This morning, Superintendent Scott Thielman cancelled the band, choir, and orchestra trip to New York scheduled for Spring Break due to fears about the spread of COVID-19. It is not clear yet whether the over 100 students committed to attending the trip will be refunded some or all of the money they paid for the trip.
Band director Scott Rabehl said he was put in a difficult position regarding the outcome of the trip, and that he was unable to make any of the decisions himself. The music directors requested that people do not send them emails about this subject, as they will let students know any new information as it appears.
“Dr. Theilman had the final say on it within our district,” said Rabehl. “But that is after consulting with us, and consulting with other superintendents and consulting with the Minnesota Department of Health and with information from the CDC, and looking at what their recommendations are.”
At the beginning of third block on Friday, all of the concert groups gathered in the PAC to discuss the fate of the New York trip. The Music Department’s travel agent, Mike Polegi, is working on getting students’ money back, as they have paid about $800 to go nowhere.
“There is a possibility of getting some money back,” said Rabehl. “And our travel agent is working right now on [the students’] behalf, on behalf of two dozen other schools, all at the same time, and he sent us an email and said he was on the phone for 15 hours yesterday. We have zero idea.”
While band and orchestra director Michael Knutson does recognize the students’ disappointment at this news, he also understands the importance of everyone’s health.
“The last couple days, the people trying to give you the best experiences possible are working really hard to do that, while still trying hard to keep you safe, knowing that that is even more important than giving you great experiences,” said Knutson.
Rabehl understands how difficult this situation has been, and shares in the students’ dismay, but he is doing his best to put things in perspective.
“Right now, it might feel like an enormous loss,” Rabehl said. “This loss will not be the end of the world.”
Story by Abby Bertsch and Claudia Staut