Virus Forces Yosemite Trip Cancelation

Mariel Rossi-deVries, Editer

An outbreak of the highly contagious Norovirus forced the Yosemite Institute to cancel Campolindo’s visit to the outdoor education program.

According to The Los Angeles Times, approximately 200 students of Santa Monica’s John Adam’s middle school were exposed to the highly contagious gastrointestinal illness. While it is unclear whether students contracted the virus while in the park, Yosemite Institute is taking precautions and informed Campolindo that they would need to reschedule their trip, which had been planned for the week of February 5.

Science teacher Jane Kelson said that she received the notice on Friday, February 3, and contacted the 42 students who were had registered for the trip. “We’ve been running the trip for 20 years and this is the first time we’ve had to cancel,” said Kelson.

According to science teacher Roxanne Jackman, it was unclear whether the trip was really going to be cancelled. “We were all excited and ready to go, then apparently another group came down with a virus, so the Yosemite Institute was very concerned because they didn’t want people to come up and spread this norovirus. So they canceled all of their trips for this week,” said Jackman.

Norovirus is an easily transmitted illness that is passed on by insufficient hygiene habits when handling food. Lack of proper sanitation would have risked the health of students, according to the Yosemite Institute staff.

“Apparently it’s not easy to get rid of with typical disinfectants. Its a pretty long process,” said social studies teacher Dino Petrocco, who had been slated to be a teacher chaperone on the trip.

“They [the Yosemite Institute] put health and safety first and we totally concur with that,” said Kelson. She and Principal John Walker are currently looking for space in the academic calendar to fit in an alternative trip. “It depends on what they have open and our calendar, you know obviously we can’t go during AP testing and there are a lot of things on our calendar that we have to consider,” said Kelson.

Teachers and students who planned to be in Yosemite for a week instead of at school had to adjust to the change of plans. “I’m really disappointed, but I also know that because of the weather we might not have been able to see the valley because it was foggy and it was going to rain and snow, which would have been fun but cold,” said senior Olivia Price.

“The company that sets up the whole trip for us is Nature Bridge,” said Petrocco. It is a youth program with destinations cross the country. “One of them is in the Olympic National Forest, which is actually a temperate rainforest,” said Petrocco.

Currently, Nature Bridge is offering their Olympic National Forest site as an option for Campolindo. Those who can attend will take a plane on Wednesday morning, February 15, to Washington, and return on Monday, February 20.