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People stroll on the snow-covered Champ de Mars during a snowfall in Paris, France, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

The Ottawa Catholic School Board has announced it will be cancelling all of its planned trips to Europe in March and April this year because of COVID-19.

In a letter sent home to parents and guardians Friday, the OCSB said it made the "difficult but necessary decision" to cancel every planned European trip scheduled for this spring.

"We considered several factors in making this difficult decision, including Health Canada advisories. We also took into account the real potential that staff and students could be quarantined, either overseas or upon their return to Canada. In addition, we also considered how these trips may impact the health and safety of our greater school community upon the students' return from overseas trips. The risk of exposing our students, staff and school community to coronavirus is simply too high," the note said.

The school board says it will assist parents and students with the process of getting refunds.

"It will take a collective effort to minimize the spread of COVID-19, and while we regret to have to cancel any planned activities, we see this as a wise and necessary precaution, recognizing how disappointing this is for your child. Hopefully, once the coronavirus is under control, we will be able to offer international excursions in the future," the board said.

OCSB spokesperson Sharlene Hunter said 328 students from 11 catholic high schools are affected by this decision.

1) Holy Trinity and St. Pius
United Kingdom
Mar 9 -20, 2020

2) St. Joseph
France
March 27- April 2, 2020

3) Immaculata
Italy, France, Spain
Apr 2-11, 2020

4) St. Francis Xavier
London, Paris, Dublin
Apr 2-11, 2020

5) St. Mother Teresa
Germany, France, Switzerland
Apr 8-16, 2020

6) St. Mark
France, Italy, Spain
Apr 9-18. 2020

7) Sacred Heart
France
Apr 10-18, 2020

8) Notre Dame and St. Paul
France, Italy, Spain
Apr 9-18. 2020

9) St. Peter
Italy, Greece
Apr 24-May 3, 2020