I have quite a few former students whom I’m often in contact with. Many are now English teachers in their hometowns or in different cities throughout Sichuan province.
During the COVID-19 lockdown, which in China took place right before the Chinese New Year (January 25), many of my students had already gone home to spend time with family and friends. When the seriousness of the virus took hold, the government had strict protocols in place for the entire country. Everyone stay in place. No traveling. Quarantine yourself in your home with family members. Wear masks. Disinfect. Schools remain closed until further notice.
This gave teachers quite an extended holiday break.
On my college campus, many of the single teachers living in my apartment building had already gone home and were unable to return to the campus until restrictions were lifted. Even afterwards, they were required to enter Luzhou with temperature checks at the city border. After passing through, our college regulations, upon entering the campus, stipulated for teachers to quarantine themselves for 2 weeks in their apartments. Local city health officials came daily to take their temperatures and food was delivered to their doors by the cafeteria workers or friends in the building. Meals and groceries were left within reach of their doors, in the hallways, for them to pick up. Three times daily, disinfectant crews came to spray down every floor, hallway and all around the building. If anyone felt sick, they were to immediately report to our school authorities and await further instructions.
I’m expecting that the same strict requirements will be in place for me after I return to Luzhou in, hopefully, July.
An Alum, Hero, Reports
My former student, “Hero” Li, is one of those stuck in is hometown until a month ago when he was allowed to return to his teaching position in my city, Luzhou (loo-joe, 5 million). He is an elementary education English teacher in a semi-private school with very high tuition but excellent educational standards. It encompass grades 1 – 6 with 2,000 students attending. About 300 students from the distant countryside board at the school. Their parents, poor farmers, know the importance of education and save every penny they have to keep their children in a city school, in such an exceptional learning environment.
Hero teaches 3rd grade English courses and is the only male English teacher on staff. (There are 6.) Classes just started a few weeks ago. Here is a look at what is required of all students, in the classroom and morning assembly on the sports field.
I am expecting my Chinese college and others around the country, when and if they open in September, will also be following the same protocols. This will be our world in China now for a few years.
One particular school has really taken this to a higher level. A friend sent this to me, posted in a Chinese newspaper. Looks like a double-whammy of protection, with both face masks and shields incorporated into the classroom safety protocol.
Will this be the standard in China in the near future? One does wonder.
From Illinois, here’s wishing you 平安 (ping ahn) Peace for your weekend.