Update to Health & Safety Guidelines

Based on recommendations from the U.S. Center for Disease Control, the current status of the virus in Senegal, and the high vaccination rate among our staff and parents, we will allow students and staff to remove their masks when they are outside during recess and lunch.

From the beginning of the pandemic, we have declared that we will make decisions based on the following.

  • Directives from the Senegalese Government

  • Recommendations from international health organizations including the Center for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), and American Academy of Pediatrics AAP)

  • Status of active cases in Senegal and the ISD Community

  • The vaccination rate in the ISD community (added in the 2021-22 school year)

This summer, the CDC updated its guidance for schools and included this statement, “In general, people do not need to wear masks when outdoors (e.g., participating in outdoor play, recess, and physical education activities).

The overall number of cases and deaths from Covid-19 has been declining since the end of August and is currently close to the lowest levels since the start of the pandemic. I have received multiple reports that the actual number of cases in Senegal is much higher than what is being reported. However, if the official reports are only capturing 5% to 10% of the actual totals, the transmission rate would still be considered low.

Recent surveys show that 85% of the educators at ISD are fully vaccinated with 3% in the process. 51% of our parents responded to the survey and of those, 88% reported being fully vaccinated with another 4% in the process. Additionally, based on the parent survey, 33% of our secondary school students are vaccinated.

You may ask, why are we making this change? ISD has been doing well so far, why ease any of the restrictions? Covid fatigue and mask fatigue are real. We are seeing more reluctance to wear masks throughout the day. By allowing students and staff to have mask breaks each day, we hope there will be more consistent mask-wearing indoors where the risk is higher for transmission.

Elementary parents may request that their children wear a mask outdoors. The elementary school will be reaching out to all parents with communication about masks where parents can indicate their preference for children to continue to wear a mask outdoors.

As always, we will continue to closely monitor the situation in Senegal, as well as the latest recommendations from international health organizations. We will adjust our guidelines as needed.

The guidelines for when students and staff may remove their masks are below.

Please contact Director Alan Knobloch (alank@faculty.isd.sn) with any questions in English. Assistant Director, Suzanne Wardini (suzannew@faculty.isd.sn) can answer any questions in French. Medical questions can be sent to (nurse@faculty.isd.sn).


Elementary

  • All students in the Elementary school will be required to wear their masks when entering and exiting campus, inside classrooms, and during transitions between classes.

  • Students have the option to remove their masks during morning recess and lunch recess. Teachers will designate areas outdoors where students will leave and/or change their masks.

  • Students may only remove their masks when they are outdoors.

  • Students need to put masks on before moving indoors.













Secondary

  • All students in the Secondary school will be required to wear their masks when entering and exiting campus, inside classrooms, and during transitions between classes.

  • Students have the option to remove their masks upon exiting the secondary building area during lunchtime. During this time students may choose to remove their masks when they are on the courts, grass fields, and outdoor eating areas.

  • Students will be in their cohort and grade-level designated sections when eating and playing during lunchtime.

  • Students may only remove their masks when they are outdoors.

  • Students need to put masks on before leaving their designated lunch areas.


ISD Community

  • Families have the option to remove their masks while outdoors on campus when in their family/household group during community campus hours, which are 4:30-6:00 pm during the week and all day on weekends.

  • It is recommended that unvaccinated family/household members keep their masks on when visiting campus.