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Michael Marquardt ’93

Being in Hong Kong we faced COVID 19 earlier than most. Schools were shut at the end of January and the people of Hong Kong went into virus mode immediately. Masks went on, temperatures were taken before entering shops and restaurants, and the community rallied. No complaints; everyone just got on with it. We were not without our problems like hoarding (toilet paper, rice, and noodles — interestingly, western food like pasta never runs out), and the economic hit has been devastating. It was the community that saved the day in Hong Kong and it needs to be communities that save the day elsewhere.

Learning away from school has been a lesson in itself. Our daughter is 9 and she has been a champion. We now have a better understanding of the challenges teachers face every day to educate our children. We have learned about Google Classroom, Khan Academy, and other online tools. We have also learned the educational value of board games — Life, Battleship, Connect Four, and a number of card games. We have seen our daughter discover there is life off the iPad. We discovered she will take over the real estate market after watching her play Monopoly. I have put off playing Risk with her — too many people already want to dominate the world!

A silver lining to this dark cloud has been the ability to reconnect and help people a world away. I call family and friends every morning to check in (there is a 12-hour time difference). I have spoken to siblings more in the last few weeks than in the last few years. As Hong Kong has been in relatively better shape, I have been telling everyone how things do get better and that quarantine is worth it.