COVID-19 Community Support
Blended Learning is currently in place. See below and also see the Blended Learning - Guide for Students and Families.
The gradual reopening of public life in Japan since the initial wave of COVID-19 infections last Spring has been encouraging, but the situation remains volatile and we must acknowledge the possibility of a new wave of infection occurring at some point in the 2020-21 school year. Accordingly, we have developed three interchangeable learning models that can be flexibly deployed over the school year as the situation requires. Together, the models aim to assure continuity of learning, and along with enhanced health and hygiene measures, provide peace of mind for students, parents and staff. Descriptions of the learning models are provided below, along with further details on risk assessment, a list of health and safety procedures, and Frequently Asked Questions. This page will be updated throughout the year with other COVID-19-related developments.
For health-related questions, please contact our school nurse, Michiko Bowering, in the Health Office by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (045-621-4027). The Health Office is open from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm on school days.
Three Learning Models for 2020-21
Depending on the development of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated health risks over the course of the school year, we will employ the following models:
Our preferred model if the public health situation allows, the campus is open, albeit with enhanced hygiene measures and modifications to some activities and events. The focus of teaching and learning is in the classroom. Regular assessment methods are used. Although optimized for in-classroom learning, access to remote learning is also provided for those unable to be on campus due to delayed (re)entry into Japan, high-risk health conditions, or other special circumstances.
The campus is open, however, due to elevated health risks and the need for greater social distancing, the number of students on campus is limited through a staggered schedule of attendance. Learning is conducted face to face in the classroom and online at home. Assessment methods are modified accordingly. Over the period of blended learning, students spend roughly half the days on campus and half learning at home. Access to remote learning is provided for those unable to be on campus. Activities and events may be modified, postponed or suspended. See our Blended Learning - Guide for Students and Families for details.
The campus is closed and all teaching and learning is conducted online. Assessment methods are modified accordingly. All school activities and events are postponed or cancelled.
Our hope is that as many students as possible will be able to attend school on campus when it is fully open or on the designated days for blended learning. But we recognize that some families may have health factors that need to be considered in making a decision on whether attending school in person is appropriate for their situation. There may also be some families who, because of travel restrictions, have not yet been able to enter or return to Japan. We will do our best to accommodate students in these circumstances and it is expected that the students will access the learning through the appropriate online platform and complete work that has been set. Likewise, on off-campus learning days and blended learning days that students are not on campus, all students are expected to be engaged in their learning and complete their work online.
Parents are asked to make an informed decision about whether their child will attend school on campus and how they will commute to school. When students are working from home, we ask that you support your child with the provision of a suitable working space and help the teachers in monitoring students’ application to their work and the completion of assignments. We will provide information and resources to help you in supporting your children’s learning.
Assessing the Level of Risk
The decision of which model will be employed at any particular time during the school year will be based on the assessed level of public health risk. We will determine the risk level based on the directives and guidance of Japanese public health and educational authorities, analysis of infection rates in Kanagawa and Tokyo, guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO) and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), actions of other international schools in Japan, and other factors. The following is a general overview of the risk determinants.
|Low Risk||Moderate Risk||High Risk|
Resources: 新型コロナウイルス感染症 モニタリング状況 (Kanagawa COVID-19 Infection Monitoring Information); Updates on COVID-19 in Tokyo
Although we will take the utmost care to accurately assess the public health risk in deciding which model to employ at any given time and will take various precautionary measures to minimize the risk of infection when students are on campus, it should be understood that the risk cannot be eliminated. Moreover, we recognize that families may have different circumstances, such as household members with chronic health conditions, and differing views of what constitutes an acceptable level of risk. We acknowledge that the decision on whether to send children to school is ultimately up to parents/guardians and we will do our best to accommodate students who are unable to be on campus when on-campus or blended learning is in place.
Recognizing the need for continuing care and vigilance to safeguard our community and prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection, we are adopting a range of measures to strengthen hygiene practices, ensure physical distancing and reduce density as appropriate. These include general health & safety measures that will be employed throughout the year whenever the campus is open and additional measures to be put in place to address the increased risk level when the blended learning model is implemented. The mix of health & safety measures may be revised and/or new measures introduced at any point during the school year as the situation warrants.
|General Health & Safety Measures||Additional Health & Safety Measures|
|Whenever the Campus Is Open||During Blended Learning|
Additional Health and Safety Measures: During Blended Learning
In addition to the general health and hygiene procedures listed above, the following measures will be put into effect when the blended learning model is in place.
Reduced Student Numbers
The schedule will be staggered so that roughly half the number of students who are normally on campus will attend on any day. Classes will also be arranged so that there is less movement and intermingling of grade levels within the campus than usual.
Temperature/Symptom Checks at School
As an extra precaution, upon arrival to the classroom students will have their temperature checked and asked about flu-like symptoms once again at the start of the day by their tutor/homeroom teacher. Any student identified with a temperature of 37.5º or higher or complaining of other flu-like symptoms will be sent to the Health Office where their health conditions will be checked once again. If it is confirmed that the student has a fever or is exhibiting other flu-like symptoms, they will stay in an isolation room. Parents will be notified and the student will be asked to return home as soon as possible. Students should still check their temperature and make sure they are symptom-free each morning at home before coming to school.
Parents and Visitors on Campus
Due to the need to limit the number of people on campus at any one time, parents will be asked to refrain from coming on campus when the blended learning model is in place. However, we recognize that the younger elementary students may require assistance and perhaps a little reassurance when coming to school so it is understood that parents of these students may need to accompany their child to school. We will also be welcoming new students to YIS in August and at various times of the year and these parents may come on campus to help their child to settle in and start their time here. Once the child is settled with their teacher we ask for parents to leave the campus. Similarly, some of the younger students may require picking up after school has finished. Again we request that parents vacate the campus as soon as their child has finished the school day. Parents wishing to speak with teachers, faculty or office staff should arrange to speak via telephone or video call if possible, although exceptions may be made on a case by case basis. In any event, whenever parents are on campus they should wear face masks at all times, use hand sanitizer when entering the campus and abide by all other health and safety protocols.
Before and After School
To limit the possibilities of close social interactions students should arrive at school no earlier than 10 minutes before the official start of the day and go straight to their homeroom or tutor room upon arrival. After school, students should leave the campus and return home as soon as the school day is completed. They may not remain on the playground at any time outside of school hours.
During blended learning when students are on campus they will spend the majority of the day in specified rooms/floors by grade level and teachers will rotate into those locations. This is done to help minimize exposure across the school environment. Exceptions will be for specialized facilities (science, music, art & design, drama and PE), the cafeteria and the library.
Activities and Events
To reduce exposure across the school environment and grade levels, after school activities may be modified or suspended during blended learning. Likewise, events for students and/or parents after school hours may be modified, suspended or postponed, and events/assemblies during school hours will be limited in number of participants and duration.
General Health and Safety Measures: Whenever the Campus is Open
Before Leaving Home
Of all the measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of infection in the YIS community, the most important one is: Do not come to school if you are sick. We therefore ask students and staff to check their body temperature and health condition every day before leaving home. If your temperature is 37.5º or higher you must stay home and not return to school for at least 24 hours after your temperature returns to normal without fever-reducing medication. Likewise, if you have any flu-like symptoms you must remain at home for at least 24 hours after you are symptom-free.
Hand Sanitizer and Frequent Hand Washing
Hand sanitizer is available at all campus entry points, and everyone should use this upon entering the campus. Hand sanitizer is also placed in all classrooms and public spaces, such as the library and cafeteria. Frequent hand washing using soap and water is one of the most important measures for preventing the spread of infection. Students are expected (and will be reminded) to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after every break and lunchtime, as well as any times when they may be handling common materials.
Wearing of Face Masks
Until further notice, all students, faculty and staff are required to wear a mask while on campus and when commuting to and from school. Those wearing disposable masks are asked to bring an additional mask with them as masks should be changed halfway through the day. A limited number of extra masks will be kept at school if you forget your mask or a replacement is needed. Cloth masks should be washed on a regular basis. Students are not required to wear their masks during times they are exercising so as to avoid overheating.
Everyone is expected to practice proper coughing/sneezing etiquette at all times: cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze; throw used tissues in the trash; if you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands.
Cleaning and disinfection routines have been increased to include more frequent and thorough surface cleaning with appropriate disinfectant cleansers.
Windows and doors are to be kept open in all rooms to provide cross-ventilation. Air conditioning will also be used to help regulate room temperature and humidity and assist with airflow.
We have worked closely with Dragon Dining to enhance hygiene measures and safety precautions. Meals will be individually plated or packaged to provide a “grab and go” style lunch service with salad and vegetable options still available for students to have with their main meal. The meal pick-up flow and timing will be revised to avoid overcrowding, and chairs and tables arranged to provide greater distance between students. Designated alternative eating places will also be available for students, particularly secondary students who will be able to spread out and use outdoor spaces. In addition, the checkout system has been revised to utilize contactless cards instead of fingerprint sensors. See the Dragon Dining page for details.
Admissions tours will be modified so a maximum of one family will be invited onto campus at any one time. During the tours, visitors will be allowed to look into but not enter the classrooms. All visitors will be required to follow hygiene protocols, including the use of hand sanitizer upon entering the campus and wearing a mask at all times. When a booking is made for prospective families they will receive instructions regarding the health and hygiene protocols, including not being permitted on campus if showing any flu-like symptoms and needing to check body temperature before arrival. The school will also check temperatures upon entry to the school. You may book a campus tour with the Admissions Department or call them at 045-622-5590.
Please note that our Admissions staff may be working remotely and will be responding to email and phone inquiries as circumstances allow. The Admissions Office remains available for inquiries via email and will continue to process applications and provide admission decisions.
Please see our Frequently Asked Questions for guidance on what to do if you suspect you may be infected with the COVID-19 virus.
If a student, member of staff or person living in the same household with them is confirmed to be infected with COVID-19, it is essential that Mrs. Bowering in the YIS Health Office be informed at the earliest opportunity (email@example.com or 045-621-4027). We will consult with local public health authorities to determine the appropriate course of action for the school, including any contact tracing obligations, testing guidance, quarantine measures or temporary closure of the campus or specific school sections. Although we are obliged to utilize information about infected YIS community members to consult with public health authorities and determine appropriate countermeasures to protect the health of the school community, please be assured that any identifiable personal health information that you share with us will be treated in strict confidence.
Any student or member of staff who contracts COVID-19 must satisfy all of the following conditions in order to return to school:
- At least 14 days must have elapsed since symptoms first appeared
- Symptoms have improved (i.e., no sustained coughing/sneezing, etc.)
- At least 24 hours with no fever and without fever-reducing medication
In the case of a family member in the same household as a student or member of staff contracting COVID-19, the student/staff member should avoid contact with others outside the home while the person is sick, and quarantine for 14 days after the person who has COVID-19 meets the criteria to end home isolation.
No Place for Stigma
It is natural to be concerned about the risk of contracting COVID-19, but it is important that we do not let fear and anxiety lead to social stigma or discrimination. No particular individual or group of people are more likely than others to spread the virus. This includes those who have recovered from COVID-19 or been released from home isolation or quarantine. In line with our core values, we are supportive of each other, and any discrimination or harassment of individuals or groups of people will not be tolerated.