Due to concerns over an outbreak of COVID-19, also known as novel coronavirus, Baker Prairie Middle School students will not travel to South Korea this spring to visit their two sister schools: Annam Middle School in Changwon and Gangbuk Middle School in Daegu.
This is the first time in the 12-year history of BPMS’ Korean Studies program that a trip to South Korea has had to be canceled.
BPMS administrators informed students and families of what they described as the “difficult decision” at a meeting on Feb. 10. It was, as expected, “heartbreaking for the students and their families,” according to a Feb. 11 email that was sent to middle school staff. The trip had been planned for March 13-25, 2020.
“I wanted to let everyone know that … due to the high risk of exposure to the coronavirus, we are cancelling our annual trip to Korea this year,” the email read. “We have been in constant contact with both schools in Korea, and they have advised that we delay our travels until the situation was better, as their government is predicting that March will be the worst month for their country.”
According to a release from Canby School District, the COVID-19 outbreak has gotten worse in South Korea since BPMS made the decision to cancel the trip. Many schools are currently on break and scheduled to begin a new school year in March, although the outbreak may force them to remain closed.
BPMS administrators are working with the travel agent and airline involved with the planned trip, seeking a refund for the cost of the trip.
The Oregon Department of Education issued a memo this week instructing schools not to travel to South Korea or China.
Canby School District is finalizing its planned response, in coordination with public health leaders, in the unlikely event there is a coronavirus outbreak that affects the community. The district will send information on the plan to the community in the coming days.
At this time, there are no confirmed COVID-19 cases in Oregon.
Photo via the Baker Prairie Middle School World Travelers page on Facebook.
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