The school year is rapidly approaching. I am happy to report that all of the administrators are back on campus, working diligently to prepare for the upcoming school year. We are committed to delivering a first class international education, and we are excited to greet our students on September 8.
As you know from the news reports, the threat of the COVID-19 Delta Variant continues to grow and present us with new challenges. When we left school in June we did not know the impact the Delta Variant would play upon our return. We have learned much since then, including its level of contagion and the increased risk for younger children to become ill.
While our entire faculty and staff will be vaccinated when school begins, over half of our student body is not eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, as they are under the age of 12. We continue to encourage all students ages 12 and older to be vaccinated, knowing that the data clearly shows that COVID-19 has significantly increased among children in the past several weeks (click here for the report).
Because of these increased risks and the knowledge of “breakthrough” infections, we are refining our protocols from last year to ensure the safety of our students, faculty and staff. For a full summary of our COVID-19 protocols please click here.
REMOTE LEARNING POLICY
We remain committed to having all students learn on campus knowing there is no substitute for in-person learning. However, we anticipate positive cases during the year because of contagion of this variant. We are obligated to have the infected student and their unvaccinated “close contacts” quarantine for ten days when this occurs. In these cases all of the students affected will be able to zoom into their classrooms for their ten day quarantine.
After communicating with many community members we know some families may feel the need to choose remote learning due to their individual circumstances. As a result, we will permit parents to make the decision to have their child study remotely providing they make a commitment to stay fully remote through the end of the marking period.
Students may not go back and forth between remote and in-person learning as they did last year. A parent may choose to have their child return to in-person instruction at the start of each marking period (11/1, 1/24, 4/11). To enroll your child for remote learning, please click here.
The logical question is why are we not maintaining the same flexibility that was in place last year, allowing for the shifting back and forth between learning platforms? After analyzing last year’s experience, we know that the uncertainty of in-class versus online attendance became disruptive to the overall learning process. The current model allows for full remote learning but not at the expense of the classroom experience.
Finally, the remote learning option will be granted for any student/family traveling and cannot return to the US based on international travel restrictions. This does not include anticipated testing requirements, but rather changing quarantine rules or the inability to leave the country based on that country’s imposed restriction.
Remote learning will not be offered beyond what has been outlined. As an example, a student who is sick for the day will not be eligible to zoom into their classes. Instead they should concentrate on healing and returning to school as soon as possible.
The only adults who will be able to interact with students during the course of the school day will be faculty and staff. In doing so, we are limiting unnecessary exposure to our unvaccinated student body, who are most vulnerable to COVID-19 and the Delta Variant. Parent meetings and any outside organizations/groups will only be allowed on campus after the school day.
UNIS is committed to engaging with parents on campus and believe strongly in building a sense of community. We will make every effort to present opportunities for parents to visit campus and to be able to socialize with each other.
The data remains consistent. Masks are the first defense against the virus. As such all community members will be required to wear a mask while on campus as per CDC guidelines.
All faculty, staff and students, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to participate in COVID testing prior to attending school on September 8. All students will test on September 7. The testing schedule is as follows:
Junior School: 7:00 am - 10:00 am
All students should be accompanied by a parent/guardian.
Middle School: 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
All students should be accompanied by a parent/guardian.
Tutorial House: 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Students or faculty who cannot attend the testing dates provided should contact Ernie Lentini, Director of Security, for an alternate solution.
As a reminder, here are the three optional action items for you from this email:
Please click here to provide information re. your child’s vaccination information. (Log in with your Veracross credentials)
Please click here to enroll your child in remote learning through at least November 11. The deadline to enroll is August 25.
Please click here to provide Parent vaccination status.
While we are clearly not over COVID-19 we are a far cry from last year:
I am so glad that all of our children will return on the first day of school.
I am so glad that many in our community had the opportunity to travel and see family, in some cases for the first time in 18 months!
I am so glad to see the administrators back in action talking about teaching and learning and not singularly focused on opening day COVID protocols.
And most importantly I can’t wait to see all of our students back with the excitement that only a first day of school can generate!
As always I will update you as more information becomes available. Please enjoy the remaining days of summer.