Students deserve clarity on COVID-19 related school trip cancellations

High school students continue to deal with confusion surrounding their March Break trips, with Liberal Minister of Education Zach Churchill, failing to offer any peace of mind to students and their parents.

PC Caucus Education Critic Tim Halman says that without clear direction from the government, many families will be ineligible for travel insurance refunds, putting them out of pocket for thousands of dollars.

“Parents whose students attend Acadian and Francophone schools will qualify for cancellation insurance,” said Halman. “But in English Regional Centres for Education, parents would be ineligible for that same insurance. This is a double standard.”

On Friday, Minister Churchill said the decision was with parents, and school communities. On Sunday, Nova Scotia’s Acadien and Francophone schoolswithdrew its approval for school trips to Europe this March Break.

Halman says Nova Scotia should have a province-wide policy on travel, and because the Minister chose to get rid of school boards, parents need him to make that decision today. March break trips are set to begin for some students in ten days.

“This Minister of Education dissolved school boards in an effort to centralize authority in his office. Now, in the face of tough decisions, he is passing the buck,” continued Halman. “It’s another example of the government making decisions without a plan, and it could potentially  cost families their hard-earned money.”

Parents like Jeff O’Toole, whose child is in grade 11, are baffled by the government’s lack of action.

“I am disappointed in the lack of leadership shown by the Liberal government and the Regional Education Centres,” says O’Toole. “Any responsible person knows March 2020 is not the proper time to travel to Europe.”

Halman says this is a high-stress, high-stakes situation.

“The Minister of Education needs to step up and put measures in place to alleviate the financial stress of parents and students,” says Halman.“I question why he hasn’t already.”