AIS Friday Flash

Friday, August 28, 2020

Face Masks in Maternelle

AIS is committed to the informed, prepared, and safe opening of our campus for students and staff. Based on revised guidance from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and Austin Public Health—as well as on the advice of our medical advisors—Austin International School has revised its campus opening procedures to require the use of face masks at all grade levels, including Maternelle (i.e., PS, MS, and GS) during the first phase of our campus opening process.

Along with other mitigation techniques such as physical distancing and regular handwashing, face masks have demonstrated significant infection control performance in communal settings. In our regular weekly communications with other international schools around the globe that have welcomed young students back on campus, we are pleased to hear of very good mask compliance for students in the 3, 4, and 5-year-old classrooms. We are confident that our AIS Maternelle students will be able to meet this expectation just as well—if not better—than their counterparts around the globe! Our staff will help reinforce the proper use of masks inside and outside of the classroom. We thank families in advance for supporting our efforts by practicing proper mask usage with our young learners. If you have any questions about this new requirement, please reach out to Jacques.


Mask Requirements and Advice for Students

It is a requirement that while on campus, staff and students at all grade levels wear masks that fully cover the nose, mouth, and under the chin. Please take time to review CDC guidance on how to select, wear, and clean masks and support your children in the proper wearing of masks during the day. Though cloth masks must have at least two layers, based on the advice of medical professions, we strongly advise that cloth masks have at least three layers. Students and staff may not use any of the following types of masks: masks with exhalation valves/vents, knitted masks, bandanas, or masks made of fleece. While families may elect for their children to wear face shields at school, these must be worn along with face masks. If you have any questions about mask requirements while on campus, please reach out to Jacques.


New Pickup Procedures

Check your inboxes over the next couple of days for a customized RenWeb email with instructions and information about our easy PikmyKid App which will be utilized this year to facilitate our new drive-thru afternoon student pick-up procedures. Families will need to register in the app, review their pickup preferences, and assign other authorized users within PikMyKid. Lists from Renweb will not transfer over. AIS will provide video guides, instructional handouts, and will set-up training sessions to aid in our transition with this platform before on-campus learning begins. We will share information at Back to School Night as well.


Volunteer Opportunities

When we return for on-campus learning we will need several parent volunteers daily in the mornings and afternoons for drop-off and pick-up, especially for the first few weeks as we all get used to the new procedures. These shifts will be socially distanced stations outside of the building to help direct students safely to their outside class entrances. The sign-up links will be coming your way soon along with more information.


New Families Night-Mon., 8/31, 5:30 - 7:00 pm

We are so excited to welcome new families to the AIS community! Join us on Monday, August 31st at 5:30 pm for a special night for our 23 new students and 13 new families. We will have a short presentation, meet members of the Parent-Teacher Organization, and have a Q&A session to get to know our school and provide a chance to visit with other AIS parents. Join us with this google meeting link.


Special Meeting of the Board of Directors-Tue., 9/1

Along with the school’s leadership team, the governing body of Austin International School is committed to an informed, prepared, and safe opening of our campus. The AIS Board of Directors will meet on the evening of Tuesday, September 1st to review campus opening plans along with the latest data-informed guidance from health, medical, and legal professionals. Please be on the lookout next week for a follow-up eCommuniqué from the AIS Board of Directors.


Head of School Virtual Coffee-Thur., 9/3, 10:30 - 11:30 am

Join Jacques for a virtual Head of School coffee to launch the year and visit with other AIS families.


On-campus Walk-throughs-9/3 & 9/4, 1:00 - 4:00 pm

We will be hosting On-campus Walk-throughs from 1pm - 4pm on Thursday, 9/3 and Friday, 9/4. You will receive an email to sign up for a time on either day for your child(ren)'s walk-through. We want our students to be prepared for school and to feel comfortable with the new drop-off procedures and classroom set up before returning to campus. Please discuss the walk-through with your child and let them know that this is practice for their upcoming on-campus start date.

  • PS-GS: During your child's scheduled walk-through, you will practice parking in the Maternelle parking lot and dropping your child off at their classroom door. Parents will be required to remain outside the classroom as the teachers and assistant teachers welcome the students in the classroom and give them a short tour to familiarize them with their new school environment. Walk-throughs will be done in small groups, with physical distancing reinforced, by scheduled appointment only.
  • CP-4è: During your scheduled walk-through, you will practice dropping your child off under the portico in front of the school, and the teachers will then walk your child to their classroom entrance and give them a classroom tour. Parents will be required to remain in their vehicles while students complete the walk-through with their teachers. Walk-throughs will be done in small groups, with physical distancing reinforced, by scheduled appointment only.


Campus Walkthrough Signups

We are excited to welcome students back to campus on the afternoons of Thursday, September 3rd, and Friday, September 4th for campus walkthroughs. During this time, students will get to visit their new classrooms while at the same time practicing the new procedures of drop-off and a safe return to class. As a reminder, during the campus walkthroughs, parents and guardians will not be allowed in classrooms. To sign-up for a campus walkthrough slot, please follow these easy steps:

  1. Go to https://austinis.schoolsoft.com/
  2. Log-in to the system.
    1. If you already have a username and password for the system that you used previously, you will be able to use that.
    2. If you have a login but have forgotten your password, simply click the “Forgot your username or password?” link and a new one will be sent to you.
    3. If you have never had a login, please click on the Register Now button.
  3. Once you are logged in, under the “Available conference sessions” menu, select “Thursday September 3 – 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM” or “Friday September 4 – 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
  4. Select the grade(s) that your child(ren) will attend this year and then click Next.
  5. Select a time slot that is convenient for you. If a time slot is greyed out, then it means that it is no longer available.
  6. Select your child’s name, enter any comments/questions you may have, then click “Submit.”

Back to School Night: Questions for the Head of School

In order to best address questions from families over Google Hangouts, this year’s Back to School Night meetings with the Head of School will be broken up by cycle. In advance of this meeting, you are invited to send your questions to the Head of School via a Google Form. Your questions will be used to tailor a presentation that addresses as many of your burning question as possible during the initial remarks from Jacques. Please take some time to watch the First Day of School eCommuniqué from the Head of School, as many of your questions may be answered in that video. ¡Hasta pronto!


Back to School Nights-9/3 & 9/4, 5:00 - 7:15 pm

We will be hosting two Virtual Back to School Nights on Thursday, 9/3 for Cycles 1 & 2: PS-CE2 (PreK3 to 3rd Grade) and Friday, 9/3 for Cycles 3 and 4 (CM1-4è). Parents will join an important info session at the times below hosted by our Head of School, Jacques Weber, and our Principal, Emily Hopkins, followed by break out virtual meets with your child(ren)'s teaching team. The schedule is as follows:

Thur., 9/3, 5:00 - 7:15 pm: Cycles 1 & 2

  • Cycle 1 (PS-GS)
5:00-5:30pm Parent Google Meet with Jacques & Emily
5:30-6:30pm Google Meet with your child's teaching team
  • Cycle 2 (CP-CE2)
5:45-6:15pm Parent Google Meet with Jacques & Emily
6:15-7:15pm Google Meet with your child's teaching team


Fri., 9/4, 5:00 - 7:15 pm: Cycles 3 & 4

  • Cycle 3 (CM1-CM2)

5:00-5:30pm Parent Google Meet with Jacques & Emily
5:30-6:30pm Google Meet with your child's teaching team

  • Middle School (6è-4è)
5:45-6:15pm Parent Google Meet with Jacques & Emily
6:15-7:15pm Google Meet with your child's teaching team


At Back to School Night, you will learn about:

  • Your child's on-campus schedule;
  • The academic program for their grade level
  • Differentiation and teaching methods used in class;
  • Behavior expectations and classroom policies;
  • Resources used by the teachers and students;
  • How your child is assessed;
  • Communication with the teaching team;
  • What to bring to school;
  • Parent involvement and how you can help your child;
  • Anything else the teaching team would like to share!


Labor Day/School Closed-Mon., 9/7

The school will be closed (no virtual classes) in observance of Labor Day on Monday, September 7th.


First Day of On-Campus Learning-Tue., 9/8

We can’t wait to see you all in person! Under our current plan, we will be ready to welcome students and families back to campus on Tuesday, September 8th! Stay tuned for more information about drop-off procedures, which are also summarized in our AIS Campus Opening Guide.


Room Parent Virtual Coffee-Tue., 9/15 9:30 - 10:30

Each year Room Parents help provide support to the class teachers, the school, and the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO). Volunteering as a Room Parent will look a bit different this year, but will include disseminating reminders (from school updates found in the Friday Flash) to the other class parents, reinforcing class and teacher needs, and updating parents with other school information regularly. Be on the lookout for signup information soon. The PTO will also host a Room Parent Coffee on September 15th from 9:30 - 10:30 am to share more details about what it means to be a Room Parent and how you can help.


Save the dates

We will continue to build out our school calendar and will update you with more event dates as they approach.

  • 8/31 New Families Night
  • 9/3 Head of School Virtual Coffee
  • 9/3 Back to School Night: Cycles 1 & 2 (PreK3 - 3rd)
  • 9/4 Back to School Night: Cycles 3 & 4 (4th - 8th)
  • 9/7 Labor Day-No School
  • 9/8 First Day of On-Campus Learning!
  • 9/15 Room Parent Coffee
  • 9/28 All Medical Forms Due