SICK schoolchildren were reunited with their families as they returned from a nightmare trip to the United States.
Pupils and staff from Crookhorn College arrived home yesterday after being struck in their droves by a gastrointestinal virus overseas.
Three teachers and 48 youngsters from the Waterlooville school were treated at four different US hospitals over the weekend, during an Easter break trip to New York and Washington DC.
However, the group returned to the school on a coach just after 9.15am yesterday – where pupils were eagerly greeted by their loved ones and taken home.
Reflecting on the ordeal faced by her students and staff, Crookhorn College headteacher Sarah Bennett told The News it had been a ‘very difficult weekend’.
She said: ‘Obviously we are all extremely relieved all the children have returned home safely to their families.
‘Our priority is for the children to recuperate quietly at home during the rest of the Easter break ready for their return to school.
‘I would like to thank the staff who looked after the children so well on the trip and had to deal with some extremely challenging circumstances.
‘I would also like to thank the parents for their support and understanding at this difficult time and also Hampshire County Council over what has been a very difficult weekend.’
The party fell ill on Saturday – battling nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea just two days into their trip.
While the cause of the sickness is unknown, it is understood some members of the group ate at Planet Hollywood in New York before staying at the Hotel Harrington in DC.
Picking her son up from Crookhorn College yesterday, one mother said she was fraught with ‘fear, fear and more fear’ after parents were informed of the incident at the weekend.
The woman, who asked not to be named, said: ‘I had a phone call on Saturday to say (he) had been taken ill.
‘It’s not as if we could’ve just jumped in the car and gone and got them.’
Going on to praise the ‘amazing job’ of teachers on the trip, she added: ‘We’re pleased that they’re all home now.’