Thu, 10 Dec, 2015
Through the balance of the school year, international field trips planned for students at Edmonton Public Schools will proceed on a case-by-case basis.
“Edmonton Public knows field trips involving travel provide invaluable learning and life experiences, and we’ve been proud to make those opportunities available to students for many years,” says District Superintendent Darrel Robertson. “Recent world events mean it’s prudent for us to exercise a higher degree of scrutiny and seek a balance between what’s educational and what’s safe.”
“Hundreds of parents, guardians and staff have shared their thoughts and perspectives with me over the past several days,” he adds. “This decision reflects their input.”
Robertson says trips planned overseas and to the United States will be re-reviewed, scrutinized and individually re-evaluated. Final decisions on individual trips will be made consulting the federal government’s travel advice, advisories issued by destination countries, travel and insurance experts and with input from parents, guardians and Edmonton Public staff and chaperones.
The Superintendent reserves the right to cancel a field trip at any time, or to recall students and staff from an international field trip already underway.
“We have been reminded how quickly world events can change,” Robertson adds. “We must be prepared to be flexible and responsive.”
Edmonton Public will monitor the situations in Paris and Belgium and will examine alternate destinations for trips planned to those locations.
Parents and guardians who have already consented to international travel for their children will be asked to re-sign consent forms, allowing them the opportunity to either reconsider or recommit.
“Our overarching focus is on the safety of our students and staff,” Robertson concluded. “While we’ll do everything we can to offer invaluable out-of-country learning experiences, at the end of the day, our priority will always be to see our students and staff, home and safe.”