By Jared Janzen
BURRTON—The class trip that seniors at Burrton High School had been planning next week to Texas has been canceled due to concerns about COVID-19.
Superintendent Joan Simoneau said she made the decision Wednesday about 10 minutes prior to a parent meeting on the trip. It had come as a letdown to students.
“Of course they’re disappointed,” Simoneau said. “They worked really hard fundraising, making and selling enchiladas, and all those things, but our assessment was that the risk was greater than the gain.”
Students did loose some of their money on the condo reservations, according to Simoneau. She said after spring break they’d evaluate the virus situation and come up with a smaller trip or family dinner for the seniors instead.
Whether or not the trip should continue was the subject of debate at the board of education meeting earlier in the week, with the board split 4-3 in favor of continuing it. Simoneau said the COVID-19 situation has been rapidly evolving, though, and information she received in the middle of the week led her to cancel it.
She also noted that she’s been keeping a folder on her desk and keeping notes on what she knows about the virus and when, since so much can change in just 10 minutes.
Burrton also canceled the PTA’s pizza/bingo night scheduled for Friday night. She said would be following guidelines from the state to cancel activities where more than 100 people were gathered in a confined space. She was unsure what impact the virus might have on the upcoming track season since those events are outside.
As for the decision on whether to cancel classes at Burrton, Simoneau said she would turn to the opinions of local experts.
“At the end of the day with COVID-19, I’m not a doctor, so I’m going to rely on the Harvey County Health Department,” she said.
If classes were canceled, they wouldn’t be able to resume for at least 14 days, during which time the school would have to do a deep cleaning of its facilities, Simoneau said.
“I’m hoping that doesn’t happen,” she added.
Simoneau said she didn’t expect Burrton to attempt doing virtual classes because a significant amount of students in her district don’t have internet access at home. Instead, she said they would probably take advantage of a waiver that the state announced Thursday regarding the number of days seniors must complete to graduate.