What will August look like?
I am frequently asked what I think August will look like at AISL. There are many facets to the answer. I know for certain that school will re-open. I also know for certain that we have a strong preference for resuming face-to-face learning ON CAMPUS. In reality, the decision to re-open our campus will be made much closer to the time, most likely in mid-July. In the meantime, we will continue with weekly email updates to keep you updated on our plans.
The decision to re-open campus will depend heavily on the COVID-19 situation at the time. Much is being written and theorized about whether African nations, like Zambia, are likely to have a different experience with COVID-19 than other countries. Some argue that our climate, previous experience with disease, and overall youth will help minimize the harm. Others say that we are just proceeding a bit more slowly than other countries toward a widespread crisis. At the moment, there does not seem to be any scientific consensus.
The COVID-19 situation will influence two key factors in our decision to re-open our campus. First, like all schools in Zambia, we will need to get the green light from the Ministries of Health and General Education. Second, we will need to be very confident that we can provide a safe and healthy environment for our students and staff. To this end, we have convened a Re-opening Task Force with staff and parent volunteers to explore the complexities of campus health and safety and make recommendations to the administration.
As I explained in the recent parent meeting with the Board of Directors, we are planning for three August scenarios (see visual below). The first scenario is a fully open campus. This would mean that the COVID-19 situation will have diminished to such an extent that we can resume normal or nearly-normal school operations. The third scenario is a continuation of distance learning. This would occur if the health and safety situation deteriorates to the extent that reopening campus safely is impossible. The second scenario represents a middle ground, a hybrid between the other two. In this scenario, our campus would be open but health and safety conditions would require significant restrictions. These restrictions could include a limitation on how many people can be on campus, what ages of students are allowed, and/or what activities are permitted. As an added complication, we recognize that changes in the COVID-19 situation may require us to shift back and forth between these scenarios.
Even if August brings a re-opened campus, we expect that a large percentage of our students will have to carry on with distance learning. This would be either because their families are overseas and are not yet able to return to Lusaka or they are in Lusaka and do not feel comfortable sending their children to campus. Rest assured that, regardless of which scenario we open with in August, we will be planning to support ALL our students.
Planning for such a wide range of contingencies is extraordinarily complex. Please join me in thanking our leadership team, the Board of Directors, and the Re-opening Task Force for their hard work. They are daily faced with decisions for which there are no clear answers, no precedent to fall back on, and no agreement on what the future holds. Although I do not know which scenario will be in place in August, I know without question that school (if not the campus) will re-open in August and we will continue to offer the best education available in Zambia.
URGENT: Please let us know your plans
As I mentioned above, the COVID-19 situation is forcing us to plan for August in a situation with very little reliable information. Planning staff and student schedules under these circumstances is extremely difficult. If you haven’t done so already, please reach out to Natasha in Admissions (email@example.com) to let us know your family’s plans for August. Will you be in Lusaka? Will you be overseas? If you are overseas, when might you return? Are you planning to re-enroll your child(ren) at AISL? Even if you are not 100% sure, please let us know. The sooner we have this information, the better we will be able to serve everyone.
Please share your feedback on AISL Distance Learning 2.0
As you know, the team here at AISL is deeply committed to continuously improving our programs. Having transitioned very quickly to our distance learning program, we worked hard to gather feedback and adjust along the way. Your feedback was very helpful to that process.
Although we are hoping to return to face-to-face learning in August, we humbly request another round of feedback so that we can make further refinements to our distance learning program – for whenever we need to use it again. I would be grateful if you could share your reflections by clicking here. Your feedback will be very useful to us.
Check out our Virtual Awards Ceremonies
The end of every school year includes a series of ceremonies to celebrate our students. Events such as Graduation, the Academic and Sports Awards Ceremonies, and the Grade 5 Transition Ceremony are important rites of passage for our scholars. Although we could not hold this year’s ceremonies in person, our team has worked very hard to create virtual versions of these annual traditions. Please visit our Virtual Awards Ceremonies webpage and take some time to celebrate our students’ many achievements (password is same as for parent portal). I hope that you enjoy your visit to these ceremonies and that they demonstrate to you our unwavering commitment to create opportunities for our students to thrive.
As a fun side note, we have been tracking visitors to these sites. That information provides a great snapshot of just how international we are as a community. Check out the statistics we have logged:
Sports Awards Ceremony: 288 visitors from 19 countries
Senior Awards Ceremony: 255 visitors from 14 countries
Graduation: 384 visitors from 19 countries
Many thanks to Julie Baldry, Frank Louw, Claire and Tony Potts, and the rest of the team for creating such great tributes to our students’ achievements.
The Leopard's Tale is our main medium to keep our families informed on such things as the day to day happenings on campus, after school activities, summaries of any arts and sports events, helpful resources, and important dates and reminders.
Parent Information Sessions
Here are the upcoming sessions – all parents are welcome and encouraged to attend: