Hawaii or Bust – Group Island Trip Gets Green Light | Local News
Plans for the Tullahoma Band to travel to Hawaii in 2022 have been approved by the school board.
At its last meeting, the Tullahoma City School Education Council unanimously approved (Amy Dodson absent) the group’s out-of-state travel plans to Hawaii during the district’s spring break in March. The group previously planned to travel to Ireland to participate in the Saint Patrick’s Day Festival in Dublin, but travel restrictions related to COVID-19 proved too onerous for the group, and the directors shifted gears and chose to return to the island state.
The trip to Ireland was originally scheduled to take place in March 2021, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced the 2021 festival to be canceled. The festival invited the group to return in 2022.
According to Director Justin Scott, moving from an international trip to a domestic trip brought multiple benefits, including the experience and knowledge of the travel logistics of the directors. The group last traveled to Hawaii in 2017, giving the group administration expectations regarding travel and safety concerns. The international travel, he said, would not have allowed any prior visits to the gang leaders to get a feel for how travel and security concerns may affect the trip.
“We are much more comfortable going back to this place than we would be with Europe right now,” Scott told the board.
During the meeting, Scott said he presented information to parents of students who were going to travel and had received many concerns about refunds if the trip were to be canceled altogether.
Changing travel plans, Scott told the board that the travel agency has given the group until December 6 to withdraw from the trip for any reason and continue to receive a full refund. After that time, Scott said, cancellations would cause the company to withhold certain fees. He recommended all parents in the group take out “cancel for any reason” travel insurance, which would allow them to get the majority of their money back if COVID forces the group’s hand to cancel.
“We will continue to monitor health protocols on the island of Oahu and see what it looks like,” he said. “If, by December 6, things improve further, we will move forward. Otherwise, if things still seem too restrictive, we can always opt out and all of our passengers will receive a full refund. We have a few good months to make a decision.
Board member Sid Hill asked how the change in travel plans was viewed by students and parents, to which Scott said he was viewed “very favorably”.
“When we moved a lot of people were actually more excited,” he said. “They were very excited about the trip.”
School Board Chairman Kim Uselton thanked Scott and his management team for all of the hard work they put into trying to make the international trip a reality.
“I know it was disappointing for all of you,” she said of the decision to withdraw from the St. Patrick’s Day parade, noting that the whole process was “a lot” for the program. of the band and its families.