China, Coronavirus and Coming Home: One Middlebury Student's Story
Coronavirus continues to spread in mainland China and beyond. According to the latest updates from the World Health Organization, in China alone, more than than 20,000 people have been infected and more than 400 have died. The virus has spread to 20 other countries, including the U.S., which now has 11 cases. Foreigners traveling, working, or studying in China have been advised by their countries to leave. And that includes some Middlebury College students who were expecting to spend a semester abroad.
Junior Benjy Renton is an international and global studies major focusing on East Asia. He was studying in Beijing, nearly 700 miles north of Wuhan where the coronavirus originated, when he and his fellow students found their travels cut short. A student journalist at the Middlebury Campus newspaper, he's also been blogging about his latest trip to China and the rapidly developing situation related to the virus.
Student departures at 2, 4 and 6 a.m. today as we continue our evacuation plans. Each student’s temperature is taken as they are given permission to leave. 7 students will leave tomorrow, and I will be last to leave. @Middlebury students who have left report safe repatriations. pic.twitter.com/1OY9twCzRl— Benjy Renton (@bhrenton) January 31, 2020
Vermont Edition host Jane Lindholm spoke with Renton on Monday, Feb. 3, 2020, when he had been back in the country for about 48 hours. He shared when he first learned of the coronavirus outbreak, how he saw a China transformed and deserted due to the virus, and he recounts how he and his classmates made it back to the U.S.
Middlebury College eventually instructed students to return to the U.S., canceling the school's spring semester programs in China.
Renton said Middlebury College has advised all students returning from China to follow CDC protocol and wait at least 14 days before returning to campus.
Broadcast on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.