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West Michigan teachers return home from China after school closes due to coronavirus

Posted at 1:48 PM, Feb 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-02 14:33:24-05

A couple from West Michigan who primarily live in Beijing, China, is now back in Grand Rapids after the coronavirus outbreak.

Kelli Cochran and Elizabeth Tucker got back about a week ago from their jobs teaching at an international school in Beijing. The school, along with all the other schools in Beijing closed down amidst the virus outbreak. They say leaving China then was the best decision they could have made given all the unknowns at this time.

Especially considering Elizabeth Tucker is pregnant with the pair's first child.

“A lot of anxiety leading up to the decision for us to come home ahead of time. A lot of people were like stay and wait it out, we don’t know if its that big of an issue. But there was just a lot of anxiety and we’re like we just need to go where we know we’re going to be safe, with the situation of having a baby,” Kelli Cochran said.

Elizabeth and Kelli had planned to return to Michigan for the birth of their child, but given the uncertainty around coronavirus and travel restrictions...

“We decided to go back early to Michigan, but I don’t know when we’ll be able to go back now,” Elizabeth Tucker said.

Current restrictions on travel to and from China mean they couldn't get a trip back to Beijing any time for the next couple months. They are both teaching online school in the meantime. They say they also feel for their students who are still in Beijing.

“Just talking with our students and things through our online learning, it was interesting to hear their perspective of just being quarantined in their apartment,” Kelli Cochran said.

Elizabeth and Kelli say they didn't have too intensive of screening when entering back into the U.S., but they did leave a week or so ago, before travel restrictions were imposed.

“We’ve been trying to keep balance between staying informed, and not wanting to be glued to the news too much, because then you start getting anxious,” Elizabeth Tucker said.