SPOKANE — Spokane is a healthier place thanks to the warm relations between St. George’s School and its students who live in China.
At the urging of their parents, all 17 of them flew home last month amid the frightening reality of the COVID-19 pandemic.
No surprise there. “Their parents wanted them home,” said Elizabeth Tender, the school’s international student coordinator.
A shock came Tuesday in the form of two large boxes. Considering the circumstances in Spokane and the rest of the world, they were full of treasure: N95 face masks and surgical masks, more than a hundred of each.
“I didn’t know they had those kind of resources,” Tender said.
They came courtesy of St. George’s junior Winnie Wu and sophomore Thomas Fei, both of whom live in quarantine yet found a way to send those packages.
The school sent them on to Dr. Gerhard Muelheims, a cardiologist and father of three St. George’s graduates.
On Wednesday, Muelheims delivered the boxes of masks to local hospital administrators at the Heart Institute where he works.
On both sides of the Pacific, the word spread. Now the school is expecting several more shipments from current students.
“Probably 700 to 800 more masks,” said Tender, who expects them to go to hospitals around the area.
On second thought, Tender said, the gesture wasn’t that surprising given the school’s focus on community service.
“It’s pretty cool, our foreign students have really bonded to our community,” Tender said.
For now, the bonding is confined to texts and group chats as uncertainty lingers over the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Foreign students at St. George’s had the option of staying with host families in Spokane, but their families insisted they return even though they would face quarantine back home.