February 9, 2021
Central to our approach to managing the International School of Indiana (ISI) during the pandemic has been an understanding that our families' risk-tolerance is varied. We have carefully crafted COVID-19 policies and procedures with an understanding that it is our role as a school to prioritize health and safety and to consider changes to the way we interact on campuses and beyond.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been consistent in its advice: The more closely you interact with others, the more people you interact with, and the longer those interactions are, the more likely COVID-19 is to spread. Furthermore, the CDC advises that if you are traveling -- specifically taking long distance trips with flights that include layovers -- you are participating in the “least safe” type of travel. Postponing travel and staying home remain the best ways to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
To date, we have not created policies or procedures that limit participation in extracurricular activities, like travel, because we believe these activities outside of school remain an individual choice for our families. However, we are not impervious to the consequences these activities have on our community. After the extended break in late December and early January, ISI experienced a spike in COVID-19 cases. The cases resulted in closures of the Upper School, which includes two buildings, and the exclusion of dozens of students and critical staff at the Lower School.
Though ISI health and safety protocols proved effective at preventing further spread of COVID-19 among students and staff in our facilities, these cases highlight the domino effect of a single case. When ISI receives notification about an affected individual, a COVID-19 response team spanning four departments begins its work to identify individuals impacted, to initiate cleaning protocols in facilities, to formulate alternative teaching plans and coverage plans for other duties essential to the operation of a school, and to communicate to the parties impacted. Any student or staff member who has 15 minutes or more of close contact with an affected individual must be excluded from campus and must quarantine for 10 days. That 10-day exclusion has significant impacts across our school community, and if you consider each household, far beyond.
It is our belief that ISI is a caring and kind community, and that no member of our community assumes individual risks with deliberate disregard for the broader impact. As we prepare for next week’s break it is with new guidance for our families that aims to respect individual choices and risk-tolerance more equitably.
Families planning to travel during breaks should:
- Please use this Travel Risk chart to assess your activities.
- If your assessment includes four or more Activity Types categorized as Even Less Safe (yellow) or Least Safe (red) make arrangements to delay your return to campus according to the following:
- Testing: Reduce non-essential activities for a full seven (7) days after travel, and get tested three to five (3-5) days after your trip and receive negative results before returning to school.
- Non-testing: If you don’t get tested, reduce non-essential activities for 10 days before returning to school.
ISI will make reasonable efforts to work with any student in need of a delayed return to campus. Please complete the following remote learning form before Friday, February 12. Understanding the complexities to teachers and staff in preparing remote learning materials for students, principals will confirm when participation in remote learning will begin.
We all long for the pandemic to be over and for a return to our normal ways of life. Being together, in-person, for school is one way that we achieve normalcy for our students and their families. As you and your family make personal plans for the remainder of this school year, we thank you for your continued commitment to ONE ISI.
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