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‘Crazy’ but ‘effective’: North Cross School using video conferencing to continue education while Shanghai school closed

Chinese government closed schools to help stop spread of coronavirus

ROANOKE, Va. – Getting a good education has always required a little creativity and that’s certainly true for students at North Cross School’s campus in Shanghai, China.

“It’s been crazy, but it’s actually been fairly effective," said North Cross Headmaster Dr. Chris Proctor.

The Chinese government has shut down all schools until at least March 1.

Proctor said the students and teachers at the Shanghai school are now having class online using video conference software.

“The teacher’s looking at a screen and has a picture of all the kids in front of their screen. When you see the face talking to you, it helps promote conversation, so we try to make it as normal as we can,” said Proctor.

Some of the teachers from countries outside of China went to their home countries over winter break and had not been allowed back in to China and didn’t know Wednesday when they would be.

At Roanoke Catholic School, the virus is not impacting classes but is having an impact on international students from China.

“They’re definitely worried about their families. They’re always talking to them on the phone, and WeChat is a big thing they use to message them," admissions and retention director Emily Gaston said. “A lot of them (are) buying masks and sending them home.”

The virus could also eventually impact whether or not the students can come back if they go back to China, for example, to visit family over the summer.

“That is something that we’ve voiced our concerns to the diocese about, but they’re still ruminating on that,” Gaston said.

Like so many, watching and waiting to see how much worse the deadly virus may become.

Virginia Tech released a statement Wednesday about the coronavirus for Virginia Tech students studying abroad.

Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital also released a statement Wednesday, saying in part enhanced screening procedures put in place a few weeks ago remain in effect.

For more information about the hospital’s response, click here.