Welcome to 2021

Important inclusions:

  • All students return to school on Tuesday 12 January.
  • Situation Report
  • Updated health procedures
  • Changes to Bukatsu/ Lessons/ Afteschool care
  • Semester Two events

Greetings everyone,

Year of the Ox
KIS wishes everyone a healthy and prosperous 2021. As we approach the Year of the Ox (ushi), we are informed the ox is epitomised as gentle; loyal in virtue; being trustworthy and grounded. I am sure you would agree, recalling recent times, looking for stability and confirmation are areas our entire community will once again try to establish.

Situation Report
As of this communication, areas of Japan are in a State of Emergency (SoE) and Kyoto Prefecture is also considering what are the safest next steps. The school is monitoring these situations and reviewing the latest communications from the Ministry of Education (MEXT) which have been updated this week. A common point of these updates is that schools are being encouraged not to close but to continue to minimise risk behaviour for the transmission of COVID-19.

Over the holiday break, the school has maintained continuous updates from JCIS and with Dr Lomax. In his most recent presentation (January 7) the doctor reinforced that schools are places where there has been the least transmissibility in the age groups up to high school age students. This continues to support the KIS response to the pandemic.

A newer development from Dr Lomax is that potential symptoms for COVID-19 are not as consistent as previously identified. As more research is completed it is now evident not all COVID-19 patients had:
● Increased temperature
● Cough
● Runny nose
● Body aches
● Tiredness

When to stay at home?
As a result of this information, the school asks that parents keep students at home if there are any signs of being unwell, until there is an absence of any symptoms for 24hrs. This is an update from previously published information. When in doubt keep your child at home.

Bukatsu, Lessons and After School Care
For the first week (Tuesday 12 Jan – Friday January 15) KIS will suspend ALL after school activities. This is consistent with all other schools in the JCIS network. The outcome of this will mean less time for interaction outside of the essential delivery of teaching and learning. KIS is committed to continuing to offer face-to-face lessons until it is deemed unsafe. This is one step that will help support our commitment.

Looking forward
What can we look forward to in 2021? The second semester is a significant one for KIS. The school will go through a number of validation processes being our IB evaluation; the WASC re-accreditation and the renewal of our Guiding Statements (Vision, Mission and Values). As well we are continuing our journey for membership with the Council of International Schools (CIS). All key aspects in reinforcing who we are as school and what we strive for students in their education.

What types of events the school can provide will be mixed in comparison to previous years. Rest assured the Senior Leadership Team continues to reflect on ways to support the community and maintain connection.

Of course the KIS Festival will be held but not necessarily in its traditional format. It is important that the school continues to celebrate the community and culture that makes us KIS.

Experiential learning opportunities for students will look different as students will not be able to go to camps this year. This does create opportunities to work on different models whereby students can continue to have authentic experiences inside and outside the classroom, with a true reflection of our culture.

More online community events will be on offer. Coffees mornings, online education sessions and of course we have the option for parent conferences online if face-to-face is not available.

It will be a busy Semester Two but the school approaches it with excitement and enthusiasm. We look forward to connecting with everyone over the course of the year.

Michael Taylor