LONDONDERRY — As of Wednesday afternoon, New York City's famed St. Patrick's Day Parade was still a go, but local student musicians will not be making the trip to march down Fifth Avenue.
In a memo to Londonderry High staff, the announcement came Wednesday that the Londonderry High School Lancer Marching Band and Symphonic Band would not be heading to New York City and Washington, D.C., later this week to march in St. Patrick's Day parades being held in both cities.
Londonderry High Music Director Serge Beaulieu said in the memo that it was a "very difficult decision," but the decision was made in the best interest for the safety of students, staff and the community due to the new coronavirus outbreak.
More than 200 student musicians were scheduled to leave Friday, along with about 30 chaperones and staff.
The Londonderry High Lancer Band has marched in the New York parade several times in past years.
Other prominent cities have already cancelled their St. Patrick's Day parades and festivities including Boston, Pittsburgh, Chicago and Philadelphia. As of Wednesday afternoon, New York's parade, scheduled for March 17, was still on. Washington's parade is planned for March 15.
The trip to New York was also scheduled to include the Symphonic Band performing at Carnegie Hall, part of the New York Invitational Music Festival.
New York's St. Patrick's Day Parade has been held every year since its beginning in 1762, drawing millions of spectators. Thousands more make up the marching units in the parade.
New York state had 216 confirmed coronavirus cases as of Wednesday, a jump of 43 from the day before, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
More than half the total cases were located in the suburban community of New Rochelle, where a one-mile containment area is now in place.
A decision on whether the parade would go on may come later Wednesday, officials said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.