Columbus school cancels visit from Chinese students, now looks for way to help visitors

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Amid growing Coronavirus worries, a Columbus Christian school has canceled a campus visit this week from a delegation from China.

The decision came after Calvary Christian School parents expressed concerns about Friday’s campus visit. The students coming to Columbus are from A+ Learning Center in Beijing. And they have been in the United States for about two weeks.

Though they won’t be going to the north Columbus school, the students — mostly seventh, eighth and ninth graders — will be arriving in Georgia on Thursday night.

They are in Texas this week and were previously in Michigan.

They were scheduled to leave Atlanta on Tuesday, but because normal air travel between the U.S.and China has been halted, they are going to be stuck here for the foreseeable future, Calvary Christian Headmaster Jim Koan told News 3.

“I reminded our families of the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke, Chapter 10,” Koan said. “And I invited our parents, one, to pray how might reach out when the need is known. And then be ready to respond when we say, ‘OK, folks, as the Body of Christ, here’s how we can assist these friends of ours from China.”

Those plans are being put in place, Koan said.

Calvary Christian has a nearly 10-year relationship with the A+ Learning Center in Beijing. Groups from both institutions have traveled to the other during that time. Exchange students from A+ have attended Calvary. Currently, there are five A+ students enrolled here.

The Friday campus visit was halted amid concerns from some parents, who reach out to Koan.

On Monday, Koan communicated with Calvary parents through email that the visit from the Chinese delegation later in the week was still a go.

By Tuesday afternoon, the school administration had reversed course and said the visit would be canceled despite assurances from federal and state health authorities it was OK.

Parent Thomas Ogden expressed the concerns that a number of parents had.

“The concern is there is not enough known about the Coronavirus to know how it’s transmitted,” Ogden said. “It has been reported that it’s transmitted from asymptomatic patients. So, we just don’t know enough to expose the children to this. The risk I am sure is small, but nevertheless there is a risk.”

The student group came to the U.S. through Chicago on January 22nd. The team was screened at O’Hare Airport and allowed to enter the country.

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