Staying Focussed on What Is Important

Staying Focussed on What Is Important

by Craig Coutts, Head of School

Over the past few months, television, newspapers, podcasts and even social conversations have been dominated by talk of COVID-19. Being an international community, it seems we have been further affected as many of us are keeping an eye on local events around the pandemic as well as the situation back in our home cities or countries. Here at school the extended campus closure and the need for cancelling or rethinking of events have been unsettling and challenging, as of course has been the redesigning of our core purpose, learning.

Reflecting on the past months I feel that the YIS community has done an amazing job of keeping the focus on what is important, particularly keeping those around us at the forefront of thoughts and actions. It is hard in times of uncertainty to remain steady and provide the thought and care that fits with everyone’s needs. Everyone in the community has recognized their responsibility in being part of that support network. The school’s leadership team and teachers have done their best to keep everyone informed and up to date, however, it is you our parents and students who have plugged the gaps and reached out and cared and got involved to ensure that no one has been forgotten or left behind.

One thing that saddens me, however, is that we are unable to properly say goodbye to those in our community who are leaving. We will all do our best to do this virtually and through the limited in person time on the campus visit days, but it just will not be the same. However, it is important to recognize that the heartfelt sentiment for those who are leaving is no less genuine, and I hope this still comes across. 

By the time you read this, we will have had our modified graduation ceremony to celebrate the Grade 12 students who are completing their time here at YIS. I am glad we were able to offer the opportunity for most of our students to cross the stage and I hope that many of you joined us in your homes and watched the celebration through the live stream. This week we will celebrate other leavers and transitions through a number of virtual events. We wish you all the very best for your adventures ahead whether at YIS or in other corners of the world and we hope that the dragon spirit will remain inside you. 

Although the pandemic situation is improving in Japan and around the world, we are still faced with a level of uncertainty in the coming months and the possibility of further disruptions in the next school year. We are currently planning for the campus to be open in August and we hope that students and families will be able to walk through the gates from August 17th when school once again commences. Of course there are likely to be some modifications to practices and procedures, and we are also preparing alternative models should a full opening of the campus need to be delayed. I will be writing to the community again in early August when our plans are clearer.  

Thank you again for all of your support and generosity over the past few months and indeed over the past school year. I have appreciated the flexibility and trust you have shown us as a school and I find myself once again feeling very thankful to have such amazing colleagues, students and parents that I get to work with every day. I wish you all a safe and enjoyable summer. Although travel plans may look very different to previous years, I hope that you have time to take a breath and reconnect as a family and I look forward to seeing many of you again in August.