To all Victorians,
In times of trouble and uncertainty, our Victorian spirit shines the brightest. Though the news of one of our teachers coming down with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has undoubtedly shaken us all, it is our solidarity that will keep us safely grounded.
We aren’t aware of who has been infected, but this does not mean we should let curiosity get the better of us. If you don’t know who has been infected, we ask that, out of respect, you do not pester those who may know. For those on the other end, don’t spread the identity of this teacher either. Speculation helps no one. What will help is uniting as a school to show our support and concern for our dearest teacher. It’s only right after all: our teachers form the backbone of our school, and in circumstances like this, we Victorians need to stand strong too. The Victorian spirit is embodied in the way we care for one another — and no virus can change that.
So how can you show your solidarity?
The first way is simple: remain positive. The grasp of paranoia and fear isn’t an easy grip to escape, but, as we say in our ‘Yo VJC’ cheer, we need to “stand our ground, and take them down”. The way we cheer our hearts out during match support undoubtedly spurs our players to victory, and in the same way we need to keep that fighting spirit alive to triumph over this.
- With hashtags like ‘#VJunite’ going around on social media, why not make your own post about it too? Cheer your fellow Victorians on, encourage them to stand together, and also pour your blessings out to the teacher who was infected.
- Be sensitive to the situation. Refrain from making jokes about the virus.
- Don’t play the blame game, either. It’s natural to feel worried, but even then don’t let your anxiety overwhelm you. Instead of isolating your friends who may be quarantined, put on leave of absence, or are sick, help them in whatever ways you can. Take down notes for them, collect their homework, and easiest of all, send them a simple text to let them know you care.
The second way you can help is by being socially responsible. How you can do this is by practicing good hygiene at all times.
- Wash your hands regularly with soap.
- If the sinks are unavailable, there are hand sanitisers placed around the school which you can use when required.
- Visit a doctor if you display symptoms such as fever and cough.
- Do wear a mask if you feel unwell.
- Avoid having too much close contact with others where not needed.
During times like this, it is important for us to prioritise not just our safety but also that of those around us in order to contain the virus as much as possible. Remain alert, not anxious.
Last but not least, put your trust in the school. VJC has taken precautionary measures to secure your safety. The college will be thoroughly disinfecting the staff room, pantry, and the teaching rooms that the teacher was in. Students and teachers who interacted with the teacher have already been placed on a leave of absence until it can be guaranteed that they are virus-free. CCA has also been suspended for the next two weeks from the 10th of February to the 23rd of February, and this includes events like CCA walkabout and the SEA carnival too. Hand sanitising bottles have been placed all around the school too, with many near the tap-in areas. Most of all, the daily temperature takings are our first line of defense; so please be truthful in reporting your temperature. To stay knowledgeable about what the school is doing, check your VJC emails often, as the teachers will update you as things progress. With all these steps the school is taking to ensure your safety, please do play your part too!
It may not be as severe as getting the novel coronavirus, but being infected by paranoia can still do plenty of other harm too. It’s important to keep morale high. After all, half the battle is the one you fight against your own worries and prejudices: and if it’s something that we can still control, then why not do all you can to keep that fear at bay?
To quote our principal Ms Ek Soo Ben, “Victorians, I am confident that we will be able to overcome this. Take good care of yourself by observing good personal hygiene and do see a doctor if you are unwell. Lastly, let’s continue to look out for each other and encourage our teachers and peers whom I am sure would join us back in school soon.”
We’ve overcome challenges like this before. Be it the SARS pandemic of 2003 or H1N1 in 2009, these events have come and gone and life in Victoria has persisted on. Our strength lies in our ability to stay determined and united in the face of trouble. Things may seem uncertain, but the one thing we know will never change is this — the Victorian spirit will always be indomitable.
Alisha Ganesh, 19A11
Julianne Faye Ong, 19S33
Swathi Ravi Sivashankar, 19S30
Photos (in order of appearance)
- Thumbnail by Alisha Ganesh (19A11)
- Photo by VJ Photography Society