Corona Virus: The Unexpected Guest

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(Photo by CDC on Unsplash)


In my previous post, Preparing for Book Festival, I wrote about the biggest event hold annually by our school. In this post, I'd like to describe a little about how the event was affected by the unexpected guest coming to our country: the corona virus.



January 2020

The world was concerned about the new corona virus that infected the city of Wuhan in China. Many videos that became viral shows how the disease spread so quickly, people would just fainted in the streets, hospital overloaded with patients, and too many people died to be taken care of.

Even sadder, that was around the time to celebrate Chinese New Year, where people would go to different cities, their hometowns, to celebrate it with their family.

In our city, Chinese New Year was celebrated as usual, without too much worry about the virus. News was just like news. Students came back to school as usual. Learning was running normal, although students talked a bit about the virus.

February 2020

Everything still looked normal. Our school was a bit away from the city center, students live in dorms, while most teachers and staff just live around the campus. So we were not too much affected by any news outside. Students began to question, though, will they be able to continue preparing for the school anniversary or not, because some school events in other cities were already cancelled. Many people started to talk how serious can the disease spread.

2nd of March 2020

There were news about confirmed cases in the country.

5th of March 2020

School installed hand sanitizers in each floor, and informed students how to wash their hand correctly. Students were asked to wash their hand regularly and wear mask when they are flu, and consult the school clinic once they are feeling unwell.

9th of March 2020

During Teachers General Meeting, Principal suggested teachers to prepare for full flipped teaching, in case school needs to send students home. Fortunately, we already get used to using Google for Education Suite and other web apps, so we didn't worry much about the change.

11th of March 2020

We hold meeting with students about the event. Students are informed that gates will be closed. Cars to be parked outside of the campus. And thermal screening will be done to anyone that enter the school area.

14th of March 2020

I went to the bookstore in the morning with my students to pick up the books for the Book Festival. Outside the school, the city also looks normal.  The bookstore is not as crowded as usual  but there were still some families with children choosing books, also some students with uniforms on.

In fact, finding books were not as easy as I thought. It must be really someone who often go to bookstore and understand the genre. But waiting for the bookstore attendant to type all titles of the books one by one is also 'something'. But anyway, we got back to school with all 100 books in our hands after spending a lot of time.

Meanwhile in some other program, they need to force-cancel the participants that were coming from confirmed-cases areas. Yes, the organizer received some hate-speech, but this was all for good. Some participant voluntarily cancelled their participation.
Even two programs, were completely cancelled. One was free medical treatment because the doctors were coming from confirmed-cases areas so they decided that they would not come. The other was walking program with community around the school campus, because we could not ensure the safety and distancing concept be applied to that many people.
Thermal screening is applied to everybody entering the campus. Participants were informed that they should pass the screening for attending the meeting.

Everyone was still worry whether the event be permitted to continue or not.

Late at night, school management informed teachers that students will be sent home the next day. School and dorms were to be closed for sterilization. Learning will continue from home. But most programs for school anniversary will still be held.

15th of March 2020 D-Day

We began our set up early in the morning. Everything seemed normal. Many people came to our stands to look at the books. Many bought new books. Several borrowed. I see that many people are not accustomed to borrow books from a library, so most people were also hesitate even if we offered them to borrow for free. Children were mostly the most excited to borrow and buy books.

We enjoyed the event as much as we enjoyed serving people. But the news about the school's closing the next day spread fast. We were supposed to close our stand at 15.00, but before 13.00 one student came to me and ask if she can leave early because her parents already picked her up and they didn't want to be caught in high traffic in the afternoon. So, I let her leave, because I thought it is okay to let one student leave early, her home is about 4 hours away by car, and I can still manage her part myself.

Then, at around 14.00, the boys were coming, saying they need to go and packed all their belongings at dorm because their parents are coming to picked them at 16.00. Well, I couldn't work without the boys helping me to move the books. So I decided to close all the stands immediately, and all students help closing the stand.

So, I let students leave to pack their things in dorm (Dorm is closing for sterilization the next day, so all students must bring all their stuff home.). I was left alone in the empty stand to wait for several students who were the event organizers, to pick their books. Not many were left. I was just sitting there and enjoying the closing ceremony.

16th of March 2020

I still came back to school the next morning to clean up everything related to the Book Festival. Listing unsold books and return them back to the bookstore. I didn't get a lot from the bookstore, but satisfaction. I was happy we could contribute even if it is a little from our little club.

School without students feels really empty, especially after those programs involving many people being held the previous day. Only teachers and staff, but we were not very much excited to the vacancy. We were not even excited to have our lunch. One of my colleague came with tears, " I already felt isolated. I came to the dining hall but nobody is there." 

19th of March 2020

All teachers started teaching from home. Only cleaning staffs and principals came to school. Our first days of learning, I heard from several students, on the day the school closed, they were very much afraid, because they didn't know whether the airport is still opened or not. One of my students got stuck in a relative's house in the other province because her hometown's airport was already closed until today. Many lives in rural places so they are in difficulties finding good internet connection. But we managed all. With all limitation, we try to study the best we can.


I hope this crisis will end soon. I hope God keep us all healthy and safe, especially the ones that are urged to work outside of their homes. And for the ones who have no urgency of going outside, please just #StayHome.
Nia M Wardani
Hi! Call me Nia. I am a physics teacher and I love to learn anything in the universe.

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