Welcome Back to Campus 2021.
This news is dedicated to outlining the "Student & Staff Re-Entry to Campus Plan for Semester Two". Please read carefully. These are to be read in conjunction with our existing AISZ Health Guidelines found here.
Student & Staff Re-Entry to AISZ
I am looking forward with great anticipation to welcoming our students and staff back to campus on Monday. We will be operating our usual combination of all classes; Face to Face in Lower School and the continuation of our Hybrid Program for Upper School. As it will be an Upper School Day 3, the High School students will be on campus on Monday.
As you may have heard, some local schools have been impacted severely by the earthquakes (more below) and then others are implementing COVID responses by continuing online for grades 5 -11. We have been in continuous communication with the epidemiologists and as our circumstances are somewhat different in regard to our response capacity to the situation. At the same time, we have demonstrated that we can maintain our high levels of health protocols. We are confident that by reinforcing the procedures we have we are able to operate our school in the familiar hybrid environment maximizing face to face contact for all students without separating our school. These reinforced procedures are highlighted below and I ask that you read them carefully. Nothing is new, but we need to be aware and vigilant. Of course we monitor the situation continuously and are ready with alternate plans if a later situation requires such a response.
- Home Health Monitoring - student temperature and symptoms must be monitored at home and no person attending or working at AISZ should come to school if displaying cold or flu like symptoms. Both our Health Office and our Attendance Officer must be notified. The temperature diary must be maintained from home and shown to a staff member before any student is allowed on campus. Temperature checks will continue on arrival at AISZ before entry.
- Notifications of Cases and Symptoms - all cases of isolation, quarantine or illness due to COVID-19 must be reported to the AISZ Health Office. Attendance at AISZ is not permitted and re-entry only possible once clearance has been granted by AISZ Health Office.
- Surgical Masks - due to the increased efficiency of properly constructed face masks we must at this point make surgical masks compulsory for all people within the school. We have purchased enough to help students and staff if they do not have any on Monday, but we request that each family purchase and use these as the primary barrier to infection. It is now mandatory to only use surgical grade face masks.
- Home and School Hygiene - students will be constantly reminded to wash their hands properly many times during the day and during class transitions. Reinforcement of appropriate and regular hygiene practices at home will also reinforce this important health measure.
- Social Distancing - Social Distancing will continue to be enforced at school. We anticipate that students will be very happy to see each other on their return to in-person learning but we will be strictly enforcing social distancing requirements. Please help our staff do this by discussing the need for this at home.
- Keeping the Numbers Low - many European countries have suffered an increasing second or third wave; as high or higher than previous times. This is because, understandably, as the numbers dropped people were keen to return to a more normal life. This early relaxation of protocols and restrictions has caused an explosion in some numbers. AISZ has so far done exceptional well in managing this situation and it is because our students and families are working together to keep our community safe. We need to continue to do this. We cannot allow falling numbers, the vision of a vaccine and the coming of Spring to affect the power of our protocols in keeping COVID-19 out of our school. There is no guarantee that we can do this - but our best weapon against it is continuous vigilance and implementation of our procedures.
- Community Sport and Engagement - in upcoming weeks or months if the numbers keep falling, it may be likely that community sport and activities outside AISZ will be re-introduced. For AISZ this has been a significant cause of past isolations and positive cases during Semester 1. I ask that very serious consideration be given to any involvement in community or social activities that do not have robust protocols in place. In all engagements outside of school I request that the hygiene and distancing protocols remain in place.
Travel, Return and the UK Strain of COVID-19
Right now this is a very real and imminent threat to our school.
We introduced this one week of virtual learning in order to create a "transmission buffer" between the social interactions during the holidays and returning to school. If you have only just returned to Croatia less than 10 days ago, from a country with an outbreak of the UK Strain of the virus, we ask you to remain at home until 10days after your arrival back to Croatia. This way you are helping us to ensure that the new strain does not enter our school.
Please notify the AISZ Health Office for further information and support if this applies to you.
Recent Earthquakes & Practice Drills
The recent earthquakes and continuing tremors have caused real damage - both physical and psychological. The people at the epicenter are in a desperate state and AISZ will be launching a service program to assist. During the holidays many of our staff were involved in the collection and distribution of aid, and one was on the ground working with the official emergency services team at the epicenter. Three of our staff have had to move from their home and relocate to shared accommodation while repairs are being made to their homes or situations. I am sure families have been impacted as well.
On Monday, and when Middle School students return, we will be undertaking Earthquake and Evacuation Drills. Please have these same conversations about what to do at home in case of an earthquake or other emergency if you have not already done this. Even practicing at home is important.
Once again I thank you for your ongoing support. It is helpful when times are difficult to remember the ongoing support we have from so many.