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

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Edmonton schools and universities are keeping a close eye on the coronavirus situation in China right now, with some students either already there or planning to visit in the near future.

Jeremy Cherlet, a spokesperson for the University of Alberta’s exchange programs, said there are two U of A students studying abroad in China right now.

READ MORE: China virus outbreak: What we know, and don’t, about the mysterious illness so far

“Neither are in the regions impacted by the coronavirus. We are in regular contact with them and know them to be safe,” he said.

Cherlet said students are advised to be aware of the coronavirus’ symptoms and to seek the latest advice from local authorities, Global Affairs Canada and International SOS.

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He said the university has not implemented any travel restrictions at this time.

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“We’ll be monitoring the situation and will determine any next steps based on the advice of Global Affairs Canada,” Cherlet said.

Meanwhile, Edmonton Public Schools has five field trips scheduled for China between March 19 and May 31.

READ MORE: What are coronavirus symptoms? In mild cases, just like the common cold

Megan Normandeau, an EPSB communications consultant, said the trips will see students travel to Beijing, Jinan, Qingdao, Tai’an, Chengdu and Shanghai.

“At this time, no decision has been made to cancel these field trips due to coronavirus,” Normandeau said.

“Our division will continue to monitor government updates and travel advisories to China.”

The virus, which is believed to have emerged from a seafood market in China, has killed 26 people and left nearly 900 others sick.

The scattered number of cases in other countries has prompted airports around the world to step up monitoring and screening procedures for passengers from China.

Fears of the virus spreading are particularly high as millions of Chinese travel and celebrate Lunar New Year starting this weekend.

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RELATED: Canada’s chief medical official says coronavirus outbreak chances are low

Two cases have been confirmed in France and two cases have been confirmed in the U.S. So far, there are no confirmed cases in Canada.

-With files from Global News

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