Happy New Year to all! I hope you and your families are well and had a chance to get rest and recharge during the vacation.
We will reopen school tomorrow (Wednesday, January 6th) in Phase 3, the same phase in which we left in December. This means that all students will be on campus!
Senegal is reporting a high number of cases for the country, but comparatively the rate of infection per 100,000 is still well below most European countries where schools remain open. The international health organizations continue to recommend students attend school unless there are outbreaks within the school community.
Also, given the government regulations that require a negative test to fly into Senegal, we will NOT require a 14 day quarantine for those that traveled during the break. The primary reasons for not requiring a quarantine are 1) we cannot enforce this rule and 2) I have full faith in our health and safety measures on campus (i.e. physical distancing and mask wearing) and our requirement for all students and staff to stay home if they show any symptoms of Covid-19.
Our main goals are to keep school open for classes on campus for as long as we can and to keep our community safe. In order to achieve these goals, we have established the following health and safety guidelines.
1. Parents should do a health screening of their children every day before school including taking their temperature. Click here for the link to the daily health screening checklist.
Students who display any Covid-19 symptoms including, but not limited to, fever above 37.8 C or 100 F, sore throat, headache, fatigue, loss of taste or smell, and persistent cough. If the child has any of these symptoms, they cannot come to school until they are symptom free for 24 hours.
Additionally, we are extending this guideline, so if any member of the household is experiencing symptoms, everyone in the household must be symptom-free for 24 hours before the students or the staff can come to campus.
2. If any member of the household has been approved for a Covid-19 test due to symptoms or taken a Covid-19 test, the children need to stay home until the test results come back.
Children are more likely to be asymptomatic or not show signs they have the virus. By allowing students to come to school while waiting for the test parents are potentially exposing other children and our staff to the virus.
The child can return to school if the test results are negative and all members of the household have been symptom free for 24 or more hours.
3. If any member of the household tests positive for Covid-19, please notify the school nurse, Jennifer Thermenos at firstname.lastname@example.org. The student will have to quarantine for 14 days.
Students will also have to quarantine for 14 days if they are a close contact with someone who has tested positive. You are a close contact if you have been within 1.8 meters or 6 feet of someone who tested positive for 15 or more minutes. For example, if your child was at another families house for dinner and one of the parents of the other children tested positive, your child would be considered a close contact and have to quarantine for 14 days.
4. Students, parents, and staff are required to wear masks on campus. Students may remove their masks under the following conditions.
While eating snack or lunch and they are behind a plexi-glass shield or more than 1.8 meters or 6 feet away from others.
Participating in exercise during PE classes.
At the direction of a staff member when the class is taking a mask break, which will occur outside and all students are more than 1.8 meters or 6 feet away from others.
Please review our full health and safety overview here.
I realize some parents may be uncomfortable sending their children to campus right after the break, which is fine. Every family has to make the best decision for themselves. The teachers and administrators will support the students learning online.
We are very fortunate to be able to allow students to come to campus five days per week. There are still a number of schools in Africa where the majority if not all of the students are fully online. Our ability to have classes on campus is dependent upon all members of the community following the health and safety guidelines.
Feel free to contact me (email@example.com) or Nurse Jen (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions.