As we look towards this coming summer, it’s important to address every family’s main concern: the coronavirus. The virus, officially named “COVID-19” by the World Health Organization (WHO) last month has already had a massive impact on the world, and a possible endpoint is still uncertain.
At this time Boston Roundtable is still planning to hold our summer programs. However, as a provider of education services, we have an obligation to keep students and parents informed, as well as maintain strong safety protocols in our programs. In this blog post, we will discuss the rise of the illness, how Boston Roundtable plans to address it, and how the spread can be controlled by individuals.
Community and Global Spread
COVID-19 originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019. In its first month, its spread was mostly confined to China and surrounding Asian countries, as well as a few isolated cases in other countries. While China has now reported that their situation is stabilizing, the spread of the virus is on an upswing in many other countries. In particular, the United States, Iran, Italy, Japan, and South Korea have each confirmed over 1,000 cases.
Source: Humanistic GIS Lab at the University of Washington
Perhaps one of the most dangerous aspects of the virus is the delayed onset of symptoms. According to the CDC, COVID-19’s symptoms can begin to occur in patients as late as 14 days after exposure, meaning someone may be carrying the illness long before they know they have it. This potential late onset paves the way for a “community spread,” where someone who has not recently been to a contaminated area may still contract the virus via contact with an unknowing carrier. The community spread concept has already been reported in Seattle and the larger Pacific Northwest, one of the major hotbeds for the virus in the United States.
How We Plan to Address the Spread
Although data on COVID-19 is still developing, there is currently no evidence that suggests children are more susceptible to the virus than adults. Nevertheless, the standard-US school system in which students move from classroom to classroom (as opposed to teachers) has the potential to make students unknowing vectors in the spreading of illnesses. Student health is to be handled with great concern, and areas where students gather should be closely monitored.
For camps and youth programs, there is an especially serious responsibility to identify the virus and contain its spread. Earlier this month, the Association of Camp Nursing (ACN) released an FAQ sheet discussing COVID-19 as well as its implications for camps. Among their recommendations, they advocate for stricter sanitation measures and isolation policies from camp directors, as well as clear communication from parents about students’ health status. In accordance with their document, we are implementing the following policies in our programs:
Preventative Measures and Flattening the Curve
Regardless of whether you are a parent, a student, or neither, it’s easy to feel a sense of futility when reading news on the virus. Nevertheless, it’s important that citizens practice extreme caution both in their day-to-day interactions and also in their personal sanitation methods. Diagnosed cases of widespread viruses can typically be visualized as an “epidemic curve” which builds to a maximum number of cases diagnosed, then gradually tapers off. The shape of the curve can vary, however it is generally observed that when citizens and the health department take protective measures, the onset of active cases is slowed, effectively “flattening” the curve.
According to CDC, the best preventative steps to incorporate into day-to-day life are as follows:
Of course, the rapid spread of the coronavirus means that reports about it as well as dependent protocols are constantly being modified. Since the publication of ACN’s document, the WHO has officially declared the coronavirus a pandemic, US president Donald Trump has declared a National State of Emergency, and the NBA has suspended its season after confirming the diagnosis of one player. As of this past Monday, more than 380 schools in the US have closed, affecting an estimated 260,000 students. As such, it is up to all education systems and organizations that work with children to closely monitor the situation and modify policies accordingly as we get closer to summer. Until then, please join us in practicing strong personal sanitary measures and avoiding the spread of the virus.
Boston Roundtable's partners at OneSmart Education are looking for participants for their two-week micro-teach abroad program. This is a Shanghai-centered program that connects Chinese students with American teachers delivering two-week curriculums while simulating an American classroom environment. This short-term opportunity is perfect for seasoned teachers as well as people testing the waters to see if teach abroad is a good fit for them!
About OneSmart Education:
OneSmart Education Group is a high-end and diversified education group established by graduates of Harvard and Peking Universities, with their business centered largely in Shanghai as well as Beijing. OneSmart provides specialized tutoring and education programs for students, as well as topic-centered abroad excursions to the United States, Europe, and other parts of Asia!
One Smart is public on the New York Stock Exchange and had their IPO listing in March of 2018.
More on OneSmart here.
We are excited to announce that we have moved! Amherst has been an incredible home for us for the past two years, but beginning in September we will be opening our new office in Woburn MA, just north of Boston (makes our name a little less misleading, right?)! We hope to see you there!
100 Tower Office Park, Suite L
Woburn MA 01801
Our core staff has been hard at work for the past two months carrying out our massive summer 2019 travel season! Since we first began our travel programs, each year has been busier than the last, and this year we welcomed our largest and most diverse batch of students yet!
Now that the season is just about wrapped up and every student has returned home, it's time to take a look back at what we accomplished!
Some Incredible Facts and Statistics About Our Programs This Summer:
This summer, the majority of our programs were based out of the northeast, with some traveling as far south as Washington DC. Students across all groups enjoyed time in Boston, experienced life in an American school dorm, and participated in higher education-focused stops at top schools in the region. Across all journeys, students were patient, positive, and ready to learn!
In addition, two of our programs visited California, including our recurring NASA Camp (which also travels to Orlando, Florida) as well as the first run of our West Coast Study Exchange! Both programs utilized study-forward models to ensure students get the most out of their visits, and also included visits to Silicon Valley and the greater bay area!
Our Summer S.T.E.A.M. Camp at Cheshire Academy started off with a bang as students from around the world got the chance to learn together. As Boston Roundtable's first full-program collaboration with a school, international stayed in dorms and got to experience classic New England town life in the gorgeous backdrop of Cheshire, CT. On weekends, international and domestic students alike travelled to Boston and Yale University to gain better understandings of higher education and US history. We hope this is the first of many cross-cultural programs we can run in the US!
Our other program to integrate international and American students was the American Language and Cultural Immersion (ALCI) Program based out of Boston University! For this group, our American students acted in ambassadorial language partner roles and helped visiting students in ESL courses practice their English skills in a natural environment. Together, they also enjoyed sightseeing visits to local universities and even a wale watch cruise! Later on, the international students visited New York city, along with Princeton and West Point.
Our NASA Space Camp sojourned into its second summer with two exciting sessions! Students began their journey in California's Silicon Valley, where they visited various top tech companies and universities, as well as explored the city of San Francisco! From there, they journeyed two Orlando for visits to Universal Studios, the Orlando Science Center, and a centerpiece three days at the Kennedy Space Center where they participated in STEM-based astronaut training and met a real astronaut!
Our College Exploratory Camp, now in its fourth year of running, continued its journey across the northern corridor to learn more about top tier education in the United States. The program begins in Boston with visits to local top universities as well as rigorous curriculum on the American Revolution. From there, the group journeys to New York and Washington DC, with more university stops and supporting curriculum provided by Boston Roundtable. This summer's iteration brought students closer to the action than ever with a broader range of guest professors and admissions officers from ivy schools, as well as our most challenging curriculum yet!
Our West Coast Study Exchange closed out our travel season in mid-August. This closed program brought visiting students to Orange County on a residential exchange with the Elderberry School. While there, students gained a true understanding of the collaborative, holistic American education environment, but also got to supplement it with visits to Universal Studios Hollywood, UCLA, and more! Before leaving, the group also got to visit San Diego for a day, and wrap things up with a high-speed tech tour in the Bay Area's Silicon Valley!
As we close the door on this season of summer programs, it's a great time to reflect on the friends we've made and the lessons we've learned. We at Boston Roundtable would like to thank all of our amazing students and their families, as well as all the staff that helped make this summer happen! Here's to another great year in 2020!
It's already time to start recruiting counselors for the Summer traveling camps! This Summer is shaping up to be our busiest season yet - in addition to the launch of our residential Summer S.T.E.A.M. Camp at Cheshire Academy as well as our ALCI Program at Boston University, we are bringing back our vanguard College Exploratory Camp and NASA programs, plus launching our new West Coast Basketball Camp! As such, we're going to need all hands on deck to make sure each program is a success!
We've been graced with some really amazing counselors for our past program seasons, and hope to continue the trend! Our counselors are capable, professional and very 靠谱 (a common Chinese phrase for "reliable")! If you're a current college student or recent graduate with an understanding of Chinese language and culture, this is the position for you! We are also looking for participants with expertise in the following areas:
This summer is already slated to be Boston Roundtable's busiest yet, and one camp we're especially excited to open to the public is our Summer S.T.E.A.M. Camp at Cheshire Academy! We've been busy with the school for the past several months to design the perfect camp, and can't wait to share it with our students!
This past week we tabled in Carlisle and Cohasset MA to promote the program, and have already launched our social media campaign to spread the word! Thank you to these towns for welcoming us and giving us a chance to spread the word!
We are also thrilled to be able to offer this program at a discounted rate thanks to Cheshire as well as our own American Ambassador Scholarship. We care deeply about furthering our vision of "Promoting Education on an International Scale," and hope the accessibility of this camp will allow people of all backgrounds to have a seat at the 圆桌, or roundtable!
Learn more about the Summer S.T.E.A.M. Camp here!