Private schools defy pandemic

Wed, 23. Dec. 2020

The private school Le Rosey comes to Gstaad despite the exceptional situation – but only at intervals – and the JFK has remained open throughout the year.

The private school Le Rosey comes to Gstaad despite the exceptional situation – but only at intervals – and the JFK has remained open throughout the year.

For 105 years the private school Le Rosey has spent the winter in Gstaad. As is well known, its premises are cramped and spread out over the whole of the Saanenland. Due to the pandemic, it was uncertain for a long time whether the institute, with 400 students and 150 teaching and supervisory staff, would be relocating to Gstaad this winter. They have decided to stick to tradition and have drawn up a security concept.

In small groups
The juniors – the eight to twelveyear-old children – will spend the whole winter in Gstaad. The Rosey explains that this age group is exposed to a very small risk. All other Roséens will only spend part of the semester in smaller groups in Gstaad. In total, an average of around 120 pupils will be in the region at the same time, which amounts to around a quarter of the usual number.

The aim is to further strengthen the link with nature and winter sports. In addition to skiing, cross-country skiing and snowshoe hiking will be particularly encouraged. The Rosey Races will also be taking place as part of the activities programme – as far as the situation will allow it. The school in Rolles will continue in parallel. The rules will be relaxed or tightened during the winter in accordance to the course of the pandemic. The aim of the adapted concept is safety, high quality teaching and loyalty to tradition.

Expansion urgently needed
Headmaster Christophe Gudin suspects that many parents of Rosey students will again be in Gstaad this year to be close to their children. With regard to the Gstaad site, he emphasises: “The pandemic situation makes me sad. It underlines once again the bond between Le Rosey and Gstaad and the desire to stay in Gstaad!”

However, the current situation also clearly shows that an expansion of the campus is urgently needed, according to Gudin. Le Rosey has for years been nurturing building plans for a new school and residential complex. One project in Schönried was not approved by the cantonal authorities. Now other building plans are being pursued at an alternative location. But it is still too early to publish them. But: “The municipal administration is very actively supporting us in the implementation process.”

JFK remains open
The John F. Kennedy International School in Saanen was lucky in its misfortune. Contrary to many schools abroad, it was able to remain open during the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic and thus attracted more students than usual. “Some parents therefore stayed in the Saanenland instead of travelling to their home country,” explains headmaster Henri Behar.

The school’s safety concept provides for a complete separation of the primary and middle school. In a positive Covid-19 case, only part of the school would have to be closed.

Currently, 95 pupils attend the school. In the winter term, the capacity limit of 105 pupils will be reached. “In order to guarantee safety, all required measures of hygiene, distance and masks are implemented,” emphasises Behar. “All children from the age of eleven wear masks, even during P.E. lessons.”



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