COVID Complicates School Field Trip To London

By: Brad Joyal

Topics: Education , Monomoy Regional High School

Members of Monomoy Regional High School’s London trip were forced to stay in England after testing positive for COVID-19. FILE PHOTO

Monomoy Regional High School English teacher Rachel Barnes confirmed Monday that she was still in London after members of the school’s traveling party tested positive for COVID-19 at the end of a school trip that was scheduled for the week of April vacation.

Barnes was unable to share details about the three positive cases or confirm if they were students, only that she was there supervising “three members of the Monomoy community.”

“Everybody just has symptoms of sniffles and boredom because they were quarantined the minute they tested positive,” Barnes said. “They were all mild cases.”

In an email to The Cape Cod Chronicle, Monomoy Superintendent Dr. Scott Carpenter on Monday said the school organized two April vacation trips, one to London and another to Costa Rica.

Carpenter said the school worked with both travel companies to prepare for the possibility that one or more members of the traveling parties might test positive and be delayed in their return.

“Both travel companies accepted financial responsibility for covering extended lodging, new flights, care for students, chaperones and even family if needed/wanted,” Carpenter wrote. “All families knew about these plans and the possibilities going into the travel and that vaccination and testing would be required by the travel company.”

None of the more than 20 people who traveled to Costa Rica tested positive upon their return, according to Carpenter. He said EF Tours, the travel company that was used for the London trip, flew one vaccinated parent per student to London and is covering lodging and travel costs back.

Carpenter said those remaining in London would likely return Thursday.

“While it would be best if COVID wasn’t an issue, we appreciate the travel companies working in partnership with us and the planning that went into making these enriching experiences happen,” Carpenter said.

Barnes said the London trip was “pretty exciting” for the 29 students and four chaperones who traveled across the pond.

“The trip was a combination of history and theater,” said Barnes, who also oversees the school’s theater program. “We did a walking tour of historical sites and we went to see a couple shows and we did a workshop at the Globe Theatre.”

Barnes said the group also met an MRHS alum who is set to graduate from King’s College this spring. She said it was eye-opening for the students to have an opportunity to see themselves beyond the Lower Cape.

“I think the real highlight was getting the kids back into the world again,” Barnes said. “It’s been a long time since they’ve been able to travel. Having the kids have this be their first opportunity was such a wonderful one to know that the world is a bigger place and it’s somewhere they could go.”


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