CHICAGO (CBS) — As the number of infected people climbs in Illinois, throughout the nation, and in much of the world amid the coronavirus outbreak, schools are dropping out of overseas trips by the minute.
As CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported, the Chicago Public Schools decided to cancel all school-sponsored international travel during the upcoming spring break. But the sudden decision cost CPS parents thousands.
Every cent mattered for Terrance Franks Jr.
“We sold chips and candy for probably three months,” Franks said.
The senior at Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy, 7651 S. Homan Ave., was saving for a CPS-sponsored trip to Ecuador.
“It was a chance for me to go to out the country to Ecuador – a place I’ve never been,” Franks said. “It was a learning and service trip.”
His plane tickets were purchased, and his mom even helped fund the trip – more than $3,000. The experience was just a couple weeks away.
But now it isn’t happening.
“It was devastating,” Franks said, “because we worked so hard to be able to go on this trip, and raised all this money – and to have it taken away like that.”
But CPS decided canceling it and all other international trips was necessary due to COVID-19.
EF Educational Tours, the outside company hired to guide the students, only offered vouchers for a future trip – no refunds.
“For nothing, I lose $3,200,” said Franks’ mother, Lashurn Sneed. “He’s a senior. He’s going out of state to school. I can’t predict the future.”
Northeastern University student Jake Kessel finds himself in a similar spot.
“The trip is Saturday, and since then, because of the coronavirus outbreak, it has been canceled,” he said.
Kessel finds himself in a similar spot. His detailed spring break itinerary and packing list to Belize are now all for nothing.
“It’s very upsetting and a letdown,” Kessel said. “We don’t feel like that there was an imminent threat to us in this situation.”
Northeastern University has also canceled all school-sponsored international travel, and they are looking at refund options for students.