Welcome Back: 2020-2021 COVID-19 Response
At CAJ, our vision is to “equip students to serve Japan and the world for Christ.” This remains our vision, even in the midst of a pandemic. We are aware that we face a significant health crisis, and we are entrusted with the responsibility of caring for students in the safest way possible, while providing a high quality, Christian education. We are also aware that we do this with faith in a sovereign and living God, who holds all things in his powerful hands.
As a school founded on the truth of God’s Word, we know that our days are in his loving care, and that our future is secure. We also realize that as those who care for children created in God’s image, we must take appropriate precautions and have common sense protocols in place, in order to educate our students in the safest and most effective ways possible.
As a school operating in Japan, preparing students to serve Japan (as well as the world), we prioritize following the advice and directives from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport, and Technology (MEXT). We also follow advice from sources in other countries as we seek to adapt the Japanese government’s advice to an international setting like CAJ. Additionally, we attempt to have consistency with the other schools in the Japan Council of International Schools (JCIS).
We understand that families want to know what to expect, but we also want to remain flexible in order to adapt and adjust to changing needs and situations around us. We commit to prioritizing the physical, emotional, spiritual, and social wellbeing of our students and their families. We also care deeply for the community where we exist.
We have begun the school year with standards that will create very high levels of security, planning that, as the year continues, we may be able to gradually reduce those protocols whenever possible and appropriate. Though we hope this will happen quite quickly, we anticipate that the 2020-2021 school year will still look and feel different from most school years. With additional protocols in place, we are hopeful for a full year of on-campus learning. We also are planning for possible adjustments to that if we should need to respond to higher risk situations.
We commit to CAJ families that we will be transparent and prompt in our communication with you. We invite your questions and communication back to us. We value the partnership we have with CAJ families for the education of our students. Community is a high value for us, and we know we need each other to accomplish our vision of “equipping students to serve Japan and the world for Christ.”
- 1 Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport, Science, and Technology (MEXT)
- 2 Our Mission
- 3 Basic Principles
- 4 Priorities for Safety
- 5 Communication
- 6 Learning Models
- 7 CAJ’s Campus Protocols
- 7.1 Entry and Dismissal Routes
- 7.2 Health, Safety, Hygiene Procedures
- 7.3 If a student or staff member is reported to have COVID-19, CAJ will:
- 7.4 If a student or staff member has been identified as being in close contact with someone who has COVID-19,
- 7.5 If a family member has traveled overseas
- 8 Checklists
- 9 Special Events and Activities
- 10 Our commitment
Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport, Science, and Technology (MEXT)
We are striving to be in compliance with the recommendations issued by MEXT. They have issued information to schools covering: classroom settings, co-curricular activities, school lunch, library, cleaning, recess, entering and leaving school, and health checks. CAJ protocols are a reflection of MEXT recommendations and other best practices from schools in other parts of the world.
MEXT continues to stress the 3-Cs, urging us to avoid:
- Close contact
- Closed settings
- Crowded settings
These are supported by common-sense, general hygiene practices:
- staying home if unwell
- washing hands thoroughly (or sanitizing)
- avoid touching your face
- minimizing the sharing of school supplies
“CAJ equips students for servant leadership by providing guidance for their spiritual journeys, cultivating individual excellence, fostering healthy relationships and building a sense of local and global responsibility in a Christ-centered, nurturing, diverse and inspiring learning community. “
When we make adjustments to our learning models and environment, we stay true to our mission. In this document there is a lot of information, details of protocols and expectations that can quickly become overwhelming. Overall we choose to be guided by the following 5 basic principles and 4 priorities for safety.
Act with faithfulness to our vision, mission, and values. Prefer face-to-face learning over distance learning, when it is safe to do so. Prioritize the health, safety, and wellbeing of students and staff. Ensure hygiene and health protocols are research-based, clearly communicated, effectively implemented, and consistently enforced. Stay flexible to respond to changing needs and conditions.
Priorities for Safety
Individual health screening and preventive hygiene practices (masks, hand sanitizing) Physical distancing and reduced group sizes, as possible Cleaning and disinfecting, along with adequate ventilation Clear communication of procedures
Because clear communication is a priority for us, we want communication with parents to be transparent and specific. To facilitate this, we will use both the CAJ announcement system and emails. When an email contains information about our COVID response, the subject line will contain the phrase “2020-2021 Parent Update”, so parents will know that the email will contain information connected with health, safety, and CAJ’s responses.
This is a traditional school experience with students attending school in person five days a week. Students interact with peers and teachers in what CAJ’s Mission Statement describes as “Christ-centered, nurturing, diverse and inspiring learning community.” The learning that happens off campus is mostly in the form of homework or projects. Preventative hygiene policies are implemented in combination with realistic physical distancing guidelines. The risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19 is considered low enough that usual student density in classrooms is appropriate in most instances, with some modifications as required.
This model combines face-to-face learning with planned distance experiences. A portion of the students will be learning face-to-face on campus, while others learn from home. The density of students on campus is reduced, minimizing possible exposure on campus, and learning at home is an extension of what happens on campus. A good example of this is our adjusted schedule for the first 2 weeks of school. Students receive direct instruction at school and then participate in independent learning activities at home. Other versions of this during the school year could include one division (high school, middle school, or elementary school) experiencing face-to-face learning while another division experiences distance learning.
During hybrid learning, teachers will be making instructional decisions based on several factors:
- What is the most valuable use of time when we are together?
- What activities can be done virtually with minimal impact to the course goals?
- How can students apply their face-to-face learning when they are at home?
- What are the most effective ways to provide feedback?
- How can we best serve students’ social and emotional needs?
Hybrid Learning Time table
- Grades K, 1 & 3 - Morning Group
- 8:30 - 8:45 - Entry
- 9:50 - 10:10 - Short recess
- 11:40 - 11:45 - Exit times
- Grades K, 1 & 3 - Afternoon Group
- 12:30 - 12:45 - Entry
- 13:50 - 14:10 - Short recess
- 15:40 - 15:45 - Exit times
- Grades 2, 4 & 5 - Morning Group
- 8:15 - 8:30 - Entry
- 9:30 - 9:50 - Short recess
- 11:30 - 11:40 - Exit times
- Grades 2, 4 & 5 - Afternoon Group
- 12:15 - 12:30 - Entry
- 13:30 - 13:50 - Short recess
- 15:30 - 15:40 - Exit times
- Morning Group
- 8:15 - 8:45 - Entry / hygiene checks
- 8:45 - 9:25 - Block 1
- 9:30 - 10:10 - Block 2
- 10:10 - 10:20 - Short recess
- 10:20 - 11:00 - Block 3
- 11:05 - 11:45 - Block 4
- 11:45 - 12:15 - Exit times / lunch for teachers
- Afternoon Group
- 12:15 - 12:45 - Entry / hygiene checks
- 12:45 - 13:25 - Block 1
- 13:30 - 14:10 - Block 2
- 14:10 - 14:20 - Short recess
- 14:20 - 15:00 - Block 3
- 15:05 - 15:45 - Block 4
- 15:45 - 16:00 - Exit times
This model is the same model our community experienced during the 2019-2020 school year, when health and safety conditions dictated that our campus was closed, but learning continued. This learning could be synchronous, in real time, or asynchronous, with students working independently on lessons, activities, or projects. Students are able to collaborate through online platforms, but not with the same frequency as they are able to when on campus. CAJ continues to adjust and refine approaches to Distance Learning.
Comparison of Learning Models
|Face-to-Face Learning Model||Hybrid Learning Model||Distance Learning Model|
|Campus||Campus is entirely open to students||Campus is open, but not all students are on campus at once to ensure physical distancing||Campus is closed to students|
|Learning Environment||Mostly on campus||On campus and digital / independent||In digital spaces through Google Classroom, Google Meets, Seesaw, and other platforms|
|Teacher Communication with Students||Mostly Face-to-face||Both face-to-face and online, as necessary or appropriate||Recorded instructions and lessons and real-time, digital interactions|
|Collaboration amongst Students||Mostly face-to-face and real-time||Both face-to-face and online with synchronous (real-time) and asynchronous (independent time) activities||Entirely online, with synchronous (real-time) and asynchronous (independent time) activities|
|Feedback||Combination of in-person feedback, written, and digital feedback in multiple forms||Combination of in-person feedback, written, and digital feedback in multiple forms||Almost entirely digital feedback in multiple forms|
|Formative Assessments||Formal and informal process to assess student progress toward learning goals. Great variety in types of assessments. Ongoing, real-time, in-person review of student progress||Ongoing, real-time, in-person when students are in school. Asynchronous review of student work when students are not on campus.||Relies more on written work than ongoing, in-person conversations about learning. Students’ ability to self-assess is important.|
|Summative Assessments||Combination of times, supervised, in-class assessments and tasks applying content, skills and understanding.||Some timed, supervised assessments when students are in class. Students may be demonstrating their learning in other ways.||Fewer timed and supervised assessments. Students will be demonstrating their learning in other ways|
|Student choices||Greater emphasis on pacing and content for the group||Both group and personalized learning with teacher support||Mostly independent learning with teacher support|
|Scheduling||Structured and driven by the school schedule||More structured during the days students are on campus; flexible on the days where students are learning at home||Mostly flexible, influenced by student’s age and maturity and when synchronous activities may be happening|
CAJ’s Campus Protocols
Entry and Dismissal Routes
Gates (see map)
- Crossing gate (rear of gym)
- Gym gate (front of gym)
- Parking lot gate
- Note: the back gate nearest the Annex will be closed
Pick up and drop off
- Parents need to say goodbye at the gate unless the student is reluctant. Staff will be at the entry gates to give directions and help
- Leaving school
- Parents need to designate a place to meet their child off campus (one of the gates could be fine for this. Staff will help students to keep appropriate distance as they wait)
- If waiting for a sibling, students can wait at a picnic table in the grounds
Temperature checkpoints using thermal cameras
- Students coming by foot, train or bicycle: checkpoint in the cafeteria
- Enter through the crossing gate
- Enter the front cafeteria door; proceed through temperature check; exit the cafeteria by side door
- Students who register a temperature of 37.5 or higher will be isolated for a confirmation temperature check
- Students proceed to designated building entrances
- Students arriving by car
- Enter through the parking lot gate and round to the external door to the MPR corridor
- Temperature check in MPR corridor
- Students who register a temperature of 37.5 or higher will be isolated for a confirmation temperature check
- ES students exit to courtyard through atrium (keeping left) and go to ES classrooms using external doors designated for each grade
- MS students use plaza stairwell to MS classrooms
- HS students use elevator stairwell to HS classrooms
- Any students arriving within 5 minutes of school start time should enter through the parking lot entrance near the MPR
Entry and exit points to classrooms
- ES students
- Kindergarten students will enter from the door facing the field. They will be walked to the designated gate where they will meet their parents by the classroom teacher at dismissal
- 1st and 2nd grade students will enter and exit using the external stairway facing the field
- 3rd grade and 4th grade will enter and exit by the glass doors near the home economics classroom using the spiral staircase
- 5th grade will enter by the door near the business office and use the adjacent stairs to the elementary hallway
- MS students
- Will enter by the main atrium doors and use the plaza stairs
- HS students
- Will enter by the main atrium door and use the stairs near the elevator
Health, Safety, Hygiene Procedures
Students & Staff
- We expect students to have their temperature checked every morning before leaving home and recorded in the daily health log provided by CAJ, which is brought to school daily. If the student has a temperature of 37.5 or higher, parents should keep the student at home.
- If a child or staff member has a fever
- If a student develops a fever during the school day, he or she will be isolated and parents will be contacted for the student to leave school immediately. We will provide an isolated waiting area until parents pick up the student or other arrangements are made.
- If the fever is 37.5-37.9 and there are no other symptoms, the student may return to school after being fever-free, without the use of fever-reducing medication, for 24 hoursI
- If the student has a temperature of 38.0 or higher, consult a doctor and take advice regarding testing. If they are not tested, they need to be fever and symptom free for 72 hours, without the use of fever-reducing medication before returning to school.
- If a family member has a temperature of 38.0 or higher, or has cold/flu symptoms, the child should stay home until the family member is cleared by a health professional
- If they test positive for flu, follow flu protocol according to their doctor’s advice and CAJ’s policies.
- If they test positive for COVID, follow the direction by the health department or medical facility where they will receive care.
- If a child or staff member has a fever
- Students and staff should wear face masks (either cloth or surgical) at school, unless special exceptions apply (for example, during rigorous physical activity in PE or sports).
- Students should have 5 extra masks in their backpack at school in a clean bag.
- Students and staff should wear face masks during their commute to school, if they take public transportation. If an alternative method of commute is available, we suggest using this when possible.
- Students and staff will receive a temperature check when arriving at school. If the temperature is 37.5 or higher, parents will be notified and the student will be sent home
- Students and staff should not attend school for 2 weeks after being in a foreign country, until the Japanese government lifts travel bans and quarantines.
- Students and staff will wash/sanitize hands when arriving at school, and at frequent intervals during the day.
- Students and staff should bring personal water bottles to fill at water fountains or no-touch bottle filling stations and should not drink directly from the water fountains
- Students and staff will practice appropriate physical distancing protocols.
- Students and staff should limit long conversations in corridors.
- Students and staff (particularly students) should be sure personal belongings and school supplies are labeled to help prevent any inadvertent spread of germs.
- Parents should ensure that students have their temperature checked before leaving for school and keep their child home if they have a temperature of 37.5 or above. Temperatures will be recorded in a designated log.
- When parents report their child’s absence to the CAJ office, please specify symptoms and temperature.
- Parents should avoid being on the CAJ campus unless their young child is reluctant to come to school or the parents have a special appointment. We want to continue to foster good relationships with parents, but for now, it is necessary to limit the number of people on campus. . Many parent meetings and conversations with teachers can be conducted (at least temporarily) through video conferencing.
- If parents do have business at CAJ, , they should wear a face mask both while commuting to the school via public transportation as well as for the duration of their visit. We also ask parents to practice appropriate physical distancing.
- Parents should be free from fever before any visit to campus.
- Parents should not visit campus for 2 weeks after returning from a foreign country, until the Japanese government lifts travel bans and quarantines.
- If in doubt, please communicate with us -- we want to help you!
If a student or staff member is reported to have COVID-19, CAJ will:
- Report to appropriate local health authorities.
- Take advice from local health authorities.
- Communicate with CAJ families.
- Disinfect facilities - possible closure while this is being done.
- Consider grade, division or whole-school closure as indicated by student’s schedule and involvement, as well as advice from health officials.
If a student or staff member has been identified as being in close contact with someone who has COVID-19,
- The parents of the student, or the staff member, should report the fact to CAJ.
- The student or staff member should quarantine at home for 14 days after the last contact with the infected person.
- Siblings and other family members may also need to act the same way.
If a family member has traveled overseas
- other family members should quarantine until the traveler receives a negative COVID test.
- As long as all family members remain symptom-free, no one else needs to stay away from school.
- The person who traveled overseas should observe appropriate isolation protocols and stay away from the CAJ campus for 2 weeks.
For your convenience, we have provided checklists for specific roles and purposes.
- Campus Access Checklists
- Regular Classroom Checklists
- Additional Checklist for Science Lab
- Additional Checklist for Home Economics Room
- Additional Checklist for Music Classroom
- Additional Checklist for Campus Common Areas
- Additional Checklist for Library
- Additional Checklist for Playground/Recess
- Additional Checklist for PE and Sports
- Additional Checklist for Locker Room
Special Events and Activities
We hope to have as full a program as we safely can for the 2020-2021 school year. We will make decisions about athletics, field trips and excursions, and other events as conditions become clearer. We will assess the value and risk of any activity outside the school day and communicate about these activities and events.
CAJ is very excited to welcome students back to campus for learning. We have been preparing for this using the best research available to us and following government guidelines to the best of our ability. We understand that there are differences between local Japanese public schools and an international Christian school with students from many countries, spanning many ages, commuting from all over the Greater Tokyo area. We will adapt policies as it seems wise, always with the principle of caring for our students as dearly loved, unique individuals who are created in the image of God.
Our desire is for learning at CAJ to be as uninterrupted and smooth as possible this year. We commit to our CAJ families that all our decisions will be made prioritizing the wellbeing of our students and community and the quality of our students’ education. We also commit to communicating with families in a prompt and honest manner. In addition, we commit to following the guidelines and recommendations of government and health officials so decisions may need to change if conditions change.
We acknowledge that we will not be able to commit to precise physical distancing or foolproof hygiene practices because humans are social beings who do not always behave in perfectly predictable ways. Any system will have limitations, but we will do our best. All of this will work so much more effectively when we cooperate for the good of our whole CAJ community. If you have any questions, please contact your child’s principal. Thank you for your teamwork with us as we partner together for our students’ education!