Chinese Teacher Stuck In Utah Due To Virus Concerns Reaches Students Online

Mar 9, 2020, 10:32 PM

SYRACUSE, Utah – With a little help from a Utah family, one teacher from China isn’t letting travel restrictions or quarantines get in the way of her students’ education.

Rita Ao, who teaches at a private elementary school in China, was visiting her son here in Utah when the new coronavirus outbreak began in Wuhan, China.

“At the beginning, I just enjoy my vacation,” she said. “I could play with my family here, and I never think about doing these kinds of class. Then I was stuck here, my students stuck at home.”

Ao’s students were originally quarantined at their homes through mid-February, but that was extended until March 17.

Now, she’s reaching her students online thanks to Dee Wolf and her family. All three of Wolf’s children, Adam, Sadie and Tyler, can speak Mandarin Chinese.

Sadie and Tyler are enrolled in the Chinese immersion program at Syracuse Elementary, while Adam was previously enrolled in the program.

“It’s been good for everyone because we’re learning from them,” Wolf said. “They’re learning from us, everybody’s working on their presentation skills.”

Ao said she tried taking her idea to local schools, but there was too much red tape with sending video of students here back to China and getting parental consent.

“Then, finally I found Dee,” Ao said.

Ao met the Wolf family by chance after Dee Wolf listed her used iPad on KSL Classifieds and happened to sell it to Ao’s son here in Utah.

“Fast forward to a few weeks ago, to when I get a call from this person’s mother, Rita, who is in town, visiting from China and can’t get home,” Wolf said. “And her kids can’t get to school, and so she wanted some help, making some videos that she could send to them.”

It started with sharing recorded videos back and forth and grew into children on both sides of the globe talking about science and culture while practicing their English and Mandarin.

“I think it’s awesome,” Adam Wolf said.

“We get to do a whole bunch of stuff we never would have been able to do before,” Sadie Wolf added.

Their mother said the family has traveled to China a couple of times and they were excited to find another opportunity to converse with Chinese-speakers.

“It’s been a really good experience, and I think we’ve made a lifelong friend,” she said. “We love Rita, and we will miss her very much when she goes back to China.”

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Chinese Teacher Stuck In Utah Due To Virus Concerns Reaches Students Online