Prince William County and Manassas school officials have canceled field trips to Washington, D.C., since the U.S. Department of Homeland Security heightened the nation’s alert status to orange Monday.
Field trips and athletic contests in Washington, D.C., Baltimore and New York have been restricted, said Fred Milbert, who supervises art, music, physical education and health education, driver education, athletics and Junior ROTC for Prince William County.
Field trips to Disney World in Florida and out of the country have also been canceled. The restrictions remain while the code orange is in effect, said Edward L. Kelly, school superintendent.
Local field trips or athletic events in the county and its surrounding areas will continue as scheduled. School officials are making decisions on a day-by-day, case-by-case basis, said officials.
Prince William, Manassas and Manassas Park school officials also canceled field trips to the Washington, D.C., area when the level was heightened to Code Orange on Feb. 7.
Local schools have also been placed on a modified/limited lockdown status.
All exterior doors remained locked and elementary school recess will continue under increased supervision, according to Manassas Superintendent Chip Zullinger’s update on the school division’s Web site.
Manassas school principals and administrators will be making decisions on other field trips on a case-by-case basis.
“It’s the [field trips] that are out of the local area, out of the city, that the principals are looking at and making those decisions,” said Ann Yeck, Manassas school assistant to the superintendent.
Safety aides will be hired to provide more supervision at the schools, Yeck said. One safety aide will be at each of the division’s five elementary schools and two each at Grace E. Metz Middle School and Osbourn High School, Yeck said.
A similar precaution was used to increase security at schools during the sniper shootings in the region last October, Yeck said.
There were no overseas field trips planned in Manassas or Manassas Park.
In Manassas Park there were no field trips to Washington, D.C., in the next month, said Thomas DeBolt, school superintendent.
“It’s just not worth the risk,” DeBolt said.