A coronavirus tent in Florence. Laois students cancelled their trip after the virus spread to the city.
A Laois secondary school has cancelled a trip to Italy over the coronavirus COVID_19.
Heywood Community School made the decision to cancel a day before the students were due to leave. It came just hours after the potentially deadly virus spread to their destination of Florence, with the first person diagnosed there last Monday night.
There were 16 Leaving Certificate art students planning to go on an art trip to the city, along with two art teachers.
The principal Philip Bowe confirmed details to the Leinster Express.
"We decided not to proceed with the trip at lunchtime last Tuesday. They were due to leave at 2am that night. Prior to our decision, we had met with the 6th years going and their teachers and phoned every parent. All the parents were in complete agreement," he said.
"We felt that putting our students at risk, and even the locality if they came back with the virus. Then the cost of quarantine if they had to stay there for weeks, and the upset that would cause, all were issues we took into consideration," Mr Bowe said.
"We couldn't see in all conscience how we could let it go ahead," he said.
He said they now have to try and recoup their costs from the tour company.
"We are finding it difficult. This is going to be an issue for the government. Each student would be down €460 for flights and accommodation, that's a lot of money that many of them saved up with part time jobs," he said.
"To reschedule is no good. These are 16 Leaving Certs who are facing oral exams and practical exams, so going in two or three week's time is not a runner," he said.