GC in times of Coronavirus

  Monday, April 06, 2020    |     Posted in Global Connections

Posted by Malcolm McKenzie, Head of School, Keystone Academy, Japan

Good day, Global Connectors, wherever you are.  On behalf of the Board of Global Connections, I greet you.  I wish health and safety to you and to all in your school communities in this time of difficulty and danger.  The things that we do, and the values that we stand for, are all the more needed, and to be esteemed, during crises such as COVID-19.

In an early April GC Board teleconference, Simona Baciu from Transylvania College in Cluj said this: “We are a global community.  We care for each other.  We share our empathy and compassion.”  True and accurate sentiments, beautifully expressed.  Simona then gave a summary of our recent annual seminar, hosted by Palmer Trinity School in Miami.  This seminar had all the hallmark qualities of experiential collegiality, mutual sharing, and practical learning that we associate so enthusiastically with GC gatherings.  The twin themes of Water and Migration were found to be both local and global, and powerfully topical.  Ending in early March, the seminar concluded just before COVID-19 became rampant in the United States.  One of our participating members contracted the infection after she returned from the seminar, but she is healthy again now.

This last news is a sobering reminder, not that we need it, that the pandemic is close to us all.  Even as we mourn these who have succumbed to it, let us hope that we do not lose anyone from our school communities.  Let us hope, also, that we find substantial opportunities in the midst of all the danger that surrounds us.  When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters, one representing danger and the other opportunity.  It takes an optimist to look at a threat like COVID-19 as an opportunity.  Yet we must.  The online programs of teaching and learning that we are developing through necessity are just that, a huge, unanticipated opportunity.  The need to find ways of becoming closer in the face of social distancing is another.  Ways of sharing where sharing was never considered are consoling.  New community service projects, taking as our example the health workers who battle at the front line under hazardous conditions, can be inspired and inspiring.  We can and will develop creative and constructive habits to take us through to the other side of the wave engulfing us right now.  We must make sure that we hold on to these new habits when some semblance of normalcy returns to our lives.

We find solace in different ways.  One such source for me is poetry.  Let me leave you with this lovely poem, in the hope that we might all be prodded by May Sarton’s beautiful insights to be or become those who see the glass of our lives today as half full, and not half empty:


Here is a glass of water from my well.

It tastes of rock and root and earth and rain;

It is the best I have, my only spell,

And it is cold, and better than champagne.

Perhaps someone will pass this house one day

To drink, and be restored, and go his way,

Someone in dark confusion as I was

When I drank down cold water in a glass,

Drank a transparent health to keep me sane,

After the bitter mood had gone again.

Malcolm McKenzie

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