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Coronavirus Fears Scuttle FHS Model UN Club’s Plans For National Conference

Fears of the novel Coronavirus prompted the faculty advisor of Franklin High School’s Model UN Club to cancel the club’s participation in a national competition in New York City.

The decision to not attend the National High School Model United Nations Conference at the New York Hilton was made after the club’s advisor, Lou Guglielmo, consulted with FHS principal Frank Chmiel and other districts, as well as the event’s organizers, said Mary Clark, a spokeswoman for the school district.

“I believe that many teams were not going to participate in the event, which would have led to a diminished experience for the students,” she wrote in an email.

Clark said that as far as she knew, the Model UN event was the only “field trip that has been cancelled to date.”

“Circumstances may change if the virus continues to change, but until then cancellation of field trips will remain a local decision by the advisor and building administration after they have reviewed the details of that particular trip,” she wrote.

The conference runs through March 7.

The Coronavirus has spread worldwide since its first outbreak in China. In New Jersey, two Bergen County residents have tested positive, according to media reports, while nearly 200 more showed signs of infection.

To date, 11 Americans have died of the virus, in Washington state and California.

Like the flu, the Coronavirus can be spread by an infected person coughing or sneezing in proximity to other people. The virus can also be picked up by touching a surface that an infected person has touched.

The state Department of Education this week issued guidelines for school districts to deal with an outbreak, including allowing tele-teaching outside of classrooms.

The DOE has notified districts that any out-of-building education necessitated by the virus will count toward a school district’s mandated 180-day school year.

Schools Superintendent John Ravally sent a letter home to parents on February 27, detailing the district’s plans to deal with any outbreak.

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