NORTH TONAWANDA, NY (WKBW) — The coronavirus pandemic is preventing a student from returning to her hometown in China. She is a foreign exchange student, in her senior year, at Cardinal O’Hara High School.
The student is trapped between outbreaks in two countries.
“It’s just difficult that I'm worried sometimes. If something happen, I might not be able to be there,” reflected Chloe Wu, senior, Cardinal O’Hara. Wu is from Changzhou, China.
But the Cardinal O’Hara senior is feeling a world away from her family in China.
First, she was not allowed return home a few months ago at the height of the COVID-19 outbreak in China, and now she's locked down in the U.S. with her exchange family in North Tonawanda.
“Being over here is like the other way, now that they are worried about me,” Wu explained.
Wu is able to FaceTime with her mother, younger sister and step-father.
“I’m far from them. All I can do is FacTime them, check on them every day to see if they are doing okay, if they're wearing their masks,” replied Wu. “When I talk to my parents - (they say) that I should stay here—finish my senior year.”
“It's a scary thing. I don't want to call her mother and say she's sick,” explained Jeanne Wantz, exchange host, religion teacher at Cardinal O’Hara.
Wantz hosts Wu at her home. She says she is making sure Wu does not catch the virus. Wantz and Wu rolled some iPhone video while they chatted with us Friday, showing how she pours Wu coffee each morning as they begin their day.
“Chloe, what, for you, is biggest challenge right now?” Buckley asked. “I would say it would be being here, taking on-line classes and trying to — want to be home and still stay here, finish my school year,” responded Wu.
“Of course, her biggest concern is that once she finishes here and she's allowed to go back, making sure she's able to come back to the united states again to go to school in August,” declared Wantz.
Wu says she's considering attending St. John Fisher College in the fall. She has been accepted at all the colleges she applied.
Her exchange mom brags like any proud parent. Chloe has high grades. She’s active in a number of clubs and is on the swim team.
“The funny part was, she didn't know how to swim, so it was a complete learning experience, but she's gotten very involved in the school and really has kind of come out of that shell,” recalls Wantz.
Despite a cloud of uncertainty hanging over the world right now, Chloe remains positive as she awaits a chance to travel back home.