Director's Dispatch: We Need Your Help to Keep ISD Open



I wanted to share some important news with all of our families and ask for your continued support. I am doing a video message in addition to a written message in the hope I can better convey my thoughts.


The number of Covid cases in Senegal remain high and as a result the number of ISD families who are impacted by Covid is higher than ever before.


From the beginning of the year, we have had two equally important goals. One, keeping the school open for on campus classes and two, keeping our community safe by limiting the transmission of the virus.


We need every member in our community, students, parents, and staff, to actively support these goals. Most members of our community have been following the school’s guidelines and unfortunately some have not. I accept that part of the problem may be in how we have communicated the guidelines and will try to do better with this.


We will be continuing with classes on campus at this time and we will continue to quarantine student cohorts and staff when the circumstances require it. In addition, we will be making some adjustments in grades six to ten.


I would like to highlight four important ways the ISD community can support our goals of keeping everyone safe and continuing to have classes on campus.

1. Masks are required on campus at all times including the weekends. The only exceptions are when students or staff are eating and behind plexiglass or more than 6 feet apart. Also, masks may be removed when working on designated aerobic equipment in the fitness room.


As noted in this week’s Jag Journal, everyone is required to wear a mask on campus on the weekends even if they are in a family group. This is consistent with the current regulations in Senegal. Additionally, the staff who will be supervising the campus on the weekends do not know who is part of a family group or not.


Individuals who are not wearing a mask will be asked to leave the campus.


The next guideline is very important.


2. If any member of your household has a Covid symptom (see list below) no member of the household can come to campus until all members of the household are symptom-free for 24 hours. In the past two months, we have had children come to campus even though their sibling or parent is sick. This cannot happen as it potentially exposes other students and adults to the virus.


Covid-19 Symptoms

  • Temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or 100 Fahrenheit

  • Sore throat

  • New uncontrolled cough that causes difficulty breathing

  • Diarrhea, vomiting, or abdominal pain

  • New onset of severe headache, especially with fever

  • Loss of taste or smell


3. If any member of your household has been approved for a Covid test, no member of the household can come to campus until the results from the test come back. If the test comes back positive, all members of the household need to quarantine for 10 to 14 days. The school medical center will discuss the length of the quarantine with you.


4. Please contact the ISD medical team at nurse@faculty.isd.sn if:

  • Any member of your household is approved for a Covid test and again once you receive the test results.

  • Any member of your household needs to quarantine because they were a close contact of a person who tested positive for Covid

  • You are keeping your child home due to illness/symptoms.

  • You have any questions about your families’ health or medical situation.

If you have any questions about sending your child to school due to illness or exposure to a Covid case, please keep your child home and communicate with the school’s medical team.


We are committed to providing a high-quality educational experience for students who need to do online learning. The teachers will make sure the students do not fall behind if they have to stay home.


Due to the current situation in Senegal and in the ISD community, we will be moving Grades 6 to 10 back into three cohorts per grade instead of treating the whole grade as one cohort.


This will mean the French and Spanish classes in Grades 6 to 10 as well as math classes in Grades 9 and 10 will need to return to virtual classes to prevent the mixing of cohorts. In addition, students will only be able to eat with their cohorts.


I realize this may be frustrating but the change will reduce the number of students who will have to quarantine if one student tests positive. This week all of the Grade 8 students had to quarantine due to one student in the grade level. In the future, if a student in Grade 6 to 10 tests positive, only the cohort of about 20 students will need to quarantine and not the whole grade level of 50 to 60 students.


There will not be any changes to the other grade levels at this time. The younger students are largely in smaller cohorts throughout the day and students in Grades 11 and 12 cannot be in cohorts due to their class schedule.


We all have the same goals - provide the best educational experience possible for our students and strive to keep everyone safe. I want to thank the community for your support over the past five months. I appreciate your understanding and patience. The Covid situation will continue to evolve and our response must be flexible in order to meet the changing circumstances.


Please contact me (alank@faculty.isd.sn) if you have any questions.