France Trip Postponed Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

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Media by Carter Van Buskirk

As the coronavirus in France has heightened to almost 2,000 reported cases and 33 reported deaths, French President Emmanuel Macron has implemented new travel restrictions amid recent outbreak.

As the coronavirus pandemic spreads into western European countries, the World Language Department decided to postpone its Paris Spring Break trip to 2021.

Emily Thompson, french teacher and chaperone, was instrumental in making the decision days before the trip’s expected departing date.

“We had to take into account who would be the most vulnerable,” Thompson said. “The students would be at risk, but also the families. I had to look into the number of cases in the country and travel advisories present in France.”

The group paid more than $3,500 per student to go on the seven day tour.

The imminent threat of the coronavirus would have altered the trip significantly. Earlier in the week, the French government announced they would close the Louvre Museum and limit public gatherings to under 1,000 people.

With France experiencing an increase of 400 cases and implementing strict restrictions to contain the virus, Thompson said the number of cases could only increase entering into the weekend.

I paid a lot to go on it, as far as preparing for it and the trip itself, and to have it postponed because of the coronavirus is unfortunate.”

— Kami Matthews

“Thinking about where we were planning on going and what we were planning on doing in the city, we would have had a very different atmosphere than what is typical in Paris,” Thompson said.

Thompson consulted Principal Dr. Steve Hankins as well.

“We have multiple trips happening over break,” Dr. Hankins said. “But at this point in time, with the trip being in a different country, myself along with Thompson felt that it would be appropriate to postpone the trip to next year.”

The trip was organized through a company called Explorica, an organization providing educational tours for students. Hankins said it is not a guarantee that students will get their money back, through the private company, if they do not wish to attend the trip the following year.

Matthew Klein, sophomore, was 1 of 21 students going on the trip.

“I was shocked because the trip was only a few days away, and they waited so long to decide to postpone it,” Klein said. “Then I was upset because I can’t go next year.”

Klein said he has to work on reshaping his plans for next Spring Break based on the decision made by the administrators. If it is possible, he plans on getting reimbursed if he decides not to go to France.

Kami Matthews, sophomore, was also planning on going on the trip. Matthews said she was irritated by the decision that was made, but she understands it.

“I was really upset when I got the update because we were so close,” Matthews said. “I paid a lot to go on it, as far as preparing for it and the trip itself, and to have it postponed because of the coronavirus is unfortunate.”

Matthews was not worried about getting the coronavirus herself, but she was worried about the potential of being quarantined. 

“I was worried about having to stay in the country because of the restrictions on flying to France and if we were to get stuck there,” Matthews said.

The World Language Department plans on getting more information out as soon as possible. They are also hosting various meetings to plan for the future of the Spring Break trip.