Given the relative low number of cases in Senegal and the lack of evidence of transmission of the virus on campus as we have eased some of our restrictions, the Administration has begun planning to move to a Phase 3 in our reopening plan. We moved to Phase 2 in mid-October and phased in changes over a period of weeks. To date, we have not seen any student or staff member test positive from increasing the interaction of students outside of their original cohort.
The biggest change by moving into Phase 3 would be that all students would be invited to come to campus every day. Currently, students in Pre-K 3 to Grade 2 and students in Grades 11 and 12 come to campus every day. Students in grades 3 to 10 come every other day. In doing so, we would have a target of 1 meter of separation between students instead of the 1.8 meters we had been using. The students in grades Pre-K to Grade 10 would mostly remain in cohorts of 15 to 21 students and remain in one classroom for most of the day. If one student in the larger cohort tested positive for the virus all 15 to 21 students in a cohort would need to quarantine for 14 days.
The elementary and secondary leadership teams are looking at the logistical challenges of protecting the students during lunch time, breaks, recess. From our experience as well as other schools, the wearing of masks has helped prevent transmission of the virus on campus. As such, masks will continue to be required and even more important as there will less physical distancing. Increasing the number of students on campus may require students to eat in a classroom some days as we do not have enough outdoor seating for students to physically distance.
Another logistical issue will be dismissal. The elementary dismissal will still be 3:00 pm and secondary dismissal might be adjusted to a slightly later time. Families with children in both elementary and secondary will be asked to not arrive on campus until secondary dismissal. Patience will be essential.
Parents or students who are uncomfortable coming to school every day with a larger cohort can elect to continue with the hybrid program for now. We will still be offering the full online learning option as well.
As I wrote in early October, the reopening plans will continue to evolve. As such, we have added another phase in the process. See the full reopening plan below.
We have not made a final decision that we move to Phase 3 at this time or a specific date. Our ability to move to Phase 3 is contingent upon the number of Covid-19 cases remaining low in Senegal as well as the ISD community. We will closely monitor the situation in Senegal and on-campus. Senegal has eased restrictions and Senegalese schools have reopened. We could see a rise in cases in the country or our community.
I will host a parent town hall on Tuesday, November 24 at 5:00 PM GMT to share information and gather feedback. The link will be sent out closer to the date.