Kitchener-Waterloo

Waterloo region school boards cancel student trips to Europe due to COVID-19

A trip to Italy for students at Kitchener's Resurrection Catholic Secondary School has been postponed due to the coronavirus. Waterloo Region District School Board says three trips to Europe scheduled for March have also been cancelled.

Public board says no decisions have been made about future travel yet

A passenger in a protective mask uses her phone at Rome's Fiumicino airport, after first cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Italy on Jan. 31. (Yara Nardi/Reuters)

Local school boards are cancelling student trips to Europe because of COVID-19 fears.

Some students at Kitchener's Resurrection Catholic Secondary School were scheduled to go to Italy later this month.

More than 100 people have died in Italy from the coronavirus and the country is putting in place new protocols for being in public. 

People in the country are being told not to hug or shake hands and to keep a safe distance from each other. All schools and universities are closed until at least mid-March.

John Shewchuk, chief managing officer for the Waterloo Catholic District School Board, says the trip to Italy is the only trip that's been impacted so far.

"Other out-of-country travel for later in the year is currently under review and postponement. Cancellation decisions will be made on a case by case basis as the COVID 19 situation evolves," Shewchuk said.

On Thursday afternoon, the Waterloo Region District School Board announced three trips to Europe planned for March were cancelled.

"While this was not an easy decision for us, we cannot ignore the global impact of COVID-19, and must take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of our staff and students," the board said on its website.

"We will continue to monitor the spread of COVID-19 and communicate any updates to families as they become available."

Earlier this week, the Thames Valley District School Board announced it had cancelled eight school trips to Europe scheduled for March Break. A trip to Ireland scheduled for next week is still a go, but board officials say they're watching the situation closely in that country, too.

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