Following the recent spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus in China and subsequent risks surrounding international travel, the Chinese Department has cancelled a group of student’s visit from Renmin Univeristy of Beijing in China.
AP Chinese teacher Kitty Wang first learned of the students and their school from a teacher at the Benjamin School in Palm Beach, Florida. She planned the students’ visit after gathering more information and decided a visit to help celebrate Chinese New Year would benefit Pine View students.
All students taking Chinese were scheduled to attend a performance organized by the students from Renmin University, including dance, martial arts, folk music, orchestra, and aerobics. Principal Dr. Stephen Covert intended to begin the performance with a welcome speech in both Chinese and English. After the performance, Chinese National Honor Society members and officers of Chinese Club planned to hold a lunch with the visitors in the multi-purpose room.
Plans for the students to visit were canceled after more serious news became public surrounding the coronavirus outbreak.
“The Renmin students arrived in the United States January 20. We canceled on them when they were in New Jersey because of concerns of coronavirus,” Kitty Wang, AP Chinese teacher said.
The cancellation of the performance comes as an unwelcome surprise for students enrolled in Chinese classes, who were grateful for the opportunity to meet and interact with students from a university highly ranked in China.
“I’m really upset that the students from Renmin couldn’t come,” eleventh-grader Grace Kim said. “A lot of us even brought American snacks to share with them, so it’s really sad that we didn’t get the chance to meet them or see them perform.”
Students from Renmin University travel to the United States every year to perform, so Wang is confident that there will be another visit from the students in the future.
“I plan to stay in contact with the school and hopefully schedule a new visit in the future if possible,” Wang said.
Featured image provided by UNICON