Only on 25: Students and faculty get stuck in Europe because of COVID

WELLESLEY, Mass. — It’s one of the worst fears for travelers during a pandemic – getting stuck in another country because of a positive test.

Multiple students in Epping, N.H. have to stay a few extra days in Italy this week after contracting COVID, and in Wellesley, students just got back after having to stay an extra week.

“I’d never been out of the country before, so I was really excited to travel,” said sophomore Mason Kahn, one of 32 students and four chaperones who were excited to go to France and Spain this year.

Wellesley High’s annual overseas art trip was canceled in 2021 because of COVID, but not this year. Three students did test positive before the spring break trip and had to stay home, but Kahn was still looking forward to it.

“My only worry was chaperones getting COVID,” said Kahn. “It’s more worrisome because they have to lead us around stuff.”

Unfortunately, that did happen. Art Director Thom Carter was the first to contract the virus halfway through the two-week trip.

“Spain treats it like an endemic, and you can go out as long as you double mask,” said Carter. “You just can’t in the restaurant and all that. Fortunately, the weather was nice.”

He was isolated from the group for five days, and by the time they met back up, another chaperone and three other students were positive, including Kahn.

“I got it near the end,” said Kahn. “We were leaving that Sunday, and I got it on Thursday.”

Now, the five of them had to spend another week in another country. Thankfully their symptoms weren’t too bad, and thankfully, they were prepared.

They gave a few tips for anyone else planning a school trip or any kind of trip.

Number one, if you have a large group, make sure you test every day. They say that’s what stopped it from spreading to all the students.

Number two, make sure everyone has purchased the extra travel insurance.

“The kids who couldn’t go, they’ll get their money back, and then for the kids and the chaperones who had to stay, their hotel expenses are covered by the insurance,” said Carter.

But the virus wasn’t done spreading. Upon arriving back in the U.S., the other two chaperones and several other kids also tested positive, but at least they were back home.

“I have a lot of school to make up, but at least I got to see most of the stuff on the trip, which was great,” said Kahn.

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