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NIS Decision to Move to “Level 2” COVID Response (11/4)

(sent on 11/4)

NIS Decision to Move to “Level 2” COVID Response

感染予防対策ステージ「レベル2」への移行について (英語の下に日本語訳が続きます)


Dear NIS Parents,
Thank you very much for your help with the recent vaccine survey. The key numbers are below:

  • Students aged 12+:  79% responded, and of those, 93% of students are vaccinated or soon-to-be vaccinated
  • All families (parents):  50% responded, and of those, 93.5% of adults are vaccinated

While the survey is still open(HERE), and we are still collecting data, additionally, at least 80% of NIS staff are vaccinated. Please note that we are aware that more Secondary families completed the survey than Primary families, probably because the key focus of the survey was on older students. We believe this accounts for the relatively low response rate from Primary parents. 
Since we expect the numbers of vaccinated people in our school community to continue to rise, and when we consider these numbers in comparison to national vaccination rates in Japan (approximately 75% fully vaccinated) and the low background numbers of infection in Japan, we have decided that NIS will move down into our “Level 2” response mode from Monday, November 8.
We thank everyone in our community for helping to keep our school community safe and able to move down in levels!


What Does it Mean to be in “Level 2” Response?

A full description of levels can be found HERE. Level 2 is an intermediate phase between our current Level 3 (our tightest set of procedures short of online learning) and Level 1 (where most activities are relatively ‘back to normal’ with some additional precautions). 

What Will Change Soon?

Our plan is to transition gently down to Level 2 as we adapt our systems and protocols to accommodate the shift, but below are some of the changes parents and students will start to see soon:


1. Visiting Campus

NIS will now be able to resume campus access for parents for some events. Please note that parents must still have a specific appointment or invitation to come to campus, however, the range of reasons why parents will be invited will increase. While the number of spaces may be limited, and while we will not yet hold evening events on campus, parents will soon start to see invitations to opportunities to share in events with their children or to meet staff on campus.

2. Room Capacity/Ventilation

Room capacity will be adjusted from our current Level 3 numbers to allow for slightly larger groups to meet in school spaces. The capacity in our East Building Multi-Purpose Hall, for example, will rise from 100 people (in Level 3) to 166 people (in Level 2) which is 50% capacity for the room. Additionally, rather than each room requiring constant ventilation, teachers and support staff will (in the colder weather) now be able to keep outdoor windows shut for certain times, and ventilate the rooms every 30 minutes. This is still within government guidelines and means students and staff will be much warmer during winter, helping NIS to also be able to reduce our energy costs and environmental footprint. 

3. Trips

A practice of having strong safeguards in place for trips will continue. However, we will now begin some excursions for curricular and co-curricular needs if the trip is relatively low risk in terms of close contact/ventilation. For example, day trips for activities which are outside/well-ventilated will now be considered possible. Since mealtimes are still high risk, trips will need to leave no earlier than after breakfast and return no later than time for dinner, and staff will supervise lunches accordingly. Buses will make more frequent stops for longer journeys in order to ensure ventilation, and food or drink will still not be permitted on the bus. We will not, however, be considering overnight or international trips in Level 2. 


What Will Change Later?

As we move further into level two, we may begin to roll-out additional measures, which might include:

1. Campus Access

We will not alter the campus restrictions for students, staff, or parents who feel unwell. However, for asymptomatic family members living in the same household as someone who is feeling unwell, we will now explore ways for the healthy family member to more quickly and easily return to campus. One example may be by conducting an at-home lateral flow antigen test, which can be purchased at local drug stores. More information about this will be provided as and when we are able to inform families.

2. Food

Since snacking and eating is still the most problematic time in terms of controlling COVID risks, it is important that we therefore (unfortunately!) continue to maintain a tight control of this part of the school day even while in Level 2. However, teachers may begin to explore ways of relaxing the protocols for eating during Level 2. 


What else might happen in Level 2?

We will continue to monitor the situation and make decisions based both on the medical advice we receive and in response to the needs of our community. The overarching ‘spirit’ of Level 2 is that while it is still a very cautious phase, we are beginning to do the things we used to do and we are a more open community and campus as we do so. If we find other things that we can reasonably, safely and sensibly do within these parameters, we will do so.


When will the school move to Level 1, and what might that look like?

NIS will enter Level 1 after a sustained period of success in Level 2, coupled with sustained high vaccination rates in the region and low numbers of cases and minimal pressure on hospitals in Japan. 
The hope of course is to move to Level 1 as soon as possible, but only when it is safe to do so. Eventually, we hope to exit all the levels and go back to a new ‘normal’, which is Level zero!  Of course it is always possible that a new variant or significant sixth wave of infection in Japan could move us back up to Level 3. A single infection in our school would also move us back up to Level 4. We remain flexible, yet still require caution and support for the protocols in place. 
When we reach Level 1, NIS will essentially return to school operations as before. While we will determine the precise measures at the time, we will likely restart overnight trips (although not international trips), return to mostly cafeteria dining with quiet talking voices and perhaps adopt a more relaxed approach to mask-wearing and ventilation. 
Also during Level 1, parents will most likely be able to visit campus without an appointment and, since food will not be such a problem to supervise safely, evening events with food will be possible once again. 
Of course everything we do will happen with enhanced safety measures based on what we have learned living with covid, but the school will be very much closer to the way in which it operated prior to the pandemic. 
We sincerely appreciate the ongoing support of all our families. We are very grateful for the way in which you have supported us through the current Level 3 (and sometimes Level 4) conditions. We are definitely happy to be making cautious and safe steps into Level 2, and we appreciate any feedback or input parents or students may have to make this transition even more of a success! 




  • 12歳以上の生徒:回答率 79%、うち接種済みもしくは接種予定の生徒 93%
  • 全家族(保護者):回答率 50% うち接種済み 93.5%








1. 保護者のキャンパスへの立ち入り


2. 換気と収容人数について



3. 校外活動




1. キャンパスへの立ち入り


2. 飲食について