Vaccines, Masks, Social Distancing & Quarantines: How Your School Stacks Up

From the ISR Member Forum:

by voyager » Tue Aug 24, 2021
…..I’m definitely scouring reviews and FB groups to see how each school managed the vaccine access and safety measures for staff because that is the main reason I left my previous gig. Being denied a vaccine during the height of the pandemic, under lockdown all evening, high infection and death rates in the community but we were also required to teach in person with 300+ people a day really soured me on things this year.

by voyager » Thu Aug 26, 2021 11:06 am
…..yes I caught COVID at work in December 2020 as we were working in person during massive surges. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one but it gives me pause and when I recruit again this year I will be asking about vaccine access and safety measures going forward. Hoping to find something good but honestly I am not sure that the international teaching scene is going to be the same anymore. Who knows!

If you’ve been on the circuit for any length of time, it comes as no surprise some schools put profits before the health and safety of students, teachers, and parents. Regrettably, in the age of COVID, this makes choosing the right school more consequence-charged than ever before.

In April of 2020, during the early days of COVID, ISR hosted a Discussion Board dedicated to revealing how schools were coping with the virus. Over 185 teachers supplied information about their schools. Many schools were caught off guard and failed miserably.

Much has changed in the last 18 months. Hopefully schools reported to be slow to react, or that did not react at all, to the crisis now have a viable system in place to keep everyone safe. However, voyager‘s Comments (above) from the ISR Member Forum tell a different story.

Please scroll down, Name YOUR school and tell colleagues about Current COVID safe measures (or lack thereof) at your school. ISR will put a backlink to this Discussion Board on the Schools Review page of each school mentioned here, ensuring everyone gets ALL the information they need to make safe, sound decisions.

Please scroll down to participate in this ISR Discussion

Name YOUR school. Tell us about what is currently being done to provide a safe working environment in this age of COVID:

4 thoughts on “Vaccines, Masks, Social Distancing & Quarantines: How Your School Stacks Up

  1. Karachi American School has a mask mandate, temperature checks on entry, and has relaxed the attendance rules so that students can take a day off if they feel unwell without worrying about their grades. We also have a full response plan that tackles issues like virtual learning, outbreak handling, and quarantine. There are also 2 isolation wards on campus and 100% of our staff (including non-teaching staff) were fully vaccinated by July 1 and we’re having a private clinic come in and open a pop-up vaccination center this coming week for students and parents age 15+. Due to issues sourcing AZ, it may be a few weeks before we can do the 12-14 age group but apparently that is the plan. I am very happy I am here and not at a school in the US.

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  2. Saudi Arabia has mandatory vaccination for teachers and students 12 and up, as well as mandatory masking, a vaccination application on your phone is required to enter stores and most places, and social distancing. Consequently, there are few cases or deaths compared to many other countries. My school, Rowad, follows the government mandate of one meter between desks, and the government inspectors visited in the first week. So if you are looking for a country that seems to found a successful formula for combatting Covid, Saudi Arabia should be on your list.

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  3. HKIS has mandatory masking, frequent temperature checks, distancing of student desks, nearly all faculty and staff and 70% of high school students are vaccinated. Parents aren’t allowed on campus. A travel declaration has to be submitted for everyone on campus. Students aren’t allowed on campus if they have traveled overseas until they have completed the government-mandated quarantine period. If a member of a student’s household is required to take a Covid test due to being a close contact of a Covid positive person, the student can not return to school until the negative test results are obtained. If a student or family member of a student were to test positive, the school community is notified by email. It’s definitely strict in comparison to other parts of the world, but at no point have I worried about getting Covid at work, so personally, I feel incredibly grateful to be here.

    Hong Kong is pursuing a Zero Covid strategy, which s working effectively at the moment. Vaccines are free and readily available. Schools closed very early (January 2020) and were closed for quite a long time, even when there were no cases, but they are back open now and most things feel fairly normal apart from wearing a mask all day long.

    Life around the city is nearly normal as well. Restaurants, bars, pools, gyms, etc. are all open and public transportation is just as crowded as it ever was. Mask compliance is some of the highest in the world. The biggest disruption to the life of many international teachers is not being able to travel home. Hong Kong has one of the strictest quarantines in the world, which means many people have not been home to see their families in two years. Returning from countries such as the UK or USA requires a 21-day quarantine at a designated quarantine hotel and 7 Covid tests. It’s expensive, rough on mental health, and the lead-up to getting back to Hong Kong is stressful as regulations change frequently, availability of hotel rooms is very limited, and airlines get banned at a moment’s notice if they fly people with Covid into the city.

    It’s definitely nice to feel safe and be living a ‘normal’ life right now, but who knows how long this Zero Covid strategy is sustainable and we’re all a little on edge worrying that if the Delta variant makes it here and cases numbers start ticking up, schools will quickly be closed and we will return to home learning.

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