With normalcy returning to schools, excursions and trips are also back on the table now. While some schools are starting small with field trips, a few others are planning international trips. Students are displaying utmost enthusiasm, while parents are exercising caution and insisting that safe and healthy travel plans should be designed.
Some school managements think that with the fear of COVID still looming around, it is best to take children to places where there are fewer people. “For two years, children were confined to online classrooms and missed out on socialisation. Taking them outdoors for small excursions is very important. Although we have currently only started field trips, in the near future we will plan out of state trips too. So far, for educational purposes, we took our students to NIMHANS and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)”, said Kalai Rajan, Head of the school, Knowledgeum Academy.
However, with older students, even longer period, out-of-State/country excursions are being planned as they are also quite aware of the safety norms, schools say. “Our class X students usually go to Hyderabad on an educational tour. This year also we have planned tentatively in October or November. There will be some sightseeing, fun activities and mainly educational with visits to museums and such places. A batch of students have also gone to Vietnam on an educational tour. For students in first to eighth grade, in the third week of October, a one-day resort tour will be scheduled”, said Sunil Fernandes S.J., principal, St. Joseph’s Boys High School.
He also said that parents are ensuring that their children are duly vaccinated before the excursions. “The top priority will be given to the safety of all students. If someone falls sick prior to the excursion, we will advise such students not to join. The students also have a lot of energy and their young minds are super excited to bond and form friendships on trips”, Mr. Fernandes added.
Singapore, Europe, and Dubai seem to be the popular international destinations for excursions, while the golden triangle (Delhi, Jaipur and Agra), Hyderabad and Ooty are the out of state destinations in demand. “In Singapore, they will visit factories and universities, while in Europe, they might go to the space mission. This year we have seen some traction in queries, especially from colleges, but schools have also started enquiries. Three to four schools have approached us for Singapore”, said Santosh Kanna, Vice President, Leisure Travel – Thomas Cook (India) Limited, who also heads Trave quest, which exclusively organises educational tours.
School managements said the younger students are very excited about the prospects of seeing animals or water bodies on their excursions. “Children are up for all kinds of excursions. We recently took students of first to sixth grade to Bannerghatta National Park and they were excited to see the movement of animals. With fears of Covid slowly depleting, parents are also excited to send their children out on these trips”, said U.S. Moinuddin, Secretary, Magnifique English School.