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Going home

CCA bids farewell and following seas to its exchange students
Foreign exchange students Karoline Storlien, Lukas Jacob Tenhagen, Tyra Hanna and Anne Pauline Reitz (not pictured is Wilhelmine Martinsson) pose with a cake during a “mini graduation” Saturday, March 21, at the Clear Creek Amana High School in Tiffin. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the students were sent back to their home countries.

TIFFIN– In addition to shutting down until April 13, and the putting on-hold of all activities, the Clear Creek Amana (CCA) Community School District has seen another impact from the coronavirus pandemic as five high school exchange students have been sent back to their home countries.
Karoline Storlien, Lukas Jacob Tenhagen, Anne Pauline Reitz, Tyra Hanna and Wilhelmine Matinsson, and their host families had a mini-graduation in front of the high school on Saturday, March 21, to say good bye. Storlien is from Norway and played volleyball, basketball, and soccer for the Clippers while Tenhagen, from Germany, played football, wrestled and was on the track team. Martinsson, from Sweden, was a varsity cheerleader and played soccer. Reitz is from Germany and was also on the Clippers’ track and field team.
Hanna’s host mom, Jamie Wilcoxon Bowman, told the Leader via online messaging “Right now my family and I are extremely upset and worried about sending these students back during this pandemic.”
The students’ exchange program is overseen by the Education First (EF) organization. EF sent an email to the host families on Thursday, March 19, telling them due to the COVID-19 impact on the United States, and with an increase in school closures as well as local and regional restrictions on freedom of movement, several world leaders have called their citizens back home. Bowman pointed out the students’ biological parents, the host parents, and the students themselves had no say in the situation.
“As a host mom and as a nurse I worry about sending these kids back so abruptly especially since they will all have numerous flights and will encounter so many people traveling from all over the world,” Bowman said. “This does not help with social distancing at all! I have spoken to all of the students and have prepared them to take care of themselves while traveling, wash their hands, use hand sanitizer, keep a safe distance from others while in the airport and to self isolate themselves for at least seven days when they return home. I feel better knowing that my host daughter Tyra’s mother is a nurse and has the knowledge of what to do regarding this terrible virus COVID 19. We are very SAD and did not want their exchange year to end like this.”
A group of CCA students was set to travel to Germany, however their trip was cancelled.