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How We're Getting Through COVID-19 Together In Prague
Written by: Chris & Shelby
Last Updated: April 3, 2020
Shelby and I currently live in Prague where we both teach English in a traditional school setting. We moved here in July 2018 and completed an in-person TEFL course with one of ITA’s partner schools in Prague. Shelby currently teaches at a preschool in the city and I teach in a primary school in one of the surrounding towns outside of Prague.
COVID-19 has impacted daily life here since March 11th, when the majority of schools were closed down until further notice. On March 13th the Czech government declared a State of Emergency closing the borders, shutting down shops, gyms and restaurants after 8PM and a few other measures aimed to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. Over the course of the next few additional restrictions were put into place, including the closure of all non-essential shops, requiring people in public to wear masks, and limiting the reasons it is acceptable to be outside of your home. At first these steps seemed extreme, but the compliance amongst people living in the Czech Republic has been extremely high and the approval rating of the government’s handling of the situation is over 90%.
We decided it would be best to stay in the Czech Republic during this global pandemic for a number of reasons. We have health insurance, employment, and plans on staying for the following academic school year. As Americans, we are allowed to return back to the USA, but would most likely lose our visas to live in the Czech Republic and/or not be allowed to re-enter if the borders remain closed. Since both of our schools have been closed since mid-March, they have transitioned us to online teaching platforms using Zoom, Google Classroom, Screencast-o-matic and other platforms that have allowed us to stay in contact with our students and continue their educational development. Though we are both still teaching and assessing students, the workload is considerably less so we have switched to supplementing our income via teaching English online with VIPKid and TranscribeMe. We are both lucky to continue to receive payment from our employers during this time. Unfortunately, we don’t know when schools will open back up, though some preschools continue to operate around the city. Aside from teaching online, we are filling our time with reading, cleaning, exercise, playing games, trying out new recipes and connecting with friends and family.
We feel extremely safe here and the lack of panic that we’ve witnessed in Prague has been very reassuring that things will eventually go back to normal. The government has been transparent and communicative and people seem to be following the measures they have set in place. Grocery stores have designated hours for senior citizens, people across the country are volunteering to make masks and deliver food to those in mandatory quarantine and shops are stocked with toilet paper and cleaning supplies. Food has been abundant and lines have been short. Most people are working from home and the streets are sparsely populated. The Old Town and various tourist attractions are all but empty. Though walks are still allowed to some degree, you can’t be in groups of more than two unless you are with your family. Some days are easier than others and as the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, we are hopeful that soon we will be back outside enjoying beers in the park with our friends.
Until then, we are doing our part by minimizing our contact with others and staying inside our home as much as possible. Once life normalizes in the Czech Republic, we think it will continue to be a great place to come and teach English. If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to us on Instagram at @couplevagabondz. Stay safe and healthy!
For more comprehensive information regarding your TEFL options during COVID-19, please read Coronavirus FAQs: TEFL & Teaching English Abroad or Online - What Are My Options?
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Chris and Shelby are an ITA alumni couple currently living in Prague, Czech Republic. They completed their TEFL course in July 2018 and have been teaching and traveling ever since! Since then, they have visited over 27 different countries, got engaged, and helped others make the move to Prague to begin a new journey.
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