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Over 2,000 students at Swiss hotel school placed in quarantine

Opened in 1893, the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne is the world's first hospitality management school. © Keystone / Peter Klaunzer

All undergraduate students at the École hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL) - one of the most prestigious hospitality management schools in the world - have been placed in quarantine after several coronavirus outbreaks.

Until September 28, around 2,500 bachelor students – some three-quarters of all of the students at the hospitality school – will be required to stay in isolation. The decision was taken in cooperation with health authorities in canton Vaud.

“Significant outbreaks of infection have appeared in several levels of training making it impossible to have a more targeted closure than the 2,500 students concerned,” explained the Vaud authorities.

Based on reports from Swiss public television, RTS, coronavirus outbreaks at the school in recent days are the result of parties and activities, some of which  took place before the canton tightened restrictions on September 15 amid rising infections.

When asked if the canton should not have introduced the measures earlier, cantonal doctor Karim Boubaker told RTSExternal link that the authorities had been “sufficiently clear” about the risks involved, which had not been heeded. “Now we have to take exceptional measures, and this is something that I regret. It didn’t need to come to this,” he said in the interview.

Students would be able to continue with their work by following distance classes, added Boubaker.

Vaud has one of the highest number of casesExternal link of any canton with 213 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days. On September 15, the canton closed nightclubs and banned private events of more than 100 people. Masks are also mandatory in all public spaces inside.

The students are expected to stay in isolation until September 28, while classes continue online. “We take all the necessary measures for the continuity of teaching and to strengthen health measures on the campus,” said the school management. 

The Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL) opened in 1893, making it the first hospitality management school in the world. Since then Switzerland has become a hospitality training hub, with around 25 training schools in operation.

In 2020, EHL was chosen as the best school in the world for Hospitality and Leisure Management studies in the QS university rankings.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR