COVID-19 is causing anxiety, even fear in our community and across our country. It is a challenging situation for us all and we thank you for your support as we navigate the ever evolving scenarios.
While there have been further developments in the transmission of COVID-19 in India, the risk level in Bangalore and in India is still not high and the risk to children seems even lower. The Delhi government has closed all primary schools yesterday until end of March explaining that 'students of nursery and primary classes are too young to understand the risk making them more prone to infectious diseases'. But at the same time, we need to consider global reports; multiple sources, including WHO-China report, have shared that nearly 80% of COVID-19 infection cases are in those aged 30 years and older, and less than 3% of the cases are 18years and below. Of course we must keep our children safe, and we must do this as a community. Together.
So here is what we would like our community to follow:
The 'Affected Country' list in India is now updated to include more countries for the purpose of testing and Quarantine, as issued to hospitals, and as of this morning we are following this for self-declaration for visitors entering the campus.
Here is the updated list of restricted countries / locations:
Please review our RESPONSE MATRIX that guides us as we prepare our school and community to respond to this developing situation. HEALTH & HYGIENE PROTOCOLS are being discussed with children in all classes. The response matrix is based on guidelines many leading international schools use. We are currently at Level 2 (Moderate risk), and are following all the guidelines of this level. We are preparing for readiness of online classes, and if there is a step up to Level 3 (Medium risk), school will continue to stay open (unless the government decides otherwise) and we will get the teachers and students ready for this so that learning can continue uninterrupted at least for grades 5-12 at Academy. Parents of children in early years and grades 1-4, at Level 3 will receive guidelines on how they can partner with their children and the school. The cleaning and hygiene in school is stepped up. External visitor protocols are running. We believe we are far from Level 4 (high risk) that would require school closure. You can see what the schools response is guided by if the risk level increases; all else in this update follows at Level 2 (Moderate risk) now.
We are actively taking precautions to avoid unnecessary risks. All external visitors on campus will sign self-declarations with our ENTRY PROTOCOL and also be further guided by our HEALTH RESTRICTIONS. The following school events have been cancelled:
For now, all other activities will remain on the schedule as per the calendar. We are closely and diligently monitoring developments and will update the community as things change.
If, in the last 14 days, any member of your family has (1) travelled to any of the countries in the AFFECTED COUNTRY LIST, or (2) come in contact with someone who has either visited, visited from, or passed through any of the countries in the Affected Country list, or (3) shows symptoms of COVID-19 please take the following precautions irrespective of symptoms:
Multiple parents have reached out, especially in our early years, to inform us of their return from different countries. We request all parents do this and share other information as needed with absolute integrity.
Many children at Academy are bringing in notes that they are not allowed to swim, some of the children are panicking with half-information. Swimming is not unsafe in a clean pool. The school pool is an Ozone pool, topped up with Chlorine. We have cancelled NFSL swimming, not because of the fear of in-the-pool contact, but outside-the-pool contact without adequate control over self-declarations by external children, in absence of their parents. Of course children with active cold/ cough will not swim at all. Please inform yourself of the risks before sharing concerns with your children. And children who are part of the swimming stayback but are still choosing not to swim, will need to leave at 3pm.
The intention of this updated guide is to bring our focus back on the collective well being of our community. Panic or paranoia spread faster than a virus especially with social media heightening the sense of risk – this is one condition that is easily avoided! We encourage parents to refrain from passing along information from unauthenticated sources in their WhatsApp groups. The school will share official, verified information via email.
With the March break coming up if any of you or members from your home are travelling out of the country, to affected countries or even otherwise, you must recognise that the self-quarantine expectations will be as per the conditions at that time. We encourage our community to not travel to any affected countries, and also consider international travel only if essential. India is a low risk area and we expect that it will continue to remain so.
Please be mindful that during this period of uncertainty, the school is receiving a significant number of emails on this subject. Our resources are fully dedicated to the safety of our students, teachers and community. We are staying abreast of local, national, and international developments and strengthening our practices as we prepare for evolving scenarios. As such, we are unable to respond to all your individual questions especially when information on the situation is either unclear or has been previously shared in school circulars.
As a community, we share a collective responsibility in helping to assure the health and continuity of learning for every student. We stay safe by making well-informed decisions that include the information and expertise of parents in our community. We trust our parents to make responsible choices as required for children’s safety, and to trust the school to make the right decisions.
Kavita Gupta Sabharwal
HOS Neev Academy