CANCELED: Emergency School Committee Meeting Friday, Sept. 17 at 11 am ~ to Discuss Overseas Field Trips

Editor’s Note: Since the tour operators have changed their policies to allow more time for a go/no-go decision, Friday’s emergency meeting has been canceled.

The School Committee and School Superintendent Philip Conrad Tuesday grappled with the issue of out-of-country field trips to destinations where Covid-19 is a threat.

Conrad said that depending on his research Wednesday, including conversations with trip chaperones and travel companies, an emergency School Committee meeting  has been called for 11 am on Friday, September 17 ~ Click here for the agenda and meeting link. That’s because Sunday is the deadline for refundable deposits for some of the trips.

There are four overseas trips planned for Bedford High School students:

  • A “food tour” through Greece and Sicily during February vacation. Conrad said the State Department has issued a do-not-travel advisory for Greece because of the prevalence of the virus;
  • A science trip to the Galapagos Islands in February. The superintendent said the advisory for the Galapagos is “reconsider travel;”
  • Ecuador and “Amazon adventures” during the April vacation. The current advisory status for Ecuador is “reconsider travel;”
  • South Africa, in April for METCO students in conjunction with a nearby town’s Metco cohort. The State Department advises Americans not to travel to South Africa.

Conrad said many travel companies rely on US State Department advisories. “They get no benefit of putting anyone in harm’s way.”

Committee member Brad Morrison asked, “Can we negotiate with the company for a postponement rather than outright cancellation? People in the travel industry understand the needs. What we would have to offer is an alternative trip but we don’t know when.” Conrad said some companies allow seniors to sell their reservations to underclassmen.

Committee member Dan Brosgol surmised that all public school districts are having the same conversation.

The schools cannot require vaccination for travelers, but some of the destination countries can, Conrad said.

The superintendent also acknowledged that eighth-graders are scheduled to visit Washington, DC in May.

Mike Rosenberg can be reached at mike@thebedfordcitizen.org, or 781-983-1763


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