COVID-19. Because it’s the right thing to do

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…mostly, I'm scared about what message we are telling our kids when faced with a threat. Instead of reason, rationality, open-mindedness and altruism, we are telling them to panic, be fearful, suspicious, reactionary and self-interested. 
 
Dr. Abdu Sharkawy
 
We all know that Covid-19 is coming to Belgrade sooner or later. As a school, we are prepared for it. But, all the information points to the fact that the virus itself will not likely do much harm when it arrives. Most research shows that if our children become infected, it will be a milder version than adults.  
 
So, why do we have our action plans in place at ISB?
Of course, we want to protect our children and our community. But, more than that, we do so because our values as an international school mean we have a duty to protect the wider community too.
 
We are an international school with a community that travels across the globe. This makes us one of the highest risk environments in Belgrade for the spread of the virus. That does not mean it will pass through our community, but it does mean we should acknowledge the higher risk.
 
From everything we know about the virus, we feel confident that our students and community are highly likely to be fine, even if one of us contracts the virus.
 
So, we take these measures for a similar reason we ask everyone at school to be vaccinated. We do it as much to protect others in society as we do to protect ourselves. If we are a higher risk environment, we should, and must, think of the risk to others in Belgrade; the infirm, the elderly and those who have a much higher mortality rate.
 
So, please, when you talk to your children about COVID-19, there is no reason for them to panic or be anxious. This is a learning opportunity about health and hygiene, and about transmissible diseases in society. It’s an opportunity to talk about compassion for others, and the importance of science.
 
All the information we know about the virus tells us that it is less harmful for children than seasonal flu. We take the precautions, and we ask families to self-quarantine because we believe it will help control and slow the spread of the disease in Belgrade. It is the right thing to do to protect our own community, but we also have a duty to do what we can to protect the wider community.
 
To remind you of our mission:
ISB is a collaborative learning community that inspires, equips and empowers its students to succeed and contribute positively to society.
 
Surely, this is one small way we can contribute positively to society.
 
On behalf of all of us, thank you to all of you who have self-quarantined over the past 14 days.
 
What do you think?
 
Andrew Derry
March 2020