This teacher who is stuck 2,500 kilometres from his students with coronavirus symptoms has said continuing classes with the pupils online has been his “ray of sunshine”.
Teacher Rachid El Gomri normally gives classes at Emirates International School in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) but is now teaching from Ethiopia some 2,500 kilometres (1,553 miles) away after becoming stranded in the African country in the coronavirus crisis.
El Gomri, who is originally from France, had travelled to Ethiopia to trek in the Simien mountains but he says he began experiencing COVID-19 symptoms such as a high temperature, shortness of breath and losing his sense of smell whilst on holiday.
He is now stranded in Ethiopia due to international flight restrictions, and he is self-isolating in a hotel room some 45 minutes from the capital Addis Ababa.
The Spanish teacher is still teaching his pupils in Dubai online and told local media: “My rays of sunshine have been my students. Doing video lessons with them has made me feel like I was back in Dubai. It gives me a bit of normality.
“The online teaching is going well. There are some technological issues sometimes but that is normal. These are difficult times for everyone and as a teacher I try to minimise the disruption. It’s good to know I am doing something good for my students.”
Speaking about his symptoms he said: “I keep going online and checking the COVID-19 symptoms and I have most of them. When I lie down to sleep, I am scared. But when I’m busy, I forget it. It’s been nearly 10 days and my symptoms are improving.”
He says he wears gloves and a face mask if he has to leave the room and he does not let the cleaners inside.
The teacher said it he initially felt “shock, denial, anger, resentment” when he found out he would be stranded in Ethiopia but he has now accepted it.
His school’s Head Teacher Shirley Harrison said: “At this time, we have a lot of very anxious young people, who are in a strange set of circumstances. It would have been so easy for Rachid to just worry about his own situation, but he has put the students first and continued to do his job from his hotel room in Ethiopia.
“He’s just been amazing. We all miss him and I’ll be glad to see him home.”
It is unclear when he will be able to return home.
The Ananova page is created by and dedicated to professional, independent freelance journalists. It is a place for us to showcase our work. When our news is sold to our media partners, we will include the link here.