Prairie Land gives seal of approval for overseas trip

Written by Terri Huxley

During Prairie Land’s board of trustee meeting on Tues. Jan. 11, the topic of travelling overseas was brought up in light of the risk-free cancellation available from EF Tours.

Two groups were considering going up until this point, including Delia School and J.C.Charyk Hanna School (JCCHS).

Delia has chosen not to travel this year to get a return on their funding while JCCHS will be moving ahead with their trip to Italy and Greece April 13-25.

Prairie Land Trustees were hesitant on giving their seal of approval when initially talking as the state of the pandemic is constantly changing.

Several points were brought forward such as the cost of rapid tests, the process of what happens when a student becomes ill, liability, safety of travellers, changing government rules and so forth.

Originally, the thought was that there were only two adults and 12 students on the trip but this was cleared up after Superintendent Cam McKeage spoke with the organizer following the initial trustee’s conversation.

The organizer shared that there are actually 10 adults chaperoning 12 students.

Only four students will be without a parent or chaperone.

If, in the case one of these four become infected, the policy set by EF tours is that they will take care of the child until they can return home.

A parent would travel to the visiting country to collect the student or the chaperone dedicated to the student would travel with them back. 

A chaperone would stay with the student throughout the process.

EF Tours would take care of lodging, meals and arrange a flight home.

COVID testing costs will be on the family’s bill.

If the government of those two countries changes, EF will take care of this.

Trustees stressed the importance of understanding the additional or hidden costs that may come with travelling, such as the COVID tests.

The organizer assured McKeage they have been in contact with the parents and participants consistently since their main meeting in November and has pushed for parents to save for these extras.

Trustee Lindsay Bond asked if a policy will be developed to focus on testing once they are on home soil.

Administration recommended they follow government guidelines set for international travellers and that no additional layers such as a policy would be needed.

No motion was made but trustees unanimously agreed to not cancel the trip.

Trustees advised administration to keep them informed on any updates as they may arise.

School rebuilds

Assistant Superintendent Steven Nielsen gave trustees an update on the Delia and Morrin School rebuilds.

For Delia, they are currently working on identifying and correcting any deficiencies found from the initial build.

The division and contractor have two years to process these before the warranty runs out.

“It’s a little bit surprising when you do a new school how many things have to still be fixed brand new,” said Nielsen.

He added that during the recent cold snap, they were able to fix some important equipment including the air handling units which decided to stop working during the Christmas break.

He said it was convenient timing as students and staff were away for the holidays.

As for the demolition of the old school, more asbestos has been found which has taken longer to remove.

This has pushed back the demolition date by about a month as this must be taken care of first according to strict construction and safety guidelines.

A tender will be put out for the Morrin School rebuild soon.


Terri Huxley

ECA Review

About the author

Terri Huxley

Terri grew up on a grain farm near Drumheller, Alberta with an eye for the beautiful and uncharted. Living in such a unique and diverse area has helped her become the photographer and reporter she is today.

Coming from the East Central region getting this newspaper on her dinner table growing up, it helped her understand the community she now serves.

In May 2019, Terri was awarded Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association (AWNA) Canada's Energy Citizens Photographic Awards Sports Action – First Place as well as first for the same sports action image nationally with the Canadian Community Newspaper Association (CCNA). Fast forward to 2020, she has won second in the same category for the AWNA.