Organizers have canceled Plano AsiaFest, describing the move as "the prudent course of action" in light of the rise of the novel coronavirus.

The March 9 announcement marked the first time the event has been canceled in 17 years, according to a letter from the Celebrating Asian American Heritage Foundation, which organizes the event.

AsiaFest had been scheduled to occur May 4 in Plano's Haggard Park.

"In making the difficult decision to cancel the festival for 2020, we placed the safety of our volunteers, performers, vendors, and guests first and foremost," organizers said in a statement.

The move comes as the city and Plano ISD are gearing up for the possibility that the virus could affect Plano residents and area schools.

The city of Plano is also focusing on general planning and prevention efforts, according to city spokesperson Steve Stoler.

“The city has stepped up disinfection procedures at public spaces including libraries, recreation centers, counter space in public offices, etc.,” Stoler said in an email.

Plano’s public safety team has been meeting on a regular basis, engaging with the Texas Department of State Health Services, and keeping in close contact with Denton and Collin counties as well as Dallas Area Rapid Transit, Stoler said.

“We are funneling people to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for accurate, consistent and authoritative information,” Stoler said.

The school district has also been taking steps to monitor the situation over spring break, including asking for information from parents who plan to travel internationally over the break.

In an email to parents last week, PISD strongly encouraged those with spring break travel plans to closely monitor travel advisories and guidance from the CDC.

“We realize some of our families have plans to travel over spring break, and we respectfully request that if you or any member of your household is traveling internationally, including cruises, please inform us via this online form,” the email stated.

In addition, the district is putting extra cleaning efforts in place, including nightly cleanings and “deep cleanings” of campus and school buses over spring break. PISD is also providing extra disinfectant wipes at campuses as a preventative effort.

While schools are closed over the break, PISD’s administrative offices will remain open during normal business hours.

The district is encouraging people to check its website regularly for any new updates during over break.