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Friday Flash - 03/27/2020

March 27, 2020
By April O'Quinn
Posted in Friday Flash

AIS Communiqué #7 Regarding COVID-19

March 25, 2020
By Jacques A. Weber

Dear AIS Community,

We are writing to you today regarding the evolution of COVID-19 and how our school is adjusting to it. This is a follow-up from the COVID-19 Communiqué #6 sent on March 20th, 2020.

As you are likely aware, Austin Mayor Steve Adler signed order 2020324-007 into law yesterday with it coming into effect at 11:59pm last night. Under this new order, all employees of non-essential businesses are required to stay at home in order to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Austin International School is designated as an Essential Business under §6.f.xxiv of this order, since as an Educational Institution, we provide distance learning to our students. While we are strongly encouraging our staff to work remotely – and most are – we have a strict campus access protocol for members of staff who may need to come to campus to retrieve material or use a designated workspace for a limited amount of time. Above all, health and safety are our priority and our strict campus access and daily disinfection protocols work to ensure maximum protection for limited staff who are on campus to ensure distance learning continues to run smoothly for our students.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler’s order 20200324-007 is in effect until April 13th, 2020. Consequently, our campus closed through to all non-essential personnel and community members (including weekend schools) through at least Sunday, April 12th, 2020. We will continue to monitor executive orders from the federal, state, and local governments in order to evaluate how they impact our operations. As we have done over the past several weeks, we will keep you informed of any of these developments via email and through the COVID-19 Information and Updates page on our website.

AIS is fortunate to count on a strong network of organizations that support our school’s programs. I have attached for you a letter from Mr. Jean-Christophe Deberre, Director-General of the Mission Laïque Française (MLF) addressed to families of students in MLF schools. This letter is also accompanied by a video from Mr. Deberre. Though the content is only available in French, Mr. Deberre wishes to reassure families of students in MLF schools that their children’s learning is in good hands. His letter and video message explain that many resources are being made available to teachers (in four languages), that distance learning must allow for social interactions in addition to academics, and that while the format of teachers’ work is changing, learning remains at the core of what we do. Though all our staff is on spring break and learning to adjust to a new lifestyle of quarantine and physical distancing, many of us have attended numerous trainings offered by the MLF and other partner organizations. This has been invaluable in preparing us for the best possible launch of our AIS Distance Learning program!

AIS’s Distance Learning program will begin on Wednesday, April 1st. As we have all seen, a pandemic can arrive suddenly and turn our lives upside down without much warning, leaving people to scramble to make decisions. In Austin, we were fortunate for this to hit during spring break; AIS is doubly fortunate to benefit from a two-week spring break. During this time, our Pedagogical Leadership Team has worked every day to refine our AIS Distance Learning program so that it keeps both students’ academic and socioemotional development at the forefront of what we do. You will shortly receive more details from our team that will outline what students’ days will look like starting one week from today. I know that our entire team is very excited to reconnect with our young AIS Owls next week!

As you can imagine, our campus closure means reshaping a lot of our events and key dates. We will roll those changes out to you as they come up. That said, we want to provide you a heads-up about a couple of key dates on our calendar that are on the near horizon:

  • Progress Reports. We were originally scheduled to send progress reports to families on Wednesday, April 1st. Because our team needed to shift our focus to preparing for AIS Distance Learning, it means that we have had to move progress reports to the back burner for a bit. We still have some proofreading and grade checks to do, so these will be sent at a later date. We will send you an email as soon as we have the new date for the issuance of progress reports.
  • Parent-Teacher Conferences. Our Parent-Teacher Conferences originally scheduled for April 9th and 10th will no longer take place as planned. Our team is in the process of preparing an alternate format for the PTCs that be scheduled on new dates. Again, we will communicate the details and dates of the new PTCs once we have finalized them. 

Thank you again for your kind emails and words of encouragement. Our sense of community is an invaluable element of the social support network that allows us to overcome difficulties such as these.

We look forward to reconnecting with you all virtually next week!



Mr. Jacques A. Weber, M.Ed.
Head of School/Chef d'Établissement

Posted in Communiqués

AIS Communiqué #6 Regarding COVID-19

March 20, 2020
By Jacques A. Weber

Dear AIS Community,

We are writing to you today regarding the evolution of COVID-19 and how our school is adjusting to it. This is a follow-up from the COVID-19 Communiqué #5 sent on March 16th, 2020.

It would certainly be an understatement to say that this past week is not the week any of us had planned. We know you’ve been keeping up to date with everything that has been going on in the world, so we wanted to take a moment to let you know that our faculty and staff are doing well. Though we have been keeping physical distance, we have found comfort in making connections with one another. Living through a moment like this serves as important reminder of the value of the social and community connections we all have. Reach out and connect to your fellow AIS community members to see how they are doing and to let them know what new quarantine-time activities you’ve discovered! I know that I, for one, truly value the messages and calls that I have received during the past week from friends, family, and members of the AIS community.

Yesterday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued executive order GA 08, which – among other things – orders school closures through at least April 3rd. As mentioned in our previous communiqué, our campus will remain closed to students, families, and members of the wider Austin community through at least April 5th, 2020. We will keep you updated about closure extensions and will post them on our website.

Based on a number of indicators, we have decided to move AIS to a Risk Level 4 (High risk) according to our Crisis Management Matrix for Contagious Diseases. As a result, our students and teachers will shift to full distance learning until we are able to reopen our campus. Our extracurricular activities, community events, and field trips will be cancelled until further notice. Though Austin Public Health is now at a Phase 5 and has reported sustained person-to-person spread in the city of Austin, we are thankful that there are currently no reports of confirmed COVID-19 cases in our school’s community. Should this change, you will receive a health notice.

Our Pedagogical Leadership Team has been working -- and will continue to work -- very hard through Spring Break to prepare for a shift to distance learning. The extra time afforded to us by the break has allowed us to build a robust plan to support students, teachers, and families during this shift. Our teachers will be attending a virtual training session with our Pedagogical Leadership Team on Monday, March 30th. In order to allow teachers to prepare lessons and collaborate virtually, Monday, March 30th and Tuesday, March 31st will be teacher work days. The AIS Distance Learning program will begin for students on the morning of Wednesday, April 1st. Next week, our Pedagogical Leadership Team will be in touch with you to provide more details about what students’ days will look like. The most important thing to know right now is that we are here – and will be here – to support you during this shift. I just want to take this early opportunity to say thank you for your understanding, flexibility, and support!

For students in Cycles 1 and 2 (PS through CE2), your point-of-contact for distance learning matters will be Ms. Audrey, the Lower School Principal. For students in Cycles 3 and 4 (CM1 through 4e), your point-of-contact will be Ms. Emily, the Upper School Principal. For any questions regarding the general functioning of the school during the COVID-19 pandemic, you may feel free to reach out to me directly.

Our cleaning crew has been coming each day during the break to complete a thorough deep clean and disinfection of the campus, spending nearly an hour in each classroom cleaning all surfaces, resources, nooks, and crannies. Our cleaning crew will also be washing all carpets during the break. We take the cleanliness of our campus seriously and, as such, I have personally been on-site with the cleaning crew each day, supervising the work that they are doing. Today, before they left, my heart was warmed by the crew sharing with me how important it is to them that all of our students our safe.  They want the same level of safety for your families as their own families.

Again, thank you for your words of support during these trying times. Our school is here and ready to support our families. We are part of a strong network and benefit from daily briefings and support from entities around the globe. We are proud to provide support to other schools and are thankful for the support their provide us. L'union fait la force... unity makes strength!

We wish you a healthy, safe, and happy weekend full of connections with family and friends, near and far.



Mr. Jacques A. Weber, M.Ed.
Head of School/Chef d'Établissement

Posted in Communiqués

AIS Communiqué #5 Regarding COVID-19

March 16, 2020
By Jacques A. Weber

Dear AIS Community,

We are writing to you today regarding the evolution of COVID-19. This is a follow-up from the COVID-19 Communiqué #4 sent on March 13th, 2020. Our leadership team is continuing to monitor this event closely in order to support our students, families, and staff in the weeks ahead. We are here for you!

CAMPUS CLOSURE TO STUDENTS AND FAMILIES. Today, Austin ISD, Round Rock ISD, and numerous other school districts in our area announced that campuses will be closed to students through at least April 3rd, 2020. In line with our local districts and based on guidance provided by the Texas Education Agency, Austin International School’s campus will be closed to students and families through at least April 5th, 2020. We will continue to monitor the evolution of this situation to determine if it is necessary to restrict campus access beyond this date.

SHIFT TO DISTANCE LEARNING. Our team is highly committed to our students’ continued engagement in our academic program. Starting Tuesday, March 31st, it is planned that students will move to a distance learning model that will allow them to continue their academic progress from home. Our teachers were briefed about the potential move to this model before leaving for Spring Break; throughout the break, our leadership team will continue to work on preparing for this shift. We will be rolling out more information regarding the specifics of our distance learning program next week. Knowing that we are in a time of rapid change and adaptation, we thank you for your patience, flexibility, and support as we move to this new model.

MARCH 30TH: STAFF WORK DAY. Monday, March 30th will be a staff work day and as such, no classes will take place. On this day, our teaching teams will be collaborating to prepare for the shift to distance learning on Tuesday, March 31st.

EXTRACURRICULAR PROGRAM. All extracurricular activities will be cancelled through at least April 3rd, 2020. As we continue to monitor the evolution of this situation, this cancellation may be extended. After the Spring Break, our Extracurricular Coordinator, Jhino Medrano, will be in touch with families impacted by these cancellations.

REPORTING ILLNESS. If you or a member of your household contract COVID-19, we request that you inform us by email. Knowing that there are cases of contagious disease in our community helps us make informed decisions related to ongoing risk level assessment for AIS. We are not permitted by law to share the names of anyone who has fallen ill with the community at large.

We truly appreciate the words of encouragement and support we have received from all the members of our community. Mutual support and solidarity will be the driving forces behind our ability to navigate this together. I, for one, wouldn’t want to be part of any other community as we work to overcome this global pandemic. Merci à vous tous… y muchímsimas gracias.



Mr. Jacques A. Weber, M.Ed.
Head of School/Chef d'Établissement

Posted in Communiqués

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March 13, 2020
By April O'Quinn

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