Dear Members of the KAIS Community,
We hope that your family and friends are managing to stay safe and healthy during this ongoing health crisis. I would like to thank those who responded to the Distance Learning Follow-Up Survey from last week’s KAIS News communication. Your feedback was helpful in our continued goal of improving upon the Distance Learning Program and maximizing the student learning experience during this challenging period.
Since the beginning of March, we have been following the situation closely, collecting information from the government, international organizations, and local international schools in order to make careful and considered decisions regarding the direction of our school. As it stands, the situation is getting worse, with recent days seeing sudden spikes in confirmed infections. International schools continue to push their reopening dates, with a couple even closing their doors until the end of the school year. Several municipal wards have recently extended school closures until Golden Week, including both Meguro-ku and Shinagawa-ku where our campuses are located. “We continue to be on the brink,” the Prime Minister announced yesterday.
In order to protect the safety of our community as much as possible, we have decided to postpone our school’s reopening until Monday, May 11, extending the Distance Learning Program throughout the month of April. If the situation allows, we will reopen our doors on May 7, during our school’s scheduled GW break, to help reintegrate our students into regular school life as early as possible. If this is the case, we will inform the KAIS community by Friday, May 1. We deeply regret the continued burden being placed upon your shoulders, but please understand that this decision was made with the entire community’s safety in mind. Some of our major considerations were:
- Several students must commute daily on crowded trains, risking their health, the health of their loved ones, and all other individuals with whom they come in contact. With so many people spreading the virus asymptomatically, opening the school up again does not seem wise.
- Should a student contract COVID-19, we would be forced to close our doors for a 14-day period, adding further tension to this already difficult situation. Following our re-opening, if yet another student were to test positive for the coronavirus, we would have to (once again) take strong action against this by closing down, adding further instability to an already stressful situation. This is a realistic scenario that we would prefer to avoid.
- Several students live with or near elderly relatives or relatives with health complications. Our responsibility extends beyond our immediate school community to these individuals who have a higher risk of major health implications should they contract COVID-19.
- To address the spread of the virus, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) recommends that schools (1) ensure thorough ventilation in all spaces, (2) maintain physical distancing, and (3) minimize short-range conversations and loud voices. Sadly, there would be no way to consistently maintain safe distancing between students and staff within the school.
This is perhaps the biggest crisis of our generation, so we must act quickly and decisively to ensure the best possible outcome for everyone in the KAIS community. Up to now, we’ve all faced this global challenge gracefully, remaining stoic and flexible despite the worsening conditions. We’ll certainly emerge from this crisis together, hopefully sooner rather than later.
As always, please don’t hesitate to contact us should you have any questions, comments, or suggestions. We strongly appreciate your patience and understanding, and wish for the continued health and safety of you and your loved ones.
KAIS International Elementary & Middle School