A group of Beaconsfield students in the Boston area to take part in a music competition are among the thousands confined to hotels as police conduct a massive manhunt for a suspect in the marathon bombing.

The Beaconsfield High School band seniors left Montreal for Boston yesterday to take part in the competition.

The chair of the Lester B. Pearson school board, Suanne Stein Day, said they checked with the authorities, festival organizers and parents before the students left on the trip. There were no government advisories about travel to the area and the competition was still on, she said.

"The school contacted them all before leaving and, ultimately, it was the parents' decision to keep the trip on and go," she said. "I think they know that we wouldn't take any risks with their children."

The students are staying in a hotel in Danvers, Mass., north of Boston, around 40 kilometres from Watertown and Cambridge where a massive police presence remains after a shootout that killed one of the suspects early this morning.

"They've organized their schedule to stay away from the city core where the marathon was run and they have to stay in the hotel complex today while things are still a little bit unsettled in the area," she said.

"They're in no danger and they're all very calm."

The competition is still scheduled for tomorrow so the students will be rehearsing in the hotel tonight, she said.

The school set up a website for the parents to receive details from school staff in Boston and it's been updated three times since the group arrived.

The latest update says the students will be entertaining themselves at the hotel's water park.

"We feel it is a very safe place to be," the last entry reads.