Returning to Campus Following Online Learning COVID-19
Policies and Procedures for Campus Safety
This document outlines the measures to be taken across all facets of the school for a return to campus following a period of online learning caused by Pandemic COVID-19 infection. This guide draws upon advice and/or regulations taken from the local and national educational and health authorities in Japan, international bodies such as WHO and CDC as well as in coordination with our partners in the Japan Council of International Schools (JCIS).
This document is subject to adjustment at any time, based on the reality of the evolving situation.
The “Bridging Phase”:
Transitioning from Online Learning to Normal School
When returning to campus-based learning, it remains probable that the COVID-19 situation will still be ongoing within the global and local context. Our priority on safety and well-being means that a return to school ‘as normal’ or as it was before will not be possible. NIS will, therefore, enter a ‘bridging phase’ in which campus-based learning is modified, guided by the safest possible parameters, before a resumption of normal school or if needed, a return to online school.
In designing this ‘Bridging Phase’, and being informed by local and international guidance, NIS has taken as its core drivers the following two elements:
1. Three essential elements for consideration:
- appropriate ventilation of spaces;
- the observance of social distancing and avoidance of overcrowding;
- mitigating the risks of virus transmission (droplets, surfaces)
2. The specific nature of the NIS community
- geographical spread (across the city, across the world)
- culturally & linguistically diverse
In the policies that follow, these elements are applied – alongside guidance and regulations from local and international agencies - to ALL facets of our school in the ‘Bridging Phase’. This includes curriculum and pedagogy through to facilities and operations.
Campus Facilities & Layout
Appropriate Ventilation of Spaces
During the “Bridging Phase”, NIS will open all windows and doors and leave ventilation fans on during school hours. This includes external doors, classroom doors and office space doors. Staff and students are asked to dress appropriately given the impact this may have on room temperature.
Observance of social distancing and avoidance of overcrowding
During the bridging phase, NIS classroom layout will, as much as possible, provide for social distancing. Single seating spread out and facing the same direction will be favored over group seating.
Mitigating the risks of virus transmission (droplets, surfaces)
During the bridging phase, NIS will have seating layouts where students are facing in the same direction (not each other) as much as possible, and especially during lunch when masks cannot be worn. There will also be an ongoing, regular and intensive cleaning routine which prioritizes frequently used hard surfaces.
- Windows and doors will be propped open throughout the day. Students and staff should wear appropriate clothing to accommodate this need.
- Classroom layouts will be adjusted to maximise social distancing. This involves separating desks as much as possible. Layouts will also be adjusted to maximize unidirectional seating where possible. This is to avoid droplet transmission when students are facing one another, particularly at high risk times such as lunch. This risk will be further mitigated by the wearing of masks.
- Removal of rugs which serve as a focal point for ‘carpet time’ or any other elements of classroom design which encourages groups of students to gather in a single space
- Disinfection spray stations will be set up throughout campus and the use of this spray on hands will be encouraged. However, students and staff will be reminded that washing hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is far preferable to sanitizer spray.
- An outdoor meeting desk will be established under the wing of the Wing building to hold meetings with external visitors that do not need to occur within campus.
- Additional breakout spaces (e.g. having students work spread out in corridors or outside locations) will – subject to adequate staff supervision – be set up and encouraged
- Additional sinks will be constructed outside the Commons (by April 6), and the sinks currently installed in classrooms will be cleared for easy access. Paper towels will be supplied to all sinks and air-dryers will be disconnected.
- Trash cans will be placed in every classroom and in communal areas and will be emptied regularly.
- Water fountains will no longer be utilized for drinking by mouth; however, they can still be used as bottle-filling stations. All students and staff are asked to bring their own refillable water bottle.
- Hallway Passage/Routes: Staff and students will be asked to use external routes between rooms as much as possible
- Daily Cleaning will be ongoing throughout the day, with additional cleaning staff employed to rotate around campus using high-strength disinfectant on high-frequency surfaces. Prioritization will be given to doorknobs, handrails, light switches, taps/faucets, table/countertop surfaces.
- Additional cleaning will occur each Saturday to ensure hat the campus is ready for the week ahead.
- High frequency items needing to be shared by students (e.g. primary school technology, high use items in the ELC) will be cleaned as needed and, at a minimum, at the end of each day.
- Alcohol-based disinfectant, cloth and gloves wil be provided to every classroom and all communal areas, allowing support and teaching staff and, where appropriate, students to conduct ongoing disinfectant as needed throughout the day. This is in addition to the professional cleaning undertaken by cleaning staff described above.
- In the case of a COVID-19 case being reported among NIS students or staff, the campus will undergo disinfectant cleaning in accordance with government guidelines prior to reopening.
Protocols for Safe Campus Use
Appropriate Ventilation of Spaces
During the bridging phase, NIS will:
- Hold gatherings/meeting/class in the most ventilated space available, including breakout spaces in corridors or outside where possible.
Social Distancing and Avoidance of Overcrowding
During the bridging phase:
- Students will be taught to be aware of their ‘hula hoop’ of personal space and asked to respect the ‘hula hoop’ of others.
- Students will gather in no more than one class at a time in any classroom space (or proportionately fewer if in a smaller space).
- Classroom use will, as much as possible, ensure for social distancing with the equitable distancing of students as much as can be achieved. Activities such as carpet time or teacher demonstrations which require groups of students to gather in the same part of the room will be avoided.
- The school day schedule will be shortened, and after school activities will be cancelled, to avoid students needing to travel on public transport at crowded times.
Mitigating the risks of virus transmission (droplets, surfaces)
During the bridging phase, NIS will:
- Ask students to not share equipment unless absolutely necessary, in which case disinfecting equipment and hand-washing is important.
- Require the temperature of every student be taken at the start of each day and, in the case it is over 37.5 degrees, that student must immediately return home via private transport.
- Mitigate the risks of droplet transmission from the mouth by:
- Requiring the appropriate wearing of masks.
- Avoiding loud talking/shouting which increases the risk of droplet transmission – particularly during lunchtime when masks are not worn.
- The use of seating arrangements where students are facing in the same direction (not each other) as much as possible, and especially during lunch when masks cannot be worn.
- Reduce the risk of virus transmission by touch by instituting a ‘no touch’ rule – at work, study or play
- Continue to educate all community members in the importance of regular hand-washing with soap for at least 20 seconds - and to insist that students do so. Also to have available sanitiser stations for the disinfection of hands
- Minimize, as much as possible, the sharing of resources and provide for the cleaning/disinfection of those resources/surfaces which must be shared.
Designing the Learning
Although we still wish to deliver, as much as possible, the NIS curriculum of inquire, inspire & impact the overwhelming priority of community safety and well-being will mean that teachers will need to modify their teaching; the need for ventilation, social distancing and the avoidance of virus transmission is the priority.
The bridging phase is intended as a temporary phase prior to a return to full, normal school. However it is possible that the bridging phase may be followed by a return to online learning. Teachers will therefore be using this time to prepare students for effective online schooling in the future as well as focusing on activities and curriculum content that cannot be easily accomplished online.
The well-being of students remains our prime concern and, while there may be pressure to ‘catch up’ missed time, staff will also remember that this is a stressful time for students and that simply spending time on campus, reconnecting, building confidence and offering reassurance are essential goals in the bridging phase.
The Daily Schedule
To avoid the risk of students traveling during the rush hour, as well as to eliminate high risk times caused by recess and transitions during the school day, during the bridging phase NIS will operate a shortened day (every day, including Wednesdays, i.e. there is no altered Wednesday schedule) as follows:
ELC Preschool & Kindergarten
- Start at 9:45, Finish at 15:00
- Lunch from 11:30-12:30
- Homeroom 9:45-10:00
- Period A 10:00-11:00
- Lunch 11:00-12:00
- Period B 12:00-13:00
- Period C 13:00-14:00
- Period D 14:00-15:00
- Homeroom 15:00-15:15*
*Gr. 1-2 will be dismissed at 15:00 to ease pick-up
- Period A 9:45-11:00
- Period B 11:00-12:00
- Lunch 12:00-13:00
- Period C 13:00-14:00
- Period D 14:00-15:15
- Period A 9:45-11:00
- Period B 11:00-12:15
- Lunch 12:15-12:45
- Period C 12:45-14:00
- Period D 14:00-15:15
A Page on Haiku show a conversion of the regular schedule to the above "Bridging Phase" schedule HERE.
To ensure that students are not traveling on public transport at peak times, NIS will operate a shortened day with strict campus access times as follows:
- Campus is open to students from 9:30; temperatures will be taken before students can enter the building. All gates/entrances will open from 9:30-9:50 and again from 15:00-15:30.
- Campus is closed (no access) to students before 9:30 and after 15:30.
- There will be no before-school or after-school activities permitted.
To limit the risks of droplet/virus transmission during lunch, the following rules will be implemented during the Bridging Phase:
- Lunch Options: During the bridging phase students and staff can either bring lunch from home or can purchase a pre-packed grab-and-go bag lunch from Cezars’ kitchen (dry items such as sandwiches, etc).
- Snacks: Cezars Kitchen will not supply loose snacks although pre-packed snacks are available for sale. Those who bring or purchase snacks are reminded that they should not be shared and should be eaten away from others as much as possible.
- Buying Lunch or Snacks: When using Cezar’s Kitchen, hands must be disinfected immediately after putting your pin number into the keypad.
- Safe Clean Hands Before Eating: Before eating students must wash their hands for at least 20 seconds using soap and water. This is in ADDITION TO disinfectant spray available on campus.
- Microwaves: Students will not be able to use the microwaves to heat their lunch so please prepare lunch from home accordingly.
A staggered lunch schedule and fixed eating location will be in place as follows:
- Gr. 1-2: collect lunch between 11:00-11:20 and eat in homerooms
- Gr. 3-5: collect lunch between 11:40-12:00 and eat in homerooms
- Gr. 6-10: collect lunch between 12:00-12:15 and eat outside (fine weather) or in homerooms (wet weather)
- Grades 11-12: collect lunch between 12:15-12:30 and eat outside (fine weather) or in homerooms (wet weather)
Lunch is one of the most high-risk times of the day due to the fact that students cannot wear masks while eating and the risk of droplets being ingested is high. Therefore staff will eat with students to ensure safety. Additionally:
If eating inside (Primary every day, Secondary in wet weather):
- Surfaces will be wiped down with disinfectant at the start and end of lunch.
- Students should face the same direction (not each other) while they eat and talking should be avoided as much as possible
- Students will be supervised by homeroom teachers
If eating outside (Secondary in fine weather):
- Students will be spread out (at least 2 arms lengths between students) and asked to avoid facing each other/talking loudly as they eat
- Students should also avoid touching surfaces as much as possible during eating.
Secondary school students are reminded that eating outside in a ventilated space is pleasant and safe – but only if they follow social distancing guidelines. Should this not be followed the school may need to consider eating in homerooms regardless of the weather. Staff and parent support in training students in this is appreciated.
The Start and End of The Day
Parent Drop-Off and Pick-Up
No parents will be allowed on campus with the exception of pick-up/drop-off in the ELC and Grade 1&2 only as follows:
- Parents can come to any gate to drop off their child but are not allowed to enter campus other than via the ELC gate in the upper parking lot.
- At the ELC gate a teacher will be available to support children who are not easily able to separate from their parent. Also, if necessary, ELC and Grade 1&2 parents will be permitted access to the campus via this gate for the shortest possible time in the case that their child needs their help to get to class
- parents of students in other grades may only access campus if requested by their child’s teacher.
- Parents of older children who are concerned about the need to accompany their child on campus should contact their child’s teacher for advice.
- There will be no community time in the ELC.
ELC-Gr. 2 Pick-Up (from 15:00)
- Teachers will take ELC and Gr. 1 students to the ELC gate from 15:00 to be met by a parent or directly to the bus (from 15:15) (if applicable).
- ELC - Gr. 2 parents who wish to enter campus to collect their child should enter via the ELC gate no earlier than 15:00 and depart no later than 15:10.
Gr. 3-12 Pick-Up (15:15-15:30)
- All other students will be dismissed at 15:15
- Parents of older children who are concerned about the need to enter campus should contact their child’s teacher for advice
At the start of each day, on entry to campus, all students have their temperature checked:
- Between 9:30-9:45, upon entry to campus an administrator will take the temperature of each student with a contactless thermometer.
- Students late to school (after 9:45) will need to come to the main office where their temperature will be taken.
- If the temperature reading is 37.5 or higher, the student will be escorted to an area outside the isolation room where the temperature will be verified by the school nurse. In the case that the temperature is confirmed to be 37.5 or higher, the student will be placed in the isolation room until collected by their parents.
The NIS Bus
The below measures will be implemented on the NIS school bus service:
- To be allowed to ride the bus students MUST:
- wear a face mask at all times (students will be denied boarding unless wearing a face mask).
- use hand sanitiser on entry.
- avoid talking loudly/directly at one another.
- The windows of the bus will be open; students who feel the cold should dress accordingly.
- Students should avoid risk by never sharing food/snacks.
Extra Curricular Activities and Events
During the “Bridging Phase”, the priority is classroom teaching for learning and well-being. Lunch time extracurriculars
may happen as long as they are in line with all guidelines and requirements outlined in this document although there will be no extra curricular activities or special events which increase the risks to the community, detract from classroom teaching or occur when campus is closed to students.
As the school moves closer to a return to full normal schooling, events may be added on a case-by-case basis. Special events essential to learning or the school mission (e.g. exams, completion of internal assessments, High School Graduation) will take place under modified circumstances wherever possible.
Teaching and Learning for Students Not On Campus
NIS hopes and expects that all students who can attend school do so. However we also recognize that some NIS students may be unable to attend campus for the following reasons:
- The family is not currently in Nagoya due to involuntary temporary relocation.
- The child needs to stay home for reasons of illness or quarantine/self isolation as defined by NIS policy.
- The family has taken the reasonable decision, due to persons of high risk residing in the household, that their child should not return to campus at this time.
In these cases, NIS recognizes its obligation for continuance of learning. At the same time, it is not possible for school
staff to provide a full online and a full face-to-face program simultaneously. Consequently, the below measures will be put in place to support those learners temporarily unable to attend campus.ded on a case-by-case basis. Special events essential to learning or the school mission (e.g. exams, completion of internal assessments, High School Graduation) will take place under modified circumstances wherever possible.
Off-Campus Student Support in Primary School
Primary class teachers will focus on face-to-face learning; it will be the role of the intern to make that learning accessible to the students of that grade who are unable to attend campus-based learning. The intern will:
- Adjust and adapt the content as much as reasonably possible for online learning and make this available to students on the same platforms as during online school. There is no expectation that the intern will create new content.
- Arrange for a daily check in with online students to help them stay connected to NIS and to help them with their learning and well-being.
- Be available to students for questions and support.
Where possible, online students will be involved with face-to-face students in collaborative projects and class initiatives although parents and students are asked to be understanding of the obvious limitations that exist. While the intern will be the main point of contact for the online learning, the class teachers remain, of course, available to support those students unable to come to campus.
Off-Campus Student Support in Secondary School
Secondary teachers will support learners unable to attend campus by:
- Maintaining class Haiku pages with resources, lesson materials and class assignments that can be used by off-campus learners to keep up with the learning in class.
- Remaining available to off-campus students to support them in completing their work either by email or by Google Meet.
- Assessing and providing feedback on the work completed in the normal way - and giving full credit and grades for the course, provided all course expectations are met.
- Striving, where possible, to connect off-campus learners with campus-based learners, for example by including them virtually in group projects (time zones permitting).
While these measures will not be to the same level as online school, we hope that for those students unable to attend campus, they will assist in continuance of education. However, we urge parents to please understand these limitations and, wherever possible, ensure your child can come to school.