URGENT: Coronavirus (COVID-19) update from ASW…

This message is being sent to the entire ASW community along with an SMS message and Zimplicity post to assure that all are aware of the enclosed stipulations before returning to school next week.

In response to the increased concerns in countries surrounding Poland and as a result of the increased risk associated with travel during the break, the following is being implemented as we move to a limited Risk Level 2 on our Crisis Management Matrix.

  • By directive from CEESA, all student events have been canceled through May 1, 2020, due to the current and unpredictable risks associated with travel, border crossing, and inspections that traveling groups might face at destinations and while traveling.  Many countries are implementing strict standards associated with student travel and gatherings even if borders generally remain open.  CEESA’s letter to the region is attached to this message.  
  • For ASW, this stipulation will also mean cancelation of all other student travel, including most planned local or regional field trips.
  • Adult staff travel for Professional Development will be assessed and approved on a case-by-case basis.

Locally, the following is requested and will be required from all families:

  • Staff, students, or family members who have traveled to the CDC identified Level 2 or 3 areas will be required to stay home to self-quarantine and monitor symptoms for 14 days from the date of return to Warsaw.  The current list includes: China, South Korea, Japan, Iran, and Italy (north of Pisa).
  • Students and/or parents should contact their teachers after Monday, March 2 to plan for classwork during this exclusion period.  More advice on staying involved in classwork will come next week when staff members have returned and better able to respond.  Reminder: school resumes on Tuesday, March 3.

School procedures according to our risk matrix include the following (some continued from before):

  • We will continue to interview and provide limited access to the campus for all registered visitors, including during our open house on Thursday, March 5. This is for registered visitors only and not open to the general public.
  • School programs, including after school activities will continue without interruption.
  • All other regularly scheduled activities will continue as planned other than those excluded above.
  • Selected trips scheduled within Poland will be evaluated and determined on a case-by-case basis, informing parents of status at the earliest opportunity.
  • The ASW and CEESA Crisis teams will meet weekly going forward to assess and provide guidance on the regional situation.
  • All events at school will be restricted to parents, staff, and students only.
  • As per prior advice, parents should not send students to school with symptoms.  See: https://zimplicity.org/2020/01/29/coronavirus-outbreak/

We are very much aware of concerns developing throughout Europe and the bombardment of media reports, some accurate and many wildly inaccurate.  Please remember we measure our actions with a maximum degree of balance and objectivity, using reliable sources. Also, there are still no confirmed cases in Poland and we are hopeful of retaining that status.

We should also be concerned about the social/emotional effect of this situation on ourselves and our children.  Earlier this week, I posted a document shared by the ISCA (International School Counselors Association) to help in taking care of your children during this period.  Please read it here: https://zimplicity.org/2020/02/24/notes-during-the-break/

Please remain calm during this difficult juncture.  We may have many more families affected by this current action.  It is impossible for us to know all family travel plans, so this current level of action requires that families follow our stipulations on their own to protect and assure the safety of our community.  We’ve already faced this once and it was admirable that three families went to great lengths to protect the school by maintaining their self-quarantine.  Their messages were positive and encouraging throughout and speak to the character and quality of the ASW Warrior family.  If you have any questions, please write to me.  I’ll do my best to respond.  You can post comments on Zimplicity for the community to share and I’ll answer questions publicly there as well.

Stay well and, if you are out of Warsaw, we wish you a safe return.

Additional note: Absences will be excused as long as students maintain contact with teachers, complete assigned work, and maintain academic standing.


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Notes During the Break

There won’t be an edition of eNotes this week, but I’m putting a post here with advice from the ISCA (International School Counseling Association). Given the latest news reports and additional issues associated with exaggeration and fear, this might help around the house or while traveling to be sensitive to the needs of your children during the escalating tensions, particularly with the reports now emerging in Italy. I offer this as fodder for your due consideration while school is closed for the vacation and in hopes it will help to calm fears when we return next week.

From ISCA:

The coronavirus (now officially named COVID-19) has been declared a public health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO) and uncertainty around this can bring about fear and worry with our students. It is important to remember our children are looking towards us for reassurance and cues on how to react and respond.

Five strategies to build resilience, and have reassuring conversations with kids are:

  1. Stay Positive : Remember to keep calm. If you show anxiety or fear, your child will pick up on this and also feel nervous and afraid. Changes to the environment and routines can create unease. Having calm, panic-free discussions can ease emotions around these changes. Check-in on how your child is feeling and acknowledge and address their worries rather than ignore them.
  2. Stick to the facts: It is important to have thoughtful conversations regarding the coronavirus to distil anxiety, worry or fear. Look at the facts. Consider your child’s age, processing, and emotions to determine how to frame these conversations to ensure your child understands. Let them know that Singapore is doing everything they can and you are up to date on current information. If they have additional questions you can look to find the answers. Check-in on what your child is thinking and address their worries. Discuss that not everything they hear or see is real. It can also be comforting to be reminded that doctors around the world are looking for ways to address the coronavirus and highlight positive news as well (eg. 15 people have recovered and been discharged in Singapore).
  3. Consider Media Consumption: When looking online, consider the source and fact-check to prevent fake news, and think before you share. Be mindful of how much media you are checking and minimize how often you are reading stories. Try to keep a healthy balance (both online and offline) in your daily routines and lifestyle.
  4. Eliminate stigma: It is important to be aware of how the coronavirus is explained to your children to avoid any person/group being blamed. Also to communicate that if someone has a fever or cough does not mean this person has the coronavirus.
  5. Boost Your Coping Strategies: When anyone has change or uncertainty this can create some levels of worry or anxiety. When this occurs, it is important to use positive coping strategies to manage those emotions. As every person is different, so too are our coping strategies. Regardless, it is important to practice positive strategies to calm down or modify our thinking to improve our outlook and overall well-being. Coping strategies can include: positive self-talk, singing, dancing, reading, drawing, music, Netflix/movies, create a gratitude list, meditation, yoga, coloring, exercise, cooking/baking, talking to a friend or family member, or doing other activities that are fun or give you joy and make you feel good.

If you notice your child is still worried or anxious, be assured that this is a normal reaction, and continue conversations while providing care for your child. If you find that additional support is needed, please reach out to one of our counselors who can refer you to outside counseling or to schedule time with you or your child to make a plan on how to support them during this time.

Our primary sources remain:

CDC Alert Level – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html

WHO Situation Reports – https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports/

Johns Hopkins Interactive Map – https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6

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Updates and a Well Deserved Break!!

It was a wonderful day today as we welcomed our Living History participants and I was able to again offer a greeting this morning. As always, I watched students go off to hear stories from true participants in events of the distant past. Bringing these stories to life each year is an important part of the ASW culture, looking back to look forward. I walked around a bit and watched students in rapt attention as these golden warriors shared their experiences of challenge, despair, and salvation with our students.

A big thank you to our wonderful organizers, teachers, translators, and volunteers for a job well done. And the students looked pretty good dressed up for the day, too!! Way to go 8th grade!!

Board Training and Elections/Appointment reminder

In case you missed the email, Greg Liddle’s Board Chair letter is HERE!

Board Training:

Thursday, March 26, 2020 at 6:00 p.m.

If you would like to participate, you can sign up by clicking here: 

https://goo.gl/forms/cfjli5MvNnwzNiNs2

In both prior eNotes and the board chair’s letter, the call for both applications for appointment and nominations for election is open and available. The link to that form is here:

https://goo.gl/forms/3Vg4LemowAyfBTNA3

The Board is currently seeking community members with experience in fields like human resources, fundraising, development, and strategic planning. We are also seeking members with strong social networks within both ASW and our host community.

You can find more information about the BoT, including the composition of the board and qualifications here:

https://www.aswarsaw.org/community/board-of-trustees

Project Nest

The project nest remains open until March 20th. Please get your ideas on the wall. No idea is too small or too big. Start with “What if we…” and complete the thought. Examples: What if we could find more time to learn about basic life skills like balancing a checkbook or changing a tire? What if we could change the schedule to allow more options for collaborative groups? What if we could build a rocket ship to take us all to Mars for a visit?

All your ideas are welcome and encouraged!

Last Chance on Parking Permits

Stop by the security desk and get your parking permit. Then proudly make sure it is displayed somewhere behind the front windshield so that it is visible at all times while your car is on campus. After the February break – No Permit, No Entrance!!

Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Update

No significant update other than we continue to watch the status through the updates by John Hopkins University, WHO, and the CDC. The numbers increased significantly in recent days on one chart, but not due to additional cases, but instead because of a change in the criteria for counting.

Athletic Travel and Hosting Safety

A reminder – Both CEESA and SCIS have agreed to abide by our restrictions that are now adopted in all CEESA schools. This means that all coaches, athletic directors and activity directors have been informed that they must assure us that all members of the visiting team comply with the following:

  • No community member within a family or a student will be allowed to participate if they have traveled to China within the last 14 days
  • No group member will be allowed to participate if they have had contact with anyone having an elevated risk of exposure to the 2019-nCoV in the past 14 days
  • No group member will be allowed to participate if they show symptoms of any respiratory illness.

For our upcoming hosting of the CEESA MS/HS Swim Meet, all arriving schools will be checked for compliance with the above standards. All CEESA schools recognize the implications of safety and security for all our students and we have an absolute commitment to our standards from all participants! Looking forward to the competition in two weeks’ time. Go, Warriors!

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