The Sickest Trip

Rhea, Emilia, Ksenia

On Monday, September 13th, 96 year 10s left for Nendaz. Four days later , only 73 returned healthy. No one knows what originally caused people to start throwing up.  

There are many possibilities as to how it all started: food poisoning? gastroenteritis? Almost all of the 6 person rooms had at least one person sick, and due to the lack of free rooms, the teachers weren’t able to separate the sick students immediately. Luckily, because of Covid, everyone was wearing masks and sanitizing their hands, which likely prevented many others from getting sick. The majority of students had at least one or two roommates who got sick. Whilst some only threw up one to five times,  those who had the worst case, threw up 5 to 15 times, or even more.

These few days were chaotic and with so much happening, here is a brief timeline of the event:

Monday 

Dinner time – Person A eats the pumpkin soup. Minutes later, they vomit.

Tuesday 

Daytime – The day passes by smoothly, no one feels sick, a normal day. In hindsight, the calm before the storm  

Dinner time – History repeats itself: Person A eats the soup, and it isn’t long until it exits their body the way it entered.

Evening activity – Person B reports nausea during the activity.

Before lights-out (21:30) – Person A feels much better and believes that it was a one time thing. At the same time, Person B throws up twice. No one else feels sick at this point.

During the night (2:00) – 4 More people start throwing up. A concerning pattern is emerging.

During the night (5:00) – 8 more people had fallen sick by 5 am. The teachers enter panic mode. Widespread fear of the enigmatic bug causes hysteria amongst the students.

       Wednesday

Morning, before day activities started – All sick people have either been picked up or are waiting for their parents. Those who were sick were let downstairs to eat after everyone else ate and left for their activities.

Afternoon/evening – everyone who was sick had been picked up by their parents. The camp had mostly calmed down. 

        Thursday/Friday 

Friday morning – One of the teachers, fell sick and left the camp. 

Friday evening – After the camp ended, at home, Mr Lee felt a weird feeling in his stomach. It was not long before he fell victim to the stomach bug which had terrorised his student. 

Even though these two days of camp were extremely disordered, the teachers were the biggest support. Mr Lee said that he was on duty the night that everyone was sick. Mr Lee and Mr Kirby were interviewed to see their thoughts on the situation at camp, and to get the facts straight. Mr Lee was a hero during the camp. At first he suspected that the first two people that fell sick were just running around too much, and being silly during the evening activities. The teachers waited to see if it would get worse, and as the night went on more and more people started to fall sick, this opened the teachers’ eyes. By the afternoon of the next day, 23 people had left the camp. This created quite a task for the teachers at the camp, to firstly clean up the throw up from the night before, and then sterilize the rooms to make sure that no other students would fall sick. The parents were then called to pick up their children at different times. Even though the teachers were extremely careful during the camp, in the end, Mr Lee and one other teacher did end up falling sick once they arrived home. Mr Lee described the feeling of the virus as an uncomfortable feeling in your stomach that warns you that you are going to throw up.

In terms of the teachers’ perspective, and the true events of what took place on those nights of camp, there have been a lot of theories about what happened. A survey was sent to the students in Year Ten who witnessed these events, and they’ve come up with a lot of reasons as to why this could’ve happened. A very common theory was that there was something in the food that caused everyone to start falling sick. However, “this theory is not true as not every student who ate the food fell sick.”

Another thing that was conspired was that a student caught the virus before the start of camp, and then it spread. 

Since most of the students who fell sick were in the same activity groups, it was suspected that it would’ve passed on the bus. This is a theory that could very well have been true, as all the mentioned facts line up, but it was never confirmed what started this and caused it to spread at such a fast rate.

By the end of the week, the entire atmosphere of the camp had changed. Everyone was concerned for their own health, and they were more cautious around other people. This is a situation that has never happened before, and was generally quite an overwhelming experience for everyone. All students and staff who got sick are now healthy and have fully recovered.