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John Hollenhorst reporting The SARS virus has disrupted travel plans for many, including about 80 student musicians and parents at Salt Lake's Highland High School.
Their concert trip to China is now in jeopardy. Many of them met Monday night at Highland.
They're definitely not leaving Thursday as originally planned. The trip has been suddenly rescheduled for June, and some wonder if it will ever get off the ground.
It's an agonizing episode for students and parents, snarled in worldwide worry about the SARS virus.
A few days ago, the Centers for Disease Control issued a travel warning for China. That prompted the Salt Lake School Board to postpone the trip student musicians at Highland have been planning on for a year.
Van Lund/Parent: "THE KIDS WERE ANGRY. MANY OF THEM WERE IN TEARS."
But at this meeting, most parents seemed resigned to the decision, which board members say was agonizing for them.
Kathy Black/School Board member: "WE FELT LIKE WE HAD NO OTHER CHOICE. AND IT WAS NO OTHER CHOICE IN THE INTEREST OF THE SAFETY AND HEALTH OF THE STUDENTS AT THIS SCHOOL."
Rickie McCandless/Associate Superintendent: "AND AS MUCH AS YOU CAN SAY THERE WERE A LOT OF TEARS IN THIS ROOM, THERE WERE SOME IN TERMS OF BOARD MEMBERS ANGUISHING WITH THIS DECISION TOO."
The trip has been postponed to June 15 in hopes the mystery virus will subside.
Gerrie Dowdle/State Health Department: "AS PEOPLE HAVE STARTED REPORTING IT, I'M HOPEFUL THAT WITH DISEASE RECOGNITION, THAT IT'S GOING TO START DROPPING OFF AS MORE IS KNOWN ABOUT IT."
But many worry that the virus won't subside and that the trip will just have to be canceled in June. Most have already paid $2,200, and they could forfeit all of it.
Ben Robison/Student Musician: "I MEAN I WORKED OVER THE WHOLE SUMMER, EARNING ABOUT $400 A MONTH WORKING JUST ABOUT EVERY DAY TO GET THIS MONEY."
Joyce Robison/Ben's Mother: "YES, I'M CONCERNED AS A PARENT. BUT, I CAN'T ALWAYS, I'M NOT GOING TO LOCK MY SON IN THE HOUSE TO PROTECT HIM FROM ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING THAT COULD HAPPEN TO HIM."
Jessica Anderson/Student Musician: "I THINK THE RISK IS JUST TOO PROMINENT. THERE HAVE JUST BEEN TOO MANY THINGS HAPPENING THAT WOULD SUGGEST THAT WE SHOULDN'T GO."
Students and parents filled out a sort of ballot Monday night: Do they want to cancel now or shoot for the rescheduled trip in June? As the votes were counted, it became apparent an overwhelming majority wanted to reschedule, instead of cancel.
It could cost each person going on the trip up to an extra $300 to keep the June option open. And, there's no guarantee the SARS situation will be any better then.