Today, all of the elementary students were on campus for the first time this school year. And on Thursday, the Secondary School will welcome all the students in Grades 6 to 10. The Secondary School is taking a few extra days as we will be changing the schedule for lunchtimes to accommodate the physical distancing needed for students to remove their face masks when eating.
The decision to move to Phase Three was based on the relatively low number of cases in Senegal and among our ISD community. With the opening of the Senegalese schools and easing of personal protection measures in the wider community, we are seeing an expected increase in the number of cases in Senegal over the past week. However, for now, the number of cases is still below the peak of cases in August. Additionally, evidence from Europe and Asia have shown that schools that require masks generally have the same or lower number of infections than the general community. Schools have not been shown to be the source of widespread infections.
The biggest change by moving into Phase 3 is that all students are 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 while students in Grades 3 to 10 come every other day. With the new procedures, we have a target of 1 meter of separation between students instead of the 1.8 meters used previously. The students in 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 the cohort would need to quarantine for 14 days.
As we move to different physical distancing requirements, other precautions become more important.
We will continue to require students to wear masks on campus.
They will be able to remove the masks during snack and lunchtime when they are behind plexiglass shields or well away from their classmates. The teachers will give students mask breaks during the day.
Students must stay home if they are displaying any of the Covid-19 symptoms including fever, dry cough, fatigue, headaches, sore throat, diarrhea, and loss of smell. Students and staff can return to school once they are fever-free for 24 hours.
Students must stay home if any member of the household has been approved for a Covid-19 test. For example, if the doctor authorizes a test on Monday night, the student cannot come to school on Tuesday. Students can return if the member of the household has a negative test.
Parents must inform the school nurse if any member of the household tests positive for Covid-19. This can be done by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. This is an essential step to allow the school’s medical team to do contact tracing and inform students and teachers who are deemed to be close contacts to quarantine in order to limit the spread of the virus.
The biggest logistical challenges in moving to Phase Three are lunch and dismissal. The leadership teams have made the necessary adjustments to keep our students safe during lunch including adding more plexiglass to our tables. We will need support from parents and drivers to make dismissal go as smoothly as possible. We will have a staggered dismissal. Families are asked to schedule their arrival based on the following schedule.
2:55 pm – Elementary only cars
2:55 pm – Parents and caregivers can enter the campus to collect students
3:20 pm – Elementary and middle/high school students only
3:30 pm – Middle and high school students only
Parents or caregivers of elementary students are welcome to enter the campus to collect the students. The parents and caregivers must have ISD identification, will have their temperature taken, and will need to sanitize their hands.
It takes about 20 minutes to facilitate the pick-up of elementary school students.
The elementary school students are supervised by the classroom teachers until they are picked up. If a middle or high school student is not waiting when their car arrives, we will ask the car to go around again and not wait. It is essential the drivers follow the directions of the school guards and administrators.
We will continue to closely monitor the situation in Senegal and communicate with you if we have positive cases in our community. If the Covid-19 situation remains stable, we may consider moving to Phase Four in late January. If the number of cases in Senegal or the ISD Community significantly increases we would have to consider moving to an earlier phase.
Parents who have questions about the academic programs should contact the respective principals.
Elementary – Kelly Chumrau (email@example.com)
Secondary – Lorne Bird (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Parents who have medical questions can reach our medical team at email@example.com.
Any other questions about the school’s reopening plan should contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.