Coronavirus fears grow for two Hendrix College students from China

CONWAY, Ark. — The coronavirus may not be top of mind for Americans, but it is for two students at Hendrix College in Conway.

Hendrix College Professor Peter Gess, director of international programs, is keeping a close eye on the coronavirus outbreak in China.

“The virus seems to be spreading more and more,” said Gess.

China reported an additional 43 deaths Friday, bringing the total there to 213.

As the virus spreads, concerns grow for the two students who are from China, currently studying abroad.

“They obviously have some concerns for family and friends back home,” said Gess.

David Jiang is not from WuHan where the outbreak is, but his mother is a doctor in China who is on the front lines.

“He’s naturally worried about his mom as a healthcare worker, but of course, they are taking proper precautions in China, so he’s dealing with it,” said Gess.

The other student has family in China whose day to day lives have become challenging.

“Family members of her’s are worried in the country and, basically, not leaving their home,” said Gess.

While the college is working with these students to provide emotional support through counseling and helping them stay in communication with their family in China, Gess continues to keep in touch with school programs that could be impacted by the outbreak.

“We do have several students heading abroad to Japan and Korea, so we are monitoring very closely to see if we are going to have to cancel those programs if the virus spreads to those countries,” said Gess.

The Arkansas Department of Health is investigating a possible case of the coronavirus here in Arkansas.  

That person is still under quarantine until those test results come back.

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