District limits out-of-state trips

The San Ramon Valley Unified School District is re-examining the need for out-of-state trips this year, which should limit the number of students traveling beyond California’s borders.

Although the district did not implement a new policy regarding out-of-state trips, all such trips will be scrutinized much more closely as part of the school board’s existing policy,  said Elizabeth Graswich, the district’s director of communications and community relations. 

“[Out of state trips] are often expensive, and families are asked to fundraise in order to pay for them,” said Graswich.

Graswich noted that athletic, club, and class trips will still be approved if the group attending has advanced through state playoffs. 

“However, if the trip is to play in a tournament that is not connected to a qualifier, we ask that the group find a local tournament or competition to attend,” Graswich said.

Academic clubs, such as HOSA and school athletic teams have been approved in the past to leave the state in order to compete in nationals, after winning state level qualifiers. 

But many extracurricular groups such as Model United Nations (MUN) and theatre have been able to leave the state for reasons other than competition. These events  are expected to be limited now. 

“We also want to be mindful about the number of school days students miss for such trips,” said Graswich.

In recent years, Cal has had its fair share of incidents when it comes to out-of-state trips, most involving students drinking alcohol.

Graswich noted that there have been similar occurrences at other district schools on out-of-state trips as well. But she said the incidents are not considered in the school board’s decision to approve trips. 

The increased limitations of out-of state trips has left many students disappointed. 

“We were supposed to go to New York as a club to attend a conference, and see the real United Nations,” said junior Kasey Nye, an avid member of Cal’s MUN club. “It’s just sad that we can no longer have the opportunity to learn about the broader aspects and real-life experiences of our club.”

Many other MUN students also were disappointed this trip was cancelled. 

“I hope to hear changes or accommodations from the district to allow us to go to New York in the near future,” said freshman Suyash Goel, who recently joined MUN.

Cal’s varsity football team was already affected this year when it was asked to move its season opener this year at Spanish Springs High  in Sparks, Nev., to the California side of the border in Lake Tahoe. The team has traveled to Washington state in the past.

The arts classes are also affected by such restrictions on out-of-state trips. 

Junior Sarah O’Brien now questions whether she and her drama class will be able to visit New York in the 2019-2020 school year.

“I’m frustrated because our trip is very important to us,” O’Brien said. “It’s a chance to see our, maybe, future occupations shown and we can see if [a career in theatre arts]  is actually something we want to pursue.”

Some Cal teachers have strong feelings regarding the district’s increased examination of out-of-state trips. 

While drama teacher Laura Woods is still able to take her Theater 4 students to Hollywood this year, that trip is more of a film experience, compared to the theater experience that Broadway could provide her students.

“I have been traveling with students for over 15 years and have not once had an issue [with disorderly conduct],” said Woods, whose New York trip next year is now up in the air.