On teachers’ day, a few photos of a patient sitting with his laptop, in a COVID-19 ward of a Hospital in Sikkim went viral. In another image, he is preparing notes, what appears to be part of a lesson for his students. A short message that went with the pictures said, “A government school teacher takes online class while being admitted in Covid-19 hospital in Gangtok. He is fairly in good health, so he didn’t skip his already scheduled classes. He also makes use of his free time to make notes (which keeps him busy)—picture taken by his fellow COVID patent.”
He received appreciation for his dedication.
His face hidden to protect his identity, considering the stigmatisation that comes with the virus. The hospital staff who were witness to his classes did an excellent job of protecting him from people who wanted to speak to him.
The teacher has since recovered, and this correspondent was able to track him. He is a professor in one of the government colleges in the State.
He is a young man in his late 20s and was admitted on August 28 after testing positive on RT PCR. On September 7 he was discharged from the hospital. He wishes to remain anonymous.
He shared, “I was admitted on August 28, and had online classes for my students scheduled for August 31. When I was preparing for my class, that photo was taken by another patient. I had a laptop and notebooks, and was reaching out to my students for online classes.”
“I did not want my students to know that their teacher was a COVID positive patient. I have a reputation for being punctual for my classes, that’s why I carried on, took the online class scheduled for August 31. I had already shared the links for the classes. The hospital didn’t have a good internet connection, so it wasn’t easy. Hence, I opted to make notes and share it with his students instead. Punctuality is important, so that the students don’t doubt that their professor was in isolation ward and COVID positive.”
He still is adamant on staying anonymous, despite him being discharged from the hospital.
A close friend of the patient, revealed, “The image was shared on the Whatsapp group of his family, later it was shared among his friends who wanted to wish him for teacher’s day that is when the image went viral. Navin Kishore Chettri shared it on his Facebook account, who didn’t consider it would go viral. He does not want popularity and shies away from such attention. He has vehemently requested on keeping his identity under wraps”.
Navin Kishore Chettri, speaking with EastMojo revealed, “Yes the photo was shared by me, later other Facebook media pages developed interest in sharing the image. My Facebook post was to wish him on Teachers’ Day, I did, but had never considered the image would go so viral. It is truly a heartwarming gesture from the teacher seeing his devotion for his students. But what is even praiseworthy is despite all the attention the photo got, he has opted to keep his identity under wraps”.
He didn’t take online classes on zoom but has been sharing notes. There are very few who doubted on his identity, and even his colleagues have not found out.