Back to School

校長 ジョン・サウスワース

On July 31, with the arrival of our first group of returnees, it was a pleasure to have students back on campus for the first time since March 20. They were followed by another group of returning students the next day, and four days later the new tenth graders arrived. Our campus had been silent for over four months, but the end of that silence was welcomed by students, parents and staff, and even by the local Leysin community.

Compared to nearly all other European schools, KLAS, with its school year starting in early July, is rather unusual. We return to school just as most schools in this part of the world close for the summer holidays. This year, coming so soon after the lockdown of March and April, our school year certainly presented us with some challenges.

We delayed our re-opening by adjusting our school calendar and starting lessons online while students were still in Japan. When the borders re-opened again for people arriving from Japan, and when we could be assured to have students arrive on three flights, we decided to open our doors to students once again.

All the students tested negatively for Covid-19 before they left Japan, and we kept students on campus for the first ten days to two weeks after their arrival so that we were able to reassure the Leysin community that they were at no risk from the return of international students to this small town.

The period of self-imposed quarantine was a challenge, not only for the students because of the strangeness of everything, but also for the school with new arrangements for the dorms, the cafeteria and the classrooms. Overall, it went quite smoothly, and there was real joy when that period came to an end on August 14 with our first full assembly since Friday, March 13, when it was announced that KLAS would be closing because of the pandemic.

Of course, having the students back and getting through a period of quarantine has just been the first step in our attempt to resume operations. We have returned to a regular timetable of seven lessons a day and with activities after school as usual. Although there are still many uncertainties ahead, little by little we are trying to return to some kind of normality in KLAS life, although students have been warned that many of the things that they experienced last year or the year before may not be possible this year.

KLAS is very fortunate to be located in a place like Leysin at such a challenging time in the world. We have a safe community with a magnificent panorama, both day and night, clean, fresh air in our lungs and delicious drinking water in our taps. There is in fact a lot to be thankful for despite the uncertainties and disappointments thus far.