Sunday, November 8, 2009
The school quarantine continues. Students are still not allowed to leave campus unless they have a pass from the school…technically. As the quarantine period extends, however, the methods of getting around the rules multiply. Some students told us that people were making a profit by forging passes. Someone outside the school was charging students 1 kuai to use his ladder to climb over the wall.
The school campus is surrounded by a wall with two gates. Several guards stand at each gate monitoring (or at least appearing to monitor) who goes in and out. Should students get caught by the guards, some of them will ask for bribes. Our student said, “If you pay the guards some money, you will not get in trouble. Of course, it is illegal.” Most of the students don’t want to pay the guards because they ask for too much money, and the students would rather just get in trouble. Very few students choose either of these gates as their methods of escape, however.
For a while we have been hearing about students climbing over the wall. One of our students, who is part of the student government, said she and other student government members were assigned to watch different places in the wall during lunch and dinner hours, to stop students from climbing over. However, if a student was especially nice and seemed to have a good reason, she said, she would probably let them by.
Yesterday our student was telling us that now they don’t have to climb the wall – some students have knocked a whole in the wall and you can walk right through! It is like their own little private gate.
“I think maybe in a few days the school will mend the hole,” she said. “But then the students will make a new hole.”
She also told us that one student had posted a map online showing all the places to get out of the school. “There are seven places we can leave the school. Two are the school gates; there is one behind the #2 dormitory and another behind the #4 dormitory; one by the athletic stadium…” The online post not only showed all these places, it also ranked them with stars according to difficulty! “Of course, the school found out about this and was angry,” our student said.
One of the office workers came to me last week and told me that the roommate of one of the boys in my class was sick, so all the students were supposed to wear masks in class and we should keep the windows open. When I went to class, though, less than half the class was wearing masks. I asked them, “Where are your masks?” And they said, “Oh, we forgot them.” Those that were wearing masks took them off to talk and gradually pushed them down under their noses or all the way down to their chins. By the end of class about three people were still wearing masks.
So we find the whole quarantine thing pretty funny. For our part, we aren’t going to the major supermarkets (as much), we aren’t eating out (every day), we aren’t (telling the school about) going to Xian, we are taking our temperatures twice a day (if we happen to remember), and we are wearing our masks (long enough to take a picture).