Athletic events and a variety of other activities have been canceled through Monday by the Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Europe.

Additional activities may be canceled or revised following an increase Tuesday in the force protection level for U.S. military communities in Europe, which came after President’s Bush’s ultimatum to Iraq.

On Tuesday, DODDS halted its Honors Band and Chorus music festival, which brings together 60 student instrumentalists and 80 vocalists from across Europe for three days of intensive rehearsals. The festival ends each year with a concert at the Regentenbau concert hall in Bad Kissingen, Germany.

“We regret having to cancel this wonderful activity, but safety and security [of the students] are always No. 1,” said Frank O’Gara, DODDS spokesman.

DODDS also has canceled or revised several other activities that were to take place through Monday. The activities are ones that occur at off-base facilities or that require students to travel off their home installation, according to a DODDS press release.

All DODDS-Europe athletic competitions — including scrimmages — scheduled to occur between Tuesday and Sunday have been canceled.

DODDS will coordinate with local commanders in regards to athletic events scheduled after Monday, according to the press release. Athletic practices can continue, but that decision is up to local commanders.

Another event, the Math Counts competition scheduled for Wednesday in Mainz-Kastel, Germany, will be conducted online instead.

Some events are being reviewed, including the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium, which began Sunday in Heidelberg and runs through Wednesday; the Academic Games scheduled for March 25-28; and Odyssey of the Mind, scheduled for March 29.

The honors band and chorus students were about halfway through their rehearsals when word came that they would be transported back to their installations as soon as possible.

“In concert with the local commander and in looking at force protection levels increasing around the theater, we made the decision to bring the kids home,” O’Gara said. “It’s best for everyone that they be safe at home.”

Local schools were contacting parents on Tuesday to inform them that the concert was canceled, and the children were being bused home, O’Gara said.

O’Gara said that as of Tuesday, there was no word on whether the force protection levels could lead to school closures.

“The local commanders make the decision of whether or not [force protection levels] have an effect on school operations,” he said.

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