It would normally be around this time of year that level 5 students in the English-History program at Alexander Galt Regional High School would begin packing their belongings for their Europe trip. Unfortunately, pandemic restrictions have severely limited international travel, and even plans to travel domestically have fallen through as well this year.
“There had been discussions of the possibility of going to Western Canada, to see the Rockies, Pacific Ocean etc. should Europe be a bit too risky yet in terms of travel, but in about Mid-September, the MEQ banned all overnight trips, and by the time they allowed them again, it was too late to plan anything for this year,” explained Andrew Hynd, history teacher for the program as well as trip coordinator. “For the 2022 trip, we waited to see what this school year would bring. I admit I was hopeful,” Hynd said, with the vaccine rollout, that a trip might have been able to happen.”
Hynd and the other coordinators and students were terribly upset when the 2020 trip was cancelled in the first few months of the pandemic. “We had set it up that three kids were going to lay a wreath as part of the Last Post Ceremony at Menin Gate in Ypres. We had booked a soccer match in London that kids were crazy excited for. It was going to be a phenomenal trip,” said Hynd. “To see kids that had worked hard in fundraising, and working to try and raise money, and get ready for the trip to Europe, to see it vanish away from them like a cloud of smoke due to things far beyond any of our control is heartbreaking to me.” The sudden cancellations brought on many issues for the students who worked hard to gather money for the trip. According to Angela Leith, mother of one of the students, “To my knowledge, the ones who chose to insure through the program were able to get their money back, but us, who had our own private insurance, never got any refund.” An upsetting notion as her daughter was now paying for a trip that would never happen. Leith did hear talks about possible class action suits to recoup costs, however she has not yet been made aware of any details.
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