Teacher’s Corner: Closing Down

We’re finally halfway shutting down the country again. Or: a lesson in how to royally fuck up Christmas. At the start of October we cancelled our family Christmas, ’cause we’re not stupid. At the start of November the government imposed what was called a “wavebreaker shutdown”, which was bullshit, as everybody with any competence knew. Pubs and restaurants had to close, but shops and schools stayed open. We were begging them to go back to hybrid teaching: please, please, please let us split groups, make sure the kids have some physical distance, that the buses aren’t full, but no, kids need to go to school, so mummy and daddy can go to work.

Of course this didn’t work. Exponential growth was stopped for a while, the Christmas shopping started and we went back to exponential growth. At school asymptomatic kids spread Covid, and then parents and teachers get sick. Last week about three times as many teachers got Covid than the rest of the population. We kept begging. And we kept begging for some orderly shutdown. But nooooooo. Yesterday the government decided to go into full lock down (finally) with two days notice. At 11:30 pm I got a mail that says: please prepare material for your students for the last week before the holidays and the first week after the holidays. Your material should be engaging and suitable for self-study. Have it ready by Tuesday morning.

For us teachers this means work without end for two days and then we’re supposed to sit on our asses in school. No, I can’t explain the rationale. I think the secretary of education is breaking out in hives at the thought of a teacher baking cookies a day before the winter break. Of course, the whole thing exposes one fact: the ministry hasn’t done shit since March except tell us to open the windows (15°C in the classroom, and so far it’s a warm December). Maybe tomorrow the older kids will get tablets to work from home. Maybe…

For yours truly the lockdown may already have come too late: today I got the news that the colleague who sits next to me in the staff room has tested positive. And of course the staff room is where you will occasionally take off your mask because you need to eat and drink. So far I’m not experiencing any symptoms, and I asked my nurse sister if she can get me a quick test, so keep your fingers crossed.


  1. DonDueed says

    Crossing my fingers that you are well and remain so, Giliell.

    It’s the rare government indeed that has managed this disease well. If only we could all be kiwis!

  2. kestrel says

    Oh no. I’m sorry to hear that and here is hoping you test negative. What a shitty year this has been and it’s not over yet. :-(

    These decisions don’t sound like they are being made by someone competent in the medical field. And yet, that’s the sort of person who should be making those decisions, not someone who is worried about the economy. Newsflash: you can’t have any economy at all if most of your population is home sick, in the hospital or dead.

  3. Jazzlet says

    Hope you don’t get test positive Giliell.

    They ought to be paying you extra to do the work for teaching kids at home, it isn’t what you normally do, it is extra to your normal work load, the least they can do is pay you for the extra work. :-/

  4. says

    Fingers crossed for your test.

    My nephew’s girlfriend (a hospital nurse) just tested positive too. She works at a hospital where my father is due for a test this Friday. And in the ward where he is due for a test too. That does not make me very optimistic even if my nephew and my sister stay clean.

  5. says

    They ought to be paying you extra to do the work for teaching kids at home, it isn’t what you normally do, it is extra to your normal work load, the least they can do is pay you for the extra work. :-/

    That was a good one…

  6. avalus says

    Hope you will come out as negative, Giliell, as I did last week.

    Amazingly they are shutting us down, too (with all these positive, encouraging emails to staff over the last weeks, one could think corona was but a mere ghost, a long gone memory…). Luckily, we did not have a case with the lab students and the only people I had to shout at/throw out of the lab were other teaching/lab staff. *hard eyerolls*

  7. Hekuni Cat, Social Justice Ninja, MQG says

    I hope your test is negative, Giliell. *virtual pouncehug*

    I had COVID back in March. I lost my sense of smell and taste (which was surreal) but recovered both. I still have the COVID headache every couple of days (in varying degrees of severity) and what I call COVID brain whenever something else is bothering me (or even when nothing else is). I was largely incapable of deep thinking or reading for almost 5 months. One day I told my sister-in-law that I couldn’t spell “go”; on another occasion she told me I wasn’t capable of completing sentences (my husband helped with my communications on those days). My math abilities were almost nonexistent.

    Things have much improved since the dark days I’m very happy to say.

    My 95-year-old mother caught COVID last month; she recovered very quickly, much more quickly than two of my siblings did. Since they all live in WI, I assume the rest of my family there will also contract it. I can only hope they all recover quickly.

  8. nowamfound says

    opening schools seems so risky for EVERYBODY. including bus drivers, lunch ladies, secretaries, nurses, security, teachers, kids….parents and golly. everybody

  9. Ice Swimmer says

    Giliell, I hope your test comes out negative! Your ministry of education seems to think that failure to protect both teachers and students is not an option, it is mandatory.

    I got tested 2 weeks ago, covid negative. I was tested in the early evening and got the results in the morning. The testing site was an outdoors drive-in site that’s at a 15-minute walk from my place, so it was less than an hour from logging in the online coronavirus bot* to being back home from getting my nasal cavity probed.

    * = An automated questionnaire to determine if one should be tested and an online reservation system, operated by the public healthcare services.

  10. says

    the quick test came back negative
    And since it’s been a couple of days since I had last contact with that colleague I should be good.

    * gentle pouncehugs*
    I’m glad you pretty much recovered, but that sounds absolutely horrible. I’m really afraid of something like that happening to me and then the ministry of education washing its hands off me, basically leaving me unemployable.

    Ice Swimmer

    * = An automated questionnaire to determine if one should be tested and an online reservation system, operated by the public healthcare services.

    We had something similar, but then we had too many cases…

  11. kestrel says

    Oh HOORAY for the negative test, and thanks for telling us… I’ve been anxiously checking back several times a day. Whew! Now if people would just get their ducks in a row and start to take this seriously.

  12. Jazzlet says

    That is good news!

    I know they wouldn’t really pay you extra, but they fucking well ought to. I’ve a friend who is the head teacher of a primary school and she’s been tearing her hair out, not at having to make arrangements to keep everyone as safe as possible, but because the Department were changing what the arrangements were to be every week during the summer vacation. She started term exhausted as did most of her staff.

  13. Ice Swimmer says

    Good negative news, Giliell!

    As for the testing capacity, we have 1/3 to 1/2 the incidence of corona here in Finland, the first number is compared to all of Germany and the second compared to your Land, so if our current lockdown measures don’t work (so far they seem to), we could be in the same situation. The national covid test analyzing capacity here should be about 20 000 samples a day, IIRC, which is approximately 350 samples a day / 100 000 people.

  14. voyager says

    It’s great news to hear your test was negative. They’re doing selective lock downs here. The county next to mine is in the red zone, but so far were still at orange here, which means business as usual. I needed a few dog supplies this week and drove to Walmart, but it was crazy busy with stressed out Christmas shoppers, so I turned around and went home. Jack can cope without his favourite treats until I can find a better source.

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