St. Johns County parents said they’re out $1,600 after middle school field trip canceled

Parents said travel agency isn’t reimbursing them after cancellation due to coronavirus outbreak.

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Parents at a St. Johns County middle school are upset after an 8th-grade field trip was canceled amid coronavirus concerns.

The parents of the Alice B. Landrum Middle School students who spoke with News4Jax said they understand canceling the trip to Washington D.C. because of health concerns. However, they said they found out 48 hours before the trip that cost parents hundreds of dollars. And the travel agency isn’t reimbursing them.

Debbie Theiler and Claudia Russo both have students at the Ponte Vedra Beach school who earned their way to go on the trip.

“They were very upset and I think part of it is that it’s up to spring break, they’ve been looking forward to this and to have it be taken away from them at such a final hour. It’s really upsetting," Theiler said.

Parents said they planned to leave for D.C. on Thursday but the travel agency canceled Tuesday night.

The school-sponsored trip is paid by the parents who say the trip costs $1,600 per student and 50 families planned to go.

“Global Travel Alliance, the agency that was coordinating everything, was not offering any refunds. They claim that their vendors are not giving any money back to them and right now we don’t know if we’re getting anything back," Russo said.

News4Jax reached out to Global Travel Alliance for comment and it replied with a statement:

“Our team is working diligently with vendors to see if they can make exceptions to obtain refunds for the group. We are in communication with the school administration, informing them of our efforts, and are hopeful that we will receive some financial relief for the students.”

“We’re in this waiting period and I don’t think that they’ve done the right thing. So what we’re hoping for is that they’ll communicate with the county and the superintendent’s office to, in fact, make the right choice and if not, that our district does not use this organization anymore in the future," Theiler said.

A St. Johns County School District spokesperson said the district is doing everything it can to work with Global Travel Alliance to help the parents get their money back.

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