The Lafayette Parish School System is making changes to its field trip policy amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The board revised the policy to allow the superintendent to cancel field trips as she sees fit.
The revision is as follows:
The Superintendent shall have the authority and discretion to approve, decline, suspend, postpone, cancel, etc., any school sponsored student travel (including but not limited to field trips, excursions, travel for co-curricular or extracurricular events or activities, travel to foreign countries, etc.) without prior notice if he/she determines that doing so is the best interest of the health, safety or welfare of the trip attendees. By way of example, the Superintendent may decline, suspend, postpone, cancel, etc., trips or travel in response to declared states of emergency, extreme weather conditions, public health threats, travel advisories, terror alerts issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, etc. Neither the Board nor the Superintendent shall be liable for any such change or cancellation.
Students and parents with the Acadiana High School Robotics Team walked out Tuesday night's meeting after hearing their competition season may come to an end due the threat of the coronavirus.
"I think it's ridiculous. They're blowing this whole thing out of proportion," said Deanna Bolduc, a parent of a student who competes with the robotics team. "Over 60,000 people have died from the flu. More people have died from cancer every day. More people have died from AIDS every day than this stupid virus that is seeing its way out the door."
(According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, "The complete clinical picture with regard to COVID-19 is not fully known." As of March 11, 29 people in the United States have died from COVID-19, but the disease only first impacted the U.S. on Jan. 14. Between Oct. 1, 2019, and Feb. 29, 2020, the CDC reports as many as 52,000 have died from the flu. In 2017, there were 16,350 deaths among adults and adolescents with diagnosed HIV in the U.S. and dependent areas.)
Some say this is a huge blow for seniors on the team who use these accolades as they apply for college.
"They were looking forward to going to Memphis next week, and now they can't because of the school board," said Bolduc. "If they're going to do this ban, well then, close all your schools, send all the students home and do remote learning from home, just like all the colleges are doing, which is ridiculous as well."
According to Superintendent Irma Trosclair, it was not an easy decision.
"As unfortunate as it is for our students who absolutely have looked forward to these opportunities, we simply have to make health and safety of our community and our school system a priority," said Trosclair.
So far, Lafayette High School's band trip to Indianapolis has been canceled, and more cancellations are likely, according to Trosclair.
School officials say they will make an announcement on future trips as early as Thursday.