Perhaps you watched local news over the vacation and were surprised at the large numbers of people visiting tourist spots. We were. We watched for any announcements from the CDC and became aware this morning of certain businesses which told their employees to stay home if they have visited any of the places on a list of 11 locations outside of Taipei. A short time ago a notice from the CDC was posted asking those who were at those 11 tourist spots last week to observe their health for the next two weeks and report any problems. There was no mandate to close schools; public schools have not closed.
This morning four GCA families decided not to send their children to school today. After the announcement from the CDC I checked from room to room to learn if any of our students had visited these particular areas, however, it was clear from the first room visited that language complicated my inquiry. I simplified my question to, “Did you go outside of Taipei City during the vacation”. About 60 students said that they had gone outside of Taipei, however, for those children who can speak Mandarin, we learned that most of them have homes or relatives living in New Taipei City, Linkou, Ilan and Taoyun. Other places they visited were Keelung, and parts of Taipei County. It appears that four GCA families, 5 children, did visit Kenting and/or Pingtun.
Throughout the covid 19 situation, certain students have opted to stay at home and some students have been asked to quarantine for two weeks because of travels outside of Taiwan. For those students, the days spent at home communicating with teachers via email and other formats, were not listed as days absent from school. Instead, we added to their report cards days of “covid 19 distance learning”. We understand that some of you may want to keep your children at home for two weeks to avoid contact with our students. We will list those school days as distance learning for those students and ask the teachers to stay in contact.
We have been very pleased with the number of families who have expressed their gratitude for keeping GCA open. Our goal has been to give the students a steady and consistent schedule, in contrast to interruptions and uncertainties. This is a proactive response which has only been possible because each family and each student has been careful. One student who visited Kenting assured me that he arrived at the start of the vacation, before the crowds and stayed only one day. We are confident that families that went out to the mountains and out to the country were very careful to avoid busy areas. We believe in transparency and we will continue to keep you informed. We hope to stay open through to June 11, but we will always prioritize the health of our families, our students, our teachers and our staff. On a personal note, my 90 year old mother-in-law lives in our school building, and of course, we will always watch over her with great care and concern.
Science, research, data and recommendations are very important to us and we listen diligently. We also thank God for the leadership in Taiwan and the great example Taiwan has been for the entire world to watch. This is truly a time of pride for the preparation and response we have seen. We also thank God for His grace and mercy when most of the world is experiencing such fear and loss. Our hearts are humbled before God. It seems inevitable that some of our school families will experience the loss of a loved one living back home, but not yet. We do have family members who have had a loss of income and a disruption of their lives. We pray for the health care givers around the world and are in awe for the risks they bring to their own lives to be in the service of helping others. We pray that leaders will be given wisdom from God and people will cooperate with plans set before them. Please learn to give your worries and fears to God and place yourself under the protection and love of God the Creator, who sacrificed the life of His Son, Jesus, for you.
Under God’s Grace,
Philippians 4:4-7 NIV
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.