Week 5 of Virtual Learning and the Coronavirus in Hong Kong

Today’s numbers

This has been a wild ride. Maybe not as wild as in Wuhan or other parts of China, but still…

There was an article on NPR recently both commending and condemning Hong Kong’s response to the Coronavirus.

We are right over the border from a province in China with well over 1500 cases of Coronavirus. As of today, we are at 100 cases. Even the US has passed us in number of cases (let’s just ignore population differences and land size differences as well).

We were praised for our quick measures to contain the disease (ie shutting down schools, work from home measures, closures of leisure areas, etc). We are condemned for the lengths the average Hong Konger has gone for isolation.

While I fully agree the level of isolation practiced by some is not healthy, I do think not ignoring it was also important to public health and safety.

We definitely don’t go places like we used to for now. If anything, we are spending time outside instead of inside.

I really don’t want to be that paranoid, but it seems to leak in sometimes.

Hong Kong is definitely not the worse off around the world. What really startled me was the blow up of cases in South Korea.

Last week wasn’t too bad. The trend lines seem to be levelling off for Hong Kong and China at least. Other places are erupting though, like Japan, South Korea, and Italy. I have heard a couple of theories regarding South Korea and Japan, but I am not sure about their credibility.

There is something about a religious cult there that may or may not have been spreading the virus intentionally. There is speculation and a pending investigation.

How are we handling it?

I would say we are handling it better than some, but being a little more careful than others.

The social and cultural norm here to is to wear a surgical mask when you go out. That is especially true leaving our housing compound with the various cases we have had (I think we had 2 confirmed cases and a few quarantined).

I do make my children wear the mask when they leave the house. I know other Westerners who won’t wear them, and I understand. From all of the data and research provided, the masks are not really doing anything. The best thing you can do is wash your hands and not touch your face.

02/03/20 (yesterday’s numbers)

We don’t eat out as much. I don’t know how much of that is due to paranoia though. My helper has been in the Philippines since the beginning of February. You’d think I would resort to eating out way more than I did. I think I sent Monkey for McD’s a once a week or so. Otherwise, we really didn’t eat out too much. B or I have made dinner. I either make lunch or the kids have cup noodles.

I do try to make sure that the kids get out of the house for a walk at least once a day. Monkey likes to walk to the nearby housing estate to the shopping centre. Monster likes to walk to the 711 near here. Bub will go to 711 occasionally. He spends more time on his games talking to his friends. He did play his VR pretty regularly, but he’s taking a break from that right now.

I know I have quite a few students who haven’t left their homes since the schools were closed. Many of Bub’s friends aren’t allowed out at all. I know the parents are doing that out of a place of concern and protection. I really don’t want to judge because those are not my children.

B has been spending a lot of time here. Right before this all erupted, we were taking some space. He was taking the kids out instead of staying at my place. He took Bub a few times to spend the night at his place. He took the girls there for the day.

That has stopped for now to limit their exposure to public transit. B takes public transit everyday because he wants to see the kids, but the kids and I will walk to stuff around us instead of taking a train or bus. The few times I have taken a train anywhere, it has been pretty empty. There are definitely not as many people out and about as there used to.

Is that silly? Maybe.

I feel like things are getting better here. If the government is to be believed, Hong Kong is managing to contain things pretty well. There is toilet paper on the shelves as opposed to a couple of weeks ago when there was none.

How is Virtual Learning/Working from Home?

For the kids, it’s sort of a mixed bag.

Monkey is having difficulties focusing because there isn’t that structure she had with going to school. The program has improved over the last couple of weeks with more check ins with her. I think what is really stressing her out right now is that theoretically she won’t be back in school before she is done with school.

Monster has a full schedule. Possibly because she is part of the special needs program, she has constant support and people helping her work through her courses. The downside to that is she is struggling with the digital aspects. She loves doing well for her teachers, but I think she has had more meltdowns than just going to school. She misses her friends and teachers. She loves the social aspects of school.

Bub has been difficult. He is a master avoider. He is good at making himself look busy. His support person has been wonderful though, and I feel like we are finally starting to get somewhere.

It has been a cluster for teachers. There are days I am working from 7am to 5 pm. There are other days that things are a bit quieter. I am getting questions at any time of the night from students who may be overseas or just choosing then to actually look at their work. I have had kids email or message me at midnight or 1 am to ask a question.

There are times I am unable to do more than sit at my computer and work. Those are the days I have to tell my kids to eat whatever.

So in between my own work, I am comforting Monster through meltdowns and poking Bub to do his work.

It’s a lot.

Where Do We Go From Here

We have about a month until Easter holidays. We aren’t travelling, so we don’t have to worry about any of that. I think we just need to make it to the end of the school year at this point. The kids will be going to the US 1st July, and I will go 22nd July tentatively. We just need to make it through, and hopefully next year will be a fresh start.

What I keep telling my mom as once it’s all said and done, it will be a story we can tell later. We are living through history, just like with the protests. It’s all about the experience.

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