When I read the email I knew immediately what I had to do. Pack.
We have been incredibly lucky until now in regards to Corona-19. The cases trickled in, all imported and seemed to be caught on arrival to the country by the mandatory testing upon entry. Then a few weeks ago there was a lapse in protocol and a diplomat caused a stir when he tested positive the day after leaving Cambodia. As others he was in contact with here were tested a few more cases were found. Little clusters.
Then there was “the November 28 incident” where there was community spread when a prison official, his wife and family members tested positive. She shopped at a mall, which then closed for a few days. Bit by bit the numbers have risen. Today’s data: to date, Cambodia has 350 COVID-19 cases, of which 307 have recovered and 43 are hospitalized.
This is week two of schools being online (again). Staff members can work at home or school. Today we found out that a staff member has a family member who has tested positive, so s/he will now test and that result will likely determine whether we can continue to work from school.
When we got that email this afternoon I immediately made a pile to pack. If you know me at all you will not be surprised what was in my small pile. I had already picked our picture book read aloud for the last 8 days of school for 2020, so they started the pile. I added my planner (because I do like paper planners) and my school computer (because I never take it home, but if I am going to be teaching from home my tired home laptop is not necessarily up to the job). Now it is night and we have not had an update (realistically I know we will likely not get an update for a day or two), so tomorrow I will carry the laptop back with tomorrow’s read aloud. Almost all of them “come back” for our afternoon Zoom when we share a picture book.
For now I feel okay going in to teach from school, but it is an awful feeling to not feel totally safe at school. Here I sit, now at home-reading aloud to myself, as I post another few chapters of our chapter book read aloud to Padlet. With two Zooms a day there is not time to have the students listen to that as well, but read I must. I hope they will listen, because through it all, stories continue to be what binds us. I still find myself making the gestures I would if the class were in front of me, but instead it is just my voice they may hear through whatever device they have at hand. I know they are not all listening, but maybe when they have more time over break they will be glad to feel a part of our reading community.
I am grateful for the books!