A lot has been going on since our last update to you all in January, as I know is the same for all of you personally. We sincerely hope that you, your family, friends, and neighbors are all well and staying as safe as possible during the pandemic. Even in just a few months, times have changed drastically for us all, with so much uncertainty for what is to come.
At this time, Vietnam has been reporting having only around 300 cases of Covid19 with no deaths in the country. News reports state that with experience gained from dealing with the 2003 SARS and 2009 H1N1 pandemics, Vietnam's government started organizing its response right away in early January. Schools have been closed since the Tet Holiday that began at the end of January, and they have only recently re-opened on May 4th. Thousands of people have been placed in quarantine camps around the country and on April 1st the government issued a stay-at-home order country-wide which stayed in place for approximately four weeks and was just lifted last week.
During the lock-down our staff was hearing from some of our students in the village of Son Tan that the families in the village had been cut off from food sellers who travel up the mountain and that many of the families were desperately in need of food, unable to travel outside of their homes. Because of this, we made a plan with our partners in April to provide supplies for 120 of the neediest families in the village, providing them with rice, noodles, beans, and fish sauce that would last most families 3-4 weeks during the lock-down. These are just a few photos of our staff distributing the supplies.
For our art and music students in Hue and Cam Duc, we decided to re-open the programs at the same time that the schools opened on May 4th. Like all schools in Vietnam, we are following strict protocols for social distancing, holding smaller classes and providing masks, and hand sanitizer as the students come in. Our school houses have large, wide doors that open fully to make an open-air space as well so that kids can paint and play music under a roof outdoors.
We are so proud of our staff in Vietnam and of course all of our wonderful students. Thank you so much for continuing to be a part of their lives.
Please take care!