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Dear parent: You, as a parent, are a voting member of the Association of the International School of Lusaka - which means that you own our...

Saturday, 25 July 2020

COVID-19 Update

Dear parents and colleagues:

I am writing to you again to update you on our progress in responding to the coronavirus pandemic. As we approach the date on which school will resume - either in person or remotely - I will update you weekly or more frequently on the situation.

We believe it is imperative to reopen our campus as soon as it is safely practicable to do so. This aspiration must be balanced against the recent rapid increase in the prevalence of the coronavirus here in Zambia. When we closed in March there were fewer than 30 cases in Zambia; there are now more than 3000 cases with large daily increases.

In order for us to open our campus we must have the following in place:
  1. Proper plans in place to keep people safe while on campus.
  2. Permission from the relevant authorities, primarily the MoGE.
  3. Instructions from our board at such time as they are confident to open.
I address below each of these factors in turn.

We have a COVID-19 Task Force that has drawn up detailed plans to open safely. These involve extensive organizational and physical changes at school. I wrote about this in an earlier COVID-19 update and will return to this topic in due course to recognise those involved and to share more details on our plans before opening. Our COVID-19 Task Force has been training our mid-management - you can read about this in my earlier post on this topic - to ensure that we are prepared to open when the time comes.

We have also been working with the Ministry of General Education (MoGE) to secure the necessary permissions. None of us here have the slightest wish to undermine national efforts to combat the virus but we do believe that there are special circumstances for our school: Firstly, our school calendar begins in August rather than January, which must be an increasingly tempting date for the MoGE. Secondly, we have the space, resources and organizational capacity to open safely. We know that the MoGE must be facing many tough decisions - I certainly am - at this time and are committed to working with the MoGE and the MoH to find the right way forward.

Our school is owned by its parents collectively and runs as a representative democracy. Our (mostly) elected school board has led us through this crisis so far and I am confident that they will continue to make the right decisions in the interests of the school, its students and its staff. The board meets next week on Wednesday to consider the topic of reopening our campus and the measures needed to ensure that our school emerges strong from the long trial imposed by the virus. Sooner or later we will reopen and we need to make sure that we retain the capacity to serve our students effectively when we do.

When we hear from parents we usually collate the correspondence for board consideration - as we did with the fee discounts - but you can always contact the board directly on board@islzambia.org.

Keep safe,

Mark Fox

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