The Delta School District is cancelling all international spring break school trips due to the risk of travellers contracting COVID-19.
In a letter posted to the district’s website on Thursday, March 5, superintendent Doug Sheppard said the district believes the risk of contracting the virus or of being placed into quarantine — either while outside of Canada or upon returning — is significant and increasing, and it is concerned about the difficulties that may arise in supervising large groups of students outside of Canada should circumstances start to change rapidly.
“We share the deep disappointment of our students, staff and families. A great deal of planning goes into these trips and we know how much our students and staff look forward to them. I can assure you that we took all of this into consideration when making this very difficult decision,” Sheppard wrote.
He said the district is working with travel providers and individual schools to review the insurance policy, adding schools will communicate directly with affected students and families about next steps relating to refunds.
As well, the district will continue to monitor the spread of COVID-19 and may extend the cancellations to include other school trips scheduled to take place over the coming months.
Also on Thursday, March 5, the province announced eight new cases of COVID-19, including one which is not connected with travel to Iran, China or other identified areas of infection.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the case getting the most attention is a woman in the Vancouver Coastal region who has not recently travelled or had contact with a known case. She was identified by the B.C. procedure of testing people for COVID-19 when they are tested for seasonal influenza.
Four of the new cases are close contacts with a previously identified man who travelled to Iran, and one is a visitor from Seattle, Henry said. B.C. now has 21 identified cases. Six of the new cases are residents of the Fraser Health region, and the other two are in Vancouver Coastal.
— with files from Tom Fletcher
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