The Kamloops-Thompson School District announced today (March 6, 2020) it has cancelled school group tours to Europe during spring break.
The decision, due to the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 and corresponding travel advisories, affects 38 staff and students from Clearwater Secondary, Valleyview Secondary and Sa-Hali who had planned to visit various regions of Europe beginning March 13.
“Unfortunately, this year we are faced with a global challenge with the outbreak of COVID-19,” said assistant superintendent Bill Hamblett.
“Due to the risk of harm for students and staff travelling to regions of Europe, we had to make the call to cancel these trips.”
For South Kamloops Secondary students, their trip to Costa Rica will continue as planned but SD73 will continue to monitor the situation daily and respond to any changes with the federal government’s Travel Health Notices.
“We are currently working with travel providers and individual schools to see if trips can be refunded, rescheduled or rerouted. Schools and trip organizers will communicate directly with affected students and families about the next steps related to refunds.”
In deciding to cancel the trips, the district considered Health Canada advisories as well as the potential that staff and students may be quarantined, either overseas, or upon their return to Canada.
“We know that these trips are eagerly anticipated and have required extensive planning and support to make them happen,” Hamblett said.
“While we regret to have to cancel any planned activities, we see this as a wise and necessary precaution.”
In a message sent home to all secondary parents, SD73 asks parents and staff who are travelling overseas for personal travel to consider issues such as needing to be quarantined upon returning to Canada. While the current areas of most significant concern are China, Northern Italy, Iran, Japan and South Korea, impacted areas may change and expand as the situation continues to evolve.