From the end of January until the middle of March there was much in the world press about a new virus Covid 19. This virus appeared to originate in China and with the impact of globalisation had spread around the world. It all seemed alarming but distant. New hospitals being built in Wuhan didn’t appear to be linked to life in Plymouth. Plans were made as usual, school was running as usual, Covid 19 was on the horizon but unlike Italy or Spain there was no real talk of self isolation, social distancing and closing of schools, industries and normal life.
And then there was…
On the BBC news there started to be reports of patients, usually vulnerable who had died with (not of) Covid 19. The news from Italy was disturbing and by mid March it seemed that this distant virus had established a strong foothold in Europe. Not so distant.
I kept a beady eye on Easyjet – I’d arranged for my mum and I to go to southern Spain for a week during the Easter holidays. The flights had not been cancelled, Spain was experiencing issues but mainly in Madrid, everything had been booked – flights, apartment, transfers in mid January. It was becoming less and less likely that we’d be able to go. I’d contacted the apartment and their recommendation was to “modify” the booking. Modify to what and when though? Still nothing from Easyjet other than an email to say that they had changed the aircraft and I’d have to “manage my booking” to change the seats.
School was going ahead as normal, the run up to the Easter break included ensuring there were revision sessions for students during the holiday. We kept an eye on staff to make sure there was nothing untoward. Gradually, some colleagues and students started to self isolate as they were unwell. We are a large cohort so had plans in place to manage to keep open, collapsing classes, using the hall as a large learning space. The news was becoming more urgent and on the 18th March the Government announced that schools were to partially close on the 20th, closed to all but the most vulnerable students and those children of key workers. From Wednesday night until Friday there was a flurry of activity.