two international schools in China this past decade before leaving the country. My school administrators photo-copied my original docs and gave them back to me without my having to ask for them. Didn’t you ask for your docs to be returned to you? I think we all should. My former schools in South Korea and Taiwan did the same without having to ask.


  6. Finally, it seems like the Trump administration is going to make both China and the WHO the centerpiece of the presidential election. On one hand, continuing the international flight ban (on foreigners entering) is eventually going to wipe out half the Chinese airline industry. They can survive on domestic demand for 2-3 months, but we’re already seeing bankruptcies. Cathay Pacific pretty much is shuttered. Conversely, it’s not impossible to believe in a few months from now only Americans or perhaps UK citizens will continue to be blocked…more politics, right? Chinese intl students and tourists will still be able to leave, but not nearly at the same rate as 2012-2017. Anyone care to predict how long the ban will last…and it’s certainly not going to be lifted due to Chinese schools needing foreign teachers. The opposite (nationalistic) trend is inexorably starting to take hold, away from internationalization.


    1. I agree with you with ref to ‘ …and it’s certainly not going to be lifted due to Chinese schools needing foreign teachers’. As a teacher in a bilingual school in China, and always on the lookout for new teaching vacancies, I have seen many adverts here and on other teaching sites looking for teachers already in China. I have also seen some for local Chinese English speaking teachers to teach English in schools. There have also been more online English classes popping up here, plus existing English online companies advertising more. So, will the expat teacher finally become obsolete in China?


  7. I have been living outside of China since late January and have been remote teaching my students in China since Feb 3. All teachers at my school have continued to be paid their salary, although there were some recent lay offs of people at the higher levels. I have two young children and my husband was not working while we were in China. It was not sustainable for me to remote teach my students while having two young kids in the house and being dislocated from China. We did choose to leave China initially as it was our first year abroad and we had family in a Southeast Asian country where we first relocated. My husband got a job in Singapore and we have relocated here for good. My school let me out of my contract as it stipulates for breaking contract mutually for situations like epidemics and pandemics. I was upfront with them and I stayed on for three months as a remote teacher. We were able to move our apartment out of China to Singapore via an international shipping company. Still have to figure out how to get my teaching stuff out of China. Everyone is doing the best they can for themselves and their families. The longer this goes on the harder it is getting for everyone.


  8. Well, the answer to that is obvious. Where in the world do you go that’s safe? Maybe Taiwan or South Korea, but those are typically more ESL and K-6 jobs, although the pay is “okay.”

    Our school is actually in Hubei and we also have roughly 1/3rd who got caught in other vacation countries or were back in the UK, US, etc.

    Haven’t heard yet what will happen when we do go back on May 11th (seniors). Other HS and MS school students will come back before end of May, theoretically. Will those teachers still be able to work online and continue to receive full salaries? How do you balance that with the issue of fairness to those who are going to be covering for other teachers, going 1-2 weeks longer until the end of June, and also potentially exposed to asymptomatic virus carriers?

    No easy answers there. How can you recruit replacement teachers that are not already in China? How could those outside the country roll the dice on accepting a position, not knowing when/if they could even start in August or September.

    It looks like there will be a roughly 15-25% decrease in Chinese students studying abroad (safety, value of online education at intl tuition prices, publicized incidents against Asians abroad), so schools might not have a firm handle on enrollment. The Chinese economy being decimated (at least here in Hubei) is going to impact the financial situations of so many parents, with many looking at Hong Kong, Singapore, gap years.

    Yet another issue is the fact that the government is telling foreigners they will be responsible for a roughly $60,000 bill if they get sick from this point onwards. While the risk isn’t high, that number is a scary one. Taking out supplemental insurance might cut that in half…but that brings up the fairness issue again with teachers who risked coming back and going through two week quarantines vs. those who are still abroad with their families, granted their countries are struggling too with Covid.

    Making it even worse is when family members are in the US and staying in assisted living centers…where we probably can’t see them due to governors aggressively reopening at what is roughly the halfway point compared to things getting shut down 100% here on January 23rd. Prices for flights are crazy at the moment…so staying in China and going on a summer vacation here to get away from the city is the best option, although far from ideal. That said, we are lucky to still have our jobs and salaries and even the ability to consider taking a vacation compared to the rest of the world. It’s tough.


    1. I think you mean 60,000 RMB, not USD, and even that would be a very high estimate for a few weeks in a Chinese hospital for coronavirus treatment. You couldn’t get this treatment in one of the nice, expensive international hospitals even if wanted to and had the cash. And even the worst schools in China provide foreign teachers at least some kind of insurance that would cover most of it.


    2. Yeah, it was 400,000 RMB, not $60,000 USD. By current exchange rates it would be fairly close though, at 7.05 or whatever the rate is…


    3. Sorry I don’t believe it would be that high. Do you (or anyone else reading this) know of any case of a foreign teacher who actually had to pay 400K RMB for COVID treatment in China? It’s just not realistic. Most foreign teachers don’t even have that much money. Any teacher with that kind of cash most likely works at a school with decent health insurance. I think someone gave you the wrong information.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. It is worth being aware that Chinese New Year Finished in the First week of February almost 7 weeks before the border closed. People that got stuck out of China had already been overseas by choice for one or two months. Most people that tried to get back in the first two weeks of March or beforehand were fine. The people that got stuck generally either had bad luck (multiple flights cancelled) or didn’t even try to go back to China until the middle of March.

    There was travel advice from the UK and US government not to go to China so I understand why people decided to stay out of the country but it wasn’t just after the holidays.


    1. Most Chinese schools told teachers to stay out of China as they went to online teaching immediately instead of returning to the classroom. It was unfortunate for all. There is no good answer. Maybe think of it as ‘war’ and you have your health and life and forfeit your possessions. I hope schools can transfer pay. This is why I hate that Chinese schools force a bank on you. Some banks would allow withdrawals in USA via atm, like CCB. It really sucks. I would be upset with anyone who says people who are out of China are doing nothing getting paid. Many schools who were paying are now considering stopping or going to half payment. I feel everyone’s pain. It sucks.


    2. It is also worth noting in those seven weeks after Lunar New Year, China was still the epicenter of the virus. So your argument makes no sense; most people weren’t coming back in February to get sick…..


    3. That is true, but the point is that the premise of this entire discussion is that “With no projected end date to the entrance restriction, educators who left China during the New Year holiday now find themselves inadvertently locked out, indefinitely.” The truth is, many teachers left after the holiday because China was the epicenter of the pandemic at the time. Many came back even though China was the epicenter of the pandemic at the time. And some came back from holiday and then left. No one was blocked from returning until March 28. By the time China closed their borders, it was no longer the epicenter of the pandemic. It was increasingly apparent it was in deep decline and opening up, while the rest of the world was facing a crisis. Hence the closing of the borders.

      I don’t blame people for leaving. I don’t blame them for not coming back. If I had left, I probably would still be gone and in the situation those locked out of China now find themselves. But it is disingenuous to suggest that they were on holiday and the borders closed without warning and without the chance to return. It was a considered decision on their parts to remain out of China for nearly two months when they were finally locked out without much warning. So I disagree with your argument. The statement made above (it wasn’t an argument, it was a statement of fact) is absolutely relevant to the premise of this discussion.


    4. Again, your argument is disingenuous. Why would anyone come back to China, regardless of vacation or not, when China was the center of a global pandemic. CIRCUMSTANCES, not choice made those people stay gone after Lunar New Year. Many places weren’t flying directly to China. So, the travel restrictions were an EXTENSION of the Lunar Break plans not in addition to.

      You keep saying you aren’t being judgmental, but you are, trying to passively aggressively shame those that chose to stay out by not returning immediately after break.


    5. No. You are being disingenuous by insisting you had no choice. And I’m not judging anyone. I would have told people to stay away except that I don’t give such advice, so when I was asked, I wavered.

      However, MANY people did return during the time after Chinese New Year and before March 28, so you are wrong about that. In the early days, I didn’t understand why people were making the choice to return, but I didn’t judge them either. Do you? If I’d had the opportunity to leave, I would have. I secretly cheered my friends who left in mid-March and I planned to do so as well except that it didn’t work out. It looked like it might be able to leave around the beginning of March, but it didn’t. By the time we were able to arrange for what was stopping us from leaving, it was after March 28.

      I am not making a judgment at all. I’m saying that China did NOT close the border during the holiday. It simply did not! That’s a fact! I’m saying that it was POSSIBLE to return between the holiday and March 28 when the borders closed. That is also a fact. Whether or not people wanted to return is not the issue. The original post suggests that people left for vacation and were blocked from returning. That’s not what happened. That would have been a different scenario altogether. That would have been scandalous. This scenario is extremely unfortunate, but not the same thing!

      Not everyone on this site lives in China. Some people might actually have believed that China closed its borders during the holiday without warning blocking unsuspecting travelers from returning to their homes; travelers who might have wanted to return. It didn’t. No one went on holiday and at the end of holiday found themselves stranded outside of China. Many made well-thought-out decisions not to return. But they were deliberate decisions. Nothing was out of their control until about the 28th of March.

      I’m sorry you are so sensitive about this. Apparently, you are feeling judged and I believe there are people out there judging you. I’m not one of them, though I find your hardheadedness and angry aggressiveness to be obnoxious. But I’m not judging you or anyone else for staying away. I supported people who made that choice and I continue to support them now that they are suffering for it. My colleagues who are away are currently in much worse circumstances than I have been. They did not escape lockdown as we all assumed they would, plus they are paying out of pocket for months of housing. They are teaching online with limited resources, often from a hotel room, without the conveniences of English-Language delivery apps and everything else China offers, and some of them are teaching in the middle of the night!

      Meanwhile, I’m scanning materials for them, packing up their apartments if this was their last year, meeting their movers, sending them documents, etc., because I support them. I feel for them. No one would have guessed it, but those of us here have it easier in the long run. So why would I judge them? But none of them are acting like they had no choice. They are not playing the victim! They may not like the way their schools are handling things, but they knew they had a choice. In fact, my school was pressuring people to come back in the beginning, and my colleagues stood their ground with my support!


  10. Teachers were not on holiday when China closed the borders. Teachers were teaching remotely when China closed the borders. Holiday ended sometime in February depending on your school. The borders closed 4 to 8 weeks after holidays ended. Those teachers who were abroad on March 28 had chosen to either stay abroad when school went online or go abroad. NO JUDGMENT! As someone who has been in China from the beginning, up until that announcement about closing the borders was made, I would have advised anyone not in China to stay away. I was wrong, and thank goodness it is my policy to not give such advice. I feel terrible for people stuck outside the country.

    As stated above, I am in China. Though I wanted to leave China, at least for a few weeks, for several reasons it was not possible to do so. Up until this point, I would say that all teachers, those here and those abroad, have been doing the same amount of work. In a week or so when school resumes here in Beijing, those of us in China will have to do more work than those who are abroad, but that is the nature of crises. You step up. It’s no one’s fault and I will not carry any resentment towards those who are not here. They will be affected in ways I will not. One of those, as expressed by my colleagues abroad, is unwarranted guilt.

    What I don’t understand, and once again, no judgment, is why this has motivated the original poster to break contract and put themselves in such a precarious situation. While I’m sure there is more to the story than shared above, there isn’t the sort of detail that would explain that to me, and it seems like a different topic than being stuck outside the country.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well, that entirely depends on how schools want to approach things. Some have cut the salaries of local staff, for example. There’s a fine line between extra duties and going longer into the summer (especially for those who couldn’t leave or didn’t go on their trips the week of January 19th)…versus that invisible line where teachers feel they are being taken advantage of or should receive extra compensation. Not everyone had the same online teaching load, for example. It’s hard to say that’s worth an arbitrary percentage less than regular in-school classes. But I can certainly understand the “value” arguments from students and parents. In the end, schools have to decide whether they want those teachers abroad to return, depending on how they decide to treat them…and also considering the extreme challenge of replacing teachers in this uncertain environment.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Your assumption that teachers who are abroad ‘chose’ to is actually not correct and does seem to be based in judgement or ignorance to the situation. China is a massive country and different people will have different experiences but if your govt says do not fly, your employers tell you not to return and your property compound management refuse you entry to your home I am not sure where the ‘choice’ to return is?

      Liked by 2 people

    3. No, I am referring to teachers who were in SE Asian countries on vacation…of that number, the majority came back to China in March, went through a stressful two week quarantine and finally were able to get back. I don’t know what property compound management was refusing entry in other cities, but most of ours are school-controlled and there was no issue returning. It was simply a judgment call to stay as long as possible (let’s say in Vietnam, Indonesia or Thailand) but the flight ban came and then people were trapped. Is that different than going to one’s home country on recommendation (for example, UK)? You tell me. I stayed because at the time wife AND kids were not BOTH being allowed to travel together…and also because of two week quarantine in California or Texas (not to mention considerable risk of contracting Covid on the long evac flight.)


    4. It sounds like you tried to leave but for family and logistical reasons it wasn’t practical, which is fair enough, but are now reducing other people’s choices, or lack of, to ‘judgements’. I think there are too many differing factors to label everyone who didn’t return to China to have chosen not to. That may have been the decision of some but what if you had managed to fly out? would you have got on the next flight? would you have looked for a cheaper date later as you have to buy a families worth of tickets then missed the unannounced deadline? would you have researched if the family could quarantine together or at home before booking? what if your school advised you not to return? not all schools provide on-site accommodation so clearance would be needed before you could move back in. Do you seek that before booking a flight? I don’t think it is as simple as saying people had a choice to come back and decided not to. in the same way it didn’t seem possible for you and your family to leave but then could we say you chose to stay if the alternative is family separation?

      Liked by 1 person

    5. I live in Beijing which, outside of Wuhan, has the tightest restrictions in the country because . . . because.

      No compounds were allowed to ban entry to legal residents, so I’m not sure where you live that compounds were allowed to do that. At some point around the second week in March, anyone returning to the country, at least in Beijing, was forced to do 2 weeks quarantine in a hotel, and children over the age of 14 or 16 (it changed) had to quarantine separately from their parents. Several of our teachers returned at this time and did their two weeks quarantine.

      Later, anyone flying into Beijing was diverted to another city because Beijing has the tightest restrictions. One of our teachers did quarantine in another city and then came to Beijing directly and didn’t have to do another quarantine in Beijing. Another did quarantine elsewhere in China and was not able to make it back within 24 hours due to flight issues and had to do another 2 weeks in Beijing.

      The point is, I don’t believe anyone had “no choice.” The first paragraph in my original reply was to put the record straight. ISR stated, “With no projected end date to the entrance restriction, educators who left China during the New Year holiday now find themselves inadvertently locked out, indefinitely.” No one was caught outside the country during the holidays without a way to re-enter until March 28. As for your country posting an advisory not to fly, many people ignored that until flights became unavailable. In fact, my initial commnt began with a qualification that my remarks were not to the original poster because it was ISR that had misstated the facts, not the original poster. It seems that was edited.

      I do not judge people who decided to leave or stay away. As I stated in my first post, I would have done the same except I had other deciding factors. But just as it was my decision to stay, it was the decision of others not to return to China. They had a choice. Initially, it seemed to be the right choice. Sadly, it turned out to be the wrong choice for many of them. And without a doubt, those people were caught out on about March 25 when the announcement was made about closing the borders. At that point, it was nearly impossible to get a flight to China. Quite a few of my colleagues tried to get back, but were unable to book flights arriving before the cut-off date.

      Regardless, people here and people outside of China have been working their butts off and anyone who resents the ones in a different boat is just petty and ignorant. Like I said, next week my work load will increase significantly while those outside of China will maintain the same workload. But I am in my own apartment. I will teach face-to-face and remotely in real time. I have easy access to my pay. I’m not having to pay for temporary housing. And I am in the country that is probably the most open right now. The people outside of China cannot say that, so I do not envy them and I accept that sometimes, especially in a crisis, things work out so that some of us have to give just a little bit more. It’s no one’s fault. It all comes out in the wash. And I would bet that 90% of my colleagues outside of China wish they were here. They are NOT getting a “fat paycheck” while “doing nothing!”


  11. I’m a teacher at a Chinese international school in Shanghai. My school just informed me two days ago that my salary will be reduced to 65% starting in May and for the rest of this school year. If I am not back in Shanghai by the end of the school year, I will lose my job. All this with only a few days’ notice and with no discussion or warning beforehand. The school, of course, still expects me to continue to teach 100% of my classes online for the duration. I wasn’t ready to leave China just yet, but it looks like my time, too, is up.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Well, dude, there is a big difference between a “full load:” sitting at home compared too being actually in the fray and entering high-risk school in China and putting in a full day’s work while covering for folks not there! Millions of people have been laid off and can’t make ends meet. Some posters on here are really self-entitled.


    2. It’s really sad/disappointing how spectacularly judgemental and unempathetic some of the posts from fellow educators are on here. How is it in any way ‘entitled’ to be upset because you’re being expected to continue working full time even though your pay has been massively cut with little forewarning? And how can teaching 100% of your classes remotely possibly be seen as ‘slacking off’? I don’t know what kind of distance teaching the likes of ‘Get Real’ and his ilk were doing but my experience and those of many other teachers I know is that it’s far more exhausting and less rewarding compared with regular classroom teaching. It’s scary and uncertain times. I imagine this makes being put in a financially precarious situation and the prospect of finding a new job all the more stressful.


    3. International teachers are lucky to have jobs at all. More international schools are localizing staff to cut costs. With schools closed, there is also no income coming in from parents – where do some of you posters here think schools get money to pay salaries without students and parents.


    4. Clearly you have not taken the various ways schools are handling online learning into account. Blanket generalisations are not helpful.


    5. At the top it says “Feel free to name your school.” So Genevieve, please tell us which school. I work in Shanghai and I am thinking of changing schools and certainly want to avoid that one.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Shipping companies in China such as Debang and SevenSeas will pack your belongings and ship them to you.

    I’m frustrated with the amount of schools in China that expect complete support from their teachers yet offer teachers little to no support in return. High schools are beginning to open but teachers with children in elementary don’t have a place for them during the work day. Leaving them alone for the day or hiring a stranger for childcare are suggestions. Flexibility is demanded but not extended.

    Contracts are being adjusted without mutual agreement, pay is being docked. Benefits are being cut. It’s a wonder more teachers aren’t leaving in droves, like the OP and partner.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Some teachers (both foreign and local) at my grade 10-12 school plan to bring their young kids (when we open on May 6) with them to school since they don’t have another choice. Technically only students and school staff are allowed inside now with the new rules (not even parents are allowed now) but we are a small school where the teachers and guards know and are nice to each other. It also helps that our principal would rather a teacher come in with their kid then leave the kid alone at home all day.


    2. We were told today that we would be allowed to bring our kids into school when we resume next week. I’m not sure what will happen if a teacher teaches a returning grade and has a young child who can’t sit still and will disrupt the class and ignore the social distancing rules. My child is not so young and can stay at home alone, if he will only do his work. But I can’t bring him into the classroom because there is no room for him. I teach a returning grade and the furniture has been arranged to that all the seats are a meter apart. I have just enough seats in my classroom for the students I teach. No room for my child.


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