Duke grad student from China talks about deadly virus outbreak in her country

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Lei Huang is a Duke University graduate student visiting from China.

She’s celebrating the Chinese New Year, but is also walking around Duke’s campus with a mask, taking precautions due to the recent coronavirus outbreak.

“It makes me and my family nervous,” Huang said.

This weekend, Duke officials announced Duke Kunshan University in China  will be canceling classes until February 17.

Campus access has been restricted to essential personnel only until February 15.

As of last fall, the university has nearly 600 first- and second-year students.

According to school officials, about 70 percent are from across the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. The rest are international students from 40 countries.

Students who remained on campus during Spring Festival Break must stay on campus or make arrangements to return home.

Huang agrees with the move by university officials.

“I think it’s a good way for student’s health, and for the faculty — it was good,” she said.

Duke University Vice President for Public Affairs and Government Relations Michael Schoenfeld released this statement to CBS 17 Saturday:

“Protecting the health and safety of Duke Kunshan students, staff and faculty are a primary concern, and the decision to delay re-opening campus after the Lunar New Year break was made out of an abundance of caution given the rapidly changing situation in China. Teams in both Kunshan and Durham will continue to monitor and respond to student concerns around the clock.”

For Huang, she believes preparations are important.

“I think we can just take some action,” she said. “Try to keep ourselves healthy, and not to be that worried about this.”

Resources are being provided for students who are on campus, as well as financial assistance to those wishing to return home until classes begin.

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