New year message 2022

校長 John Southworth

It’s been about two years since the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. In that time, the lives of us all have been affected. For some, the effects of the virus have obviously been much worse than for others, but it is true to say that we have all – at the very least – been inconvenienced. Socializing with other people, enjoying cultural activities such as going to a see a film or to a museum, and of course traveling domestically or internationally have been the main casualties of the pandemic.

And for many children and young adults around the world, going to school or university has been a further casualty of restrictions. In some countries, schools were completely closed for more than a year with no learning opportunities offered to children. In some countries, students had months of online classes, forcing them to manage issues such as poor internet connections, or a lack of hardware (computers and printers) at home. Some students were unable to take important exams, and their teachers were requested to submit grades based on how they thought their students would do. In addition, children all over the world missed out on a daily routine and on the social benefits of going to school and communicating with other students and staff.

Here at KLAS, however, in the glorious and peaceful setting of the Swiss Alps, we have in fact been very fortunate. It is true that some aspects of KLAS life have been disrupted by the pandemic, especially that of travel, but the education of the students has been able to proceed as usual. And as we are a boarding school, it goes without saying that life after school goes hand in hand with life in school. This means that students have been able to spend time with their friends by learning together, playing together, laughing together and growing together.

These are things that may have been taken for granted before the pandemic, and although at first we all marveled at the convenience of online alternatives and the ability to Zoom with people on the other side of the world, there is now an understanding that it cannot replicate the benefits of being together. The nature of KLAS and of its location has meant that being together is safe and feasible, and we are very pleased that students have been able to continue their lives here as normally as possible.

With the rapid worldwide spread of the Omicron variant, people now feel that there might be some light at the end of the “coronatunnel”. Even if we are faced with unexpected developments in the future, we are confident that we can continue to keep students together in a way that protects both their learning and well-being.