NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – Forty-seven members of the New Brunswick High School senior class of 2020 and five chaperones had their trip to Florida canceled in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now, they have finally received the majority of their money back.
A lawsuit the New Brunswick school district filed in May against a travel operator that was hired to organize a class trip to “The Most Magical Place on Earth” in April has been settled.
The students and chaperones have each been refunded about $875 from their initial payment of about $1,050, according to Board of Education attorney George Hendricks.
Hendricks said the lawsuit was filed against A Coast Tours, which has been specializing for more than 20 years in booking student travel for graduating classes, elementary and middle schools, school bands, choirs and orchestras and other groups, after it refused to refund the money.
The trip was canceled in March soon after the district and its 10,300 or so students at the time commenced remote instruction as New Jersey became a hotspot for coronavirus cases during the early stages of the health crisis.
Christopher Morrison, a Winter Park, Fla.-based attorney who represents A Coast Tours, told TAPinto New Brunswick in May that his client intended to refund any money it could recoup from the airline, Disney or the vendor hired to transport the students and chaperones.
Instead of offering to pay back the money from the canceled trip, A Coast Tours offered to give each member of the would-be traveling party a voucher for a future flight on Southwest Airlines.
Hendricks arranged to have the settlement approved by Middlesex County Superior Court Judge James Hyland. The parents and chaperones were invited to participate via Zoom or phone.
“If anybody objected, they could have been excluded from the settlement,” Hendricks said. “That didn’t happen. They all agreed and they got their money.”