Coronavirus travel ban puts Acadia education students' China practicum in jeopardy
WOLFVILLE, N.S. -- While no cases of coronavirus have been reported in Atlantic Canada, that doesn't mean it isn't affecting our region.
The federal government has issued a travel advisory -- warning Canadians not to travel to China.
That has already affected a group of university students who were going to teach in China next month.
The Bachelor of Education students at Acadia University are monitoring the coronavirus outbreak especially carefully.
"I have alerts on my phone, and I've been checking the news rather regularly," said Rachel Chabot, who was one of eight students scheduled to travel to China on Feb. 10 and stay until June for an international teaching practicum.
"We've been offering this practicum in China since 2002 and 165 students have taken part in this incredible opportunity to practice their teaching in an international placement," said Janet Dyment, the director of the school of education.
Chabot says that is the reason she chose Acadia.
"When you enter in the program you sort of have to make that decision in your first year if you are going to go on that route, so I knew all along that's what I wanted and really worked towards you know getting the grades and doing the hard work to get there," Chabot said. "It was always in the back of my mind."
This year's trip has been postponed until the travel ban is lifted, but due to the student's schedules, there is only a limited amount of time before other arrangements must be made.
"Should it be that we run out of time to get them to China in time to complete their placement, we would find placements for them locally," Dyment said. "Of course that would be a disappointment for the students that are planning on going, but ensuring their safety and well-being of all our students and faculty is our first priority."
Chabot says she still hopes to travel there if the ban is lifted in time for her to travel to China.
"If the ban was lifted, certainly I'd definitely go in a heartbeat," Chabot said. "All the work that has been building up to it, I wouldn't even think twice about it, I'd definitely go."