The following letter was sent on March 21 by Betsy Carroll, head of the Student Delegation Committee, and by the other committee members: Michael Bonoff, Cami Holtmeier, Kristen O’Keefe, Barbara Saur and Dagmar Schnader.
Dear Student Delegates and Parents,
This is personally a very challenging letter to write for so many reasons. I have felt a strong connection to and excitement about this delegation. I think about the energy and enthusiasm of this special group of students—their desire to experience Ometepe and to demonstrate their care for BOSIA’s mission through a community fundraiser. I remember meeting each host family on Ometepe in January and then that emotional moment of handing out the letters from those families to the delegates at our meeting at The Island School. I have valued the monthly meetings with this dedicated group of chaperones as we have planned details of the time on Ometepe, and I have been proud of the commitment of the Student Delegation Committee which has been planning the delegation since October.
The Committee met online on Thursday, and it was painfully clear what decision needed to be made. It is very difficult to actually write the words down; however, I have to face the reality that there will not be a delegation in 2020. It is now clear that our state, country, and the world will be engaged with trying to restrict the spread of this virus for a long time, and we need to be a part of that effort. Nicaragua is just starting to show the beginnings of the spread of this disease, and by June may be in the thick of it. We realized that hosting our delegates should not be something they also have to deal with. Rather than agonizing over the decision, recent events almost seemed to have made the decision for us. The recent ban on foreign travel into Costa Rica and a State Department advisory against all travel could be included in that list. Having said that, the reasons do not diminish the intense disappointment we all feel, especially for those students who have been a part of delegations planned for 2018 and 2019 and were so hopeful for this year.
In addition, there will be no further work on the auction. To all who volunteered to help, I thank you for your dedication to this fundraiser. I have been heartened by how you have devoted your energy towards supporting our sister island. We will present options for the board to consider regarding fundraising in lieu of the student auction.
Each family’s $250 deposit will be refunded, with checks being mailed in the next month.
I wish that I could talk with you face-to-face but will have to be satisfied with an email response. Please let me know with a “Got it,” or a tear emoji, or a longer response if you want.
Take care, wash your hands, and practice effective social distancing. I know this is not how you wanted your spring to be.