CAIS Parent Notice on January 31, 2020 regarding the Coronavirus and school closure

January 31, 2020

Dear Parents, It has been announced by the Hong Kong Education Bureau (EdB) that all schools are now suspended and will resume classes on March 2 the earliest pending further assessment. The rationale for this decision by the EdB is to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus in Hong Kong. I will be returning this evening from Canada and will be holding meetings with the Senior Leaders next week to plan the best way we can continue to support the students and families of CAIS. It is important that the school keeps in regular communication with you during this time of the Coronavirus health emergency and school closure. I can assure you that as soon as we receive communication from the HK EdB, we pass that information to you. It is important to understand that we must wait for the Official communication from EdB before we can act. We cannot make decisions based on what the media or social media say the EdB is likely to do. For your clarity, it might be good for you to know the process we go through in making school decisions. 
  1. The decision is based on all the information we have at that time. In a fast-moving environment, that information can change within 24 hours. Please check the time and date of any emails for reference.
  2. As senior leaders hear information through the media we begin to think about and discuss the implications. However, we do not make decisions until we receive the official information from the EdB. We look at the likely outcomes and impact on students, teachers and parents before writing a Communication Email from the school. All decisions are confirmed by the senior leaders to make sure we have not forgotten anything.
  3. As part of the discussion (often done between the senior leaders via email, WhatsApp) we include the School Supervisor and RMC for their input. During this time we pray individually. I seek the support of the School Supervisor for any decisions to close the school or critical staffing matters.
  4. Once the decisions have been reached, we email all relevant parties. This includes the Facilities Management Company regarding cleaning, security and visitor management. We email staff to let them know of the decisions and the parent community.
  5. Senior Leaders and Support Staff managers then follow up on the decisions made to ensure they are implemented.
  6. Where further clarification is needed, we may follow up with another email.
 The Senior Leaders will be in school next week (with face masks and liberal use of hand sanitizer) so that we can plan collectively for the weeks ahead. We have a wide range of topics on our agenda regarding future school events (some may run, others may not); health and safety of students; ensuring high-quality online education; how to best support Grade 12 students for their diploma exams (we are potentially going to offer when school resumes, some evening classes and Saturday morning classes for this grade as the Diploma is most important for them), and a host of other topics. Key principles that underpin all of our decisions are: the health and safety of your children, and secondary providing the best education under difficult circumstances, while prayer is the foundation of all of our thinking and decision-making. Finally, an important reminder: Please assist us! If you and your family have been in mainland China, there is a 14-day stand-down period for your children to return to school. That 14-day period is from the day the family return to Hong Kong.I head back to Hong Kong tonight from Canada and look forward to being of closer support to the school community. Blessings,Richard VanderpylHead of School