The Crane, 16 August 2020

Items: Back to school health guidelines

Principal’s Message

Dear HIS Community

I hope you have all enjoyed your summer and are successfully staying cool. We are all ready for the start of the 2020/2021 school year. As we prepare for the first day of school, one of the issues we are very conscious of is the continuation of the COVID-19 situation. One of the very important roles of all members of our school community is to reduce the risk of any transmission and in order to help us do this, we have some health guidelines. Please read carefully and we look forward to seeing you all back at school on Monday, 24 August.

Kind regards

Damian Rentoule

Back to school health guidelines

Here is a link to the Health Guidelines document. The text appears below. Here is a link to the Health Observation Form.

HIS Health guidelines for return to school in 2020/2021

  1. Please do not come to school if:
    1. You have been diagnosed with COVID-19
    2. You have a high fever (37.5 degrees or higher), a persistent cough or any cold/flu-like symptoms. Also, when you take your temperature in the morning and you have a higher temperature than normal (i.e. it is rising but may not yet be at 37.5 degrees, you should stay home to monitor.)  See note below regarding daily temperature/general symptom check. 
    3. You have been in contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID 19 within the past 14 days
    4. You have returned from overseas within the past 14 days.
    5. You are staying in the same household with anyone who has returned to Japan from overseas within the past 14 days.
    6. You are staying in the same household of a family member (or another close contact) who has cold or flu-like symptoms (temperature, cough, etc.). In this case, home-isolation for 14 days from the first day of those symptoms should be observed. (The only exceptions to this rule are if (i) the symptoms do not last for more than 3 days OR (ii) the condition is diagnosed by a doctor and is proven not to be COVID-19) This has proven to be particularly important in schools as children may be infected but asymptomatic.
  2. Daily Temperature/General Symptoms Check: Please check your child’s temperature every morning. Children do not often realize they have a high temperature until later in the day. If we find out at school, it is too late after the bus ride and being in contact with others. As usual, please do not send your child to school if they are not well. This is especially important now, as you can imagine. 
    1. We will ask families to record the temperature on a chart that we will send home next week so that you can practice.
    2. When schools resume, all students need to bring this with them and show to their homeroom teacher. We will require this for students to get on the HIS buses, as well. We will need everyone to help us with this. Thanks
  3. Clubs: A decision on the offering of after-school activities will be made during the first two weeks back at school as we monitor the COVID-19 situation in Hiroshima Prefecture. 
  4. Masks will be worn by all community members within the school unless eating or drinking. Please follow teacher instructions if engaged in physical activity. See note below regarding physical activity and heat exhaustion.
    1. The high summer temperatures are a consideration as heat exhaustion is also a concern. Heat exhaustion is extremely dangerous and also causes symptoms that may be similar to COVID 19 such as nausea, headaches and high temperatures. Drinking sufficient water and avoiding overheating are important to monitor. If engaged in physical activity, teachers will instruct students to remove masks. 
  5. Hygiene: Students will be instructed each morning the most effective way to minimize the effect of coughing and sneezing. How to protect others when you sneeze. Keeping hands away from the face and hair is also encouraged.
  6. Hayfever awareness: We will remind everyone that some members of the community are affected by hayfever so we need to be sensitive to their needs, such as not assuming a sneeze means a virus-related condition. 
  7. General Health: Students need to be getting enough sleep, regular exercise, eating well and drinking lots of water, as usual. All students should have a reusable water bottle with them each day. (There is a Hands-free bottle filler at the school.)
  8. Hand Sanitizer: There are hand sanitizers in each classroom. Students may also wish to have their own private sanitizer if they wish.
  9. Washing of hands: Students will be reminded daily about the most effective way of washing hands. The drying of hands is equally important and the recommendation is single-use paper towels. 
  10. Masks on the bus: The Hiroshima Bus Association has advised CMC drivers that passengers should wear masks. Students using the bus should wear a mask. 
  11. Fresh Air: Teachers will ensure that the windows of all classes will be open regularly during the school day to ensure airflow within the air-conditioned environment.
  12.  Social distancing: Each morning staff will remind students to maintain distance between themselves as much as possible. 
  13. Lunch utensils: Please supply some type of eating utensils so that students do not need to eat their lunch with their fingers. 
  14.  Possible adjusted start times: In order for students traveling by public transport to avoid busy times on your particular route, please consider departure times. If this means arriving at school a bit late, this is fine. Just let the office and the homeroom teacher know.
  15.  Attendance: If you are concerned about your child attending school they can continue their learning through a modified version of distance learning which will involve a computer setup with Zoom in the classroom. Not all regular activities will be possible, of course, however, it will allow a degree of participation. 
    1. Your child will not be marked absent during this time, although we still need parents to inform us in the case of any absence. This is important for our emergency procedures in case of an evacuation, for example.  

What happens if there is a case of COVID-19 within the HIS Community

In the case of a HIS student or staff member with a COVID-19 diagnosis

  • If a student or staff member is diagnosed with COVID-19 the School will move to online learning for at least the next 3 calendar days during which time:
    • The local health authorities will be consulted to determine the length and scope of school closure.
    • The school will undergo disinfection.

In the case of close contact of a HIS staff or student with someone with a COVID-19 diagnosis

  • If there is a case of COVID-19 in the extended community such as a family member, the student/staff member will quarantine at home as described in 1 (above).
    • The School will alert other parents within the division (but school will continue as normal).
    • Parents who choose to keep their child at home are welcome to do so.

In the case that a student develops symptoms during the school day

  • If a student develops symptoms while at school, they will be immediately placed into isolation while parents are contacted to arrange for the immediate collection from school. 
    • In this case, parents must collect their child by private car, not by public transportation, including taxis. 

In the case of an absence caused by illness but in the case that COVID-19 testing has NOT been recommended

  • In the case that a student or staff member is ill but was NOT recommended for testing for COVID-19, return to school is possible only after all THREE of the below criteria are met:
    • You have been free of fever for THREE full calendar days without the use of fever-reducing medication
    • Any other symptoms (for example, cough or shortness of breath) have improved
    • At least 7 calendar days have passed since the symptoms first appeared (counting the first day of symptoms as day 1)