Rumors of coronavirus spreading threaten Austin Chinese Culture Festival

Williamson County

ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — A Chinese culture celebration goes on at a Round Rock High School, despite fears over the Coronavirus spreading.

The rumors forced forced the Round Rock Independent School District to send out a letter explaining there was no danger to worry about for the upcoming Austin Chinese Culture Festival.

The festival happened Saturday at Westwood Highschool.

“The Chinese culture showcases two elements, resilience and courage,” said High Li, Chief Coordinator for the Austin Chinese Culture Festival.

That same resilience and courage is what pushed the Austin Chinese-American Network to open their doors to hundreds.

The Austin Chinese Culture Festival features 11 high schools from the greater Austin area showcasing marital arts, Chinese calligraphy and paintings.

It also bears a vibrant culture worth showing off, but Li says the news of the coronavirus has been heartbreaking to a lot of community members.

In a letter to the Round Rock ISD community, the district explained that it’s closely monitoring county health departments as well as state and federal government agencies for guidance moving forward.

The district said in part:

“As a school district, we are supporting these efforts by not allowing students or staff members returning from China after February 3, 2020, to enroll or return to campus until after their required quarantine. Any student absence that would result from the mandatory quarantine will be classified as excused.”

The district also echoed advice from health departments for staying safe from coronavirus, which included washing hands with soap and water often, and for at least 20 seconds; avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth; and stay home when you’re sick.

Li says it would have been a shame to put a halt to this year’s second-annual festival. The fears here in Austin, Texas went unwarranted.

Additionally, local artists performed dances, and 17 area Asian restaurants will had food available for purchase.

The Austin Chinese-American Network focuses on educating High School students about the Chinese culture too.

“It’s really fun to see how Chinese culture is spreading in the United States,” said 9th grader, Annie Li.

The festival reported that thousands attended its event in 2019, celebrating the Chinese New Year.

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