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Besides masks, U.S. teachers voice support for students in China

By Deng Xianlai and Xu Yuan (Xinhua)    10:33, February 26, 2020

WASHINGTON, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- Juliet Hooks, a Greensburg, Pennsylvania, resident who teaches Chinese children English courses online, has recently put a post on Chinese messaging app WeChat asking if any student needs masks, as China is fighting the coronavirus outbreak.

Upon receiving responses from three parents, Hooks sent 200 masks she bought to each of the families.

Additionally, she sent another 1,200 masks at hand to San Francisco, where VIP Kid, the Chinese-owned online education platform she works at, has been organizing a collection effort for masks that will be shipped to China.

"I was so happy," Hooks said of her masks being delivered to China from San Francisco. "They're not going to the families that I know personally, but they're still going to be put to use."

In a picture provided to Xinhua, Hooks is seen posing next to the boxes containing the masks she was about to send to China.

On each of the boxes read the Chinese words "Come on, China!" Hooks said she herself wrote the four-character Chinese phrase, which she learned from her nine-year-old daughter, Freya, who is learning Mandarin.

VIP Kid, which launched the mask collection initiative on Feb. 4, has received "a few thousand" masks donated by some 70 teachers from Texas, Florida, New Jersey, Idaho and Georgia as of mid-February, the company told Xinhua.

"If it's something that I have available to me that they (the Chinese people) need -- and because I'm lucky enough to see these kids every day and have such a connection -- I really wanted to make sure I did that," said teacher Kelsey Covington.

Covington bought 20 masks from her local grocery store and sent them to China from the post office near where she lives.

Teacher Lisa Walsh from Marietta, Ohio, has shipped 100 masks to the company's San Francisco office.

"As teachers we are concerned and we want to be able to support the people of China any way we can," Walsh said, adding that donating masks is "just a very small way that we show our love," she said.

Besides donating masks, the three teachers all said in recent interviews with Xinhua that they are willing to do whatever they can to lend further support to the Chinese people.

Walsh said she felt "there is very little" she can do, and that she's "so passionate about reaching out to our students."

In order to better prevent and control the coronavirus epidemic, Chinese students need to stay home and study online, prompting a growing number of course requests on the platform. All the teachers said they wanted to take more classes even though they usually have to teach overnight due to the time difference between the two countries.

"It's just one of those things with teaching that there are certain times that you're going to put in a little bit more time and a little bit more effort," Covington said.

As the epidemic goes on in China, Hooks always leaves some words of encouragement nowadays in the post-class feedback to the students and their parents.

"I hope you are all well and continue to stay that way. The world is sending love and support to China through this challenging time," she said, reading one of the written feedbacks.

Walsh, for her part, made a short video for her students and their families. "I am sending all my love to students and their families in China. Wuhan Jiayou (Come on, Wuhan)! Zhongguo Jiayou (Come on, China)!" she said in the video.

Commenting on the anti-Chinese sentiment that has arisen in some parts of the world because of the coronavirus, Walsh said people who think that Chinese people have spread the disease to the world are "very close-minded and unjust."

"Because no one would try to spread this type of virus knowingly," she said.

Echoing Walsh, Covington said she can not understand why those people are "so negative" about China.

"Whether it be the coronavirus or any other situation, we all need to be compassionate for others and be willing to help others in any kind of hard time that they're going through," Covington said.

(Xinhua reporter Hu Yousong in Washington contributed to the story.)

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Zhao Tong, Bianji)

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