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Students And Parents Who Paid Thousands For Canceled Spring Break Trips Want Answers From CPS, EF Tours

Despite buying travel insurance, EF Tours has refused to refund Chicago families. Now the district says it will pay — but when and how?

South Shore International students on a trip to Spain in 2014.
South Shore International
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AUBURN GRESHAM — Katherine Hughes is furious.

Her daughter, a student at South Shore International College Prep, was scheduled to go to Japan in June through EF Tours. She had been paying for the trip in installments since 2018.

Now that Chicago Public Schools has cancelled all domestic and international trips due to the coronavirus pandemic, she wants her $4,100 back, but EF Tours refuses to issue refunds.

Parents understand why CPS canceled the trips. They don’t understand why the district would work with a company that won’r refund their money during a global pandemic.

“We even bought the additional travel insurance, which was $165,” she told Block Club. “I wonder how many students and staff this has impacted.”

Parents and students throughout the district are scrambling to find out how to get their money back, including 13 students from Simeon Career Academy who were preparing to fly to Greece for Spring Break.

CPS said on Twitter Wednesday they will reimburse families, but the district has not responded to multiple requests for comment on their relationship with EF Tours, how much this will cost or where the money will come from.

Another South Shore parent said she received an email from the principal Thursday afternoon, informing her that they are working on restitution efforts, adding that “a refund or credit would be issued” and the trip would be postponed until Spring Break 2021.

This is little comfort to students graduating in 2020.

Meanwhile, EF Tours is standing firm on their “no refund” policy, but has relaxed some of their rules to assuage frustrated customers.

The travel company informed customers via their website that more information would be forthcoming regarding canceled trips scheduled for March and April, and that those with trips scheduled beyond that would receive a voucher good for travel through 2022. They’re also freezing fee increases for cancelled trips between now and April 20, 2020.

Did you book a trip through EF Tours and are trying to get a refund? Email

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