A Safe Return to Campuses – At a Glance
All AISJ community members are looking forward to resuming face to face learning on campuses in the school year 2020-2021. In preparation for opening campuses, the safety of all continues to be our highest priority. Systems and protocols will be implemented to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 infection within our community. The learning of new procedures and the time taken to implement these procedures, along with the necessary hand washing, physical distancing, ongoing cleaning and disinfecting, and wearing of masks, will require patience and cooperation from all community members.
To provide an overview of the safety protocols that will be implemented, this “At a Glance” document has been created. Each section detailed here has more in-depth protocols that will be regularly revised to ensure alignment with current government regulations. To view them, please click here.
A strong partnership between school and home is always important but is even more critical in times of crisis. As the impact of the COVID-19 virus changes, and as expert thinking and recommendations develop, we will continue to adapt our protocols and communicate with parents. Coping with uncertainties is hard, and as we support students through such times, regular communication between home and school is vital. Classroom teachers for ES students, Advisory/Imbizo teachers for MS students, and Eagle Forum teachers for HS students will remain the initial point of contact between home and school.
To minimize transmission of COVID-19 on school buses, all bus riders and drivers will have their temperature checked before entering the bus and masks will be worn at all times. The following protocols will be followed:
- Drivers’ temperatures will be screened at the start of their shift. Any driver with a temperature above 37.5 degrees will not be allowed to drive a bus, and a temp driver will be used.
- A parent/guardian will be expected to be present with the student to complete a series of questions, and sign acknowledgement of answers
- A student’s temperature will be taken before boarding the bus by the bus driver, and this will be captured.
- Any student with a temperature above 37.5 degrees Celsius and/or without a parent/guardian present to complete the questionnaire will not be allowed to board.
- Social distancing on buses will be implemented by blocking certain seats and reducing the number of students using each bus.
- Students will sit in their designated seat on every journey.
- At the end of the day, dismissal will be staggered to enable physical distancing as students walk to the buses and wait in line to have their temperatures checked.
- All students will have their temperatures before getting on the bus to go home.
- Bus windows will be opened to enhance ventilation.
- Daily disinfection of all buses will take place in addition to daily cleaning.
The impact of COVID-19 on mental health and emotional well-being is becoming increasingly apparent. AISJ’s counseling team will continue to lead our community in this area and support personal well-being.
Co-curricular activities will be phased into our program as students become familiar with routines for physical distancing and maintaining personal well-being. Some activities will be postponed or adapted if issues such as physical distancing are not possible. In line with current government regulations, inter-school events will not take place during the first semester.
To access our campuses, one must have their temperature taken and must wear a mask. In compliance with South African guidelines, anyone who has a temperature above 37.5 degrees Celsius will not be allowed on campus. When students arrive on campus in the morning, they will filter through a designated area for temperature screening. Physical distancing and hand sanitization will be a part of this process. The process will take time, and patience will be required by all. Parents will be allowed on campus with specific permission or an appointment. Students who are driven to school by their parents or a driver will have their temperature taken before leaving the car.
In implementing strict health and safety procedures, our goal is to minimize the transmission of the COVID-19 virus. Protocols that maintain physical distance between individuals will be in place in classrooms, on the playground, and school buses. There will be visual reminders and markings of 1.5-meter spacing to facilitate physical distancing. In some areas, Perspex dividers will enhance physical distancing. Students will be taught and reminded of effective hand washing and methods for enhancing personal safety, such as mask usage. To help implement physical distancing, there will be increased adult supervision during arrival, recess, break, and dismissal times. AISJ is in compliance with the South African COVID-19 regulations, and in line with NICD guidelines.
When campuses reopen, there will initially be no cafeteria services or food available for purchase. Everyone should bring enough food from home for lunch and snacks, as well as a full water bottle. The process of refilling water bottles and the use of microwaves at school will be carefully monitored. Any cutlery or utensils should be brought from home and then returned home each day for washing.
Increased cleaning and disinfection of classrooms, other learning spaces, and offices will take place, with particular attention given to higher risk areas such as door handles, desk surfaces, and other “touchpoints.”
- Playground equipment, and other related shared equipment, such as toys, band equipment, gyms, rails, and poles will be disinfected daily.
- Each classroom will be provided with a disinfected solution and hand sanitizer. Classrooms will be fogged at the end of each day.
- Shared equipment such as photocopiers, telephones & tech equipment will be disinfected accordingly
- All medical facilities will be cleaned and fogged daily
AISJ guidelines have been based on South African law and recommendations from the Ministry of Education, ISASA, CDC, WHO, NICD, and ECID. As South African laws, and expert recommendations change, our guidelines and protocols will be adapted accordingly.