Community Update, January 2022

Dear members of the Pan-American School community,

I hope that this message finds you and your loved ones safe and well.  At Pan-American School we are looking forward to welcoming all our students back to school next Wednesday, 19th January as we start another semester of high quality learning together.

In preparation for the new semester, please allow me to share some updates and other information with you.

COVID-19 and return to campus

As you will be aware, the country is experiencing a significant increase in cases as are many parts of the world; thankfully, the hospitalization rates in Costa Rica remain low overall.  Multiple studies1 confirm that vaccination and boosters remain effective in reducing severe outcomes for infected people, as do practical measures such as use of masks, physical distancing and washing hands.

We are committed to offering a safe experience on campus for all members of our community, and we ask for your continued support to help us achieve this.  Specifically:

  • Please consider N95 or KN95 masks for your child if possible/ appropriate; we are providing all staff with KN95 masks.
  • Please update your child’s vaccination status in SIPAS.
  • Please ensure your child uses a mask and practices physical distancing when meeting with others they do not live with.

We know that many of you may have anxiety in advance of our return, however our campus has remained safe throughout the pandemic and we remain committed to returning in a safe manner.  By taking sensible precautions such as limiting social contact, wearing masks, physical distancing, and communicating clearly when we have any concerns, we are confident we will be able to come through this challenging time together.

International Travel

Please remember that if your child is returning from international travel, and is not vaccinated, they must isolate from campus for 7 or 10 days.  School policy is as follows:

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1See studies from South AfricaUK, Imperial College London, Israel etc. 

COVID-19 protocols

Please note that we have reviewed our COVID-19 protocols and there have been no substantial changes since last semester.  Copies are available on SIPAS and here.  

At this time, we will not be requiring parents to complete the Sunday survey.

Improved Student Insurance

Starting in January, all Pan-American School students will be covered by a new accident insurance policy similar to the current one but covering up to ten million colones, four times more than previously, and which also provides coverage internationally.

This insurance is covered in your standard monthly bill.

Math training

Each year our teachers engage in a range of professional learning opportunities via peer-learning opportunities through the PAS Professional Learning and Growth model, via IB workshops, organizations such as Harvard School of Education and more.  As we look to strengthen and improve all areas of our educational experience, during the second semester our ECE and Primary Homeroom Teachers and our Secondary Math Department will work with Dr Jennifer Chang Watall, a highly regarded international consultant and trainer, to deepen their understanding of conceptual based learning in math; Dr Jennifer Chang Watall will host a ‘Mathematics in the 21st Century’ workshop for parents and we will share invitations closer to the date. 

NEASC-IB re-accreditation

From 7-11 March Pan-American School will host a virtual visit from our NEASC, our US accreditation agency, as we start a year of reflection and review of learning at Pan-American School. This will be the start of year-long self-reflection during which we will reflect on how we enhance student learning across all areas of our school, and provide transformative learning experiences to students of all ages.  

Over the coming months, we would like to invite parents to participate in a number of Future of Education roundtable discussions to help inform our plans.  If you would like to contribute to this conversation, please submit an expression of interest here.

New campus doctor 

After an extensive search process in November and December, we are delighted to welcome Doctor Paola Calderón Rodríguez as the new Pan-American School doctor. With a range of experience in private practice, corporate medicine and public institutions, Doctor Calderón has certifications and experience in emergency and trauma situations (shock, open wounds, concussions, epileptic seizures, heart issues, orthopedics, fractures, general surgery), basic and advanced life support, neo-natal CPR, “Healthy Child” Checks, family medicine and more.

Doctor Calderón has started and is available at pas.doctora@panam.ed.cr.

Other new members of our team

We are delighted to welcome the following additions to our Pan-American School team for this second semester:

  • Ms. Quinn Riebock will teach English and Spanish as a second language across our PYP classes.
  • Music Fever, our partners in delivering our MYP and DP music programmes, will deliver Music classes to ECE students. 
  • Mr. Alejandro Cañas López will teach PE from PlayKids to Grade 1; Alejandro is currently completing a posting in Italy and will join our team on 31 January.
  • Ms. Deykel Campos Garro will teach Grade 3 Spanish and Social Studies.
  • Ms. Keren Álvarez Rapson will join our Primary Administrative team.
  • Ms. Daniela Navarro will join as a Grade 6 Lengua and Spanish Language Acquisition teacher in Primary and Secondary.

You can see a list of all staff on the Meet our Team section of the updated Pan-American School website.

Continued Campus Improvements

Aligned with our strategic goal to “work to address the climate emergency and create a better world for future generations” our maintenance team has been installing LED lighting across all areas of the campus.  To date approximately 50% of our classrooms have been updated, and the remainder will be completed in the near future. The level of luminance has improved over 100% and the color of the light is softer on the eyes.  

The school has also installed a range of additional security cameras throughout the campus during the school break, to ensure that our safety infrastructure remains comprehensive and up to date.

We have started to review our Campus Master Plan, and will be working closely with external consultants and specialists to review our current installations, identify important construction projects, and update and remodel learning spaces across the campus to ensure that we deliver on our strategic goal to “develop agile learning environments  that best support student learning”.

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We look forward to welcoming your child back next Wednesday and starting another semester of excellent learning at Pan-American School-

All best wishes for the year ahead,

 

Alan Wrafter

General Director