Overseas school trips cancelled due to COVID-19 virus concerns

SUDBURY – The spread of COVID-19 coronavirus in several countries throughout the world has had an effect on students within the Rainbow District School Board (RDSB) and their plans for taking international trips.

“The health and safety of students and staff is our first and foremost priority,” stated Norm Blaseg, director of education for the RDSB, last Friday. “Given that the coronavirus is evolving daily and international travel to Europe and Asia poses an unacceptable risk at this time, staying home is the safest solution.”

The disease has hit China, Northern Italy and Iran particularly hard and those countries are currently under Health Canada Level 3 travel health notices due to COVID-19; people are being advised to avoid non-essential travel. Japan is under a Level 2 travel notice because of COVID-19, (Health Canada is advising travellers to practices special precautions in travelling to that country).

There were four trips scheduled to occur for students within the RDSB, including Manitoulin Secondary School (MSS) in M’Chigeeng, where 44 student participants were to travel to the British Isles from March 12-24 but these and other trips have now been cancelled. Conseil Scolaire Catholique Nouvelon has confirmed its board has cancelled five student trips to Europe that were supposed to take place during the March Break.

“With March Break quickly approaching, Rainbow District School Board has been reviewing international trips,” said Mr. Blaseg. “Due to the increased risk associated with nouvel coronavirus, international trips to Europe and Asia have been cancelled. The decision to cancel has been guided by Government of Canada travel advisories.”