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HOS eCommuniqué: An Informed, Prepared, and Safe Fall Break

September 23, 2021
By Jacques A. Weber

Dear AIS Community,

It’s hard to believe, but our annual Fall Break is rapidly approaching! As a reminder, Friday, October 1st is a staff in-service day (no school), and the week of October 4th is our Fall Break. Our half-day Fall Camp, Journey to Wonderland, is available for students in MS through CE2. Only a few spots remain in each camp, so sign-up now if you haven’t yet made plans to attend!

While COVID cases in the Austin area have been trending in better direction over the last couple of weeks, we are not out of the woods yet regarding the pandemic. Though many families are planning on a “staycation” right here in Austin, some may elect to travel during the upcoming break. As you do every day, we ask that if you travel, you continue to evaluate risks associated with your trip and that you abide by CDC guidance at all times, including any quarantines and testing that may be necessary.

The following is a summary of the most recent CDC guidance—for both domestic and international travel—published on August 25th, 2021:

  • For fully vaccinated people (or for those who have recovered from COVID-19 in the past 3 months):
    • Wear a mask over your nose and mouth in planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation.
    • In areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases, consider waring a mask in crowded outdoor settings and for activities with close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated.
    • Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms.
    • Get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after travel if returning from an international trip.
       
  • For people who are not fully vaccinated:
    1. Get tested with a viral test 1-3 days before your trip.
    2. Wear a mask over your nose and mouth in planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation.
    3. Avoid crows and stay at least 6 feet (2 meters) from anyone not traveling with you.
    4. Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).
    5. Get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after travel AND stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel.
      1. Even if you are negative, stay home and quarantine the full 7 days.
      2. If you test positive, isolate yourself.
         
    6. If you don’t get tested, stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel.
    7. Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days, whether you get tested or not.
    8. Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms.

An important element in establishing the degree to which you are required to follow the above guidance is that of risk associated with your planned trip. If, for instance, a family drives to Mexico and stays at a private residence with little to no contact with those outside of their bubble, the risk presented is very low. Contrastingly, if a family takes a domestic trip to Disneyland and participates in crowded outdoor events, risks are comparatively higher.

Each family is expected to reasonably assess risk levels and to abide by the above guidance as required, including quarantines and testing. If you are unsure whether you may need to test or quarantine after the Fall Break, simply reach out to me by email or telephone and I will be happy to discuss your plans and make post-travel recommendations. As a reminder, any absences related to COVID-19—including quarantines—are considered excused absences and will not negatively impact your child’s attendance record.

The health and safety of our students, staff, and families is a full AIS community responsibility. You have an important part to play in the health and safety of others in our school community. While a quarantine may be an inconvenience after return from an extended holiday, it is a requirement for students who may have been engaged in high-risk activities, including crowded travel situations.

Our community’s commitment to health and safety protocols have allowed us to focus on two other concurrent priorities: academic growth and excellence; and socioemotional growth and wellbeing. Through the combined efforts of staff, students, and families, we have kept our campus open for all our students since September 2020. Thank you for ensuring that we continue down this successful path in the months to come!

If you have any questions, please remember that I am only an email or a phone call away.

Have a great end to your week!

Sincerely,

Jacques

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