32 Students of Vernon School District 22 returned home Sunday, March 15, 2020, after a trip to Europe was cancelled amid growing concerns around COVID-19. (File)

Vernon students to self isolate after EuroTrip cut short

43 students and staff returned home from Paris on Sunday

Vernon students and staff had a trip to Europe meet an abrupt end, but now they have been directed to self isolate for 14 days.

Thirty-two students and 11 adults with the Vernon School District travelled to Paris on March 11, amid growing COVID-19 concerns.

“After the provincial health officer advised against all non-essential travel outside of Canada, the district worked with EF Tours to book flights home,” the school district’s communications specialist Maritza Reilly said.

All individuals that returned to the Okanagan Sunday, March 15, have been directed to self isolate at home for two weeks.

School District No. 22 said its awaiting direction from the Ministries of Health and Education in regards to potentially extending spring break for students.

“It is a situation that we are all monitoring on a daily basis,” Reilly said.

The Vernon School District has also cancelled or postponed trips to London and Paris that were scheduled to run over spring break.

“We are working with the travel providers to determine whether the trips will be postponed or refunded,” Reilly said.

The Vernon School District’s decision to cancel trips comes much later than neighbouring jurisdictions, which cancelled trips in the first week of March.

Parent Jerrod Aaron Hutchings is a little disappointed that his child will not be able to gain the life experience anymore.

“My kiddo was scheduled to go to England March 14 for spring break with her English class. The decision was made last night (March 12) to cancel the trip and look at rescheduling in August,” Hutchings said. “Unfortunate, but it is what it is.”

Over the past week, there have been a number of meetings and conversations with the superintendent, Board of Education chair, school principals, teachers and families regarding upcoming spring break trips.

“There are also a number of school field trips planned for later in the spring to Quebec and the United States,” Reilly said. “The board will consider the most accurate information closer to the departure date before determining if those trips can proceed. We will continue to work closely with our schools on this evolving situation.”

READ MORE: BREAKING: Canada to close borders to outsiders, except North Americans, trade to slow spread of COVID-19

READ MORE: Three more COVID-19 deaths at B.C. care home, 30 new cases


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

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