【 美国新冠疫情 】康州土著写给留妈妈 – 减少猜疑,保持镇定和友善

为了方便分享最新美国疫情现状给国内的家长们,我们前段时间建立了各个州的“坚守群”,意味着这里面每个家长的孩子,都留守在美国,共同迎击疫情。但随着这几天美国病例人数的增长,“康州坚守群”里将近300个家长也显得愈发焦急,因为他们的孩子正在康州留学,而身为家长的我们却不能在身边保护他们。

为了能给予孩子最大的支持,家长们在群里讨论了很多事情,从流感是否要去医院,谈到给康州的医疗系统捐款,又从美国国会是否会失控,聊到大使馆该和美国政府做什么样的交涉等等,我就不一一截屏了。其实这种不安的心理我能理解,毕竟我也为人父母,而且就身处在这疫情现场,孩子们也在当地读书,不过在这里,我还是想给大家三个字的建议——不要慌,因为自乱阵脚不能帮我们打赢这场仗,作为孩子们的依靠,我们更要时刻保持清醒和冷静的头脑,先了解当地的情况,再来谈要不要给耶鲁大学校医院捐口罩也不迟。

康州土著写给留妈妈 - 减少猜疑,保持镇定和友善

下面这一封是我的同事,来自康州的朱博士 Dr. June Chu写给“康州坚守群”家长们的一封信。Dr. Chu是一名教育心理学博士,以前曾在宾大,达特茅斯,耶鲁工作过,既当过主任,也当过院长,现在来厚仁教育也快三年了,做过很多学生的导师。不仅如此,她还是个地地道道的康州华人。出生于康州,高中、大学以及工作都是在那里完成,而年迈的父母至今还住在康州。所以面对家长们的焦急,Dr. Chu也感慨颇深,于是她结合自己对美国的了解和对现状的分析,写下了这封5000字信,希望能帮康州和其他州的家长们排忧解难。

由于她不会写中文,所以我把原文翻译成了中文:

康州土著写给留妈妈 - 减少猜疑,保持镇定和友善

家长您好,

这是一声来自康涅狄格州(CT)的问候。我非常能体会你们对身在异乡的孩子们的担忧。不过我写这封信最主要的目的是想向您保证,在州长宣布康州进入紧急状态时,街头并没有出现普遍的恐慌情绪。身为华人的我,现在每天仍继续外出跑步希望增强体质,在我跑步的过程中,并没有遇到过任何恐慌或者敌意。商店里的人们都很友善,没有人因为我的中国面孔而远离我,也没有对我表现出任何恐惧,而且我也能正常获得所需要的物资。不过的确像新闻所说,抽纸和卫生纸可能偶尔会有不足,不过一般情况下,我在等一天就能够在商店里重新买到。唯一始终难以获得东西其实只有Clorox湿巾和洗手液。

康州土著写给留妈妈 - 减少猜疑,保持镇定和友善

截至3月21日,康涅狄格州公布223例新冠阳性患者。暂未获得关于测试的具体信息,但是有症状的人如果觉得自己可能感染了新冠病毒,可以立刻致电他们的医生。我的家人从我们的医生那里收到了有关办公室咨询的指示通知。所以实际上我们还是感到很安全的,也因为这样我母亲甚至在3月16日还接受了一次手术。

现在美国以及各州都停止了非紧急的手术,不过这并不是因为他们担心会感染新冠病毒,而是为了节省医疗物资和保证配备足够医护人员,可以为新冠病毒患者提供服务。目前美国正在把医疗物资优先用在真正急需的病人身上。

我们必须要知道的是,虽然新闻报道说检测不足,建议仅对有症状的患者进行检测,但是根据报告,死亡的病人通常是继发呼吸道疾病的人。任何人都无法对“无法检测到的病例”发表评论,因为即使我携带新冠病毒,也可能不会有任何症状。现在全国范围内的病例在增加,最主要的还是希望通过居民的自我隔离来减慢传播速度。值得庆幸的一点是,康州并不是度假胜地,因此大片的聚集地都被关闭了。周一晚上8点,州长发布了“保持安全,保持活力”的规则,类似于加利福尼亚的避难所。

康州土著写给留妈妈 - 减少猜疑,保持镇定和友善

我现在感到非常安全。街道比较安静,而且人们彼此之间仍非常友好-在排队时我仍能与他人开心的交流,人们表现出了超常的耐心,杂货店的工作人员也尽最大努力指挥人流。不过就像历史上任何时期任何地方一样,学生们仍需要时刻保持警惕,保护自己的安全。

学校允许留学生留在宿舍。不过美国不是一个能够强制每个人都戴口罩的地方,而且即使他们现在愿意,也没有足够的口罩供使用。因为相关部门要求我们将这些物资保留给第一线的救护人员和患者。当我外出时,我要做到的是远离他人,注意消毒和洗手。学校会制定自己的消毒程序,公立学校会先关闭校园以确保建筑物的清洁。不过无论疫情是否爆发,保持自我清洁也是明智的。目前没有任何学校雇佣专业传染病清洁人员,都是一般的清洁工-他们没有接受过流行病清洁的培训。

康州土著写给留妈妈 - 减少猜疑,保持镇定和友善

我了解您可能会担心校园重新开放时您的孩子可能和谁住在一起。但是请大家放心,在学校确认校园内是安全的之前,不会允许学生返校的。大家最近可能也看到很多学校都取消毕业典礼 要知道,这在美国大学校园是非常重大的一件事 – 这意味着学校及其重视疫情传播问题。

在这里,还希望您督促孩子们定期洗手,与他人保持六英尺远,以免被传染。虽然我知道您可能担心您孩子的室友是谁,但其实更多的父母可能会担心自己的与您的孩子住一起。您在怀疑他人的同时,别人可能也在怀疑您。

群里还有家长问起过公共交通工具和公共汽车。康州建议居民避免乘坐公共交通-以免人数过多而无法与他人保持足够的距离。在购物方面,如果孩子下单达到一定的数量,大多数杂货可以送货,我们也建议学生这样做。如果他们住在偏远的地区,则可以通过亚马逊 Amazon,Target或沃尔玛Walmart订购,让他们进行配送。

康州土著写给留妈妈 - 减少猜疑,保持镇定和友善

现在社区传播患者数量有所增加,这条传播途径与是否曾前往过疫情国家无关,主要来自社区中人与人之间的接触。这也就是为什么我们强烈建议孩子们要保持社交距离的原因。

美国CDC在线提供了有关症状的信息。如果您的孩子认为自己有相关症状,应致电医生或学校医疗服务部门以寻求诊断和建议。

学业方面,夏末和秋季的SAT / ACT考试不会取消,您可以考虑建议学生注册这些考试,正好利用呆在宿舍的这段时间学习更多知识,尤其现在在线课程形式也会为孩子们提供更多的自由时间和灵活性。尽管美国有许多大学申请要求上写着,本地学生SAT为非必要的“可选测试”,但其实很多政策目前并不适用于国际学生。

康州土著写给留妈妈 - 减少猜疑,保持镇定和友善

目前学校尚未取消线下的暑期课程,但是学生也可以寻找和申请许多在线课程项目。关于这一点我们许多的工作人员都可以帮助您的孩子规划暑期计划。

就个人而言,我不戴口罩主要是为了在向人们展示友好友善的同时,也不希望别人认为我生病了,因为在美国,卫生部的建议是“只有生病时才戴口罩”。

而且,我们的前线医疗人员和警务工作者们现在口罩和手套这些资源不足。如果孩子戴了这些,我担心他们会被认为是从真正需要这些东西来照顾病人的医生那里分流了资源。

康州土著写给留妈妈 - 减少猜疑,保持镇定和友善

如果愿意且条件允许的情况,您完全有给孩子寄口罩的权力和自由,但是我还是选择不戴口罩,原因有两个:1.这不会阻止我被病毒感染,因为找到完全契合,严丝合缝的口罩几乎不可能,除非你训练有素。2.我没有必要刻意去强调我是中国人 – 到目前为止,我在康州总共只见过4个人戴着口罩,没有一个人是亚洲人,但是同样,这些只是我的个人担忧和想法,您和您的孩子们仍可以按自己的需求做出决定。

更重要的一点是,康州与纽约市不同,人口密度很低,所以人们始终可以轻松地保持六英尺远。

我现在在大街上可以看到,虽然基本服务是开放的,但商店却空无一人 – 所以只要学生不去Costco之类的地方,他们就可以很容易地与其他人保持距离并获得所需的物品。像CVS药房这样的地方都有杂货卖,而且还可以订购。

康州土著写给留妈妈 - 减少猜疑,保持镇定和友善

至于我本人的情况,目前来看我年迈的父母都还可以,而且他们很自觉的不外出。我这边还去联系了周围年长的邻居,看看他们是否会因长期不外出而导致物品短缺,到时我会尽力帮忙。

虽然杂货店的货架上类似面食和牛奶的物品已经空了,但现在商店缩短了订购库存商品的时间,因此一般早上去的适合,可以确保拿到卫生纸之类的东西,而且据我所知不会出现食物短缺的现象。特别是有点商店出台了限购机制-比如在某些地方一人最多只能买2包厕纸。

在新冠病毒管控方面,美国可能不会采取和其他国家一样的方式,因为他们仍旧保持民主的原则。因此,这就需要学生积极配合做出明智的选择-自我隔离,洗手,远离他人(包括他们认为“安全”的朋友)。

您真挚的,

朱博士 Dr. June Chu

英文原文:

Hello Parents,

Greetings from CT.  I know that you have concerns about your students so far away from you.  Most importantly, I want to reassure you that while the governor declared a state of emergency in CT, there is not widespread panic on the streets.  I continue to go out daily to run errands, and have not encountered any panic nor any acts of hostility.  People at the stores have been friendly, no one has walked away or shown any fear of me because of my Chinese face, and I haven’t had any issue trying to get any of the things I need.  Yes, tissue paper and toilet paper have occasionally been missing, but I have been able to find them if I wait one day.  The only thing consistently unavailable is Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer.

As of 3/21,  223 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported among Connecticut residents.  There is no specific information regarding testing but people with symptoms are asked to call their doctors if they feel they might be sick.  My family has rc’d notices from our doctors regarding calling the office for instructions.  In fact, we have felt safe enough that my mother had surgery on March 16.  

The state, along with the country, has now stopped elective surgeries NOT because they are worried about spreading COVID but because they want to conserve those staff and necessities to serve those who are sick with COVID.  The country is prioritizing treating those who are truly sick.

What we must keep in mind is that the news is reporting a shortage of tests and that the advice is to ONLY test those with symptoms now.  Please remember that those who have died are typically those who have secondary respiratory illnesses, per reports.  There is no way anyone can comment on “cases that cannot be detected” because even if I am carrying COVID, I may not show symptoms.  Cases are increasing nationwide and the hope is that with self-isolation, we will slow the increase of transmission. Thankfully, CT is not a vacation destination and large places to gather are all shut down.  On Monday at 8 pm, the governor has mandated “Stay Safe, Stay Alive” rules, similar to California’s shelter in place.

I feel perfectly safe right now.  The streets are quieter, but people have been incredibly friendly to one another—I have laughed while waiting in lines and talking to people, and people have been patient as grocery workers try their best to get us out the door. As in any place at any time in history, students should keep their doors locked, and be aware of who might be at the door but I would give this advice at any time, to any person anywhere.

Schools are deciding on their policies for allowing students to stay on campus.  The U.S. is not a place that will be able to mandate everyone to wear masks and even if they wanted to at present, there are not enough masks for those in hospital.  We are being asked to reserve these for the front line responders.  When I go out, I stay away from others, and I sanitize/wash my hands.  Schools will determine their own policies about how they will clean and I know the public schools first closed to ensure cleanings of buildings. It is always wise to clean yourself as well, regardless of pandemic or not.  No schools are hiring special pandemic crews to clean, they are just using their typical janitorial staff — and they are not trained to clean for pandemics.

I understand you are concerned about who your student might be living with when campuses reopen. However, right now schools won’t be allowing students to move in until the health situation is considered safe. The fact that schools are canceling graduation — the most important experience for college campuses — means that schools are taking the concerns of transmission very seriously.  

I remind you it is your student’s responsibility to wash their hands regularly, stay six feet away from others, and make smart choices. While I know you may be worried about who your student’s roommates are, more parents will probably be concerned about their non-Chinese student living with your child. You’re being suspicious of other people is inviting others to be suspicious of you.

Someone asked about public transport and buses.  The advice in CT is to avoid public transportation — there are too many people and you may not be able to social distance.  Groceries do deliver if you order above a certain amount, and students should do that. If they live in a remote area without this, they can order via Amazon, Target or Walmart for delivery.   

There are now increases in community transmission — it is not about contact with someone who has had COVID or traveling to a country with COVID.  It is about being around others in the community – strangers.  This is why your students should be heeding social distancing and shelter in place orders.

The CDC online has information regarding symptoms. If your student thinks they have symptoms, they should call their doctor or the school medical services for dx and advice.  

At this point, SATs/ACTs in late summer/fall are not canceled.  Your student should register for those, and use this time to study more especially because the online class format will allow a lot more free time/flexibility for your child. While there are many colleges that are ‘test optional’, these policies do not currently apply to international students.

For the summer, schools have not yet canceled in-person summer programs, but also, there are many online options that we can assist students in finding and applying for. We have many staff members who can help your student with considering summer plans.    

Personally, I avoid wearing a mask – while people have been friendly and civil, I do not want people to think I am sick because, in the U.S., the advice has been “only wear a mask if you are sick”.  

Also, our first responders are now short of masks and gloves.  If your student is wearing this, I would be concerned that they would be accused of taking away materials from doctors who really need these to care for the sick. 

You can ship masks if you want but again, I choose not to wear it for two reasons:  1. It’s not going to prevent me from getting COVID because the ‘right fit’ of a mask is near impossible to achieve unless you’ve been trained and 2. I see no reason to point out that I am Chinese — so far I have only seen a total of 4 people in CT with masks. None have been Asian, but again, this is a choice you and your student will make.

In summary, CT is not NY City and the density of people is low.  You can easily always be six feet away from anyhow.  

Essential services are open but the stores are fairly empty – so long as students do not go to places like Costco, they will easily be able to stay away from other people and get what they need.  Places like CVS pharmacy have groceries, and again, groceries can be ordered to be delivered.

I myself am making sure my elderly parents are ok and not going out, but I have no concerns about doing so myself.  I reached out to elderly neighbors to see if they need items in case they cannot get out.

While grocery stores had empty shelves for things like pasta and milk, stores have reduced hours now in order to stock items.  Going in the morning assures being able to get items like toilet paper, and there will not be a shortage of food as far as I can see. Stores are limiting buying — e.g., no more than 2 packs of toilet paper at some places which means less empty shelves.  

Yes, COVID is not going to be managed in the U.S. in the same way China did.  We remain a democracy.   Thus, the responsibility falls onto your students to make wise choices — isolate, wash their hands, stay away from others (including their friends who they think are “safe”).

Truly Yours,

June