School-related trips cancelled due to COVID-19 worries

Maeve Taylor
Podcast Editor

WGHS students welcome their German exchange partners with flowers, balloons and signs at the airport on Oct. 19, 2019. The exchange students are here for three weeks through the German American Partnership Program (GAPP). Webster’s German students had planned to visit German, but the COVID-19 outbreak forced cancellation of that trip. Photo provided by Brent Mackey

COVID-19 has affected the lives of nearly everyone in the world to a great extent. Stipulations of isolation, social distancing and only travelling if it is absolutely essential has meant the cancellation of many planned trips. For Webster, this meant the cancellation of Spring Break trips and summer trips.

One trip cancellation was that of the Jazz Band’s trip to New York. 

Organizer and band director Kevin Cole said about the cancellation, “On the night of the cancellation I spoke personally with nearly every family involved, and I would estimate that probably [half] of families didn’t agree with the decision.  There were even families in which, say, [mom] agreed and [dad] did not! Everyone, though, understood the gravity of the decision and the honest efforts of our staff and administrators to try to keep the trip viable.”

Cole also spoke of his disappointment regarding the cancellation of the trip, and how the group planned to continue even after the cancellation of the trip. 

It’s disappointing to miss out on the activities we were going to enjoy in New York and New Jersey, but we have plenty ahead of us during the remainder of the year,” Cole said.

The 2020 Proud Past Inspired Future trip to Washington DC was also affected and was postponed. 

Chaperone Julie Burchett, regarding how the decision to postpone was made, said, “The admins, the founders of Proud Past Inspired Future, the parents of the students going, [Dana] Miller and I worked together to make a decision… Coronavirus was the factor that made us even question to keep the trip going or not…We had decided to postpone the trip before the official word came down from Central Office about trips and what was and was not going to be allowed.”

Regarding possible new dates for the trip, Burchett said, “The trip is postponed until at least fall and will be based on what is going on in the world at that time.”

Of the reaction to the postponement, Burchett said, “I think all of us are [okay] as we know we will get to go – it is just postponed until we make sure we will all be able to go safely and enjoy the NMAAHC (National Museum of African American History and Culture) and our other sites/events without worry about coronavirus.”

The German Exchange trip, initially planned for June 10 to June 30, was also cancelled. This trip was supposed to be a follow up trip to when the German students came to Webster. 

Regarding how the decision to cancel was made, organizer and German teacher Brent Mackey said, “A few days before Spring Break, Herr Kraus and I had a video chat with the teachers in Germany, and they informed us that their school had canceled all group trips, exchanges, etc. for the rest of the school year because of COVID-19.”

Of the feeling of those who were supposed to go on the trip, Mackey said, “… [F]or my students, who have already built relationships here in Webster Groves with their host brothers and sisters, and who have been looking forward to traveling to Germany for the past two years, this is a big let down. Regarding how I feel, I’m definitely disheartened. My favorite part of teaching is the interactions I have with students, and the trips to Germany allow me to hang out with and see the students in a different way, where I can show them really cool things without having to give them an assignment about it.”

Regarding the future of the trip, and possible rescheduling, Mackey said, “I’ll have to connect with my students’ families and the teachers in Germany will have to do the same. It’s possible that we could finish the second half of the exchange next summer, but it’s complex, so we’ll have to wait and see.”

 

Maeve Taylor – Podcast Editor

This is Maeve Taylor’s second year on the Echo as the podcast editor, after making several contributions to the Echo while taking journalism her freshman year.

 


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