Concerns around COVID-19 result in five trip cancellations

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Cameron Spurr

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The AMIS Honor Choir, Honor Band and Orchestra festivals, ISMTF Math Competition, and the Model United Nations (MUN) competition in Dubai have all been canceled due to the outbreak of a coronavirus, labeled as COVID-19.

In a statement by AMIS Director Executive Director Keith Montgomery, he explained the reasoning for the cancellation of the music trips.

“It is necessary to cancel both the High School Honor Choir Festival in Oman and the High School Honor Band and Orchestra Festival in Dubai. The Oman festival cannot go on because of an expanding quarantine-upon-arrival policy of which we cannot predict the scope. Both the Oman Ministry of Health and the American International School of Muscat have asked AMIS to cancel this festival. Although there is currently no similar quarantine practice in place in the United Arab Emirates, we have had so many schools withdraw from the Dubai festival that the number of remaining participants is negligible.”

The ISMTF Math Competition will continue to run in Vienna, but the High School will no longer participate. In an email to parents and participants, Math Teacher Frank Sousa, who was meant to chaperone the trip alongside Math Teacher Jenny Wexler, specified the reasoning behind canceling the trip.

“The most recent developments regarding COVID-19 in Europe, and specifically in Austria, led to the decision to cancel the Math Team trip … we are disappointed and we know the students are as well, but we cannot risk students’ health and safety,” Sousa wrote in the email.

Choral Director Lisa Ross said she feels “crushed” about the cancellation.

“I think about their journey from auditions back in September, and a lot of them prepped even before that, to learning the music and just getting so close,” she said.

Further trips are under consideration for cancellation, although no announcements have been made at the time of writing. Most notable among these are the alternative trips originally scheduled to occur in March. Given that several alternatives were meant to visit areas affected by the outbreak, such as Tenerife and Italy, the possibility of canceling these trips exists.

Ross said she thinks the situation regarding the status is “day-by-day” and that the alternatives decision will be made school-wide.

“I don’t think there would be one trip that goes and the others stay behind,” she said.