UPDATE: Europe trip to be postponed


The BASD administration has recommended that, due to coronavirus concerns, the BASH trip scheduled for April 1-11 to the Netherlands, France, and the United Kingdom be postponed. This recommendation was made at an emergency School Board meeting on Wednesday March 10.

At the board meeting, Dr. Bedden provided the Board with a complete update, notifying them that as of the publication of this article, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Berks County or BASD. As far as the trip postponement, BASH must tell the travel agency their intent to postpone by March 16th, and will finalize this decision on the 24th, at the 2020 voting meeting.

New information will be posted as it becomes available.


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The following was published March 4, 2020:

After a special meeting last night at the Education Center, the School Board is continuing to back both the Senior Class trip to Disney as well as the upcoming World War II trip.

According to a letter from Superintendent Dr. Bedden, the school has been keeping an avid eye on the COVID-19 illness.

“With the increased intensity of news reports and social media posts regarding the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID19), comes speculation about the impact this virus may eventually have on school communities,” Dr. Bedden explained for the reasoning of the meeting.

The school ensures that they are following all of the CDC’s current information and preventative procedures. Additionally, the school is currently developing strategies in the extreme case of a school closing. Japan shut down nearly all of their schools until April due to the virus, and just recently four New York schools have shut down after a man in Westchester County tested positive.

“While we are hopeful and do not anticipate school closures, we are working to develop plans and strategies to continue learning that may be lost during a potential school closing (for example, web-based instruction, email, etc.),” Dr. Bedden wrote. “In the meantime, be assured that we are working diligently to be prepared to intensify cleaning procedures throughout our buildings when necessary based upon directions provided by public health to prevent and limit the virus.”

In an email to students going to Europe, Mr. Bleiler explained the outcome of the meeting.

“Dr. Foley and I answered questions from board members and explained Explorica’s travel policies,” he wrote. “At this time, the school board supports the WWII Experience and Explorica’s traveler safety protocols.”

COVID-19, very similar to the flu and the common cold, is mostly only preventable through washing hands and keeping good hygiene. The school district has compiled CDC, PA Department of Health, and informational videos concerning the coronavirus on the district website.

“Safety is everyone’s primary concern. I will be in contact if there are any further updates,” Mr. Bleiler said.


The original story, published on March 3, 2020, is posted below.


Two school trips this year may be hanging in the balance as the School Board has organized a “special meeting” to discuss “Coronavirus and Student/Staff Travel,” according to the district website.

The meeting, set to take place at 6:30 P.M. tonight at the Education Center, is open to the public and will discuss health concerns surrounding the Senior Class Trip to Disney as well as the upcoming World War II Trip in Europe.

Unlikely to cancel the Disney trip, the Europe trip hangs in question and requires further information from Explorica, the travel agency the school is working with.

Social studies teacher Mr. Bleiler, heading the Europe trip, sent out an email last night concerning this impromptu meeting.

“I have been in constant communication with Explorica over the past two weeks. They have dozens of school groups in Europe right now. If a group was scheduled to tour an area now deemed unsafe by the CDC (ex: Northern Italy), Explorica adjusted their trip automatically. If needed, they will do the same for us,” the email reads. “According to the CDC, all of the locations on our agenda are safe right now.”

Florida, which has had two CDC-confirmed cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Tampa Bay, is unlikely to be affected by this meeting.

Mr. Bleiler has confidence in the travel agency for Europe.

“Explorica has worked through challenges like this before. We may need to be flexible, but we are in good hands,” he wrote.