Norfolk students talk with Chinese students quarantined due to coronavirus


NORFOLK, Va (WAVY) – As the coronavirus continues to spread all over the world, students in Norfolk heard from children in China who are directly affected on Monday.

Many of the Chinese students have been stuck inside for more than a month, one girl saying she’s gone a whole 40 days with no outside contact.

The students in Norfolk were interested to hear how they keep up with friends and their studies, but they also learned how to have compassion for others — and learned that we’re more alike despite being on the other side of the world.

Laughter and cheers filled the room at the Academy of International Studies at Rosemont in Norfolk Monday as the students discussed the impacts of the coronavirus for students in China.

Despite a language barrier, Norfolk students heard from several children from different regions of China.

They heard from students in Wuhan where COVID-19 began, who have been quarantined for more than a month.

“I thought that was pretty crazy, but it’s also better to be safe than sorry, and … being quarantined reduces the possibility of more outbreaks in their region,” said Joshua Mcleod.

Some Chinese students are taking it pretty well.

“I have more time to concentrate on my studying and no one will interrupt me, so I think it’s a good time to catch up with my studies,” said one Chinese student.

Others can’t wait to see the outside again.

“I think I’m going to get mold like the fruits never eaten if I don’t get out quite soon. I might just grow like a mushroom or something,” said another Chinese student.

Dr. Harry Zang, who helped translate and make this conference possible, said it is a great way to break barriers and encourage global understanding at a young age.

The students in Norfolk say this experience has truly opened their minds and hearts.

“I definitely think it’s harder. They seem to have adjusted to it a bit because they’ve been in quarantine for a while now, so they seem to still be able to get their exercise,” said Kaitlyn McGinnis.

And it seems the feeling is mutual.

“I think maybe the world is more united because we have the same enemy. It’s the viruses and bacteria that come to attack us, so we’re united together. We are like a family no matter which country we are from, so cheers for China, cheers for all of us,” said one optimistic Chinese student.

The conference call was made possible through a partnership with the Norfolk Sister City Association.

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