SD79 officials have cancelled international travel for students due to the risk of coronavirus. (Citizen file)

Coronavirus cancels all international school trips for Cowichan students

Frances Kelsey students’ London trip grounded

The Cowichan Valley Board of Education decided March 5 that in light of the coronavirus situation, no students will be leaving the country as part of a school trip for the remainder of the school year.

All international field trips have been cancelled.

SEE RELATED: VIDEO: B.C. premier, health officials unveil response plan for COVID-19

“The decision to cancel all international trips was not made lightly,” said Candace Spilsbury, chair of the Board of Education for the Cowichan Valley School District. “Once we weighed all the factors we realized that the situation with COVID-19 is too fluid and too serious and we are ultimately responsible for the safety of our learners.”

The board’s decision only affects one group thus far.

A group from Frances Kelsey Secondary was slated to leave for London, England on March 7. They’ve since been grounded.

Spring break will keep students home for the next two weeks, and staff, and the families of students have been notified about the international travel process for return of anyone from a high or medium risk region, as per the Provincial Health Officer’s recommendations.

“We are constantly updating our information and continuing to look at the research and recommendations across the province and country as we work to ensure our schools remain a healthy place for our learners,” said SD79 Superintendent Robyn Gray. “We are closely following the recommendations from our Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, and the Ministries of Health and Education.”

As of March 6, the recommendations are for travellers returning from the affected areas to self-monitor for symptoms such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing.

Those who have travelled to Hubei Province, China, or Iran are asked to self-isolate for 14 days after your departure date from those areas. Those who have had contact with somebody who has travelled to those areas are also asked to self-isolate. and all are asked to call 811 or phone their health care providers.



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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