Items:

  • 2020/2021 tuition;
  • June on-campus classes;
  • Jump Rope Challenge.

Principal’s Message

Dear HIS Community

On Monday evening this week, the HIS Board of Directors and the HIS Board of Trustees met to discuss the budget for 2020/2021 and decided on a 0% tuition increase. Although an increase in tuition is required to cover projected operating expenses for 2020/2021, the Board of Directors and Board of Trustees feel that in the current uncertain economic environment that the COVID situation has created, a delay on a tuition increase is appropriate. HIS reserves are healthy enough to support a short-term deficit.

It is important to remember, however, that there will need to be a tuition increase in our near future to achieve long-term financial sustainability. It is an exciting time at HIS as we move toward this financial milestone where the school operations are supported by private tuition alone. Regarding this point, I have a brief explanation below.

In order to understand the finances of HIS, it is important to understand the relationship between corporate tuition and private tuition. In short, corporate tuition (tuition paid directly by a company) is nearly double private tuition (tuition paid by the family). This is referred to as a two-tiered tuition structure and is quite unusual having its origins in the thirty-year period between 1987 and 2007 when Ford had many employees at HIS. In those days, most students were from Ford (corporate) with a small number of private students paying a heavily subsidized tuition. We have known for quite a while that the number of corporate students would keep declining and this, of course, was a concern in terms of tuition revenue so we have planned for this decline.

In recent years we have reduced staffing expenses as far as possible without affecting the educational program, increased tuition twice (3% & 5%), and have also increased enrolment numbers. These are really the three main drivers of a school’s finances.

With nearly all corporate enrolments now finished, we are needing just a 5% increase in private tuition in order to make up for the reduced subsidy from those declining corporate numbers. Once we are able to finance our school’s operations from private tuition alone, this will be a great moment for us in terms of increased financial sustainability. We are nearly there!

The other piece of good news is that any future tuition increase may not need to be as high as 5%. With the school’s operational expenses not changing very much with added student numbers (up to about 170 students which is our maximum capacity) a sustained increase in enrolments, even a small one, could make up the difference in revenue. This year, enrolment numbers have been between 142 and 149 students.  If we were to increase our student numbers to a consistent 160 or so over the year, there may be no need to increase tuition. In this way, tuition levels and student enrolment numbers are closely related so we are not only hoping to attract new students to HIS but more importantly, we are hoping to retain our current students by continually improving our educational program and school facilities.

The following image provides a brief summary of the reasons and implications fo the 0% tuition increase.

Also, I have an added note regarding the relationship between the construction project and the budget. Somewhat counterintuitively, the new construction project to replace the Annex actually reduces our operational and capital expenses so it does not negatively impact the budget.  In short, the 1.6 million yen currently being paid annually for the lease on our aging Annex will be replaced by approximately 1.2 million yen in interest payments. Also, the 7.5 million yen that was being put aside for the future replacement of the Annex which would have taken 22 years, has been replaced by loan-principle repayments of less than 7 million yen, so in both of these cases, the impacts of the new building on the budget are positive. Of course, we also hope that the new facility will assist us in our endeavors to attract new students and retain our current students which will also help to strengthen our financial position.

We are really excited for 2020/2021, hopefully, a year that is less surprising than this one. We are also excited to see our students back on campus in June.

Kind regards

Damian Rentoule

Return to on-campus classes in June

As you know, we are currently planning to return to on-campus classes on 1 June using a staggered model to limit the number of students at school as a precautionary measure. We will also use our previous school-opening procedures which worked well for us. The only change we would like to make is that last time we recommended masks, but this time we will strengthen that to making masks compulsory. Thanks to the generous donations of masks from two HIS community members we also have some masks to distribute to families. Thanks again to Ryoma Matsumoto from our Board of Directors, and the Sato Family Gr1 for supporting us in this way!

The schedule will look like this with the tick indicating and on-campus day for that class. On the off-campus days, distance learning will continue. For students not at school on the on-campus days, independent work will be set by the teacher, however, the regular distance learning will not be possible as the teacher will be in class all day. Thank you for your understanding.

On-campus Days from 1 June 2020

Guidelines for reopening HIS for on-campus classes in June

  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 as a family member (or another close contact) who has cold or flu-like symptoms. In this case, home-isolation for 14 days from the first day of those symptoms should be observed unless the symptoms do not last for more than 3 days or the condition is diagnosed by a doctor and is proven not to be COVID-19). 
  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. 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/general symptom check 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 them 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: There will not be any After School Clubs for the remainder of the school year.   
  4. 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.
  5. 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. 
  6. 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.)
  7. Hand Sanitizer: There are hand sanitizers in each classroom. Students may also wish to have their own private sanitizer if they wish.
  8. 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. 
    1. Due to potentially limited supplies at school, it is recommended that each student bring in a 200 package of single-use paper towels (Daiso ¥100).
  9. Masks on the bus and at school: Everyone at school will wear a mask at all times, including recess. When removing masks to eat lunch, appropriate distances will be maintained. 
  10. Fresh Air: Teachers will ensure that the windows of all classes will be open during and in between classes to ensure airflow.
  11.  Social distancing: Each morning staff will remind students to maintain distance between themselves as much as possible. 
  12. Lunch utensils: Please supply some type of eating utensils so that students do not need to eat their lunch with their fingers. 
  13.  Attendance: If you are concerned about your child attending school they can continue their learning through a modified version of distance learning. Your child will not be marked absent during this time, although we still need parents to inform us. 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 above.
    • The School will alert other parents, 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.

Jump Rope Challenge

Photographic evidence that at least six of our teachers can jump rope. Click here to see information about the Jump Rope Challenge.

The Crane, 15 May 2020