Edmonton Public Schools cancels all China field trips for the rest of the year

In light of the growing coronavirus outbreak in China, Edmonton Public Schools has cancelled all field trips to the country for the rest of the school year.

The decision was made late Wednesday afternoon, in light of the federal government travel advisory recommending that Canadians “avoid non-essential travel to China.”

READ MORE: More airlines follow suit as Air Canada suspends flights to China over coronavirus

The government also advised avoiding all travel to the province of Hubei, including the cities of Wuhan, Huanggang and Ezhou, due to the imposition of heavy travel restrictions in order to limit the spread of a novel coronavirus.

In total, five field trips have been cancelled as a result of the decision, the EPSB said, adding parents have already been contacted by their school to inform them of the cancellations.

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The field trips had been scheduled between March 19 and May 31, with students set to visit  Beijing, Jinan, Qingdao, Tai’an, Chengdu and Shanghai.

“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,” a statement from the school board said.

“However, student and staff safety are paramount and must be at the root of all our decisions.”

READ MORE: No plans to recall U of A exchange students in China, Edmonton school board monitors situation ahead of field trips

More information will be shared with families by their school principal, Edmonton public said.

Edmonton Catholic Schools said last week none of its schools had any trips planned to China this year.

As of Thursday morning, China had reported 170 deaths and at least 7,800 infections were confirmed worldwide from the virus that emerged last month in the central city of Wuhan.

READ MORE: Coronavirus death toll in China rises to 170 as ‘great concern’ arises over transmission

Sports, transport and cultural events have been cancelled across the country and over 50 million people are under a government lockdown in central China.

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Canada announced this week that it is preparing to fly a plane to Wuhan to get Canadians out.

Canada’s top foreign-affairs official told a House of Commons committee Thursday that 156 Canadians have asked for help to leave.

Marta Morgan, deputy minister of foreign affairs, said Canada is still working to get Chinese approval to send a chartered plane to collect them.

— With files from Hina Alam, The Canadian Press, and The Associated Press

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