Edmonton public schools have made the decision to cancel a number of field trips to China this year, amid the outbreak of novel coronavirus.
The decision from the school district came on January 30 — the same day the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global health emergency.
A spokesperson with Edmonton Public Schools said that it was a difficult decision, made in light of the Government of Canada’s travel advisory, to avoid non-essential travel to China.
Junior high students in Grades 7-9 were set to travel to China on field trips scheduled to occur between mid-March and the end of May.
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“This decision was made in light of the Government of Canada’s recent travel advisory recommending that Canadians “avoid non-essential travel to China.”
In total, five field trips have been cancelled as a result of this decision, and the schools say that parents have been contacted by their institutions to inform them of the change.
These field trips were scheduled to travel to Beijing, Jinan, Qingdao, Tai’an, Chengdu, and Shanghai regions of China
“Edmonton Public Schools knows field trips involving travel provide invaluable learning and life experiences and we’ve been proud to make those opportunities available to students for many years,” said Batchelor.
“However, student and staff safety are paramount and must be at the root of all our decisions.”
Although the risk to Albertans remains low according to Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer, the Director-General of the WHO says that the international community must work together to limit further spread.
“The vast majority of cases outside China have a travel history to Wuhan or contact with someone with a travel history to Wuhan,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus Director-General of the WHO.
“We don’t know what sort of damage this sort of virus could do if it were to spread in a country with a weaker health system.”
A charter plane is also flying to Hanoi, Vietnam, to wait for clearance from Chinese officials to pick up Canadians stranded in Wuhan amid the coronavirus outbreak.
So far, there are four confirmed cases in Canada.