Longfellow Middle School in Falls Church, Virginia, canceled a visit by a group of 20 students from Yichang, Hubei province, China, about 321 kilometers from Wuhan, where the coronavirus outbreak is occurring.
Ping Song, who went to Longfellow to retrieve his daughter, told VOA's Mandarin Service (translated): "We have known that there would be a group of exchange students from Yichang, China, visiting. They would enter the building at 2:30 or later this afternoon. We are very worried about this, because the coronavirus outbreak in China is severe now, and people discuss this issue on WeChat every day. We can’t say that those people surely carry this virus, but we’d like to be cautious just in case, since the situation is not too optimistic at this point. This morning we had a meeting with the school, and they thought it hasn’t reached the level to make changes to the plan. So we think the exchange students will still enter the building this afternoon according to their plan. Therefore, I discussed this with my wife, and decided to pick up our daughter earlier today, and then see how it goes, if there are any changes for the next step.”
His daugher, nicknamed Xixi, said in Mandarin (translated): “I’m pretty worried if they carry the virus, because it’s contagious. A lot of my classmates around are discussing about this issue, wondering if we might be infected. Everyone is talking about this in group chat, and we are considering not coming to school perhaps.”
In Wuhan, China, the government issued Wednesday a lockdown on travel to avoid the spread of the deadly coronavirus.