It is my hope that you've had a wonderful summer reconnecting with friends and family while enjoying a wonderful rest for part or all of your summer. We look forward to students sharing their stories with us of great adventures and new experiences.
We start the year with a small sense of normalcy after more than 2 years of significant work by all under COVID. In our efforts, we preserved what we could while hoping for the threat to subside. That seems to be happening and I've included detailed information on our approach below in this message. It's also posted in our COVID page within the Parent Portal.
Speaking of the Parent Portal, please be aware that we will focus entirely on using our new credentials and email account for the bulk of our communications. Please login to my.aswkey.org and make sure you have access and can click through to all of our portals for access to the systems supporting your child. This is your one-stop portal for access to all important information at ASW. Our communication will be increasingly limited to this portal only and the associated email address, which you can easily set up on all of your devices. Eventually, the only other system we will maintain is our SMS Emergency system and you can update your mobile number in our system through PowerSchool. PowerSchool continues to be our main hub for daily maintenance of records and it is enhanced with additional systems depending on academic and program needs at each grade level.
It's also important to go to PowerSchool as necessary consent forms must be filled out during the first days of each school year. They should be available shortly and this important information makes sure we have all the necessary information and permissions to more effectively care for your child at school.
There is additional information below on our key partnership this year supporting the PSI School from Kyiv. We also never stopped working on key strategic initiatives and we look forward to sharing more about this in due course.
Look for additional messages later today and this week regarding the upcoming activities as we get ready for school. The first day of school is the 17th. Our new families will be here on the 16th. We have a public Holiday on Monday, and I wish you all a peaceful Assumption Day.
Divisional principals will communicate more about their programs and necessary reminders, and eNotes will be coming out shortly. This message is only about initial protocols and a heads-up on things you need to consider first.
Finally, I just want to welcome one and all to the coming school year. We have much to share in due course and looking forward to seeing all of you. Please note that after two years of rather strict pandemic protocols, we are resuming the traditional Director's Welcome Back Coffee morning for Parents - all of you are cordially invited to join me for a cup of morning coffee and treats on Wednesday, August 17th, at 8:30 a.m. in the cafeteria.
We want to welcome publicly our new partners to the ASW Campus. PSI Parents are now receiving this message as new members of our community. As you were aware in the Spring, we undertook a great challenge to partner with a school displaced by the war. Like our efforts under #ASWforUkraine, which continued throughout the summer, we approved a program to welcome PSI students and staff to our campus as a safe haven until they can return to their homes and school, which remains safe at the moment in Kyiv. The message from the ASW Board of Directors on this topic is HERE for reference (from May 4th) along with the associated action item that the board approved.
We are excited to be partnering with PSI and integrating effectively with their students at all levels. We also welcome School Director, Rachel Caldwell, who is partnering with me to oversee this unique project. The PSI "Home" has been installed next to our Annex with temporary structures, but their students and staff will become integrated with us throughout the campus as we share the rich resources of ASW with them freely. PSI students will join many of our classes and their teachers will become part of our staff as well. They will retain a "family" identity to the degree possible while we all embrace the concept that we are ONE school working together toward common goals. We look forward to being two families "under the same roof" and sharing the unique experience of modelling how we can work together seamlessly in support of the children we all serve.
We've completely revised the document that will guide our COVID-related efforts at the start of the year. We have now fully moved to an endemic approach to mitigation and our focus is no longer on quarantine and isolation, but instead our focus is on reducing illness and absences.
Schools are places where large populations come together and, in order to protect staff and children, we look for ways to limit the spread of disease.
This year, we shift to an endemic model of mitigation that is more about reducing illness. Our mitigation posture document reflects this and guides our actions. Clicking on the title above will take you to this published version of our guidance and how we will perform under this guidance.
For reference: We start the year at Risk Level 2 and a Low posture. As the document details, there is discretion and we will respond quickly to any external or internal dynamics. Most importantly, the guide suggests how we will re-engage with protocols if the situation worsens with new variants or other growing concerns.
For now, the quick summary based on the above:
We start with home testing only. We will be sending one kit home for each enrolled child (see below).
We start the year with masks optional. As the guide stipulates, mask-wearing at the low level is optional and situational. In the case of symptoms, masks should be worn until there is confirmation that COVID is not involved (24-48 hours and two negative tests).
We'll follow a relaxed format of cohort separation with only limited access controls.
We ask that parents moderately restrict their access, except when volunteering for a specific purpose, and not enter hallways and classroom areas without permission from the Divisional Offices. Parents may only access these offices, the main entry corridor, the cafeteria, and the library unless going to another area because of a scheduled school event or appointment.
This is our opening plan for this year and hopeful of your support for this minimal level of guidance as we better understand the next stages of this virus. We will now deal with COVID as an endemic threat, which means we use normal health care procedures for managing cases. We will not be publicly sharing case counts nor will we be doing extensive contact tracing on identified infections. We are hopeful with a practical approach to healthy practices, that we can reduce illness and limit absences, as we would with other known diseases. We'll still have opportunities to discuss this regularly and we'll maintain awareness of any change in regional policy that might change our approach and force us to reintroduce protective measures. Thank you in advance for remaining ready in this regard!
We will be suspending the use of OK4School for the time being and reducing our restrictions for students at main entrances. We will still deploy and use wristbands throughout the school for activities including in the cafeteria and for other services. And, we need to be prepared in case we must re-implement OK4School and require attestation if we increase to a higher risk level. So, we will be following our normal procedure of deploying and expecting compliance with the use of wristbands as it is important for us to be prepared.
We will have available at the main entrance of the school, home tests for pickup by parents starting on Tuesday, August 16. You can pick up a test kit for each child in your family and administer them at home during the first week of school. We recommend testing 72 hours after travel or in the event of symptoms, so please estimate your best date according to when you arrived back in Poland. We will have test kits available for use at school when students are referred to the Health Clinic for symptoms or related concerns. Testing should now be seen as similar to taking a temperature. You will only report positive tests to school via firstname.lastname@example.org.
When students are referred home for a positive test or when a test is reported to us via email@example.com, we will still expect a 7-day exclusion in order to reduce the further spread of the illness. Family members in the same household will similarly be excluded for the 7-day period.
After a summer of considering our options relative to staff turnover and as a result of a full proposal and bidding process, the American School of Warsaw will be contracting its schoolwide Health Services to WarsawMed for the 2022-2023 school year and beyond. The following is their initial press release:
"WarsawMed - a unit of Epixpert, a leader in corporate healthcare services in Poland, has been selected by the American School of Warsaw as the sole provider of its healthcare services beginning August 1, 2022.
WarsawMed will provide holistic health services for the American School of Warsaw's population of approximately 1000 students and 300 staff. WarsawMed will also be a triage and referral agent for expanded medical care and services, as required. A significant element of WarsawMed's mandate will also be to provide educational and prevention programs including regular health screening consistent with well-established practice and US CDC guidelines on school health programs.
As part of the agreement, WarsawMed has the option to set up a general healthcare outpatient clinic serving the needs of the larger ASW community.
WarsawMed has invited existing ASW health services staff members to join them and provide additional resources during the transition and beyond. WarsawMed has started the onboarding process already and will be fully operational by the beginning of the school year on August 17."
You can post questions and comments via the Facebook comment stream before and during the event. The announcement on Facebook is typically posted 7-days prior to the event.
Recordings of past episodes are available on the Zimplicity Director's Desk and Apple Podcasts, as well as in the Facebook Parent Group, Videos section. Subscribe to videos via Apple Podcasts and recordings are delivered automatically when published. You can also subscribe to our channel on Podbean.