FILE PHOTO/News Bulletin

FILE PHOTO/News Bulletin

School district ready to end ban on travel outside North America

School board to make final decision on expiry of moratorium

Nanaimo school district is ready to end a two-year ban on field trips off the continent.

Nanaimo district staff and the education committee are recommending the school board lift a moratorium on travel outside North America in August 2018, with revised procedures and guidelines.

The ban on international travel happened after a terrorist attack in Nice, France, in July 2016.

More than 100 students, staff and chaperones were on an international education field trip led by a commercial operator, when a man drove a truck into a crowd during Bastille Day celebrations, killing more than 80 people. Many members of the group had been at ‘ground zero’ and although no one had any significant injuries, or died, many of them witnessed the carnage and the after effects of the attack, according to staff report

The district cut the trip short and brought all the participants home.

  • RELATED: Nanaimo students heading home following attack in Nice, France
  • RELATED: Nanaimo school district places two-year stop on trips outside North America

“We have learned a lot and we have taken a lot of steps since that time,” said Tim Davie, superintendent designate, at an education meeting Wednesday, poining out that there’s been continued consultation and dialogue after the event, discussions with other school districts and the schools protection program.

The district has also made revisions to field trip procedures.

The superintendent, CEO or designate, for example, has the final say on approving out-of-province and international travel and parents and organizers also have to be informed up front that trips can be cancelled by the school district if there are factors that affect participants’ safety or well-being.

“Our superintendent ultimately has the responsibility for safety of all employees and students and ensuring that safety, so what we want is … to make sure that the school district, if we are approving and we are sanctioning field trips, that we are able to say at any point, including during the trip if things aren’t deemed safe, that the school district has the jurisdiction to make that call,” said Davie.

The district didn’t have a direct involvement in the trip to Nice, which was promoted and arranged by an outside tour company, according to Davie, who said there were questions about whether it was a school district trip or an independent trip parents had sent their children on and who ultimately had jurisdiction over the decision to bring the employees and students back. Ensuring the safety of 103 people connected to different schools, and making sure needs were met during the Nice attack was a “monumental task.”

Also changed is that the school district will look to work with one principal who’s getting information and is up to speed on what’s going on.

Trustee Noah Routley said at the education meeting that he would have liked to have done something like this years ago when the incident happened.

“Of course I am going to say hey, this is a good step in the right direction because I don’t believe that fear should predominate ever for Canadian policy or for our kids,” he said.

Trustee Bill Robinson said he supported the motion given the experience and learning that took place through the Nice event, the work staff described over the past two years, as well as the importance of connecting travel and curriculum while Steve Rae, trustee, said it was the right thing to put a moratorium in place, take a deep breath and assess the landscape. A lot was learned, he said, and he thinks the district can continue to move forward.

The school district still plans to meet with Nice trip chaperones to allow for more input into changes or revisions to procedure and will create a new online application form for international trips if the board gives final approval.

-files from Karl Yu



news@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Paige Karczynski is the new executive director of Nanaimo Community Hospice Society. (Photo submitted)
New executive director leading Nanaimo hospice at a time when grief counselling is greatly needed

Paige Karczynski takes over as Nanaimo Community Hospice Society begins its 40th year

The site of the former Arrowview Hotel, on Second Avenue and Athol Street, as of Jan. 14, 2020. (Elena Rardon/Black Press)
Port Alberni pressures owner of demolished hotel, Lantzville’s Pottie, for final cleanup

Demolition finished in June 2020 but site still full of construction material

Letter writers weigh in on the City of Nanaimo adopting ‘doughnut’ economics as a guiding principle for decision-making.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: City of Nanaimo’s ‘doughnut’ has to be more than empty calories

Letter writers react to city council’s recent decision to adopt ‘doughnut’ economic model

Emergency crews were called to a crash involving a car and a minivan Saturday afternoon at the old Island Highway and Mary Ellen Drive. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
One person taken to hospital after crash in north Nanaimo

Car and minivan collided Saturday at the intersection of the old Island Highway and Mary Ellen Drive

Nanaimo Unique Kids Organization, a non-profit, seeks to raise $8,000 for a play structure to help children remain active during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo Unique Kids Organization asking for help fundraising for play structure

Physical activities have been limited due to COVID-19 restrictions, says non-profit

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

A 17-year-old snowmobiler used his backcountry survival sense in preparation to spend the night on the mountain near 100 Mile House Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 after getting lost. (South Cariboo Search and Rescue Facebook photo)
Teen praised for backcountry survival skills after getting lost in B.C.’s Cariboo mountains

“This young man did everything right after things went wrong.”

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on December 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No place for ‘far right’ in Conservative Party, Erin O’Toole says

O’Toole condemned the Capitol attack as ‘horrifying’ and sought to distance himself and the Tories from Trumpism

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

Cyclists pick up swag and cycling trail maps at city Bike to Work Week ‘celebration station’ a few years ago. (News Bulletin file photo)
City of Nanaimo’s active transportation plan will be about more than infrastructure

City working on goals to double walking trips and quintuple cycling and busing trips

Jackie Hildering, whale researcher with the Marine Education and Research Society, and Nanaimo Area Land Trust will present the Return of Giants, a webinar about the humpback whales’ return from the brink of extinction and how boaters can help protect them. (Jackie Hildering/MERS photo taken under Marine Mammal License MML-42)
‘Return of the Giants:’ B.C. getting a second chance to coexist with humpback whales

‘Marine Detective’ partners with Nanaimo stewardship group on webinar

Nanaimo RCMP seek public assistance after numerous tire slashings between Jan. 12-14. (News Bulletin file)
20 tires punctured in ‘slashing spree’ in Nanaimo

Nanaimo RCMP ask for any tips about Jan. 12-14 incidents in Country Club and Boxwood areas

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

Most Read