SHELTON — School and city officials have formed an ad hoc health emergency committee to craft a response to an outbreak of coronovirus in the area.

Federal officials have called on communities to create a contingency plan if the COVID-19 virus becomes epidemic in the U.S. As of Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was tracking 14 cases of the illness in the United States, not including nearly 40 more people known to have contracted the virus overseas who have since returned stateside under quarantine.

Superintendent Chris Clouet told the Board of Education at its regular meeting Feb. 26 that the Committee for Emergency Health Preparedness would look at alternate learning opportunities — including offsite or online classes — for Shelton students should the need arise.

“We just want to stay prepared,” said Clouet. “There is no emergency at this time. We are hopeful this committee never has to meet.”

The committee will be led by school nurse supervisor Adrianna Collins and include city Public Safety Director Mike Maglione, school Technology Director Daniel Divito, school security head Ben Trapka and school facilities director John Calhoun. Clouet said several other individuals will be joining the committee in the coming days.

Clouet also told the board that district costs for the Shelton High School world language trip to France and Spain in April are insured. No plans have been made to cancel the trip, according to Clouet, but the district is regularly monitoring federal travel notices.

The National Institutes of Health announced on Tuesday a clinical trial of a vaccine from the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

The state Department of Public Health is posting advice online at portal.ct.gov/dph on how people, municipalities and businesses can prepare for any effect from coronavirus in Connecticut. CDC has current updates at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com