10:33 GMT02 April 2020
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    The organized schools for children of US military personnel serving in the Pacific, known collectively as the Department of Defense Education Activity (DODEA) Pacific, canceled a variety of school activities Friday in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

    According to DODEA-Pacific, two school-sponsored events in Japan that were supposed to take place this week have been canceled. 

    The first canceled event is the Far East Drama and Performing Arts Festival, which was scheduled for the coming Monday and Tuesday at the Matthew C. Perry High School at the Marine Corps Air Station in Iwakuni. The second is the Far East Culinary Arts Festival, which was scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday next week at the Yokota High School at the Yokota Air Base in the city of Fussa, Stars & Stripes reported. 

    The latest cancellations come just a day after boys’ and girls’ basketball tournaments for DODEA-Pacific student-athletes in both Japan and South Korea were called off over coronavirus fears. 

    The girls’ basketball tournament was expected to take place at the Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan, while the boys’ tournament was scheduled to take place at the Camp Humphreys garrison located near the Anjeong-ri and Pyeongtaek metropolitan areas in South Korea. 

    A cheerleading competition at the Marine Corps Air Station in Iwakuni was also canceled Thursday. Many family members had purchased tickets to attend the games and many student-athletes expressed disappointment over the cancellations, Stars & Stripes reported. 

    According to Lois Rapp, DODEA-Pacific’s area director, no coronavirus cases have been reported among DODEA-Pacific student-athletes so far. 

    “We will continue to work closely with the military commands to ensure we are taking all proper measures to mitigate the risks to our students and employees,” DODEA-Pacific said in a statement obtained by Stars & Stripes.

    However, other events sponsored by DODEA-Pacific have not been canceled so far. In Japan, both the Perry Cup boys’ soccer tournament scheduled in late March at Iwakuni and the 15th annual Mike Petty Memorial track and field competition on April 6 at Kubasaki are still scheduled to take place as planned.

    The new coronavirus first began spreading in mainland China’s Wuhan some time between December 12 and December 29. So far, more than 76,000 people worldwide have been infected with the virus, and more than 2,000 individuals have died as a result, according to the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering.


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