Coronavirus threatens music trip to Disney World


The Mason band should be in this photo in two weeks. (Photo via Wikimedia)

Truman Lapp, Staff Reporter

This year, the GMHS music community was abuzz with excitement for the upcoming music trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, where students would be traveling in 2020. This trip is also exciting because it is the first music trip at this school to transport students by plane. 

However, these plans were thrown up in the air with the rise of the COVID-19 (also known as Coronavirus) infection. Since its initial appearance in the U.S. in Washington state, this virus has spread to both Northern Virginia and Florida, causing concern across the mustang community that the trip to Disney will be canceled. 

Parents of students going on the trip are left uncertain due to a lack of confirmed fact concerning the trip’s status. 

“Last night I would have said ‘probably not.’ But now, at 11:42 AM? The odds are increasing,” said Ms. Pam Mahony, government teacher and parent of a student who is scheduled to go on the trip. (11:42 AM was the exact time the interview took place.) 

Definitive information is scarce. Ms. Mary Jo West, band teacher and head planner for the trip, seemed unsure whether cancellation is an attention-worthy concern: “We’re going on an hour-by-by hour basis,” West told the Lasso.

I asked students whether they thought the trip will be canceled. 

“Coronavirus is not a concern. They shouldn’t cancel the trip,” said sophomore Renee Coppock.

“If they were going to cancel, they would have done it earlier,” said junior Joe Carpenter.

So what could potentially cause a cancellation? Bans on travel, park closure, and school policy are all issues to be taken into account.

FCCPS has not officially stated that the trip is at risk. When asked about the chances of cancellation, Vice Principal Sneed responded optimistically. “For now, I think we’re on course.” 

At the time of this writing, the CDC has not issued any restrictions concerning travel within the country. That means that the trip is technically still on track, assuming that Disney doesn’t close its parks. (This seems to be a very small possibility, according to official statements by Disney.)

So the trip can happen. But should it happen? According to CDC guidelines (not regulations), it is recommended that you stay away from large public gatherings and large-scale travel. The musicians’ plane trip to Disney World directly contradicts these guidelines. 

“Should we go? No. Do I want to go? Yes.” said sophomore Alex Brunnstrom.

The administration’s general strategy moving forward appears to be one of cautious advancement. As of this moment, the trip will happen as planned. But, like the planes that these students are scheduled to fly on, it is still up in the air.