March 10th, 2020
Dear ISD Parents and Students,
Over the past few weeks, since the emergence of COVID-19 in West Africa, the various heads of WAISAL schools and their Athletics and Activities Directors have been in close contact. Based on a number of criteria, as well as our understanding of best practice in infectious disease prevention and response, we feel that the WAISAL organization should be proactive in our stance with regard to the remaining three events on our calendar.
With this in mind, we have made a decision to cancel High School Soccer (Accra, April 15-19), Middle School Basketball (Dakar, April 23-25) and Robotics and Math Counts (Abuja, May 14-17).
Below are some key points that informed our decision making:
Hosting WAISAL events rely heavily on host families to function. Given the current situation, we are concerned that our pool of potential hosts will be significantly reduced.
WAISAL events require significant lead time from all participating and hosting schools. Airfares need to be purchased at least one month in advance. The visa process for all our schools can be lengthy, complicated and expensive. If we wait to cancel an event, it could prove costly for our families and the school.
The timing of our spring breaks, all falling just before the upcoming WAISAL events and the potential impact of our families traveling around the world makes hosting events in our schools particularly challenging.
The scenario of managing a potential case of COVID-19 on campus or within our communities during a WAISAL event is problematic.
Much time, effort, thought, and expertise went into the process of making this decision. We know that canceling these events will lead to much disappointment in our school communities. However, we feel that safeguarding the health of our school communities is paramount and we must do all that we can to not compromise this.
Our plan is to continue with local matches and end the season with a tournament of local teams provided the circumstances allow this.
Alan Knobloch Director International School of Dakar