Decision to cancel school trips lies with parents, school: N.S. education minister
HALIFAX -- One Maritime high school has postponed its European trip due to COVID-19 and other schools are struggling with the decision on how to proceed.
Nova Scotia Education Minister Zach Churchill wants clarity on who should make the final call and parents want answers on how risky an overseas trip could be.
"We're advising everyone to obviously pay attention to Health Canada guidelines on travel," said Churchill. "Right now the decision is with the parents and the school communities."
Churchill says talks are ongoing to examine possible rule changes on who should have the ultimate authority to alter these trips because of health safety concerns.
"That needs to be clarified," Churchill said. "Those are the conversations that are happening right now."
Cole Harbour High School's student trip starts March 10.
"It's going to be an amazing experience for the kids," said Ian Hape, the parent of one student at the school.
With coronavirus concerns growing, students, parents, and school staff held an information session Wednesday night.
Hape's son is in Grade 11 and he'd like him to go, but so far hasn't been given any options, he said.
EF Educational Tours, the company that arranges student travel, said they were closely examining the coronavirus impact -- especially in Italy -- and they would present families with options.
Hape says none of this was discussed at Wednesday night's meeting and he's unsure how to proceed.
In New Brunswick, Moncton High School has put its trip on hold, and the Anglophone East School District issued this statement Thursday:
"After discussions with students and parents, the teacher leaders at MHS who are involved in this trip have decided to postpone the trip until June. Student safety is always the primary priority," wrote director of communications, Stephanie Patterson.
Hape says he's on the fence about letting his son go, but the deadline to make a decision is close and so, too, are the trips.
For many parents, they are busy trying to gather the most accurate information on the coronavirus situation so they can make the best decision on behalf of students.