Monday 15 August 2022

Schools are cancelling trips abroad amid QR confusion: Telegraaf

Groningen is nice too. Photo: HansRavensbergen via Pixabay

School boards are cancelling trips abroad because not all students have been vaccinated but emotions are running high among parents and students, the Telegraaf reported on Wednesday.

‘It’s a growing problem,’ Marjet Winsemius, director of parents’ organisation Werkende Ouders told the paper. ‘Schools are now trying to organise trips again but the coronavirus passport has become a hurdle. In principle, schools are not allowed to ask students for a QR code so… they are cancelling the visits.’

Secondary schools council VO Raad said it recognised the problem but pointed out that schools are running a risk if they include unvaccinated children. If one should test positive abroad, the entire group will have to go into quarantine. In addition, unvaccinated children have to have continual tests to be able to visit museums.

‘Schools don’t know where they are,’ VO Raad spokesman Stan Termeer said. ‘Other countries may have extra requirements and that can scupper a trip. It’s easier to stay in the country.’

The VO Raad has put together a protocol to help schools. It says, for example, that unvaccinated children cannot be excluded but must be able to show a negative test result. If they refuse they cannot go on the trip.

Travel agent Labrys Reizen said that some 30% of bookings by schools had fallen through or been postponed. Travel Inventive estimated a much bigger fall of some 70% because of cancelled school trips.

‘Schools are saying: we are staying put. It’s Groningen instead of Rome. But many parents feel that their children need that break abroad after coronavirus,’ owner Ellen Weijland told the paper.

Labrys Reizen’s Roel Geukemeijer said he had organised some fifty trips abroad since the beginning of the school year, each for groups which included a number of unvaccinated students.

‘They were tested before the trip and on a trip to the Pelopponese we provided a number of addresses in Greece where they could have antigen tests,’ he said. None of the groups had to go into quarantine, he said, but if it does happen we can organise that as well.’

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