What happened to international day?

March 5, 2020

International Day is an event where we celebrate the different cultures and cuisines from the school’s nationalities. Parents cook foods traditional to their home countries, and we have the privilege of being able to indulge in the dishes. It is a day where students look forward to stuffing their mouths with as much food as possible, but it’s also where we celebrate our international community.


As we found out last week, International Day was postponed from 5th March, to a later date. Because of this, I decided to interview Mr. Cairns so that the student body could get a better idea of the reasoning behind this decision. 


When I think of the reason why International Day was postponed, I automatically think that it was because of the coronavirus. This is true, however, the justification is much more complex.


To start off, Swiss authorities have just announced that there should not be any gatherings with more than 1,000 people present for safety reasons. Although our school population may be under this maximum, we are still close to the limit.


Another factor involved is that at the time the decision was made, there was no way to tell how things with Covid-19 would progress in Switzerland. Mr. Cairns stated, “Inevitably, whenever we’re making a decision, we’re trying to think, ‘well if it goes this way, this happens, and if it goes this way, this happens’. So what are we going to do?” The leadership team has the role of trying to second-guess what will happen in the future and take the safest route.


As International Day invites parents to come into school, there is the question as to how the school can control the flow of people and objects that are coming into its space. These things are being brought into a small area, and it’s difficult to check if anything is hazardous.


“People sometimes imagine that there’s one person who sits in an office going, ‘right, yes, no, no, yes’. And of course, that’s not true at all.” said Mr. Cairns. When making this decision, a team of staff in leadership roles as well as the school nurses, were involved to make a clear and rounded choice. They then went to the PTA to discuss their ideas and pass the final verdict. This group of faculty knows that no decision is perfect, but they must take into account the safety of our community.


The school is also keeping in mind both the science and people involved. I quote Mr. Cairns, “In this case, the school is deciding to act on the side of caution” and they put in the effort to choose the safest choice for both the school and its international community, based on the factors involved. 


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