Update Regarding COVID-19 Situation and Delayed Campus Reopening

Update Regarding COVID-19 Situation and Delayed Campus Reopening

Dear Parents,

I hope this finds you all well and managing to find some moments of enjoyment during the Spring Break, despite the uncertainty, concern and disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Although we have not received any reports to date of YIS community members having contracted the virus, everyone’s life has been affected in some way. For those of you with family in the areas hardest hit by the outbreak, as well as those living with relatives who are older or have chronic medical conditions, I know the worries are especially acute. At a time like this, I am grateful to be part of the YIS community and know that we will pull together to overcome whatever challenges we face and to support one another. 

Campus Reopening Delayed until April 13 

After considering a wide range of factors, we have decided to delay the reopening of the YIS campus until Monday, April 13. Our Continuous Learning Program will start up again on Tuesday, March 31 and continue through April 10. Details regarding the learning program during this time will be sent to you on Monday, March 30, but students should all be ready to rejoin the learning program on Tuesday the 31st. The decision to extend the campus closure was not an easy one. We would dearly love to be back together as soon as possible but at the same time we must do all we can to ensure an acceptably safe and healthy environment at school and to help mitigate the risk of infection for students, staff, their families and the wider community. 

Although it appears that local Japanese schools may be allowed to reopen from next week and other international schools in the Yokohama/Tokyo area are reopening from April 6, out of an abundance of caution we feel that a longer campus closure is warranted. Amid the present uncertainty regarding a possible uptick in COVID-19 cases in our area, the extra time could allow for more accurate assessment of the rate of infection as testing ramps up. Additionally, having a confirmed two-week extension to our Continuous Learning Program will enable us to plan more meaningful and engaging learning experiences than if we were to plan for a shorter period that might have to be re-extended. Finally, extending the reopening until the 13th will allow time for families returning after the Spring Break from overseas to self-quarantine for a 14-day period before returning to school.

Self-quarantine and Other Measures Once We Do Reopen the Campus

Once we do reopen the campus, we will be taking a number of actions to help protect the health of our community and mitigate the risk of infection. First, in line with Japanese government policy we ask anyone who has travelled overseas during the break to self-quarantine at home upon return to Japan for at least 14 days and to consult with the school nurse before returning to school (nurse@yis.ac.jp). Likewise, anyone who has come in direct contact with someone who has been confirmed to have been infected with the COVID-19 virus must self-quarantine for 14 days and consult with the school nurse before returning to school. Separately, we will be intensifying disinfection procedures and introducing a number of “distancing” measures to reduce the proximity, size and duration of group interactions. We will provide more information about these measures as we get closer to reopening the campus. 

Re-enrollment for 2020-21

As you know, the deadline for confirming re-enrollment is April 15. We still require that you complete the online re-enrollment process by that date in order to guarantee a space for your child in the next school year. However, in recognition of the fact that some companies’ HR functions may be impacted by the current situation, we will extend the deadline for payment of the tuition deposit until April 30. Please contact Bob Pomeroy (pomeroyr@yis.ac.jp) if you have any questions or need to consult regarding extenuating circumstances. 

As I’m sure you can appreciate, the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic is constantly evolving, as are the measures being taken by public health authorities in Japan and governments around the world. Please understand that our plans are based on the best available information at the time but are always subject to change as the situation evolves. We will continue to keep you informed and thank you for your continued cooperation and support.

Admissions Inquiries During Temporary Campus Closure
Please note that during the current temporary campus closure due to the COVID-19 situation, our Admissions Office staff are working remotely but will continue to respond to inquiries. Please email admissions@yis.ac.jp or leave a voice message at +81 (0) 045-622-5590 and we will get back to you. 

During this time we will continue to process applications and provide admission decisions as usual. However, for the safety of all concerned, we unfortunately will not be able to accept any in-person campus visits at least through the end of April 2020. We apologize for this inconvenience and thank you for your understanding. 


Take care, stay safe and I hope to see you in a few weeks’ time.


Craig Coutts