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AIS Communiqué #2 Regarding COVID-19

March 12, 2020
By Jacques A. Weber

Dear AIS Community,

We continue to closely monitor the rapidly evolving COVID-19 health pandemic, including its impact on daily life for millions around the globe. This is an update from our March 4th Communiqué regarding COVID-19.

SPRING BREAK TRAVEL. In the March 6th edition of the Friday Flash, we shared the Centers for Disease Control's list of countries with current travel advisories. We also shared with you a very important policy that we are enforcing with immediate effect: If, during this course of the global COVID-19 pandemic, you or a member of your household (including visitors from abroad) travels to a country that has a CDC Level 2 or 3 Health Notice, then you and/or any individuals that share the same household will NOT be permitted on the AIS campus until 14 days have passed since the traveler's return to the United States. With the health and safety of our community in mind, we will enforce this rule without exception. As of this morning, the CDC's list of countries with Level 2-3 Health Notices now includes "Most of Europe." The complete list is as follows (click links to open the CDC's official Health Notice): ChinaIranMost of Europe (specifically: Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City), South Korea. This list is subject to rapid change, so we recommend that you check it thoroughly before considering any overseas travel. In light of the U.S. President’s announcement last night to suspend travel from Europe to the US starting tomorrow, along with the U.S. Department of State's March 11th Global Level 3 Health Advisorywe recommend that you cancel any non-essential trips abroad for at least the next 30 days.

COMMUNITY TRUST. As caring members of our tight-knit community, we trust that all families will openly and honestly abide by our policy to not return to campus in the event that a member of the household has traveled to a Level 2 or 3 Health Notice country. If you are unsure about whether or not this temporary exclusion will apply to you, please contact me to inquire directly. If you travel and are subsequently subject to a 14-day exclusion, we request that you inform the school by sending en email to our receptionist who will mark these as excused absences.

SCHOOL CLOSURE. We are in constant daily contact with numerous government agencies, associations, and partner schools to help inform our decision to close our campus to families and outside community members. For more information about the process used to inform this type of decision, please consult our Crisis Management Matrix for Contagious Diseases. With no active confirmed cases currently reported in Travis county or in the Austin area, our school is at a Risk Level 1. That said, with yesterday's declaration of a global pandemic by the WHO's Director-General and early propagation of COVID-19 in other areas of Texas, there is a strong likelihood of moving to a Risk Level 2 in the coming weeks or even days. Though our community will be on Spring Break over the next two weeks, our Leadership Team will continue to monitor this situation closely and will communicate any changes to AIS's Risk Levels as necessary.

DISTANCE LEARNING. In the event of elevation to a Risk Level 3, we will begin to roll out to families more information about our AIS Distance Learning, which will allow students to continue to engage in our academic program in the event of a school closure. A shift to distance learning requires patience, adaptability, and flexibility. Our faculty and staff is committed to supporting our students and families during such an adjustment, and we will be on hand to support families through this shift as needed.

HEALTH AND HYGIENE. We are pleased to see improved handwashing practices from many of our students in school; please continue to reinforce this with your children at home. As we stated above, any travel to Level 2 or 3 Health Notice areas will require 14 days of exclusion from campus. With this in mind, we also remind you that it is imperative that students and their household members not come to campus if they are sick. Any AIS community member who has contracted a contagious illness must be symptom-free and fever-free, without medication for 24 hours before returning to school. If your child will be absent due to illness, please send an email to our receptionist who will mark your child with an excused absence for the day. Individuals who arrive ill to campus will be asked to leave and return only when cleared to do so.  

HEALTH SUPPLIES. As many of you will have noticed, stocks of health and cleaning supplies (e.g., disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizers, and cleaning liquids) are now depleted in many local and online stores; this situation is also compounded by the increased use of these products in daily life. In order to help our AIS Owl community ensure a continuous supply of these materials, we ask that you keep an eye out for available supplies and send your child to school with one bottle of disinfectant wipes and/or hand sanitizer if possible. We appreciate your support with this effort.

IN SUMMARY:

  • AIS recommends that you cancel any trips abroad planned for at least the next 30 days.
  • Should you travel to any countries with CDC Level 2 or 3 Health Notices during Spring Break, we require you to stay home for 14 days upon return to the U.S. 
  • Please contact reception to notify us if your child will be absent after the break due to trips taken to an affected area. These absences will be excused.
  • Per our school handbooks, please keep students at home if they are ill until they are symptom-free and fever-free without medication for at least 24 hours.
  • Please continue to encourage, discuss, and practice proper hand-washing and hygiene practices. 
  • We would appreciate you sending your child to school with a canister of disinfectant wipes and/or a bottle of hand sanitizer if possible to help us maintain our supply.
  • We will be in touch regarding any school closures and any consequential distance learning due to closure.

Our AIS family so very much appreciates your words and gestures of support at this time. As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly if you have any questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Jacques

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

Posted in Communiqués