Nicaragua and Dominican Republic trip cancelled due to Zika virus

In all of its splendid color the high schools 3MM club was going to visit their partner school in the Dominican Republic until the trip was cancelled due to Zika virus. PROVIDED BY BARBIE DUTRA

In all of it’s splendid color the high school’s 3MM club was going to visit their partner school in the Dominican Republic until the trip was cancelled due to Zika virus. PROVIDED BY BARBIE DUTRA

Sara Hogenboom, News Writing Editor

The Nicaragua exchange trip and the 3 Mariposas Montessori club trip to the Dominican Republic were cancelled on Feb. 8 due to the outbreak of the Zika virus.

The Zika virus is known to be transmitted by mosquitos, but other avenues of transmission have been reported. According to The World Health Organization, the Zika virus, which spread eastward across the Pacific Ocean to Central and South America and the Caribbean in recent years, could affect as many as four million people by the end of the year.

Social studies teacher and adviser to the Nicaragua trip Ben Kahrl said that, because there is so much that is unknown about the Zika virus, it is dangerous for students to go on a trip to Nicaragua, a country that has mosquitos that carry the virus.

“For Zika, the issue is that we don’t really know what the effects are, so if a student or chaperone had to go to a hospital, then they would be encountering personnel who were not familiar with this disease,” Kahrl said. “Furthermore, the avenues of transmission are less familiar or at least less known.”

The 3 Mariposas Montessori, or 3MM, club was planning to take a trip to see their partner school in the Dominican Republic. According to club founder and student trip organizer senior Michaela Oster, the trip was cancelled after the club’s trip supervisor, special education social studies teacher Tara Sullivan, had a meeting with Headmaster Deborah Holman and Interim Superintendent Joe Connolly.

“Our supervisor was looking into the Zika virus and she was talking to the people in the Dominican Republic, at our school and the superintendent,” Oster said. “We weren’t really involved because Tara Sullivan had a meeting with Ms. Holman and the Superintendent, who said, ‘No it’s cancelled.’”   

Senior club founder Barbie Dutra said she was disappointed in the cancellation of the 3MM trip, which was being planned by her and three other club co-founders for the past two years.

“I was really angry just because the four of us put in a lot of work since we wrote the whole 40 page proposal and took that initiative,” Dutra said. “It was really disappointing, and two years of hard work had almost gone to waste. At the same time, there was nothing we could do about it.”

Oster said that, while it is hard to accept that she will not be able to go on the 3MM trip this year, she is grateful that the trip is now approved for future years.
“I’m really sad because we worked so hard to go on the trip, but I don’t want to get Zika virus and we can’t expect other people to go, so it’s probably for the best,” Oster said. “But, at least it is set up for the future of the club.”