Plans for the Holidays and Other Items

First, a shout out to everyone involved in UN Day today. We kicked it off with a wonderful starting virtual assembly this morning despite a few technical glitches. Thank you to the many of you who tuned in and the video is now available on our main UN day page. Look further down for the details on the country videos and the quiz competition that carries through the long weekend. Many thanks to all the parents involved in the country videos and the true inspiration of the PTO Board and their guidance throughout!! And special thanks to my team here, administrative, faculty, and support staff for making sure it all came together!

Vacation Plans Now Approved

Thank you to all who provided feedback on our initial planning and thank you for your input on the rolling survey and the staff survey on the projected plan for the upcoming holiday break. We reached our decisions yesterday firming up our plan and confirming this with the Board Executive Committee.

Let me emphasize at the outset that we are not suggesting nor recommending travel during either the coming weekend or during the long holiday break. It is very clear, with recent announcements from the government, that travel, except essential, is not recommended. This is the similar message from governments around the world as we continue to fight growing numbers.

Our plan below is more about managing our return and making sure that we are all safe when classes ultimately resume and we re-enter the building. This guidance is gleaned from our original opening in August as well as our success during the recent October break. These plans worked in a general sense, but with some tweaks, they should work even more smoothly.

We are announcing at this time that ASW will move into full virtual school mode for the week of January 11-15 immediately following the school holiday break. We will be following a mix of synchronous and asynchronous activities for all age levels while we provide for two rounds of drive-through testing of the entire school population. The schedules for this will be communicated well in advance of the holiday along with the plans to make sure that students are fully engaged at home for the week.

Along with this plan is a directive for you to plan to return home to Warsaw no later than January 8th in order to be ready to attend school on Monday, January 18. You should enter your date of return in the app and restart your use of the app no later than the 8th as well. We are following new CDC guidelines on exclusion relative to testing during the exclusion, once at about the third day after return and the other near the end of the exclusion. We believe January 8 gives us the best chance of effectively assuring that there are no infections as a result of any travel. Our testing schedule during virtual week will provide for the recommended two tests to certify this and will put all students back on our regular testing schedule. This schedule will also accommodate those who do not travel allowing for earlier tests on the week prior as well.

Tentatively, we have made similar plans for the two remaining long vacations as follows:

  • February Break – we plan to move the PD day originally scheduled for April 2nd to March 1, the day following the break. We plan to do re-entry testing on Friday/Saturday/Monday before returning to school on Tuesday, March 2nd.
  • April Spring Break – we are following the October model and moving parent conferences for both Upper School and Elementary to April 12 and 13 to provide for Saturday/Monday/Tuesday testing before returning to school on April 14.

These last items are tentative plans and contingent upon assessing the overall environment after the holiday break. We all remain hopeful of better circumstances that might allow us to relax our posture.

More details about the full structure of virtual school for the week in January will be coming as we get closer to the vacation. Look for communication from our divisional leadership as well as our talented Technology Team to make sure we are ready. Please plan accordingly with your own arrangements.

Please feel free to continue providing feedback on our plans through the rolling survey link in your morning daily updates. Happy to hear from you!

A final word…

Finally, a big shout out to Middle School Speech and Debate last weekend. They had a wonderful virtual tournament and I was pleased to be able to help judge and manage Zoom rooms under the leadership of Mr. James and Mr. Sidaway. It was a brilliant event and inspired performances in both speech and the spirited final debate. Thanks to one and all for a tremendous demonstration of resilience!

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Looking Forward

Hoping you all received the communication from the ASW Board of Trustees earlier today. In case you missed it, you can also view it here:

In the spirit of this letter, we are planning ahead now for the upcoming Winter Break and the other long breaks for the remainder of the year. Our experience with the recent October break has been reviewed and we expect to roll out our planning next week for your consideration. It is important to note that we are not planning any change to our calendar or days between now and our last day before the holiday on December 18. All of our planning is focusing on the period of time following the holidays and mitigation for safety. You have time to offer input on that decision-making this week. Just add a note in the rolling survey after our Town Hall meeting to share your thoughts on what you think we should do following the holiday. The rolling feedback survey is here:

We are always reviewing your comments in the survey along with your feedback on confidence in our decisions and our approach. The most recent charting of that is here with 96 responses during the last two weeks (1 is low, 10 is high):

I want to thank you for your positive feedback and hopeful we can continue to receive your support and guidance.

Finally, I want to thank our PTO and the many country representatives for their work in getting ready for our postponed United Nations Day next week. We have a live stream opening next week and we have opened the door to national dress costumes on the day which we encourage at all levels.

Our theme: Unity and Peace through Compassion Kindness, and Hope

An important theme for the current state of the world. I’ll send a reminder early next week with details on the Livestream presentation. I know we can’t gather like usual this year, but I expect that we can do many wonderful things here at school to embrace our diversity. Thank you to all who are helping to make this as special as possible.

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Many Things Ahead

Our thanks to PTO and all the creative minds of the community as you take on the challenge of our UN Day format. It’s important to continue to value and share our diversity this year under extraordinary challenges. But, we know the parent community is up to this and look forward to your contributions. Thank you in advance for your participation.

We have some drama productions that will still try to get on stage despite our inability to provide the robust audiences we would normally invite. We are following some strict protocols to still give our thespians a platform for developing their skills for the future. It may be different, but they are rising to the challenge. Look for virtual links of these important ac

Finally, I would ask you to please head to the rolling parent survey that I have in each Daily Update. I need a more robust data set this time to give me a picture of how parents are feeling in the moment and in advance of the board meeting on Monday. Please take the time to fill out this survey – it’s only three questions and you are already familiar with it: https://forms.gle/gfzyE3BAonpvHuam8

Finally, we have a board meeting on Monday, November 16, and information on the board packet and details on virtually attending will come out on Friday, as usual.

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