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DOS Letter to HIS Families Feb 27

Dear HIS Families, 

As you may know, the number of new cases of COVID-19 in China has dropped considerably over the past two weeks.  China is no longer the country registering the most daily new cases, and Zhejiang and Hangzhou have had no new cases over the past few days.  Unfortunately, new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in many countries and outbreaks have occurred in Korea, Italy and Iran.  While the information from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that this strain may very likely become part of the global community-based seasonal flus that pose the most threat to the elderly and unhealthy, there is still international support to continue all efforts to contain this virus wherever it occurs.  This is particularly important as it means stricter quarantines for those returning from outside China are likely to occur.  Yesterday, we met with the Hangzhou Education Bureau (HEB) to discuss re-opening parameters and further collaboration to support ongoing E-learning and communications during the period of campus closure.  The HEB advised us that they will give us at least 14-days notice before a re-opening date is allowed.  Therefore:

HIS is closed from February 03 until further notice
under the force majeure direction of the government

As March 09 does not fall within this 14-day advance window, the school campus will be closed through at least March 15.  We are now advising against making travel plans in advance to countries that may become affected by this outbreak.  As such, we will be looking at how we can best serve families who return to China within the 14-day announcement notice in preparation for the re-opening of the school.  The administration firmly believes a break will be needed and much deserved for faculty, students and parents, but we will be looking to shift this break to within the 14-day period once a re-opening date is announced.  We will provide further information to you in this regard by next week.

HIS takes its commitment very seriously to provide families in Hangzhou with access to an excellent international education, even during such extraordinary times.  As mentioned before, we have been in close communication with the IB authorization organization and WASC accrediting body.  They have also been doing their best to support the growing needs of international schools during this outbreak.  It is important to recognize that our E-learning platform meets their standards for accreditation, which will be accepted by future schools and universities.

Finally, I wanted to make sure to emphasize that parents please let us know if you or your child are experiencing any challenges with E-learning or the situation itself.  This could be for a wide range for academic, social-emotional, family-related, or other concerns, and we can better direct our support for these needs.   We have reinforced each grade level with at least one Mandarin and one English-speaking support person, and our Student Support Services team is ready to support those experiencing difficulty.  As well, they can provide guidance for parents as to how to be supportive with the E-learning while still providing their children with a healthy lifestyle during this extraordinary time.  Principals will be sharing basic daily schedules for the students and points of contact for additional support.  Of course, Principals and I are also available for any questions, concerns, or suggestions.

As always, thank you for your ongoing support, patience and understanding.

Warm Regards,

Jeffry R. Stubbs