The Omicron wave seems to be waning both in the ISD community and Senegal. There are currently no students out due to testing positive for Covid, no cohorts are in quarantine, and only two staff members are out due to Covid related reasons. See the chart above for reference as well as a couple of tables at the bottom of this article. Attendance in elementary school has returned to normal levels although there still is a higher-than-normal number of secondary school students who are not on campus.
In Senegal, the seven-day average of positive cases as reported by the government has dropped to 10% of the peak, which occurred on January 13.
Given the declining number of cases in the country and our community, beginning on February 7th, the health and safety guidelines will return to what they were in November and December.
Masks will be optional outside. Given a large number of people in a small area, we do ask that masks be worn at arrival and dismissal.
The second session of after-school activities and sports will begin.
Students will not be restricted to grade-level cohorts for recess.
The campus is open after school for students.
Also, please note that starting on February 7th, teachers will not teach synchronously online for students who are not in attendance unless the whole cohort is quarantined. It is very difficult for teachers to plan and deliver a lesson with part of the class in the room and part of the class at home. We realize some families chose to keep their students at home when the case numbers were high, now that they have greatly reduced, we expect all students to attend school in person.
Looking ahead, based on our most recent experiences and to follow the trend of other schools in the United States and Europe we anticipate we will no longer require classroom cohorts to quarantine if one student in the cohort tests positive. Even when the number of cases was high in the ISD community, we saw little to no transmission of the virus within the cohort. In cases where a student tests positive, all the families in the cohort will be notified and advised to monitor their children for symptoms. If the students are symptom-free, they can attend school. A member of the medical unit would then check in with the cohort each morning for five days to do a wellness check with each of the students. We will make a final decision about this in the next few weeks.
We have held true to our goals of providing an outstanding educational program for our students, on-campus to the maximum extent possible while prioritizing the health of our students, staff, and parents. We will continue to learn about the virus and how we can best balance these two goals. I appreciate the support from the community and continued understanding as we adapt our guidelines to meet the current conditions.