Update 8

Posted by Jonathan Smyth on Feb 21, 2020 9:31:02 AM

Recently, ELIC’s president sent a video greeting and message of support to our school and government partners who have been impacted by the coronavirus. Their response was one of immense gratitude. They are grateful that we are thinking of them during this time, grateful for our promise to return, and grateful for our genuine care and strong support during this time. 

While our teachers are getting settled into their temporary assignments as they “wait with purpose,” they are eager to return to their home schools and we are eager to get them there. We continue to monitor the ongoing developments of the virus and have been encouraged in the last few days. It seems as though life is slowly starting to return to normal in many parts of Asia. If that continues to be the trajectory then we anticipate our teachers returning to their campuses by the middle of March. We will continue forward with that timeline in mind unless another major spike in the outbreak occurs or if our schools continue to ask us to wait. Our school partners have the well-being of our teachers in mind and will not ask them to return until they deem that it is safe to do so.

We are continuing to accept donations from those who wish to help us offset the organizational expenses that we’ve incurred during this crisis. As always, we are grateful for those who stand with us in these moments.

Update 7

Posted by Jonathan Smyth on Feb 12, 2020 1:38:15 AM

Over the last several days of our annual conference, we have met many times with our teachers to discuss various options for them to “wait with purpose” while they wait for their schools to reopen and start the spring semester. The excitement that we’ve heard from them has been contagious. While changing flights, rearranging plans, and not going back home for the foreseeable future is not ideal, we continue to be moved by their flexibility and positivity during this trying time.

Our local staff continue to stay in touch with our school partners to gather necessary information related to when they anticipate the start of the spring semester. Some schools are requesting that their teachers conduct online classes and most are relieved that we have created alternative ways for our teachers to stay busy instead of returning to campus.

During this season of uncertainty, there are a variety of unexpected organizational expenses. If you have a desire to make a one-time gift to help, click here to make a donation to our "ATC Offering" fund and we will allocate those funds toward offsetting the expenses we’ve incurred during the coronavirus crisis. Thank you so much for your continued support and encouragement.

Update 6

Posted by Jonathan Smyth on Feb 5, 2020 6:53:07 PM

During the last couple of days, several members of our local staff have begun calling schools to ask about possible return dates and how long the delays will be due to the virus. We have received a variety of answers. Some delays will be longer than others. While we continue to acquire more information, we are excited about opportunities that we are calling “wait with purpose” opportunities. If some teachers are given a gift of extra time, we want them to spend that time with intentionality and purpose. We are working on options to send teachers to other countries where we work to live alongside teams, help teach, or serve in whatever way they can. Another option would be for teachers to use their gifts to serve or help out other departments such as mobilization or curriculum development teams. We are excited to think of the possibilities and look forward to sharing more details as they are available. 

The attitudes among our teachers continue to be joyful and willing to adapt to whatever comes their way. Our leadership teams have been encouraged by the chance to turn a complicated situation into unexpected opportunities to love and serve.

Update 5

Posted by Jonathan Smyth on Feb 2, 2020 8:34:44 PM

During this difficult time, our hearts continue to go out to our Chinese friends who are feeling the weight of the coronavirus and the uncertainty of the future. The city of Wuhan has now been on lockdown for more than a week, but the stories we see on social media that display the resiliency of the people there are inspiring. We want to remember this is about the people, particularly the dear people of China. We have friends there who have been on lockdown and quarantined. Many canceled their holidays. We join with our friends in China and say “jiayou!” in this difficult season. We are for you!

Though our teachers rest in relative safety, we know that our friends in China are under great distress. As the governments and the World Health Organization continue to monitor the coronavirus and race to find a vaccine, would you pause with us for a moment to reflect and remember those who are hurting? These are significant days and we are honored to be a friend of the Chinese and stand with them during this time.

Update 4

Posted by Jonathan Smyth on Feb 1, 2020 6:41:26 PM

Recently, the U.S. State Department raised the travel advisory to China to a Level 4. The World Health Organization (WHO) Emergency Committee also declared the virus to be a global crisis. The WHO recognized “that the measures China has taken are good not only for that country but also for the rest of the world.”

We are not surprised that the numbers continue to rise. In fact, numbers will continue to rise over the next several days or possibly weeks until the outbreak peaks. This is part of the forecast of multiple health organizations including the Chinese National Health Commission, WHO, and the American CDC. 

Partner schools continue to monitor safety levels and will not resume school until it is deemed safe to do so.  Because the normal winter break is still in progress for 2-4 more weeks, some schools are announcing that there will be a delay, but have not determined an exact start date.

Many efforts are being taken to ensure the ongoing care of our teachers during this time. We continue to remember the people in China who have been deeply impacted by the coronavirus.

Update 3

Posted by Jonathan Smyth on Jan 31, 2020 5:05:39 PM

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, we have continually been encouraged by the response of the schools in the countries where we operate. They have called to check on the teachers and have asked to make sure they are safe. It’s encouraging to know that the schools we work with globally are concerned and take responsibility for the well-being of the teachers who work on their campuses. 

In the coming days, our staff will be working with each country and each school to gain as much information as possible related to the logistics of the spring semester. Currently, most of our schools are on a mid-year break between semesters. The coronavirus will likely delay the start of the spring semester in many locations. As we gain more information regarding this delay and the impact it will have on our teachers, we’ll be sure to post updates here.

For now, our teachers are eagerly anticipating the start of our mid-year conference and are looking forward to being in community with one another, learning from one another, and being refreshed by being together. Though there are many uncertainties surrounding this virus, our teachers remain resilient and flexible. We’ve already heard great redeeming stories from them and we hope for the opportunity to share them in the future.

Update 2

Posted by Jonathan Smyth on Jan 27, 2020 8:36:28 AM

We are continuing to monitor the developing situation with the coronavirus very closely and we are implementing some prudent extra measures for our upcoming conference in Thailand. We feel good about the conference and are continuing to encourage all participants to emphasize good hygiene in line with the ISOS recommendations shared in the first update.

Here are some specific updates about the virus:

  • Person to person transmission has been confirmed.
  • Based on what we currently know, the virus can remain dormant for up to 2 weeks.
  • The virus can be transmitted without any symptoms present, so hygiene recommendations need to be followed whether you are around "sick" people or not, and regardless of whether you feel sick or not.

While the virus has continued to spread (particularly in China, but to an increasing number of countries), healthy persons practicing good hygiene and preventative measures appear to be able to mitigate risk. There continues to be prospect of delays to travel, and for some of our personnel the prospect of delayed return after the conference. But as this fluid situation continues to develop we will stay on top of it and will provide further updates.

There is an abundance of information floating around in the media about this novel coronavirus, and some of it is conflicting. It is highly likely to find information that has not been vetted and which may be inaccurate. Continue to follow this blog for official updates from ELIC as it relates to our response to the virus.

Update 1 - Preparing for ATC

Posted by Jonathan Smyth on Jan 26, 2020 1:48:07 PM

A new string of pneumonia (a coronavirus originating in Wuhan, China) was alerted on Dec. 31, and we have been monitoring the situation since then through ISOS, Cigna, and comparing notes with other organizations and their health & safety protocols.

  • It is unclear how contagious it is.
  • Much of the advice around precautions correspond to prudent measures for cold and flu season.
  • We are encouraging personnel to pay extra attention to general hygiene, to avoid sick people, and if there are signs of pneumonia (high fever and shortness of breath), to seek medical attention.

We will soon host an annual conference in Thailand. We will be taking some extra measures and we will continue to monitor the situation closely.  As new or additional guidance is put out by the World Health Organization or Center for Disease Control that might impact our health and safety measures or travel plans we will provide an update.  

Here are some further specific recommendations from a health alert from ISOS:
§  Wash your hands frequently. Carry hand sanitizer for use when soap and water are not readily available.
§  Maintain good personal hygiene.
§  Avoid touching your face.
§  Keep some distance from people who are obviously sick.
§  Avoid direct contact with animals (live or dead) and their environment.
§  Do not touch surfaces that may be contaminated with droppings.
§  Ensure food, including eggs, is thoroughly cooked.
§  Seek medical attention if you develop symptoms, especially fever or shortness of breath.
§  Do not travel if you are sick - note that some locations have implemented screening, and travelers may face quarantine and testing.

Note that washing your hands with soap and water should be the first priority with hand sanitizer to augment that practice.  Also, there will be thermal screeners at the airports in Thailand, and the level of medical screening at various airports is subject to change.  Plan for longer travel screening times in general and stay hydrated!  

Coronavirus Updates

We will be sharing updates on a periodic basis related to the spread of the coronavirus and its impacts on our global operations.

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