Tokyo is an island of calm in the world right now. People are going on with their lives as usual. We would love to do our part to keep the number of COVID-19 cases in Japan low, and so we have decided to take part in pre-emptive social distancing.
Last Saturday, we moved our part-time courses fully remote.
Today, we announced to our staff and students that our upcoming full-time Immersive Bootcamp will start remote, with plans to bring it back on-site as soon as key indicators show that it is safe.
This was both a tough and easy decision to make at the same time.
It was an easy decision because the safety and health of our staff and students are our top priority. It was a tough decision because our incoming students were anticipating an in-person course and we were looking forward to physical high-fives. However, we are brimming with ideas and plans on how to recreate our magical Code Chrysalis community on-line and cannot wait to surprise our incoming students.
While we have taken our programs remote for the time being, we will have both remote and on-site options available in the near future.
For our current cohort (CC11) that graduates this week, we will continue with business (almost) as usual.
Demo Day, the biggest event for any cohort that packs our humble basement school without fail, will be significantly limited on Thursday. We are allowing only a small group of mostly family and friends to come to our school under strict measures and will be asking everyone else to instead tune into the livestream on YouTube and Facebook.
There's no denying that this really sucks. During Demo Day, you can feel palpable energy coming from the students when they present their senior projects to a large audience. But what really makes Demo Day special, and I apologize for the cheesiness, are our students. And as long as they are safe and healthy and are able to show off their senior projects, I am sure Demo Day will be a success.
We are certain that this is a step in the right direction for Code Chrysalis. Part of our plan has always been to expand our business remotely, so the silver-lining in the current situation is that we have a strong catalyst.
Going Remote Planning
We started discussions about possibly going remote early on during the crisis, but did not make any definitive steps in that direction until less than two weeks ago.
In quick succession, multiple meetings were held, dedicated Slack channels were created, documents and contingency plans on Notion were written, and a daily coronavirus stand-up amongst key staff was put on calendars.
In making our decision, here are a few websites and documents that we found useful.
- Map of coronavirus in Japan: https://coromap.info/
- Comprehensive list of countries with traveling restrictions: https://www.japan.travel/en/coronavirus/
- List of the areas that are subject to denial of entry to Japan if you have stayed there for the past 14 days [from Japan Ministry of Justice]: http://www.moj.go.jp/content/001316999.pdf
- List of the countries where visa validity or visa waiver is suspended [from Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs]: https://www.mofa.go.jp/ca/fna/page6e_000199.html
- Google's page on COVID-19: https://www.google.com/covid19/
- Japan COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker: https://covid19japan.com/
- Information from the Tokyo Metropolitan Infectious Disease Surveillance Center: http://idsc.tokyo-eiken.go.jp/diseases/2019-ncov/
As with any sources for an ever-changing situation, please be aware that these may not be the most up-to-date sources.
Software Powering Our Remote Work and Classrooms aka Software We Love <3
We already had a remote culture at Code Chrysalis—staff that are not "student-facing" are allowed to work remotely. We are also lucky that our staff is technically savvy and we already rely on a lot of technologies that make remote work easy. Here are the trusty technologies that have been powering Code Chrysalis both in-person and remote!
Beyond Gmail, nothing beats the collaborative software that Gsuite offers. All of our slides are on Google Slides, our documents on Google Docs, our spreadsheets on Google Sheets…you get the idea.
We have been using Slack from the very beginning. If you haven't heard of it or are not using it, you are missing out.
We started using Notion early this year and it has solved our organizational issues with Google Drive.
GOOGLE HANGOUTS AND ZOOM
We are currently using both, though Google Hangouts is used more for meetings and Zoom for lectures.
Last week, staff started using Tandem, a virtual office that allows us to feel more connected than Slack, but without the formality of Zoom or Google Hangouts. They are relatively new to the scene, but we already love how convenient Tandem is for quick, ad-hoc chats.
Going Remote Resources
Don't take our word for it! These companies have already written and collected ample information about going remote. Notion's team recent went from fully in-person to fully-remote. GitLab is also the world's largest all-remote company. They are good reads:
- Notion's Remote Work Wiki
- GitLab's Guide to All-Remote
- Tandem's Guide to Going Remote
- Zapier's Guide to Working Remotely
It is easy to panic in situations like this, especially when running (or working for!) a small company like Code Chrysalis. We want to take an optimistic-but-cautious approach. We have an incredible, passionate team that has taken this head-on, keeping student experience and wellbeing at the forefront of our conversations and together, I feel confident we will figure our way through.
And lastly, our basement space, that we lovingly call "the Park", is going through a mini facelift. Once all of this settles, we would love to invite you over for some coffee, give you a hug or a handshake, and show you the "new" space.