Pandemic precautions ground spring travel for students

SHS trip to Costa Rica, SMS trip to New York cancelled.

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The coronavirus has grounded school trips to Costa Rica and New York, cancelled state competition for mock trial teams and limited crowd sizes at high school sporting events.

Twenty Superior High School Spanish students and two chaperones were set to fly to Costa Rica Friday, March 13 for a one-week trip. School district officials called the trip off Wednesday, March 11.

"We understand the Costa Rica trip planned for spring break has long been anticipated by students and families. However, we are obligated to first consider the safety of our students and staff in all matters," said Kelly Pugh, assistant to District Administrator Amy Starazecki. "The information we are receiving regarding COVID-19 is changing rapidly. We believe the risk of complications with return travel from Costa Rica to Superior are too great. Therefore, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the trip."

There were 13 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Costa Rica as of March 11, according to the World Health Organization website.

The district also cancelled a student trip to New York. A group of 36 eighth-graders from Superior Middle School were slated to travel to New York March 14-18 with 13 chaperones. Pugh said a coordinator was reaching out to families March 12 to let them know of the cancellation.


"We understand families will be disappointed, but we agree that this is the right decision for community health," she said.

The trip is offered to eighth-graders every year, but it is not a school-sponsored activity like the Costa Rica trip, she said.

Activities Director Ray Kosey also announced Wednesday, March 11 that the state mock trial competition has been cancelled. The Dane County Courthouse, which was hosting the event, has closed over coronavirus concerns, Kosey said in an email to families. One of the SHS Mock Trial teams qualified for the state event and was supposed to travel to Madison on Thursday, March 12 for the competition.

The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association made the move Wednesday, March 12 to restrict crowd sizes at sporting events. Following policies and guidance from public health organizations, the WIAA will limit the size of the crowd to 88 fans per team. Games affected include the WIAA Division 5 boys basketball sectional championship game at Superior High School at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 14.

UWS athletics unaffected

University of Wisconsin-Superior spring sports teams will continue to compete, travel and train as planned, according to Jon Garver, who oversees athletic communications for the college. The Yellowjacket baseball and softball teams, as well as men's and women's golf and tennis players, are set to travel to Florida for spring training Friday, March 13.

Activities are being monitored in accordance with the UMAC conference and NCAA.

“For the spring sports teams that are about to go on the road for their spring trips, all of that is still on as scheduled,” Garver said March 11, although that could change with the rapidly evolving situation.

The college is not set to have a home game until the first week in April.


State cases double

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced three new confirmed cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, March 11, bringing the state total to six. Dane and Fond du Lac counties have two cases each, while Pierce and Waukesha counties both have one confirmed case.

Tours of the state Capitol have been cancelled until further notice, the Wisconsin Department of Administration announced March 12.

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Maria Lockwood covers news in Douglas County, Wisconsin, for the Superior Telegram.
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