Newsletter – February 3

It’s been a busy week here at AAS with a number of activities that were enjoyed by many.  We capped off a weekend with the International School Theater Association and started the week with visiting musicians and dancers for an array of activity.  Thank you, PTO Enhancement Grant program!!  Click here for photos of the event.  Click here to view a video of the performance.

We continue to get updates from our sources with regards to health issues that were recently communicated to the community .  One question that I’ve heard from our community is regarding some of the press reports in and around Moscow and St. Petersburg.  It is true that some schools under government control are closing during this outbreak.  But, these schools were also already experiencing high absence rates that were topping 30% and 40%.  At that level, school administrators would generally agree that closing school is a necessary step to stem the tide of infection.  However, at AAS there has been no general call for the potential closing of school because our absence rate is well within seasonal norms.  Further, we are not seeing any growing spread of H1N1 variant amongst our population.  Our identified cases are still under 10 students and/or adults.

We believe that education is a vital endeavor and would not close school without much more evidence that it is prudent to do so.  With our health facilities and hygiene practices, we are managing infection well.  We communicate regularly with our main sources of information provided by the sponsoring Embassies.  None has recommended any action other than those previously communicated, which includes good hand washing and a strong policy regarding when students should remain at home due to illness.

Therefore, we believe that children are currently safe at school and that it is in their best interests not to interrupt their education.  We have one week left before our already scheduled February vacation, and this will naturally give us a chance to take a well-deserved rest after a busy transitional period.

As per the season, we will also be doing one of our emergency drills sometime later this week.  It is time to practice our Code Blue drill.  This is slightly different from a Code Red drill, but includes sheltering in classrooms and accounting for children before calling for an evacuation.  The evacuation is then directed to the gymnasium areas rather than to the fields.  One common use is in the case of a bomb threat against the school where there is a need to do an initial search of the facility before ordering an evacuation.  As usual, we’ll use the normal protocols and clear all hallways and public areas into adjacent safe zones.  If you are on campus during the drill, please be prepared to take directions from our security staff or administration.  We’ll also test our SMS system by letting you know on the day of the drill.

Additionally, one thing I want to encourage is everyone’s participation with our special guest  Erin Calmes and the screening of her wonderful production, Whale Wars!, @ 12:00p  on Saturday in the Bolshoi.  See you there!