- March 25: Recent Coronavirus Developments (extending distance learning model)
- March 16: Distance Learning Begins and Additional Updates
- March 11: Distance Learning Model: Guidelines and Expectations
- March 8: An Important TASIS Announcement (moving to a distance learning model)
- March 6: Details for the Spring Holiday Trip to Verbier
- March 6: Alternative Spring Holiday Option for Boarding Students
- March 5: Recent Coronavirus Developments
- March 2: Update on the Coronavirus: A Successful Return to School
- March 1: Update on the Coronavirus: Returning to School Tomorrow
- February 27: Update on the Coronavirus: Looking Ahead
- February 25: A Further Update on the Coronavirus Outbreak
- February 24: Ticino and Federal Health Authorities Update
- February 14: Announcement in Weekly Bulletins
- February 7: Announcement in Weekly Bulletins
- January 31: Announcement in Weekly Bulletins
- January 24: Announcement in Weekly Bulletins
TASIS Protocols and Policies
Distance Learning Model
On March 8, following the Italian government’s decision to quarantine 16 million people to limit the further spread of the coronavirus, we made the difficult decision to move to a distance learning model beginning on Monday, March 16. We took this preemptive measure despite the fact that there were no known cases of coronavirus at TASIS. At the time, no federal or local authorities had mandated that schools in Ticino must close down their campuses. (This would change a mere five days later.) Learn more about our decision here.
TASIS Summer Programs
We are preparing for the 2020 Summer Programs and expecting to offer students another safe and unforgettable summer in Lugano. We also understand that it is necessary to plan for contingencies.
As we continue to follow the most stringent health and safety protocols for our students, we will of course avoid traveling to any places that still have advisories in effect.
We have also enacted the following refund/cancellation Policy for the 2020 Summer Programs:
- In the case that we have to cancel our Summer Programs, all families that have paid a deposit and/or tuition will be refunded in full.
- In the case that a student is prevented from traveling due to official restrictions imposed by the authorities in the sending country or in Switzerland, we will provide a full refund of all tuition and fees.
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Prior to making the transition to a distance learning model, the following protocols and polices were in place on campus:
Daily Temperature Checks
As a precautionary measure, we began conducting daily temperature checks for all students, employees, and visitors on Monday, March 2.
With the understanding that we were in the heart of the cold and flu season, we emphasized that it was important to remain calm and adhere to the following protocols—provided by our school doctor and our Health Center—when we encountered the cold and flu symptoms we typically see this time of year.
- Boarding Students
- Boarding students who had temperatures over 38 degrees Celsius and respiratory distress (cough and/or shortness of breath) were held in the Health Center, and our nurses then consulted the school doctor.
- Boarding students who had a fever and no respiratory distress (cough and/or shortness of breath) were treated in the Health Center with our normal protocols.
- Day Students
- Per our usual protocol, if a day student had a temperature over 38 degrees Celsius, he or she was required to remain at home. If the temperature was detected at school, the student was sent home. In either case, if the temperature was combined with respiratory distress (cough and/or shortness of breath), the student's family was asked to contact its doctor immediately.
- Faculty and Staff
- Per our usual protocol, if an employee had a temperature over 38 degrees Celsius, he or she was required to remain at home. If the temperature was detected at school, the employee was sent home. In either case, if the temperature was combined with respiratory distress (cough and/or shortness of breath), the employee was asked to contact his or her doctor immediately.
Preparedness and School Hygiene
In order to prepare for contingencies and to protect our community from the spread of all illnesses, we enhanced our stock of various non-perishable food provisions and other necessary supplies, including hand sanitizers and thermometers. We also amplified our cleaning routines around the school and reviewed all of our protocols in the areas of food preparation and service.
Our Director of Residential Life delivered this presentation on coronavirus prevention to all boarding students upon their return from Academic Travel in late February. These messages were continually reinforced to both day and boarding students in Physical Education/Health classes and advisor meetings.
In support of this information campaign, we prominently displayed a variety of educational posters in the dormitories and other key locations around campus.
Support from TASIS Families
We asked families to help keep our community healthy and safe by adhering to the following measures:
- It is critical that you take your temperature and your children's temperatures each morning before you come to campus or send your children to school. Please note that the CDC's Definitions of Symptoms for Reportable Illnesses defines a fever as a measured temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or greater.
- Do not come to campus if you have a fever or are experiencing any of the other symptoms discussed by the CDC. Do not send your child to school if he or she has a fever or is complaining of any other symptoms. Consult with your doctor in either case.
- Continue to make sure your children (or any children under your care) understand how important it is to wash their hands regularly throughout the day, to use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not readily available, and to cough/sneeze into their bent arms.
- Report to TASIS Health Services any travel that you or your family plans to have or has had to affected areas and honor the regulations in place for those areas.
When news of the outbreak in northern Italy was released late on February 22, we swiftly re-routed all of our Academic Travel trips—many of which were scheduled to leave early on the morning of February 23—in order to avoid traveling into or through Italy. We continued to avoid any travel into or through Italy, including the cancelation of the remainder of our winter sports season.
To go one step further, we restricted all school travel outside of Switzerland through the end of March, as federal authorities recommended at the time. We soon revisited this policy as more news came to light and announced on March 8 that all Global Service Program trips scheduled for early April were also canceled.
We continued to welcome visitors and encouraged prospective families to contact our Admissions Office to schedule an appointment. All visitors to campus were subject to a temperature check and asked to complete a questionnaire focused on their medical history and recent travel history.
For our 2020 Spring Holiday (April 4–19), we initially organized a two-week alpine adventure trip to Verbier, Switzerland, for any boarding students who are unable to—or would prefer not to—travel home. Details can be found in the communication we sent to our boarding community on March 6. This plan changed in light of our decision to move to a distant learning model on March 8.
Please consult the links below for the latest coronavirus updates and educational resources:
- Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH): Latest updates
- Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC): Coronavirus information
- World Health Organization (WHO): Situation Dashboard
- WHO: Advice for the public
- Healix: Latest advice to travelers and employers (March 30)
- FOPH: “Protect Yourself and Others” information campaign
- National Public Radio (NPR): Just For Kids: A Comic Exploring the New Coronavirus
- Coping with COVID-19 - Message from Director of School Counseling