School District 27 is seeking public input on three draft policies. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

District reviews international travel policy after students caught in COVID-19 European trip

Trustees are seeking public input on three district policies

School District 27 trustees and staff are sending three district policies out for public feedback, including one involving international school trips for students after a school group was caught overseas in March during the early stages of the novel coronovirus pandemic.

The Board approved draft policies for public feedback around travel – international, inclusion and disposal of surplus assets at its regular board meeting Tuesday, May 26.

“We had some students oversees when COVID struck and it was very difficult,” trustee Mary Forbes said, pausing to empathize the word difficult. “The policy was recommended to the board for public consultation. In the past the board would approve international travel – in the past. But because of the increased travel risks abroad … [and] especially in this litigious era that we live in, it’s a risk that the board is not willing to take so we created this draft policy 340 for international travel to be able to keep our students and our staff safe.”

Just as the COVID-19 pandemic was starting to unfold Europe, a group of SD 27 students departed Wednesday, March 11 for Greece. The trip was originally scheduled for Italy and Greece but was changed to Greece only based on reports coming out of Northern Italy and cautions on the Canadian government travel advisory site. The group was in Europe for about half their planned trip before coming back home amidst the chaos of the global pandemic restrictions.

In the draft policy, the district states it will no longer endorse school groups to use an international tour guide company.

Editor’s note: A clarification from the district: Schools will still be permitted to use tour companies, the Board/District simply will not endorse these trips. This is an effort to minimize District liability when these tour companies cancel trips or make changes.

Feedback will be accepted until June 28.

Below are the draft policies up for review:

POLICY 340 TRAVEL – INTERNATIONAL

The Board of Education of School District No. 27 (Cariboo- Chilcotin) recognizes the value of international travel to support a student’s educational experience. School supported field trips are encouraged and supported for their educational value. The Board expects field trips to be organized in a manner that avoids unnecessary risk, mitigates risk and addresses the safety and well-being of the students and chaperones.

The Board of Education also recognizes the extra diligence that is necessary for international travel. In addition to the regular field trip requirement and as part of an international travel field trip application, the Board requires the following to be considered:

1. Rationale for international travel in order to meet educational outcomes;

2. Review of comprehensive risk assessments for proposed international locations at the time of application and two months prior to departure;

3. The school District will not endorse international travel for students when using an international tour guide company;

4. Demonstration of proper documentation necessary for international travel, including possible cancellation procedures;

5. Appropriate safety,emergency and communication protocols be in place; and,

6. Any school district policy or administrative procedures governing field trips, supervision or travel.

In order for the international travel to be considered for Board approval, the Board requires special advance notice of four months prior to the students travelling to international destinations. The Board will consider international travel applications on a case-by-case basis.

POLICY 380 INCLUSION

The Board of Education of School District No. 27 (Cariboo-Chilcotin) is committed to enhancing learning opportunities for students with unique needs based on the philosophy and practices of inclusion.

The Board will encourage and promote inclusionary practice, in which each student with unique needs is a fully participating member of a community of learners

POLICY 650 – DISPOSAL OF SURPLUS ASSETS

Board of Education assets that are no longer required for program purposes, become obsolete or have outlived their useful lives, shall be declared surplus and be disposed of in accordance with this policy.

The Board of Education believes that subject to the School Act, surplus or obsolete assets shall be disposed of in the most efficient manner, in accordance with this policy and regulations as established by the Board of Education. With the exception of teacherages and portables, the surplus assets within this policy do not require separate Board approval for disposal.

Guidelines

1. For purposes of this policy, an asset includes, but is not limited to, teacherages, portables, vehicles, equipment, office furniture, computer equipment, electronic waste, library and textbooks, and obsolete inventory and/or supplies, but does not include land or improvements (permanent structures).

1.1. Electronic waste includes computers, facsimile machines, monitors, copiers, scanners, printers, televisions, cell phones and any other electronic items that have been declared obsolete.

2. Distribution of Surplus Items within the School District

Equipment or furniture declared surplus at a location within the School District may be used to fill a need elsewhere in the School District. The facilities manager shall coordinate the relocation of such items.

3. Saleable Surplus Items

3.1. Surplus items that are no longer useful within the School District but are in saleable condition shall be listed and put out to bid or public auction. The facilities manager shall manage the sale of such items.

3.2. Occasionally offers may be received on individual items awaiting disposal. Where these items have a realizable sale value of under $200, the offer may be considered and accepted by the Secretary-Treasurer in consultation with the facilities manager. For items with a value above $200, the sale shall be by competitive bid or auction.

Related Legislation: School Act (RSBC 1996, Part 6, Division 2, Section 74] Related Contract Article: Nil

Adopted: April 2011

Amended:

3.3. Any sale of a surplus item to a Trustee or employee of the Board shall be governed by the procedures described in this section.

3.4. Proceeds from the sale of surplus assets shall be applied against the costs of conducting the sale. Additional revenue shall be credited toward general Board revenues.

4. Unsaleable Surplus Items

4.1. All items that are beyond a reasonable economic repair or which have no value at sale shall be disposed of as scrap. The facilities manager shall arrange disposal after exploring all recycling options and using the most environmentally sensitive means available.


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