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School District of Rhinelander Cancels Class Trips To Europe

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The School District of Rhinelander has cancelled class trips that were scheduled to go to France and Germany next week due to the coronavirus.

In a media release Friday morning, Superintendent Kelli Jacobi said the school checked with Centers For Disease control guidelines and State Department alerts.

She says they're concerned that everyone on the trips could be exposed to the virus, but also could get involved in a rapidly changing situation and unpredictable circumstances, challenges returning home and possible problems getting access to health care in those nations.

Jacobi says they will be working to get refunds for those involved or reschedule. We have copies of the letter and other information below.

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School District of Rhinelander

Kelli T. Jacobi Superintendent of Schools

March 6, 2020

RE: Student Travel to France and Germany Dear Parents, Students, and Chaperones

Please be informed that the trips to France and Germany, with staff, student, and chaperone departure scheduled for next week, are being canceled. We have been closely monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19), staying up-to-date with CDC and State Department alerts, and have met with school district medical advisors regarding students traveling to Europe at this time. A decision had to be made immediately for families to qualify for the enhanced funds.

Our concerns include not only the coronavirus as an illness for students and chaperones, but critically important, students may face rapidly changing situations, unpredictable circumstances, travel restrictions, challenges in returning home, or accessing health care while abroad. Quarantines can be put into place with little to no notice and could take place in Europe, on military bases here or abroad, or upon reentry into the U.S.

The CDC has issued guidance for Institutes of Higher Learning (IHE's) (see below). I understand RHS is not a university, but this guidance addresses the issues we are facing with our student travel. Many universities and businesses have canceled all non-essential travel. I know this is terribly disappointing news, but the team leaders will be working with ACIS to reschedule the trips or to help students/parents get refunds if they decide to cancel completely.

I know there are several senior students that were planning to go on the trips. I will work with the school board to ensure that once rescheduled, these students are allowed to go, even if they have graduated. These students will be required to follow all the trip rules just as others student travelers. Please watch for more information from your trip leaders and share any questions with them that you may have. They will respond as quickly as possible.

Regrettably,  Kelli Jacobi Superintendent of Schools

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Guidance for Student Foreign Travel for Institutions of Higher Education

This guidance is for Institutes of Higher Education with students participating in foreign exchange or study abroad programs. Consider postponing or canceling student foreign exchange programs

Given the global outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) institutes of higher education (IHE) should consider postponing or canceling upcoming student foreign exchange programs. IHE should consider asking current program participants to return to their home country. Those overseeing student foreign Exchange programs should be aware that students may face unpredictable circumstances, travel restrictions, challenges in returning home or accessing health care while abroad.

PSIS VV IHEs should consider asking students participating in study abroad programs to return to the United States. IHEs should work with state and local public health officials to determine the best approach for when and how (e.g., chartered transportation for countries or areas assessed as high-risk for exposure) their study abroad students might return.

All plans for returning study abroad students should be designed to protect participants from stigma and discrimination. . The COVID-19 situation is dynamic. Given the speed of spread and the number of countries experiencing human-to-human transmission, IHEs should evaluate the risks associated with choosing to maintain programs abroad and take the appropriate proactive measures. IHEs that continue to maintain programs abroad should monitor cdc.gov/COVID-19 for additional information.

Page last reviewed: March 1, 2020 Content source: National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), Division of Viral Diseases