SPOKANE, Wash. — Amid a nationwide shortage of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers during the coronavirus pandemic, Chinese international students from a Spokane school have stepped up to help their adopted city. 

The students from Saint George's School in Spokane are now sending boxes of personal protective equipment from their homes in China for local healthcare workers.

Saint George’s received two boxes with 120 N95 masks and more than 100 surgical masks from 10th grade student Thomas Fei and 11th grade student Winnie Wu, who both live in Beijing.

Elizabeth Tender, the International Student Coordinator for SGS, said 17 of the school’s 30 international students have returned to China to be with their families.

The two students and their parents reached out to the school about donating the equipment and four other students have since said that they also want to send boxes of protective gear, Tender said.

“They’re taking out of their resources to get to us, too, which is nice. And they really care about the community,” she added.

Protective equipment that has already arrived has been given to hospital administrators in Spokane.

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The school is now expecting more boxes with hundreds of masks, suits and gloves to arrive in Spokane from Chinese students living in Liaoning, Jiangsu, and Changchun. Tender said additional boxes will be given directly to some nurses who are connected to the school to distribute to healthcare workers.

Some of the international students stayed with their host parents in Spokane, while the others returned home to be with their families in China, Tender said.

Most of the students who returned home had to quarantine themselves in a hotel room alone for two weeks.

“The ninth through eleventh graders are feeling a loss because we’re now they’re community and their school. …They definitely weren’t ready to go home now,” Tender added.

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