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DC Trip Update

May 2024

DC Trip Families,

We are excited your student will be joining us in Washington, D.C. for our 8th Grade Trip this fall! We know some families have concerns about the trip being over Election Day week. We wanted to expand upon the information we shared in our informational video by answering a couple of commonly asked questions below.

Why travel at this time of year?
At one point, the trip was in the spring. However, the cost at that time of year continued to increase due to the number of people who travel to D.C. for spring vacations and school trips. Increasing the price of the trip then limits the number of students who have access to traveling. There are also more crowds in the spring and it was difficult to schedule some of the locations. Additionally, the spring presents scheduling challenges with Grades 3-8 Math/ELA Exams, Regents preparation for accelerated students, concerts, and athletic practices/competitions. Winter is not ideal because of the unpredictability of weather. The first week in November fits perfectly on our school calendar because it allows us to get into the year, get through the 1st Quarter, and it falls between fall and winter athletic competitions. It is a unique window that has worked well in the past, and why we believe it continues to make sense for this coming fall.

Can the dates be changed?
As described above, there are many factors that determine the careful selection of dates for our 8th grade trips to D.C. and Quebec. At this point, the trip cannot be moved. Our tour company does not have another week that is feasible for us to travel. Additionally, the tour company has placed their deposits to secure the hotel and various experiences.  Please keep in mind that deposits are non-refundable regardless if trip insurance has been purchased as the insurance mainly covers medical related issues.  New York State does not have CFAR (Cancel For Any Reason). 

What safety protocols are in place?
It is important to note that the areas in and around Washington, D.C. that our students visit are carefully selected to ensure their safety.  Traveling to any city has the potential for unique challenges.  For example, this past year we had to speak with a number of families as well as our tour company after the attack by Hamas on October 7 and the violence that ensued. At the time no one knew whether there would be violence in other parts of the world and if concerns regarding terrorism would impact threat levels in our capital.

With regard to the potential for political instability in Washington, D.C. during election week, it is difficult to predict, in the spring, what might be happening in our country six months from now. For every person we have spoken with expressing concerns about security, others have emphasized the country’s history of safe elections, the likelihood that safety will be top of mind for the FBI, law enforcement, etc. in Washington, D.C. this fall, and the reality that on election day, most people are in their home districts voting.

With that being said, our district is always focused on safety when our kids are on overnight trips, and we know we might have to make adjustments at the last minute.  It has been a practice with Metro Tours that they are in constant contact with Capitol and Metropolitan Police.  We are advised of any upcoming rallies well in advance since groups must follow protocol by obtaining a permit ahead of time.  Our district involves experts on making the safest decisions possible.  This was demonstrated in instances such as traveling with COVID protocols or modifying a Clarence Center camping trip because of wildfire smoke. For our 8th grade trip, the hotels are not located in Washington, D.C., our students do not spend the bulk of their time in the actual capital, and we will adjust the itinerary (see pages 3-4) in real-time if needed.

We will continue to communicate with families as the trip approaches. 

If you have additional questions or concerns, please reach out to our trip coordinators (Mrs. Katie Lavey and Mr. Brad Paxton).  You can also contact Metro Tours directly by calling 724-942-3688.