Cheverus High has canceled out-of-state school trips planned for the April vacation week – including a trip by the baseball team to Florida – because of concerns about the coronavirus outbreak that has killed more than a dozen people in the U.S.

“As we watch the coronavirus continue to spread throughout the country, it seems prudent to take this step now to avoid scenarios that might put our students in contagious areas, require travel through airports, and risk the possibility of being quarantined away from home,” Cheverus Principal John Moran wrote in post that appeared Thursday night on a website used by the school’s baseball team. The team was scheduled to play six games in Vero Beach, Florida, from April 19-22.

Cheverus also has canceled a service immersion trip to Texas during the April vacation week and a cultural immersion trip to China this summer, according to a letter from Moran sent to Cheverus community on Friday.

Some other schools are taking a wait-and-see – but cautious – approach about trips planned for sports teams during the April vacation week.

Yarmouth High was scheduled to be one of Cheverus’ baseball opponents in Florida. Principal Eric Klein said Friday the Yarmouth School Department is “going to continue with our domestic trips,” including the baseball trip to Florida and closer-to-home events like the Maine Science Olympiad at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham on Saturday. But reacting to the coronavirus will be “a day-to-day decision,” Klein said.

Thornton Academy’s softball team’s trip to Disneyland in Orlando, Florida, is still scheduled for the April vacation week, according to Athletic Director Gary Stevens. He said Thornton would continue to closely watch the conditions and severity of the coronavirus outbreak.

As a school with international boarding students, Thornton’s administration has closely monitored reports from the Center for Disease Control and updated parents, staff and students since early January, Stevens said. Students and staff are being advised to refrain from shaking hands, to maintain a “social distance,” from other people, and to take other precautions like frequent hand-washing and disinfecting surfaces, he said.

Precautions also are being taken this weekend at the New England High School Wrestling Championships in Methuen, Massachusetts. About 40 wrestlers from Maine are scheduled to compete in the event on Saturday and Sunday at Methuen High School.

Brandi L. Kwong, the superintendent of Methuen Public Schools, said “we did add additional hand sanitizer dispensers in and around the (school’s) field house this week, (and) our custodial staff will be checking the bathrooms every half an hour to make sure there is ample supply of soap and paper towels.”

In Lewiston, the Maine Principals’ Association will host the boys’ hockey high school state championship games at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee on Saturday. Mike Burnham, executive director of the MPA’s interscholastic division, said hand sanitizers will be available for fans, as is customary at the arena.

The wrestling and hockey championships this weekend will mark the end of the winter sports season for Maine high school athletes. As for the spring sports season, Burnham said he would bring together the committee chairs and discuss the possibility of postponements if the coronavirus outbreak worsens.

“We’re certainly monitoring the situation,” Burnham said, adding that Holly Couturier, executive director of the MPA’s professional division, attended a meeting Friday afternoon that included officials from the state Department of Education and the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

“I do think it’s important that we’re all sending out a consistent message,” Burnham said about guidelines for containing the virus. “We’re talking about being proactive.”


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