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High School: Flattening the curve

There were a lot of discussions this week about different countries’ approaches to COVID-19. We take a look at 4 graphs which help explainthe situation.

COVID-19 in four graphs

covid graphs

Graph from Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now

There were a lot of discussions this week about different countries’ approaches to COVID-19. While the data in the graph above is a week old, Thailand was mentioned alongside other South-Asian countries in this article: Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now 

"South Korea cases have exploded, but have you wondered why Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand or Hong Kong haven’t?

All of them were hit by SARS in 2003, and all of them learned from it. They learned how viral and lethal it could be, so they knew to take it seriously. That’s why all of their graphs, despite starting to grow much earlier, still don’t look like exponentials."

While the graph above shows the exponential growth of COVID-19 cases in many countries around the world, as a Maths and Geography teacher I prefer this graph, updated daily in the Financial Times: Coronavirus tracked: the latest figures as the pandemic spreads

covid graphs

Graph from Coronavirus tracked: the latest figures as the outbreak spreads

The log scale on the vertical axis of this graph, and the aligning of different countries by starting each country’s data on the date of its 100th case, clearly shows the similarities between the outbreaks in China and in the more recent outbreaks in Iran, Europe and the US. 

Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and South Korea can be clearly seen to be different from the typical pattern of 33% daily increases in the other countries, and the countries on the MOPH’s current lists of Disease Infected Zones and Countries with ongoing Local Transmission, as we e-mailed on Sunday,  can be clearly seen:

Disease Infected Zones: China (including Macao & Hong Kong), Italy, Iran and South Korea.

Countries with ongoing Local Transmission: Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the USA.

My third graph is my own, tracking numbers of Admitted and Recovered cases, and Deaths, in Thailand for the last seven weeks until Sunday’s figures:

covid graph

As you can see, there has been a significant change in the number of Admitted cases in Thailand in the last few days, with approximately half of Thailand’s total cases added in the last four days - on Thursday last week there were more Recovered cases than Admitted cases, but by Sunday afternoon the number of Admitted cases was twice the number of Recovered cases.

After a very slow growth in the number of cases until now, Thailand will now be added to the Financial Times graph so we can compare Thailand’s number of cases over the next month to all the other countries shown.

Finally, a graph that is not based on real data:

press down firmly

Image from Covid-19 is now in 50 countries, and things will get worse.

This “graph” shows the importance for a country of “spreading the infections out over time”:

“This has two benefits. First, it is easier for health-care systems to deal with the disease if the people infected do not all turn up at the same time. Better treatment means fewer deaths; more time allows treatments to be improved. Second, the total number of infections throughout the course of the epidemic can be lower.”

The article (Covid-19 is now in 50 countries, and things will get worse) goes on to describe ways in which we can all contribute to flattening the curve: “physical barriers, good hygiene and reducing various forms of mingling - a strategy known as ‘social distancing’.”

We are doing everything that we can to protect the health of our community, with daily temperature checks since half-term and clear messages sharing the MOPH and MOE’s quarantine guidance with our community.

In recent weeks we have also stopped any large gatherings in school, including Fun Day, Parent/Student/Teacher Meetings and Assemblies, as well as postponing any events taking place with students from other schools and Educational Visits, e.g. Field Trips. 

To further protect the health of our community, we have made the decision that all Term 2 Activities will end after this afternoon’s sessions. Parents will receive a refund for any Activities sessions remaining this term.

In both Primary and the High School, we will be asking all students to leave school by 3 pm from tomorrow. This will allow teachers additional time for further meetings and planning in preparation for distance learning, both for currently quarantined students and in preparation for possible future closure. School buses will be arranged for this to take place with all buses departing at 2:45 pm for the remainder of the term.

reduce risk

We aim to keep the school open as long as possible, knowing that online learning can never fully replace the interaction with teachers and peers that takes place in a classroom, especially for our Year 11 and 13 students as they approach their final IGCSE/IBDP exams.

In this morning’s registration, we again reminded students of the guidelines that we have been sharing since January, reminding students to “continue to follow the guidelines above, both in school, at home and around the city, thinking carefully about how you can also avoid large gatherings outside school”.

We thank all of our parents for their continued support and cooperation in protecting the health of our entire St Andrews Community.

Grade Reports and Parent/Student/Teacher Meetings

As I emailed last Wednesday and mentioned above, we have made the difficult decision to postpone the Year 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12 Parent/Student/Teacher Meetings planned for the last three weeks of this term.

Students in Years 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12 will still receive their Grade Reports as scheduled (Year 7,8 and 9 Grade Reports were published on Friday) and any parent who has a specific concern should contact either their son/daughter's subject teacher, their Tutor or their Head of Year.

On Friday I emailed all parents of Year 9 students an invitation to register for Google Meet Option Choices "meetings", that will take place on Tuesday this week. These will not replace the broader discussions of students' progress and attainment that would be held at Parent/Student/Teacher Meetings, as we still plan to hold a postponed Year 9 Parent/Student/Teacher Meetings early in Term 3.

Roo Stenning (roo.st@standrews.ac.th)
Head of High School

High School Calendar: Term 2

Tuesday 17th March

Year 9 Google Meet Option Choices "meetings"

Friday 20th March

Year 10 Grade Reports Published

Friday 27th March

Year 9 Option Choices Deadline 

Friday 27th March

Year 12 Grade Reports Published

Friday 3rd April

Songkran Celebrations - End of Term 2

Monday 20th April

Start of Term 3

Monday 20th - Friday 24th April

Year 11/13 Revision Week

Monday 27th April

Year 11/13 Study Leave begins

Wednesday 29th April

IGCSE Exams begin

Friday 1st May

IB Exams begin