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Coronavirus and trip to Italy(33 Posts)
My husband is trip leader for a ski trip to Italy in 10 days. I am also due to go on the trip (we teach at the same school). The trip is not to an affected area and we have 90 pupils going at around £900 each. Money has all been paid and the tour operator are saying trip is running as normal. Our insurance (through tour operator) will not pay out if people choose to cancel.
We have the pre-trip briefing next week and I'm dreading it. I know some people will now want not only to keep their child from going (and therefore are willing to lose their money) and I understand this.
Some others will be willing to proceed and will very much want the trip to proceed. Senior Management of the school is saying proceed unless official guidance changes.
But of the first group of parents who are concerned some of them want the whole trip to be cancelled and everyone to lose their money, because of the risk the trip poses to the wider school community. By running the trip I know already that some parents think we aren't taking the threat seriously.
My husband and I are stressed about this and getting it right. How do we handle the meeting?
I would say that it is not up to you and your husband to deal with that part of the meeting, but that senior management should step in and take over.
It’s above your pay grade.
Sorry, I omitted to say my husband is Senior Management, he is Deputy Head. The Head is just saying follow official guidance. And he won't be at the meeting.
Totally agree. If management want the trip to run and are willing to risk the impact to the wider school community (which is not zero), then they should be at the meeting and justifying their decision.
Do you/your husband still feel comfortable with the trip going ahead?
The position may change alot in 10 days but you just say ' we are working with the tour company who will follow official advice. If the trip goes ahead insurance will not pay out. If you chose not to send your child there will not be a refund'
I know that my school, which ran a trip over half term to Italy, not an isolated area, has had a hell of a week dealing with parental concerns.
Remember when you get back, anyone who has a slight sniffle has to be sent home - can you cope with all the teachers who go on the trip being isolated?
Can you and your husband cope if you both end up isolated?
Have you risk assessed for the resort being locked down and quarantined as in Tenerife?
My daughter is due on a college trip to Italy soon and for what it is worth I would expect the college to follow official government advice and wouldn't expect a refund if I want to withdraw my child through my own choice.
I’d follow govt advice and go ahead. If people pull out that’s fine.
Disclaimer not a teacher - but maybe the best approach is to use the meeting to hear parents views and then take a decision after the meeting and email them to inform them (I am a chicken!!).
Ds was due to go to Paris not long after the terrorist attacks. Paris said no school trips - but the hostel were refusing to reimburse the costs.
In the end trip was cancelled and insurance did not pay out. Money was lost. Most parents did not kind and sucked it up. Some were not so happy and were very vocal about it.
Just a parent but one of my DDs is due to go on 2 school trips in the not too distant future. My main concern for her and the teachers at this point is lock down in a foreign country and not being able to get back home if some of the group get ill etc. I don’t care about losing the money. I would expect the school to have very clear guidance from the head directly on a lock down situation. These are unforeseeable aka force majeure circumstances and parents cannot reasonably expect that normal insurance would always cover the situation. I hope the government will update the policy on school trips shortly too to address these types of concerns. If one of the 90 gets ill with corona symptoms in the next 10 days you are in trouble too
Our school is due to go on a trip to an affected area of France and Germany. They are saying they are following advice, but from talking to parents many of them just want to cancel. They won't pull out due to not disappointing the kids, but want the school to take the blame. The ski trips to Italy have shown how much this can blow up. The uncertainty is what is making this hard. At this stage, I feel it is irresponsible to take the trip, especially since there is an immunocompromised child in the school So take the trip and then take the 14 days afterward as isolation and ruin your attendance figures!
Thank you all so much. I have been very stressed about it today. It's exactly as you say, Bridge - those pulling out want more. They very much want the trip to be cancelled. For reasons of not wanting to make the wrong call/ disappoint only their children, but also because they don't want the risk of the virus being brought back home.
Even a member of staff not going on the trip is saying that if the trip goes ahead, he will stay off work afterwards to avoid being at risk!
I would love the Head to be at the meeting but he can't. I'm expecting it to be tricky.
The Head needs to be at the meeting imo.
I would suggest that in advance of the meeting you consult the DfE, plus governors / trustees and the council if still a maintained school. Your DH needs to update the risk assessment.
TBH the situation is changing so quickly that the advice is likely to be very different in ten days.
What are other schools in your locality and authority doing? Are other schools booked with your travel company? I’d fall in to line with the other schools.
My DH flies out on Mar 7. He’s getting his euros tomorrow
I agree that Head needs to make a definite decision and be at the meeting. Sounds very weak to me in attempting to pass the buck.
The head should deal with it.
I am in Italy and dd's trip to Malta has been cancelled because the Maltese authorities won't let them in.
Make sure that flights are still going- lots been cancelled over the next 3 weeks.
Your Head should be at the meeting?
How close will you be to the affected areas? A couple of NI schools cancelled trips to Italy, that were 1 hour 40minutes from one of the affected areas, after talking to the Chief Medical Officer.
Personally I have no confidence in official government advice over this, they seem totally inadequate. Agree that the Head needs to make the call here.
I can see the dilemma. My DH’s school has the same one. The problem is that school cannot cancel becauSe then parents want their money back. And the insurance won’t pay out. And school doesn’t have that slack in the budget to pay the parents back. So it has to go ahead.
Pity the government wouldn’t just advise against travel to Italy, or at least Northern Italy.
It is a nightmare decision, risk being quarantined, risk a child catching Corona virus or lose all the parents money. I would hate to have to make that decision. But then that's kind of why I'm not in management!
I would normally say that your DH, as a deputy head, should be expected to he able to handle the meeting, but I think as he is the trip leader, the head should probably also be on hand to reiterate the position. I'm not sure how you can cancel the trip when you are in line with official guidance without repaying parents who want the trip to continue. Not a good time to be a head...
Our trip just got back from northern Italy and we have kids off who have ‘symptoms’, parents calling and emailing in cross that the trip went ahead, people threatening to keep their child home in case any of us are contagious, those who went on the trip faced a week of hell last week of being teased that they might have the virus, even a member of staff got stroppy that people might think he had the virus and started asking for a week off!
This week is much calmer: official statements from the head to staff, parents and kids have helped and lots of calls for calm and a business as usual approach.
Anyone who coughs in a classroom is still getting the stink eye though...!
Personally I'd pull the plug on the trip and let the head take the hit if he's not willing to talk to the parents. Are you really safeguarding/protecting the children and yourself, if your taking them somewhere you could all be at risk? Did you book through a provider that can move the dates to later in the year?
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