Surrey School District is cancelling nine field trips this month to countries with heavy infection of COVID-19.

Surrey School Supt. Jordan Tinney sent out a letter dated Tuesday, March 3 to parents and staff saying that field trips this month for Italy, Japan and France are being cancelled “due to the risk of harm for students and staff travelling to these regions.”

As the risk areas are changing very rapidly, the district is in a holding pattern for trips to other areas of the world.

For all other trips, we will continue to monitor the situation daily and respond to any changes with Government of Canada’s Travel Health Notices,” Tinney writes in the notice.

With these cancellations, there are a number of factors we considered, including Health Canada advisories,” he said. “We also took into account the very real potential that staff and students may be quarantined, either overseas, or upon their return to Canada.”

The school district is also asking families who are planning trips to consider altering those plans if Canada’s advisory is warning against it.

As of Tuesday, more than 94,000 people worldwide have been infected, while 3,214 have died from it.

The vast majority of infections and fatalities are in Mainland, China, however several other countries are reporting growing numbers of infection, including South Korea, Iran, Italy and Japan.

Canada is now at 33, with 12 cases in B.C.

The provincial heath officer has said the next two weeks will be crucial in controlling the spread of the virus in this province.

Italy announced Tuesday it is shutting down schools and universities between March 5 and March 15.