Iwata Exchange Program cancelled


Krithi Sundar

Nicole Higley, the Iwata Exchange Program advisor, confirmed on Oct. 25 that the trip to Iwata Minami High School in Japan has been cancelled. 

The Iwata Exchange Program gives students an opportunity to attend sister school Iwata Minami High School in Japan for 11 days to learn about Japanese language and culture. The following year, students from Iwata will come to the US to attend MVHS, and the cycle continues. 

Senior Emma Burtin has been a member of the program since 2020, but was not able to go on the trip due to the pandemic.

According to Burtin, Higley began their weekly program meeting by informing students of the cancellation on Oct. 25.

“My heart sank because I won’t be able to meet friends on the other side of the world this spring,” Burtin said.

MVHS students during previous trip to Iwata

According to Burtin’s source, Higley, there was a COVID-19 outbreak in the Iwata area.

“Japan has a really slow vaccination rollout, which is a shame because it is one of the few countries in which everyone wore a mask and took active steps to reduce the spread,” Burtin said.

On Oct. 15, Iwata Minami High School came to the decision that they were not comfortable with MVHS students coming in the spring.

Higley and other facilitators agreed to cancel the entire trip, as the educational exchange was an integral part of the program.

“It was for global health and to respect our friends. With those reasons, I can accept that,” Burtin said.