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A Message to MHS Parents Regarding the Chinese Orchestra and the Coronavirus

Families of Muscatine High School Students,

We have the unique opportunity to host The Shanghai Chinese Orchestra, Little Ants Kunqu Opera Art Troupe, and the Zhejiang Shaoju Opera Theatre at a performance on Thursday evening, January 30th at 7pm in the MHS auditorium. The organizers of this event have put in a tremendous number of hours preparing for this cultural experience. Additionally, a smaller group from the Chinese Orchestra will meet with select students at the high school on January 31st in the afternoon. All music and students taking Chinese are invited to the afternoon performance. This is a voluntary invitation, not a mandated one.

That being said, a unique situation has developed that has caused concern by several families. Parts of China are experiencing an outbreak of a virus, called the coronavirus. It is a serious condition that is hard to treat and manage.

As visitors from China will be in the high school, we wanted to make sure that all precautions were taken for the safety of our students and families. Public Health was contacted for advice on the matter. 

Here is what we’ve been told by our Public Health Officials, as of Friday, January 24:

Public Health officials have mechanisms in place to ensure safety precautions are taken when individuals are exiting China as well as entering the U.S.  We can accept that these individuals are not coming directly from the Wuhan providence as it is currently on lockdown, not allowing travel. And although there are cases outside of China, the risk is low to the general population.

There are two confirmed cases within the US at this time so the virus is already here and people should take suggested hygienic precautions to avoid getting ill.

It is also recommended by Public Health officials that if anyone – students or adults – are performing or included in activities that are showing symptoms of influenza, they should not be participating regardless of which country they are from, and should see a medical provider.

We’ve been in contact with the organizers of the performances and they’ve assured us that screening has taken place and that the performers aren’t from the Wuhan province.

It should be noted that this event is not a school-related function. We are simply the beneficiaries of their interest in performing in Muscatine. As we’ve been advised that the risk is extremely low, we will continue with allowing the scheduled events to take place at Muscatine High School. Participation in any of the activities will be voluntary. If you do not want your student/child to participate, they do not have to participate.

Please feel assured that we wouldn’t put anyone at risk if we felt there was any danger to our school and community. We’ve been told by Muscatine Public Health that the risk is negligible, so we are moving forward with allowing the event to be held at the high school.

Sincerely,

Terry Hogenson
MHS Principal 

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