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。
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。
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。
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。
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。
朱博士 Dr. June Chu
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”).