Last updated August 10, 2021
Please find below all relevant updates as well as responses to questions regarding impacts on the Hangzhou International School community from the novel Coronavirus event.
We are closely monitoring the ongoing developments of the current novel coronavirus outbreak and are in routine communication with all relevant government agencies, including the Hanghzou Education Bureau and the Center for Disease Control, in addition to our colleagues at international schools around Hangzhou and across China.
Please know that our leadership team is working meticulously to plan for the health and safety of our community, and we will continue to communicate critical updates and information transparently to our parent community. We pledge our continued effort to gather information and provide more detailed information to all of you as soon as we are able. As such, we ask you to regularly come back to this page.
Thank you for your continued understanding, patience, and your effort toward all that remains ahead.
- Reopening Guidelines
- Community Updates
- Government Requirements
- Virus Information & Preventative Measures
- Social & Emotional Support
- Surviving & Thriving During COVID-19
- Ask Us
We are working to outline and communicate all of the necessary steps we will take to ensure the safety of our students and compliance with any government requirements. Links below outline current government expectations as well as planned HIS guidelines.
OVERVIEW OF HIS COVID-19 RETURN TO SCHOOL GUIDELINES
Throughout this document reference is made to "fever" and/or "COVID-19 symptoms." In accordance with Chinese regulations, a "fever" is a body temperature ≥ 37.3 degrees Celsius. "COVID-19 symptoms," other than fever, include persistent dry cough, diarrhea, vomiting, and difficulty breathing. Other symptoms may include fatigue, sore throat, body aches, upset stomach or nausea.
BEFORE RETURNING TO SCHOOL
Parents will be required to complete and submit an online declaration for each child before the student is permitted to return to school. A link to the declaration will be emailed to parents prior to the campus re-opening date, and will outline a series of necessary criteria, including:
- All family members residing in Hangzhou will complete a minimum period of 14 days formal quarantine (or as required) in accordance with government regulations, and adults will have secured Hangzhou Green Health Codes and a Green Travel History Code.
- No member of the household will currently be sick or will have recently displayed symptoms that might reasonably be considered to indicate the possibility of having contracted COVID-19, as indicated by the symptoms listed above.
- Parents must check their children's temperatures each school night and morning before students leave for school, and if they have a fever they must be kept home from school. In the absence of other COVID-19 symptoms students must stay at home until they are fever-free for a minimum period of 48 hours without taking fever reducing medication. For students who are fever-free but have experienced repeated diarrhea and/or vomiting must stay home until symptom-free for 72 hours.
- A fever that presents together with one or more other COVID-19 symptoms requires that the student must seek medical attention at a fever clinic. A medical clearance must be provided in order that the student be permitted to return to school.
- Parents must immediately inform the school if one of their children shows symptoms of influenza so that other students can be monitored accordingly.
- Students must be kept at home if any other member of the family presents COVID-19 symptoms.
- Any confirmed fever (≥ 37.3 degrees) accompanied by other COVID-19 symptoms identified at school will result in the student being sent to fever clinic accompanied by a parent and requiring a medical clearance before returning. By Provincial regulation, the school is obliged to report all such observations to the relevant authorities. When in doubt parents are therefore strongly advised to keep unwell children at home so as to avoid this possibility.
- Students must wear face mask/covering when entering/leaving campus and during transitions. Students are encouraged to use face mask/covering at all times, but teachers have discretion to allow students to remove mask/covering for certain learning activities and if proper ventilation requirements are met. (note: mask guidelines may change based on threat level)
- Teachers must wear face mask/covering at all times, except when alone and not in the presence of students. (note: mask/covering guidelines may change based on threat level)
- Students must follow all general health and hygiene guidelines stipulated by the school, including physical distancing and frequent hand washing/sanitizing.
- A recent travel history must be provided for each child:
· Location of the last overseas port before entering China.
· Date of most recent arrival in China from an overseas port.
· Date of most recent arrival in Hangzhou.
· Date(s) and location(s) of most recent travel within China.
SCHOOL BUS PROTOCOLS
In order to maintain a safe and healthy environment while on the school bus, the following protocols must be followed:
The bus driver and bus monitor (ayi) must:
- Be free of a fever and/or COVID-19 symptoms and must wear face mask/covering and gloves at all times
- Communicate Green Health Code to school and bus company prior to morning pick-up
- Clean and disinfect the bus in the morning and afternoon before pick-up and after drop-off
- Keep the bus windows open for proper ventilation, weather permitting
- Check student Green Health Code, temperatures and issue hand sanitizer
- Line up at the bus stop, keeping a distance of 1 meter between each student
- Wear a face mask/covering at all times before, during and after the bus ride
- Show their Green Health Code or that of their parent/guardian
- Have an infrared thermometer temperature reading of < 37.3 degrees (those with temperatures twice measured ≥ 37.3 degrees will not be permitted to board the bus)
- Students not permitted to board the bus may be brought to school by parents for an ear canal or under arm temperature reading
- Sanitize their hands before entering the bus
- Sit in designated seat with physical distancing taken into consideration and family members seated together.
- Disembark the bus upon arrival and proceed immediately to morning classroom.
GENERAL HEALTH AND HYGIENE PROTOCOLS
Many of the following health and hygiene habits represent best practices even in normal times but they are especially important during times in which we work together to control the spread of disease, including the COVID-19. As a way to emphasize the importance of complying with these expectations and for ease of reference, we have compiled the essential expectations below. As the situation stabilizes, we may be able to relax some of these protocols, such as physical distancing and wearing face masks/coverings, but until then we ask that everyone in the school community adhere to these expectations.
Hand Washing: Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds using the 7-step method as often as possible, but always:
- After using the toilet
- Before touching your eyes, nose or mouth
- Before and after eating
- After sneezing or coughing or using a tissue
- After contact with garbage or a high exposure area such as a door handle, bannister, elevator buttons
- After touching shoes
- After touching an animal
- Before leaving for school and as soon as you get home from school
- Between classes
- When hands are dirty
Students and adults alike are asked to pay attention to the following guidelines:
- Come to school with at least two protective masks per day.
- Do not share food or drinks – always have a personal water bottle that you clean thoroughly each day with soap and water.
- Use disposable alcohol wipes to clean your cell phones and laptops.
- Cover your mouth and nose with the inside of your elbow or a tissue if you need to cough or sneeze.
- Tissues and masks should be disposed of properly. Masks should be disposed of in the yellow waste bins.
- No spitting within the school building or grounds.
- As much as possible, always maintain a distance of 1 meter between you and the people around you.
ENTERING THE CAMPUS
A. All Day Registration Protocol
Employees (including approved third-party providers)
- Entry to the campus will be permitted for those showing a Hangzhou Green Health Code and with digital forehead temperature readings below 37.3 degrees. All adults must register with an Alipay or WeChat QR code.
- Any employee with temperature reading 37.3 degree or above on two different temperature reading devices will be checked again at the gate by the School Nurse using an ear canal thermometer.
- Employees holders must follow standard registration, wear a face mask/covering, and sanitize hands before entering the campus.
- Employees entering by vehicles or foot do not follow the student health check lanes, but approach the guard nearest the guard house and proceed to show green code and receive temperature reading.
- No employee cars are permitted to enter the campus after 7:30am.
- Late-arriving or part-time employees entering the campus after the back gate is closed (8:15am) or front gate is closed (8:30am) need to enter and register at the front gate where the guard will check Green Health Code and take the temperature.
- Students are checked at either the front or back gate entrance between 7:30am and 8:15am based on the staggered entry times.
- Student entry lanes are established with one-meter physical distancing markers. Students and parents should avoid creating congestion of space while waiting to enter lanes.
- Students must show the guard their personal Green Health Code or that of their parent or guardian. Then, the student proceeds alone into the entry lanes to have their temperature checked and sanitize their hands.
- If a student registers measure of 37.3 degrees or higher on two different temperature reading devices at either gate, the school nurse will escort the student to the nearest Isolation Tent for further evaluation.
- Once in the isolation tent, those with an ear canal temperature reading below 37.8 may proceed to class/work. If the ear canal temperature is 37.8 degrees or higher, a mercury-in-glass thermometer will be used to measure temperature under arm. If this measure is under 37.3 degrees twice in 10 mins, student may go back to class.
- Any person with a mercury-in-glass temperature reading 37.3 degrees or higher, but below 38 degrees and not exhibiting other COVID-19 symptoms shall remain in the Isolation Tent for monitoring, including an additional check after 30 minutes.
- Students who return to classes from Isolation Tent will be given a GREEN CARD to show their teachers indicating that they have been cleared by a School Nurse.
- If a third mercury-in-glass thermometer check after one hour in the Isolation Tent still indicates a temperature of 37.3 or higher, they will be issued an N95 mask and held under observation until such time that their parents can be contacted (for students). Parents shall be responsible for arranging transportation to a fever clinic.
- After the back gate has closed (8:15am), all students should enter through the front gate and proceed with check in protocols.
- Late students arriving after the student entry lanes and all gates have been closed should check in with the front gate guard office. The guard will check Green Health Code, take temperature, request sign in registration, and escort the student to the front office or be met at the gate by a campus administrator.
Visitors (including Parents)
- Visitors are not permitted to enter the campus unless otherwise formally approved by a member of the school's Senior Administration and by appointment only. Campus access shall only be permitted via the Front Gate.
- Visitors approved entry must show a Hangzhou Green Health Code, register their QR code, and have a temperature check that indicates a reading below 37.3 degrees (administered by school guard).
- Visitors must undergo the standard sign-in registration protocols.
- Visitors will be escorted by a guard to the front desk or be met at the front gate by the approving Senior Administrator or his/her designee.
DURING THE SCHOOL DAY PROTOCOLS
- Students are checked a second time in homerooms/advisory between 8:00am and 8:30am with temperature readings formally recorded.
- Any person with a temperature reading twice of 37.3 or higher on different devices will be immediately escorted to the nearest Isolation Tent for an ear canal check. Those with an ear canal temperature reading below 37.8 may proceed to class/work.
- Any person with an ear canal temperature reading 37.8 or above will receive a further check using a mercury-in-glass thermometer. Persons with mercury-in-glass thermometer readings twice below 37.3 in 10 minutes may proceed to class/work.
- Any person with a mercury-in-glass temperature reading 37.3 degrees or higher, but not exhibiting other COVID-19 symptoms shall remain in the Isolation Tent for monitoring, including an additional check after 30 minutes.
- Students who return to classes from Isolation Tent will be given a GREEN CARD to show their teachers indicating that they have been cleared by a School Nurse.
- If a third check after one hour in the Isolation Tent still indicates a temperature of 37.3 or higher, they will be issued an N95 mask and held under observation until such time that their parents can be contacted (for students). Parents shall be responsible for arranging transportation to a medical facility.
- Any person with a repeated temperature reading 37.3 or above, or with an initial reading of 37.3 degrees or higher and presenting with persistent COVID-19 symptoms shall be escorted immediately to the nearest Isolation Tent, where they will be issued an N95 mask and held under observation until such time that their parents can be contacted (for students), and transportation to a medical facility arranged if mercury-in-glass thermometer readings remain 37.3 or higher over 10 mins or persistent vomiting or diarrhea is indicated.
- All medical data and treatment decisions shall be formally recorded and reported to relevant school personnel (e.g., Director, Principals, Office Secretaries, and relevant Teachers) and required government authorities.
- Lower and Upper School students will complete a pre-lunch temperature check, which will be recorded before students go to the cafeteria.
- Temperature Re-checks: Morning re-check protocols apply to any person with a temperature reading on two devices 37.3 or higher during the afternoon, with rechecks administered in Isolation Tent.
Procedure for high temperature and symptoms during school hours
- An administrator should be contacted if a student has persistent COVID-19 symptoms or a temperature 37.3 degrees or higher measured on two devices during school hours.
- The administrator escorts the student(s) to nearest Isolation Tent and transfers the student to a school nurse.
- Standard temperature and health checking protocols from morning registration shall apply.
- If the student is identified by the nurse as being a concern, the parents of the student will be contacted to escort the child to a fever clinic.
- Students who were in the class with the affected classmate, will be segregated by remaining in place or brought into an Isolation Classroom for further temperature checks and the previous classroom of concern will be completely disinfected. Other classrooms and locations that the affected student is known to have been will also be disinfected.
- Those students will remain in isolation for the rest of the day, with hourly monitoring, until a medical clearance is issued for the initial student of concern.
- The school office will inform parents of those students affected and update them of any changes in conditions.
Irrespective of temperature check readings, any person presenting COVID-19 symptoms shall be directed to the nearest Isolation Tent for further examination by the school nurse.
GENERAL CLASSROOM AND CLEANING PROTOCOLS
Face masks are currently not required once on the HIS campus but are required at entrance/exit transitions (arrival and departure).
School cleaners will thoroughly clean and disinfect all classrooms and classroom surfaces each morning and afternoon, and common spaces and surfaces (including door handles and railings) repeatedly throughout the day. Toilets and bathrooms will be cleaned hourly.
PE Class/Athletics Protocols
Given the physical nature of PE classes, teachers will use their discretion when determining if students should remove their optional face mask/covering depending on the level of aerobic or anaerobic activity.
In addition to short breaks and passing times, students should wear their face mask/covering during recess, unless a supervised activity utilizing physical distancing and proper ventilation is established.
The library is open for classroom activities and general browsing. Parents may request library book via the online Destiny system. Classrooms may book a time slot to bring a classroom group to browse for books. All books will be disinfected upon return in accordance with government guidelines.
LUNCH AND CAFETERIA PROTOCOLS
All students and faculty/staff members must have their temperature checked prior to lunch. Procedure for fevers and COVID-19 symptoms during school hours shall apply. Students without fevers and/or COVID-19 symptoms will adhere to the following protocols:
- At the assigned daily lunch time, students will be escorted from homerooms to the cafeteria (following hand washing/sanitizing). The Cafe shall be closed to students.
- Students shall wear a face mask/covering and maintain a distance of at least 1 meter between each other as they make their way into the cafeteria, in line at hand cleansing stations, and in one of three lines for the food service.
- Students will eat in available seating. Current capacity is 186 persons with plastic dividers.
- Upper School students and faculty/staff may eat outside, weather permitting, but should not sit directly opposite another (ie. maximum staggered seating of 3 on a 4-seated picnic table) and maintain 1-meter distancing.
- Students may not share food or utensils.
- Cafeteria staff will issue students with a tray and utensils that have been sanitized
- Only the cafeteria staff will serve food, drink, or any consumable items.
- Students may not go for additional helpings in the serving lines, except for the pre-packaged sandwich and fruit bar
Lunch Schedule Sample (to be updated for 2021-22 school year)
11:55am (inside or outside)
12:10pm (inside or outside)
At the end of the school day:
- Students may not congregate together or loiter in common areas, such as the pavilions or Library, and may not remain to play in the school grounds.
- Students taking a school bus must move immediately to their designated bus station. Students must sanitize their hands before boarding school buses.
- Teachers/assistants will escort young students to designated buses, or to assigned pick-up location for parents, ayis, or private drivers.
- Currently Co-curricular Activities (CCAs) are planned for the 2021-22 school year.
- Students identified for targeted assistance or student support should be issued an afterschool pass.
Reopening Documents and Videos
Regarding Campus Closure During the Coronavirus Outbreak 2020
(Posted Mar. 5) Family Travel Update
As required by the Hangzhou Education Bureau, HIS has been tasked with getting 100% submission from all HIS families regarding their travel plans during this time. Most of you have already submitted your information to our Travel Itinerary Survey which was sent via email. If you have not completed this survey or if your travel plans change, we request that you answer this survey again.
(Posted Apr. 9) Notice of Campus Reopening: Beginning April 13
HIS received notice from the Zhejiang Provincial Education Bureau, confirmed by the Hangzhou Education Bureau, and inspection by the Binjiang Education Bureau, in order to begin reopening of campus on April 13. The school will phase in certain grade levels on staggered start dates and times. Other grade levels will be announced soon. E-learning will continue until each grade level is allowed to return to campus. For families who were unable to get back to China prior to the border closing, please contact your child's Principal for further assistance and possible support in completing the academic year.
(Posted Apr. 9) What is the procedure for people returning to Hangzhou?
While these situations are fluid, those returning from outside of China or any “affected areas” within China should expect to do a full 14-day quarantine in a quarantine hotel or at home. The decision is in the hands of the authorities. Those who show symptoms or are sick must follow medical protocols and report to the designated hospitals.
(Posted Mar. 5) What is the goal of virtual learning at HIS?
HIS campuses will be closed to parents, students, and faculty. The goal of E-learning is to best ensure continuity of learning and a sense of community and connection during the school’s closure.
(Posted Mar. 5) How will I (and my child) receive work?
HIS will use our existing online learning platforms as the primary points of communication.
- Lower School Families: WeChat, ManageBac, Microsoft Teams (Grades 4 & 5)
- Upper School Families: ManageBac, Microsoft Teams
- Additionally, individual teachers may choose to utilize other platforms to extend student learning
(Posted Mar. 5) When will work be posted?
You can expect that your child’s first learning tasks will be posted online on Monday, February 3rd.
(Posted Mar. 5) Are these real school days? What is expected?
Yes. E-learning school days will require dedication and hard work by both students and teachers. Attendance will be taken through each child’s continued progress within the online class environment. We appreciate you supporting your child’s effort in this regard. Similar to a traditional school day, your child will have an age-appropriate amount of work to complete each day with clear due dates, lessons, instructions, feedback, and grades.
(Posted Mar. 5) Are teachers still available for support and additional explanation?
Yes. Each teacher will be available during scheduled hours each day between 8:00 – 3:00 (Hangzhou time). Principals will share more information in their communication tomorrow regarding schedules. Additionally, teachers may have some optional times available after 3:00 as well.
(Posted Mar. 5) Who can I contact if I have questions?
We remain committed to supporting you. Much like a regular school day, if you have questions regarding your technology, contact our tech support staff. Contact information is shared below. If you have a question about your child’s homework, you or your child should contact the teacher. If you have questions of a general nature they are best addressed to the division Principal.
(Posted Mar. 5) How can I support my child’s learning during this time?
Ensure that your child has access to technology: high-quality internet, access to a computer and an appropriate space for school-related work.
- If parents/students do not have (regular) access to a computer/internet, we ask parents to take a proactive approach and notify the school 48 hours in advance.
- If you or your child have any technical problems, reach out to our HIS Tech Support Team firstname.lastname@example.org .
Establish realistic expectations and school-like routines: Your child may view this as a vacation. If so, this may become a frustrating experience as they fall behind academically and view schoolwork as an “extra”. While there will be more flexibility within the day, it is still very much a school day with expectations for engaging in learning. For health and academic reasons, ensure appropriate sleep, nutrition, and exercise.
Preview frustrations and celebrate growth: The next few weeks will have challenges. Technology may fall short on speed and connectivity; assignments may become lost or need further clarification to understand what is expected. E-learning will require more self-regulation; please help your child(ren) plan ahead. Throughout it, all help your child(ren) view this period with a growth mindset. There will be lots of learning (and not all of it will be within the virtual classroom). Be open to that with your child. Give them time to reflect, express their feelings, and grow.
(Posted Mar. 5) Are children more susceptible to the virus that causes COVID-19 compared with the general population and how can infection be prevented? Content source: National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), Division of Viral Diseases
No, there is no evidence that children are more susceptible. In fact, most confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported from China have occurred in adults. Infections in children have been reported, including in very young children. From limited information published from past Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) outbreaks, infection among children was relatively uncommon.
For information on risk, please see the current risk assessment. Children should engage in usual preventive actions to avoid infection, including cleaning hands often using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer, avoiding people who are sick, and staying up to date on vaccinations, including influenza vaccine. Additional information on prevention measures can be found here (Prevention for 2019 Novel Coronavirus).
(Posted Mar. 5) Does the clinical presentation of COVID-19 differ in children compared with adults? Content source: National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), Division of Viral Diseases
Limited reports of children with COVID-19 in China have described cold-like symptoms, such as fever, runny nose, and cough. Gastrointestinal symptoms (vomiting and diarrhea) have been reported in at least one child with COVID-19. These limited reports suggest that children with confirmed COVID-19 have generally presented with mild symptoms, and though severe complications (acute respiratory distress syndrome, septic shock) have been reported, they appear to be uncommon. See more information on CDC Clinical Guidance for COVID-19.
(Posted Mar. 5) Are children at increased risk for severe illness, morbidity, or mortality from COVID-19 infection compared with adults? Content source: National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), Division of Viral Diseases
There have been very few reports of the clinical outcomes for children with COVID-19 to date. Limited reports from China suggest that children with confirmed COVID-19 may present with mild symptoms and though severe complications (acute respiratory distress syndrome, septic shock) have been reported, they appear to be uncommon. However, as with other respiratory illnesses, certain populations of children may be at increased risk of severe infection, such as children with underlying health conditions.
(Posted Mar. 5) Are there any treatments available for children with COVID-19? Content source: National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), Division of Viral Diseases
There are currently no antiviral drugs recommended or licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for COVID-19. Clinical management includes prompt implementation of recommended infection prevention and control measures in healthcare settings and supportive management of complications. See more information on CDC Clinical Guidance for COVID-19.
Children and their family members should engage in usual preventive actions to prevent the spread of respiratory infections, including covering coughs, cleaning hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and staying up to date on vaccinations, including influenza. Additional information on prevention measures can be found here (Prevention for 2019 Novel Coronavirus).
(Posted Mar. 5) Where can I find out more information about the virus?
Community members are encouraged to follow the tips and advice provided by the following organizations:
- World Health Organization (WHO)
- China Center for Disease Control
- U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC)
- US Consulate
- Shine.cn published by China Daily
You can monitor the US CDC’s current health situation threat levels at this website.
(Posted Mar. 5) What preventive measures can we take to reduce the risk of infection?
- Avoid contact with live animals including poultry and birds, and consumption of raw and undercooked meats.
- Avoid close contact with people who are unwell or showing symptoms of illnesses.
- Observe good personal hygiene.
- Practice frequent hand-washing with soap.
- Wear a mask if you have respiratory symptoms such as a cough or runny nose.
- Cover your mouth with a tissue paper when coughing or sneezing, and dispose of tissue paper in the rubbish bin immediately.
- Seek medical attention promptly if you are feeling unwell.
Living and working in China has presented challenges for many HIS families during the current CoVid19 outbreak. The following resources and information are designed to help you navigate these challenges so that you can survive and, even thrive during the CoVid19 outbreak by providing you resources and information for your mental/emotional health and the mental/emotional health of your family.
Managing Anxiety in the Current Reality of the CoVid19 Outbreak
Managing Anxiety in the Current Reality of the CoVid19 Outbreak
Adapted from a resource created by Holly Poppell, Dulwich College-Suzhou 2020
Be a smart consumer of information related to the CoVid19 outbreak
Some important ways to maintain perspective about this CoVid19 outbreak are to limit your exposure to media about the outbreak and to filter good information from bad.
This article provides a historical perspective about outbreaks and emphasizes facts we currently understand about the CoVid19 outbreak
Additionally, stick to reputable sources when looking online for updates about the virus and outbreak.
Maintaining Work/Life Balance During a Quarantine
Why is it important to quarantine?
Having Fun at Home:
- Some Tips for You to Stay Healthy at Home Against Coronavirus!
- 50 Fun Things to Do When You’re Stuck Inside During Winter
- Stuck Inside? Check Out These 30 Fun Family Indoor Activities
- 28 Free or Cheap Ways to Entertain Yourself At Home
- 14 FUN INDOOR FAMILY GAMES (NO BOARD NECESSARY)
- Things to Do at Home Right Now
- Get Crafty at Home with a DIY Craft Kit!
Working Out at Home:
- Yoga App with Free Classes
- Feeling out of shape? Try these home workouts right now
- Try This Simple 9-Step Workout in the Comfort of Your Home
- Pure Yoga & Pure Fitness Classes
- 22 Mindfulness Exercises, Techniques and Activities for Adults
- Pocket Mindfulness
- Tara Brach – Guided Meditations
- How Gratitude Can Help You Through Hard Times
Helping Children During Quarantine
If you have children at home, a quarantine can be especially challenging. Not only do you, as a parent, care for basic needs (food, care, sleep routines) you may also have to become a playmate, teacher, and counselor for your child. These articles can give you some ideas about how to help your children during a quarantine: