Coronavirus causes cancellation of WMS 8th grade D.C. trip

Members of the class of 2022 gather for a picture outside of the Lincoln Memorial at their D.C. trip. This year, eighth graders will not be going to D.C. due to the Coronavirus. “It was definitely a smart decision to cancel the trip considering we are in a pandemic,

Credit: Taylor McGuire

Members of the class of 2022 gather for a picture outside of the Lincoln Memorial at their D.C. trip. This year, eighth graders will not be going to D.C. due to the Coronavirus. “It was definitely a smart decision to cancel the trip considering we are in a pandemic," junior Taylor Travis said. "It’s really unfortunate for the kids who aren’t able to go, and I think they should try to reschedule it if that’s possible.”

Garrett Spooner and Taylor McGuire

For the first time in 18 years, the eighth-graders at Wayland Middle School will not be attending their annual trip to Washington D.C. in April. The cancellation is due to worries about traveling during the spread of Coronavirus. The trip is a large part of the WMS experience, and both students and faculty are upset about the cancellation.

“I have been looking forward to the D.C. trip probably since sixth grade,” eighth-grader Lily Mele said. “Seeing my siblings go when I was younger made me even more excited about this trip.”

The D.C. trip is a staple of the WMS experience that most students look forward to for years. In sixth grade, students bike to Walden Pond, in seventh grade, students visit Cape Cod, and in eighth grade, students are supposed to travel to D.C.. Over the school year, preparation for the trip has manifested in Teacher Advisory Group(TAG).

“In TAG we have been going over the trip for a little while,” eighth-grader Will Johnson said.

Eighth-grade students are unsure of what they will do during the week that the trip was supposed to take place. Usually, there is a large packet that students fill out during the trip where one records their observations of the memorials and monuments, which they can’t do without physically being in D.C.

“I am not really sure [what we will do in school the week of the trip],” Mele said. “I feel like we will still have to do most of the work, which is really unfair. I don’t think we will be doing anything that can compare to D.C.”

Middle schoolers look at the D.C. trip as the “last hoorah” of their middle school careers. Some students believe it is the biggest moment in all of middle school. With that being said, it is a huge letdown for all eighth-graders this year.

“I was really looking forward to the dance, the train ride and just being with all my classmates,” Mele said. “I was also really interested in seeing some of the memorials and sites as well. Everything about D.C. seems fun, and I was looking forward to it all.”

While the eight-hour train ride is long, it is some students’ most highly anticipated part of the trip, due to having older siblings or friends that have told them about it. Since everybody is there, it is a fantastic social experience, not to mention the last time that an entire grade travels together in one place during school.

“I think D.C. is an experience that definitely changed the dynamic of our grade,” junior Taylor Travis said. “It was a great bonding experience.”

There is no doubt that the trip to D.C. is very hard to replicate. A hands-on experience can simply not be replaced with classroom learning. It would be nearly impossible for the eighth graders to gain the same knowledge in Wayland rather than in D.C.

“I think they will be able to do some things virtually, but personal experience and being somewhere in person is a whole different thing than being shown something on a screen,” Travis said. “I think the school can teach the material from D.C. to a certain extent, but it’s not going to have the same effect for the students as physically going there.”

Although many students are upset about the trip getting canceled, most of the students understand that the school’s decision was necessary to keep them safe.

“I think they should try to postpone it, but I think the decision to cancel the trip was logical,” Johnson said. “It definitely would’ve been unsafe to go.”