A Recipe for Disaster

With the spread of the Coronavirus far more severe than when distance learning was substituted for the dangers of classroom instruction, ISR can’t help but question the wisdom of International Schools summoning kids and teachers back to the classroom.

Are YOU ready to go back? Beyond some parents’ resistance to their kids wearing masks and a noted lack of social distancing internationally, there is much to take into account when deciding whether it’s wise to reunite with your students:

Can Your School Admin Answer the Following Questions?

• What happens if a teacher tests positive? Will they need to self isolate for 14 days. Is that time off covered? Will every student the teachers have been in contact with need to do the same?

• What happens if someone living in or working in the same home as a teacher (spouse, child, housekeeper) tests positive? Does that teacher need to take 14 days off to quarantine?

• If the need arises, how will the school find a substitute teacher willing to work in a classroom full of exposed, possibly infected students?

• What if a substitute teacher is diagnosed with COVID-19? Does each student in each class they were in have to quarantine and get tested? Who is going to pay for that?

• What if a student tests positive? Does every other student and teacher they have been around quarantine? Does every parent get notified who is infected and when? Or will schools just send “may have been in contact” emails all year long?

• What is this stress going to do to teachers? How does it affect their health and well-being? How does it affect their ability to teach? How does it affect the quality of education they provide? What are the long-term effects on students and teachers of consistently being stressed out?

• How will students and faculty be affected when the first teacher in their school dies from Covid-19? The first parent of a student who brought it home? The first child?

Just like politicians, an administrator may employ broad, sweeping statements to garner confidence, yet fail to demonstrate an executable plan for achieving the stated objective. Imagine an administrator telling parents that the safety of their children is a top priority, yet no emergency evacuation plan is in place. Telling students to “run for safety when a siren blows” is not a plan for safety and certainly won’t be helpful in a pandemic. Likewise, there is no substitute for a solid plan in the face of Covid-19. Hoping for the BEST and failing to prepare for probable eventualities is a surefire recipe for disaster. Can your school admin answer these important questions?

Comments? Please scroll down to participate in this Discussion

17 thoughts on “A Recipe for Disaster

  1. I taught in China for several year, every year we had one or more deaths of young and older staff, it was not specific to age. Children are not concerned they react to the adult behaviour. It is not a concern, the mask wearing and other conditioning and compliance rules are the bigger problem.


    1. Reporting virus death in China is a national security issue. Be careful what you put online if it doesn’t tow the party line


  2. China is open. No reports of illness. Any deaths from the virus are disclosed as necessary to not disrupt social harmony.


    1. Most virus related deaths are not reported as virus but normal deaths. But in Xinjiang normal deaths are reported as virus related. Believe nothing out of China


    2. Many deaths in China from the virus. Any unauthorised disclosure leads to jail sentences or death.


  3. In Shanghai we restarted in May without incident. Everyone school is doing the same thing, so no reason to repeat. Uniform protocols are in place. Coming back our school we will have normal classes being taught by “live” teachers, while students who are out of country will be under the instruction of the teachers who are out of country. So we will not have to worry about Zoom….


  4. I feel like the Singapore government has requirements for all of these what ifs. Local schools have been back since mid-June. We’ll be back mid-August probably without CCA s and distancing measures in place. Masks are mandatory until there’s a vaccine. We will go online again if there’s a surge in cases.
    We had student and teacher family members testing positive back in March and there’s protocols in place. First level contacts quarentine for two weeks.


  5. I saw a 6th grade science teacher today on CNN. The commentator asked him when will he feel it’s safe to return to the classroom. He replied: when the board stops meeting virtually and the mayor of his city starts seeing people in person again.


  6. It is interesting that the words on this page are the same as ones I read last week on Facebook? They are all good questions but sad to see that you did not give credit to the original author.


  7. We’re opening up fully online and will remain online until at least January. My admin is of the opinion that risking the lives of our teachers, our students, and their families is unacceptable even if it means we may lose tuition dollars.


  8. Considering how poorly my school in Yangon dealt with an H1-N1 outbreak, dengue fever outbreak, and Covid-19, I will assume that they will close shop when enough teachers walk. Over the past few years we’ve had teachers have seizures at work, heart attacks, and even miscarriage. Everytime they were expected back ASAP and lost pay due to extended medical leave.
    I hope that top tier schools are run better but I’ll imagine that most and their wealthy owners are more concerned with the bottom line than human life.


  9. There are too many unanswered questions. On the other hand, how much longer must we wait to regain a normal life? I’d prefer to stay home and teach my classes online for a while longer so that I wouldn’t have to wear a mask all day in the classroom. Anyway, in China, secondary schools were opened in mid to late April and elementary schools in mid-May. As far as I know from contacts of mine, the academic year ended fine.


    1. Our school in Suzhou, China was one of those that opened in a staggered fashion in April/May. We all wore masks all day, sanitized desks and hands before each lesson, and kept socially distant as much as possible. The biggest difference I can see between our school in April/May and the situation in the US: we had no new cases for sixty days in the entire province before declaring it was safe to reopen schools. Can the same be said for any state?


    2. The problem in the USA is that many people aren’t taking the prescribed precautions of wearing masks in public, keeping a social distance of 2-3 metres, and frequently washing the hands. Look at what’s happening in Florida, for instance, which explains why Miami is the new epicenter in the country. Unless the population collaborates collectively to abide by the implemented restrictions, schools should remain closed.


  10. Good article and definitely points to consider. It seems our school is planning to open up but with no plan for how to deal with the inevitable. It’s all based on a hope and a prayer and promises of the utmost attention to detail. What that detail is has not been expressed. So far it’s just empty words that sound reassuring. The truth is, the school owner and the director are blinded by dollar signs and thinking with their wallets. Personally, I’m on the verge of not returning. Let’s see where we are when school opens. If things look worse, I’m out. Life is about more than dollars and cents.


    1. I have a friend who’s been teaching in a training centre in Xian, China, for the past 5 weeks, and there have been no problems.


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