Annual Ecology trip to South Africa canceled

Students+on+last+year%27s+ecology+trip+hike+in+Hluhluwe-Imfolozi+Park+South+Africa.+This+year%27s+trip+was+canceled+due+to+coronavirus+concerns.+

Ivan Hauck

Students on last year's ecology trip hike in Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park South Africa. This year's trip was canceled due to coronavirus concerns.

Lucas Romualdo, News Editor: Online

The annual Ecology class trip to the Hluhluwe–Imfolozi Park in South Africa has been canceled. The trip was scheduled to occur over two weeks, beginning March 20. The first week of the trip would have coincided with the now-canceled Alternatives trips. This decision was made due to several concerns surrounding the coronavirus outbreak, and marks the first time that the trip, which has run almost every year spanning two decades, has been canceled.

Science Teacher Jude Ruff, who teaches the Ecology course and was meant to be a chaperone for the trip, said that there were a multitude of issues around the spread of the virus that led to the cancellation.

“[We considered] what might happen between now, if we say we’re going, and the time we depart in terms of changes in South Africa and in [the U.K.],” she said. “There are also concerns around what if one or more of us become ill if we’re in the wilderness … we would all have to be isolated.”

Ruff and the other chaperones for the trip have not yet decided what to do in place of the trip, which is a major component of the Ecology course.

“There’s a couple of ideas out there, and the other two chaperones and I will be getting together to come up with what we feel like is a good plan,” Ruff said. “I also said I would survey my class to find out what their ideas are, what their hopes are.”

Ruff acknowledged the disappointment that the trip caused for students who had planned on traveling for months.

“They’re hugely disappointed, but they also recognize it as the safe and the right decision for them,” she said. 

However, Ruff emphasized that students who are no longer going to go on the trip can still find that type of experience in other forms.

“I guess I also feel hopeful that they’ll take this disappointment and look for where they might find that stretching experience, it’s not the end,” she said. “I think it leaves them with a quest that they might find it in another way.”