By Michael S. Hoey


COVID-19 claimed another cancelation victim in the form of the previously approved Delavan-Darien High School choir field trip to New York that was scheduled for May of 2021.

The school board decided on Aug. 10 it could not guarantee the trip will be allowed if school is closed at that time due to the pandemic.

Adam Drefs, the choir teacher at the high school, came before the board asking for a guarantee the trip could go on even if school was not in session because the first payments on the trip were due Aug. 14.

If the trip gets canceled because New York City is shut down or Carnegie Hall – the venue the choir is set to perform at – is closed due to the pandemic, the money spent on the trip would be refunded. Drefs said if something on this end interfered, such as not being allowed to go on the trip if the pandemic causes the school district to close down at that time but Carnegie Hall remained open, no money would be refunded.

Drefs said the three music programs alternate taking trips to New York and this coming school year it’s the choir’s turn. Last spring’s orchestra trip did not take place because of the pandemic.

He said he knew asking for a guarantee in these uncertain times was a tall order, but he did not want families to get stuck paying for a trip the choir students might not be allowed to go on.

Drefs said if the board did not give him the guarantee, he would cancel the trip and look into other possible options closer to home.

Administrator Jill Sorbie said the students and staff who make the trip might have to quarantine at home upon their return to Wisconsin as many as 21 days based on the most recent CDC information she has seen.

Board member Dave Henriott asked how the board could give the choir program a guarantee when orchestra was not allowed to go last spring. Sharon Gonzalez agreed that it would be hard to say “yes” to one group but not others.

Doreen Grams said even if the group went on the trip, there’s no guarantee they would have the same Carnegie Hall experience that they would have received pre-pandemic. She also pointed out that the district’s current re-opening plan has very strict restrictions on field trips, even those in the immediate area.

Drefs said he wanted to move forward with the trip so that if it gets canceled money would be refunded. He said he would hate to make the decision not go only to have everything be fine in the spring.

School board president Jeff Scherer said he just couldn’t see any way the board could make such a guarantee in the current environment.

“Things change daily,” Scherer said. “Looking that far ahead… I don’t want to be responsible for kids raising all the money and then losing it.”

The board voted 6-1 with Giovanna Moses opposed to change the choir trip to something closer to home.

“It is beyond our control,” Scherer said. “We don’t have a crystal ball and we have to keep our options open.”

For more coverage from the school board meeting pick up the Aug. 21 Delavan Enterprise.


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