If you haven't heard the news, Prime Minister Abe announced that public elementary, junior high, and high schools in Japan will shut down for the month of March. It's an unprecedented move to try to halt the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus.

I have to say that I was quite shocked when I heard the news. While March isn't usually the most productive month of the school year, it's an important part of the rhythm of the year. The weather gets a little better, graduating students get the sense that they're about to move on to the next step of their lives, and students and teachers often reflect back on the school year and what they've accomplished or experienced. It can be a little schmaltzy, but it'll be an odd thing to see the tail end of the school year suddenly clipped off.

For ALTs, this is cause for a lot of uncertainty. How's that March paycheck going to work without any classes to teach? Do we still need to come to school? What's going to happen when school's back in session in April? What's Japan going to be like when every child in the country has a month off? I suspect that Fortnite's player counts are about to skyrocket.

At this point it's a little too early to speculate. In the absence of definitive news, there's not a lot but rumors to go off of. I suppose the best we can all do is to try and keep a level head, and avoid making any rash decisions. Stay safe out there!