* The Association for Teachers of English in Korea [ATEK] has issued a statement regarding teachers being quarantined with swine flu (HT to Hub of Sparkle); an excerpt:Along with many Korean citizens, a number of non-citizen English language instructors have already been quarantined. It is important that everyone be treated fairly and in accordance with WHO guidelines. The WHO publishes a checklist for national authorities on how to contain the virus and offers information on handling quarantines.
We are in the process of contacting government agencies, the embassies of the countries that send teachers to Korea, and following up on all news of the teachers who have been quarantined. We are also investigating the legal right of foreigners to refuse to be tested or quarantined if they show no symptoms and have not traveled recently.
* On that point, law professor Benjamin Wagner and Roboseyo made a trip to the quarantine center. Benjamin has posted a comment about it on Gusts of Popular Feeling, so be sure to give it a read. An excerpt:I interviewed people on whether there seemed to be any bias in the quarantine selection process, and the consensus seemed to be that there wasn't. There were Koreans who were allowed to go home, but there were also foreigners who got to go home. There were also Koreans in quarantine with the foreigners. The list I saw had at least 4 Korean names.
Some (most?) of the teachers had just arrived and the ones I talked said they didn't have homes to go back to so the facility made sense. But just as the 2 teachers who were explaining this to me finished, another teacher said, "I have a home I could've gone to!!!"
I was also concerned about how careful the health care pros were in following proper quarantine protocol so that individuals weren't put at a higher risk than if they'd been able to stay home. The WHO has good info on the swine flu here:
It seems at the beginning the whole thing was a bit of a circus and the proper procedure wasn't really followed
But according to the teachers this wasn't out of any lack of concern for the teachers as foreigners, just plain old fashion negligence.
* On Tuesday Ratemyhagwon suggested collecting books, magazines, newspapers, and other items to help keep the spirts of those quarantined up. They are, after all, mostly new teachers and first-timers in Korea. They're keeping the drive going, and for information about how you can mail or hand-deliver items to be passed along, visit the latest update. A few of their suggestions for items you can donate:Used paperbacks, Korean language study aids, DVDs, magazines, coffee or herbal tea bags, canned drinks, packaged snacks, pastries, junk food, W1000 face packs, hallmark cards (they already celebrated a birthday in quarantine!), Korean / English dictionary, disposable cameras, and [anything else you can think of]
* That's why Roboseyo and Benjamin Wagner visited yesterday, to pass along the first collection. Rob has written it up on Hub of Sparkle. An excerpt:All my worst fears were alleviated, frankly: while the quarantine got off to a rocky start, they said that every day, people have gotten better at communicating, more on the ball, and more helpful. They reported that they have everything they need, and they’re pretty satisfied with their treatment.
They’re sad about the situation, and sorry if their situation is drawing heat on other foreign English teachers, but you know, it can’t be helped.
On the other hand, they seriously, sincerely, deeply appreciate the help and concern the expat community (and yeah, I’m using the c-word. The expat community) has offered up to them.
* And, one of those on the inside wrote a little about the visit:Seriously, it’s indescribable how uplifting outside contact with the world is. Thanks again! You fine folks are the reason why the expat community in Korea keeps us coming back to this funny little peninsula.
* On a post I put up last night I asked if any teachers have been asked questions or have been taken to the doctor on account of the swine flu scare. Please post your accounts there; ATEK is also asking you email them.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
A few more updates about teachers quarantined with swine flu.
Go ahead and browse the newly-minted "Swine flu in Korea" category if you missed any. Here are a few updates this morning: