GC man in China talks coronavirus

Caleb Aldstadt

A Grove City High School graduate who is teaching English in China said things are getting back to normal in his region following precautions taken against the coronavirus.

“Most everything was completely shut down,” Caleb Aldstadt said.

Aldstadt spoke via the WeChat app on Thursday morning – about 11 p.m. his time in Fushun, which is located in the province of Liaoning.

His mother April, who arranged the video chat through the Chinese app, said that she checks in with her son every couple days.

She was concerned when she first learned about the coronavirus, which surfaced in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, and has spread worldwide. “I wanted him to come home,” said Mrs. Aldstadt, who lives in Grove City with husband Ron and their four other children.

Aldstadt, 20, a 2017 GCHS graduate, has been teaching English to young students in China since late 2018, and so far there are no cases of coronavirus in Fushun.

His school went on winter break at the end of January, and while there haven’t been any quarantine or isolation orders, classes have yet to resume, and residents must wear face masks when they leave home.

The school is expected to reopen in mid-March, and it’s getting a thorough cleaning, he said, adding that staff and students will have to wear face masks, and they’re directed to stay at home if they show any symptoms of the coronavirus.

A lot of the restaurants, stores and other public places that closed are gradually reopening, and Aldstadt secured a few weeks’ worth of extra food and water.

Fushun grocery stores require shoppers to wear face masks, have their temperature taken, and apply hand sanitizer before entering buildings.

He’s keeping updated on information about the virus through WeChat, and he’s been spending time with friends.

Aldstadt doesn’t know anyone who has tested positive for coronavirus, and he said that most people in his town are relatively calm. Face masks have sold out, but other supplies remain in stock.

Mrs. Aldstadt said she was surprised when her son introduced the idea of teaching in China, but she knows that he loves languages.

He took an online course, and is working there on a three-year contract.

She is praying for his protection and uses WeChat herself to follow news of the virus.

“I talk to Caleb a lot, which helps,” she said. 

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