‘A virtual hug – and thank you’ – letter from Panama


In this letter to the ORT network, Gina Abedi, director of the Isaac Rabin School in Panama, explains how staff, having fought to turn school life from real to virtual in 48 hours, are endeavoring to keep the school community together and ensure students are still learning during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Hello to all my colleagues at ORT,

First I would like to send a big hug of solidarity to all from afar and hope that everyone is in good health.

Isaac Rabin School here in Panama closed its doors by national decree on March 11. In record time – just two days – we had to set up the school in a virtual environment. It has not been easy, rather it was a titanic job.

We have been working double shifts to be able to respond responsibly to our students’ requirements and their parents. Using technology as a fundamental tool in the teaching process is natural for us – and it has been a great support in this difficult time we have been going through.

At this moment, the most important thing is to stay united as an educational community – students, teachers and parents – to be in solidarity with each other, trying to comprehend the frustration and despair of families and students.

Although it is true that our students today were born with technology, they still love being with their friends and classmates and they miss each other a lot.

We cannot ignore the daily hard work teachers have to do to cope with the demands of emails and virtual classes. All of us have to be eternally grateful for their work.

At these moment you have to be mindful – accepting the here and now, take it as it is, without judging or criticizing, knowing that eventually it will all settle down and we will return to school. Let’s be grateful, humble and patient in this process because our colleagues are working very hard and they need to receive a heartfelt ‘thank you’ from all of us. Teachers – we are on your side!

Please all take care of your teachers, parents and students. I try to send them messages of affection and motivation so they know I am there for them, because I owe it to the academic community at the Colegio Isaac Rabin.

It has been difficult for us, but we have to keep calm. All countries are experiencing the same, thus we are not alone. We are surrounded by great people and organizations, like ORT, that are always there for us.

Cheer up; we will surpass this crisis, and then as a team we will look back on this experience – and hopefully we will be better human beings.

A virtual hug to all of you,


Director, Isaac Rabin School, Panama City