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Community Update: Temporary Campus Closure and Continuous Learning Extended to May 11

Community Update: Temporary Campus Closure and Continuous Learning Extended to May 11

Dear YIS Community:


I hope this finds you all safe and well and managing the challenges of the difficult new reality we find ourselves in. 


Extension of Campus Closure to May 11
Although we had hoped to reopen the campus on April 13, given the increasing pace of growth in the number of confirmed COVID-19 infections and the declaration by Prime Minister Abe of a state of emergency through May 6 in seven prefectures, including Tokyo and Kanagawa, we have decided to extend the temporary campus closure and our Continuous Learning program until May 11. We feel that a one-month extension to our temporary campus closure, going even beyond the period of enhanced preventative isolation currently envisioned by Japanese authorities, will provide a more realistic timeframe in which to assess the feasibility of reopening and plan any necessary modifications to schedules, procedures and facilities to minimize any risk to health and safety. Additionally, knowing that the campus closure will last for another month will make it easier to keep continuity in the planning and stability in the delivering of our Continuous Learning program.

We are aware that some other international schools have closed their campuses for the remainder of the school year. However, we still hold onto the hope that we may be able to reopen for a period of time to give students and staff a chance to reconnect and to have some sense of comfort and closure to this challenging year. This is ultimately what everyone would love to happen, though of course if circumstances change we will modify our plans as necessary.

Continuous Learning 
During the extended campus closure we will carry on engaging students through our Continuous Learning program, which thanks to everyone’s efforts has been going very well. We received some great feedback in the survey we sent to students, staff and parents earlier, and have already incorporated a number of enhancements, such as the introduction of daily online class meetings in elementary. We will continue to develop the program and are working on creative ways to extend our virtual connections in other aspects of school life. I continue to be impressed with the level of engagement and dedication of students and teachers across all sections of the school. 

Staying Healthy at Home
Although details of the preventative isolation measures being advised by the Tokyo and Kanagawa prefectural governments are still emerging, the primary message is to stay in your home with only people who usually live in the household and avoid close contact with others when you do go outside for fresh air and exercise or when you have to pick up necessities. And of course frequent handwashing and proper cough etiquette remain essential. We hope everyone in the YIS community will do their part to help prevent the spread of infection by following these measures and the guidelines as directed by local authorities.  

Re-enrollment for 2020-21
Thank you to everyone who has already completed re-enrollment for the next school year. As you know, the deadline for confirming re-enrollment is April 15 and involves completing an online re-enrollment process via the Veracross parent portal and paying a tuition deposit. Although we are still insisting on completion of the online re-enrollment process by April 15th, we extended the deadline for payment of the tuition deposit until April 30. Given the extension of the campus closure until May 11 and the uncertainties many families are dealing with, we are considering further extending this deadline. We will write separately with details in the next day or two. As always, please contact Bob Pomeroy (pomeroyr@yis.ac.jp) if you have any questions or need to consult regarding extenuating circumstances. 

Dragon Dining’s Grab & Go Meal Service Continues
Thank you to the many local families who have taken advantage of Dragon Dining’s Grab & Go meal service during the campus closure. As communicated earlier, to help relieve the burden of preparing meals day in day out, Dragon Dining is offering a daily Grab & Go meal service for YIS families living near the school or able to get there by car. Meal options are displayed and ordered through your Lunchbox Portal. Orders may be placed up to 9am on the day of pick up and the meals, boxed up and ready to go, may be collected at the YIS cafeteria between 11am and 2pm. Access to the cafeteria is via the playground gate only, and you are asked to pick up your meal, maintain distance from others and leave right away from the same gate. Short-term parking on the playground is allowed for this purpose.


We will continue to update you via email and our COVID-19 Community Support Frequently Asked Questions page with any new developments. 


I know the extension of our campus closure will be disappointing news to students and their families, as it is for all faculty and staff. We really miss learning together in person and the casual day to day interactions that make YIS feel like home and friends and colleagues seem like family. Let’s do what we can during the next month to hold onto that close sense of community.


Take care, 

Craig Coutts