Americans work around travel ban, quarantines

2020-02-11 China Daily Editor:Jing Yuxin

Megan Monroe, an American teacher of English at Pro-Stage in Wuhan, leads her pupils in a Christmas song in December. (PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

The coronavirus' fallout has disrupted the lives of some Americans who travel between the U.S. and China, such as Megan Monroe, currently a teacher in Wuhan who decided to stay in the outbreak's epicenter even though she had a chance to evacuate with other U.S. citizens.

Monroe, who is from California, is an English teacher in the city, which is the provincial capital of Central China's Hubei province. She decided to stay in the city of 11 million despite the U.S. government having sent planes there to repatriate American citizens.

Having been in Wuhan for two months teaching children to perform and speak English in a company called Pro-Stage, Monroe wants to "continue that aspiration as much as I can even with the quarantine going on", she said.

Monroe keeps busy working on her online teaching credential and producing English-instruction clips and an online curriculum for her pupils. Although the country's schools are currently on an extended winter break, China's Ministry of Education has asked schools at all levels to postpone the start of the 2020 spring semester until further notice. Also, after-school training institutions (of which Monroe's is one), also have had to cancel their classroom instruction.

"My mom prefers that I stay in isolation here than get on a plane with a hundred people who might have the virus," said Monroe.

She was also concerned about the quarantine process, which "heightens the chances of getting the virus since you might be in close quarters with someone who's already sick", she said.

For Monroe, concerns over traveling and quarantines are not her only reasons to stay in China.

"I also want to understand the Chinese culture better, and there's no better way to get to know the people and their values than to see how they respond to a crisis like the coronavirus," she said.

Monroe also told China Daily that "the United States is charging its citizens $1,100 to fly out of here".

"I think this is just where I'm supposed to be right now," she said.

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