A series of short stories dedicated to keep you informed on the latest updates on the Woodstock coronavirus situation.
Extensive preparation for reopening is underway: students not required to return to school until February.
“There was no summer holiday for most teachers,” Mr. Doerfler said in an exclusive interview with The Woodstocker. With the pandemic raging on, students have been unable to come back to school for five months. At school, however, the administration is hastily preparing for reopening the campus in the uncertain time of the pandemic. In partnership with Momentum India, a safety consultation organization, and the Boarding Schools’ Association, the administration has plans for all corners of daily life from bathroom policies to the rare possibility of an infected student. “Everything was new last semester,” Mr. Doerfler mentioned, “but now we are getting things under control.”
The school campus would act as a social bubble with limited contact with the outside community, although, it is important to note, campus life will not be the same as before as social distancing practices will take place inside the campus for doubled safety. There are plans to get testing for the virus in Woodstock, as the closest testing center is in Dehradun.
As a precaution, no student will be forced to return to campus until February, and those who are not in school physically will be accommodated with hybrid classes – a new form of teaching where some students connect remotely to the class. “Everyone is Woodstock-sick. It used to be that students were home-sick, but now it’s the other way around.” Mr. Doerfler said.
Written by Jinho Yoon
11,000 masks produced by a small CARE initiative.
Ms. Sanjaya Mark has been leading a mask-making initiative for the scattered communities in Mussoorie for the past few months. She and several other faculty members produced up to 11,000 masks and distributed them among the scattered communities of Mussoorie.
“We were doing development work and then started with relief work”, Ms. Mark said. The Community Engagement department started off with providing food and education about hygiene and hand-washing; later, however, they diverted their primary focus towards issuing free-of cost masks to the community.
Another situation brought to their attention was that migrant families had lost their jobs. More than fifty families among them were provided with food packaging and informed concisely about the covid outbreak.
The design of the mask was made under the consultation of local experts like Dr. George from the Landour Community Hospital and W.H.O. recommendations The material used for these masks were previously issued by various hotels within Mussoorie to create double layered cotton masks with disposable filters. The cloth was also used to make sanitary pads.
“What’s been fascinating for me is that by giving out masks, we’ve been able to reciprocate the kindness displayed by the residents of Kolti village whenever our students went out hiking.”, Ms. Mark said.
The initiative is still working to this day, and Ms. Mark has stated that they wish to carry it on as long as necessary. Even amidst the chaos of Covid-19, one can be hopeful for a better tomorrow.
Written by Amaanat Dhindsa
Our Future as Cyborgs? Dr. Cook on what went wrong with the October reopening.
Opening Woodstock in October has been the center of attention for Woodstock’s Covid-19 advisory committee since the decision was announced in the summer. Dr Craig describes the situation since then as “the disenchantment of the calculated risk world”, in which the distance learning program continued and India grew to the country with the second-highest coronavirus cases.
With no access to testing facilities within an hour of campus, the board decided October was not ideal, despite initial predictions saying it should be. The school’s focus is aimed at testing capability and the idea of a model similar to the NBA bubble in Orlando. Students will have to quarantine prior to resuming on-campus learning.
Written by Luke Dsouza
Students and staff in Mussoorie avoid going outside.
Life in Mussoorie has changed drastically. However, the students and staff at campus are taking precautions and interacting positively with the wider community.
Students and staff in Mussoorie get necessities delivered and avoid going outside. “We really have no reason to [go outside],” Mr. Prateek, the social studies teacher said.
People were observed in Mall Road following government regulations of mandated masks. “Unfortunately, they don’t seem to be doing much social distancing.” Karla Pastoriza, day scholar and Class of 2023, said. “I am actually amazed at how respectful the community has been,”
Ecosystems around the world have seen major positive changes throughout the pandemic, and Mussoorie is no different. Monkeys and leopards were spotted more frequently near campus. “During quarantine, Mussoorie seemed more quiet,” Faadumo Adam, Class of 2021, living in Midlands dormitory, said.
Students at Mussoorie feel socially alienated. “I used to be very anxious as the Mussoorie community lives in close quarters, and a single case of COVID-19 could spread like wildfire.” Karla said. “Everyone is back home and it’s tough to spend all these months without company. I miss people.”
Written by Arnav Kumar
Edited by Jinho Yoon