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Foreign teachers choose to stay in Shanghai amid epidemic

(study.edu.sh.gov.cn) | Feb 14, 2020

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Workers disinfect public areas in the Linyun neighborhood of Shanghai's Hongkou district. [Photo/China News Service]

Sonia Barghani, a US teacher at an international school in Shanghai, said she believed in the city's ability to contain the epidemic when her family expressed concerns about her safety.

Nineteen foreign teachers at the Soong Ching Ling School, including Barghani, are staying in quarantine at their homes in Shanghai.

"The virus is dangerous, but we can protect ourselves here," said Barghani, who has been following the latest news and hearing prevention tips on the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) outbreak.

As a kindergarten teacher, Barghani has made a video to show her students how to wash their hands properly.

In a working group chat, the teachers share their experiences of life in Shanghai with colleagues who are not in China.

"The public services of the city are still available as normal," said US teacher Susan Gotthelf, who lives in the Hongmei community in Shanghai. "Only residents in our community can come in and need to receive a temperature check first."

William Hovey, a middle school teacher who also lives in Hongmei community, said: "The supermarket in the community is still open with sufficient supplies of vegetables and apples."

He Meiyun, who is in charge of foreign teachers' affairs at Soong Ching Ling School, said foreign teachers who are overseas are trying to return to Shanghai for the school opening and she is busy helping them plan their trips.

He said she was moved by international friendship when a foreign teacher asked what products the school needed from overseas.

Feng Lirong, president of the school, said school officials have been honest with foreign teachers about what is going on in China, adding that the orderly and strict prevention and control measures taken by Shanghai are also a reason for them to feel safe.

Shangha's education commission has announced that schools in the city will not begin the spring semester before the end of February. According to Feng, foreign teachers are planning online classes with tools provided by the school.

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