Monday, June 1, 2020

Enforced Quarantine: It Is What It Is

View from my window (not tonight)
Yes, we are in enforced quarantine until the 10th of June. Just as we started to socialise a bit, just as DD was getting back into the school routine, and the evening before I was due to go back to my school... we got the WhatsApp from DD's teacher.

First some background. A big high school in Jerusalem had a few students who tested positive to corona. They shut the school and set up testing for all students. The closest primary school decided to close for a few days - until the situation was clear, because more than a third of their pupils have siblings in the affected high school.

The official decision was that primary schools should remain open, even those with siblings in the high school. However, the parents committees of various feeder primaries, including DD's school, directed everyone not to attend until Tuesday (that's two days off) when the high school testing will be completed. The parents committees have a lot of clout. A few pupils went to school yesterday and overnight the number of cases at the high school went up to over 100. I heard that only 4 pupils turned up at DD's school today - those whose parents absolutely had to go to work.

Back to last night, DD's teacher informed me that one child in 5th grade had tested positive for corona and that DD had been in an art class with this child last Wednesday. Thus she has to be in quarantine until the 10th of June. I can't make her stay alone in one room for 9 days so we are isolating together in the whole apartment.

Before I did anything else we quickly collected up all the rubbish around the apartment and I took it down to the bins. Unfortunately it was too late to run to the supermarket. And it would probably have been illegal or at least morally wrong anyway, so I'm glad I didn't have to make that decision.

I had to register DD with the Ministry of Health, giving the reason for isolation, dates, and the name of our health fund. Then I WhatsApped everyone we saw over the weekend during two meals out with friends. They would only have to isolate if we test positive but I thought it responsible to let them know the situation.

I messaged both my work places. My school to say that I won't be returning in the morning after all. And my college to say that if they do decide to return to frontal teaching next week, I won't be available until Wednesday and that this won't affect my online lessons at all.

I also sent a WhatsApp message to my building so that the neighbours know not to come calling. And because I'd sat with one of them only that afternoon. We wore masks, mostly, but still.

DD was distraught. Her best friend is also in quarantine so they cried over the phone together. Then I ordered pizza because we needed cheering up.

This morning our health fund called to say that we don't need to be tested, but we can if we want to. If we develop symptoms they'll send someone to us for testing. We don't have a car so we can't drive to a testing centre anyway and frankly, I'd rather not know. We're not going to pass it on as we're isolating and so far we have no symptoms. If we were to be tested and it came back positive I'd be worried about it for the next two weeks and everyone we were with over the weekend would have to go into isolation. They all know the situation so they can make their own decisions about testing.

Meanwhile the numbers are rising steadily. So far almost 200 staff and students from the high school have tested positive. About 8 other local schools each have a smaller number of corona positive students/pupils or teachers. DD's school seems to have decided to stay closed for another few days.

Other schools around the country have also been affected -  mostly middle and high schools. The government is considering closing all middle and high schools again but leaving primary schools open. Good luck with that. Parents are freaked out and mostly voting with their feet if they have the choice.

And here is a confession. I was going to go back to my school today. They have very strict rules about masks and distancing. It's a mess because it doesn't really work but they're doing the best they can under the circumstances. After wearing my mask for 20 minutes while I chatted with my neighbour yesterday, I was reduced to coughing fits throughout the rest of the day. I have a 40 minute bus ride to and from school. And if I get sick, we have no immediate family in the country who can take DD in immediately.

I really really really didn't want to go back to school but all the teachers are putting themselves at risk and enduring extremely difficult and uncomfortable working conditions. I didn't feel that I could wimp out with a clear conscience. I was scared but felt pressured to conform. And at the eleventh hour, I was saved. At one point last night I jokingly called DD my little get out of work free card. I was joking but I'm now less stressed than I've been for a few days while thinking about going back to school.

Today I did an online supermarket order and not very much else. Don't think you're going to get amazing blog posts about cooking and crafting and all sorts of productive activities during our 9 days of quarantine. I managed to waste the past 2 1/2 months so I don't expect this small reprieve to be any different. It is what it is.


  1. Very scary but I'm keeping everything crossed it's just a sensible precaution.

  2. So sorry to hear this - very scary - and frustrating for both of you.
    It sounds as though you have done the best you could in notifying people and not going shopping so not much more to do but sit tight - and try not to freak out too much.
    We've just had our emergency order in this province extended until the end of June - although if the numbers look better in a couple of weeks time they may relax a few more things - slightly. Well, that was this afternoon - this evening the city news reported about a major screw up. One hospital group tested around 700 people - the tests were sent to another hospital group for the actual processing to be done - each thought the other was going to do the notification so 700 people as far back as April haven't had their test results - and as people do - if you haven't heard back you assume its negative. They are now scrambling to notify and track! The premier and mayor will go ballistic over this one!
    Don't be too hard on yourself - your last paragraph pretty much sums up how I feel as well. I'll have a couple of days where I'm actually fairly productive and then a couple of days in my PJ's when I can barely manage to shower! I don't craft - if I bake I'll just eat it and gain more weight and I've lost my reading mojo. I have spent more time on YouTube watching old Hercule Poirot mysteries than I care to admit.
    Please keep us updated on how the two of you are doing. Stay well.

    1. Thanks Margie. I also seem to have lost my reading mojo. Maybe it's being at home too much that makes me need to see moving pictures on a screen? And I'm also not cooking for the same reason. DD is living off pasta, tuna salad, sausages and chips, or an omelet. That's the whole repertoire atm. Keep well, xxx.

  3. I hope you are both ok, I was really surprised reading this, I guess I've been living in a little bubble, reading all the news and keeping up with everything as best as I can, at least locally but this post made it suddenly seem a lot more real if that makes sense? We have I think about 970 cases here in total, 17 deaths and 3 people I think in hospital currently, with several days of zero new cases.
    People had spoken about possibly going back in to lockdown if needed, (they say we would need maybe 40 new cases for 3 days in a row) but me being ever the optimist assumed it wouldn't happen! I can totally understand how you are relieved though.

    I hope you both stay safe, keep us updated (crazy saying that to a blogger - of course you will ;) )

    1. LOL, of course I will. Thanks Emma. I guess that tourist arangement between our two countries might not happen now. An exciting thing is to look at the number of countries that now have zero active cases. It's about 22 now I think. If you only have 3 people in hospital (and actually you have 142 people still showing positive or sick) you may be joining that list soon. We sadly are going the other way atm.