Coronavirus Updates

Updated March 31, 2020, 17:15

Our Campus Is Closed, Our Learning Continues

The AIS Vienna campus is CLOSED. Information about Distance Learning has been shared with parents and students in all divisions. As of now, we plan to reopen on April 20.

AIS Vienna is closely monitoring the outbreak of coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. It remains the school's duty of care to put in place appropriate measures to minimize possible infection regarding the COVID-19 virus. The Emergency Response Team continues to meet weekly and on a needs basis regarding new developments related to the spread of COVID-19.

Please also note that the World Health Organization (WHO) has now also issued a statement classifying the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic.

Austrian Government Decisions and School Closure

As communicated at the press conference involving Austrian government officials on March 11, 2020, schools across Austria will be closed from Monday, March 16 through April 13 to contain the spread of COVID-19. Please be aware that all of Austria is now working to determine how best to appropriately respond to this information. We have been advised that the expectations from the authorities may change in the light of further developments in the spread of the COVID-19 virus. We are obliged to follow these Austrian mandates for school closures.

High School

Our High School will close and move to distance learning beginning Monday, March 16. Principal Lambie and HS staff will communicate directly to students and parents in the coming days.

Elementary and Middle School

At the urging of Austrian authorities, students who can stay home, should stay home beginning Monday, March 16.

Currently, we plan to reopen on April 20. We want families to understand that this timeline could change depending on how the COVID-19 pandemic progresses.

From the Director

While these restrictions affect the AIS community on many levels, it is important to note that we are not alone in this situation and that we will keep learning about how best to support students, their families, and the faculty and staff who serve them during this extraordinary time from the many networks of experiences across the planet.

Finally, we have to remember how to keep students at our center. This morning, I walked through our Kindergarten and was reminded that this week these beautiful five-year olds assured me they were ‘safe’. Later, I saw MS students in a Math class who were studying the growth of this virus in real time. Over the lunch period I listened -- on this sunny and windy day -- to some of our HS students singing pop songs, accompanied by one of their guitars. For our HS students, especially, today was a mix of emotions as many of them were quietly wondering if we would come together again as a school. We will come together again, albeit differently. We will look for opportunities to help your children grow in a challenging situation. We are thankful for your calm, for your support, and for your help moving forward.

We continue to lean on our core values to nurture, include, challenge, and respect, particularly in times of world concern.

School Communications

Student Support

The International School Counselor Association has compiled a list of Resources on Managing Feelings, Fears and Worries about COVID-19. School staff remain available should you have any specific concerns about the emotional wellbeing of your student. Counselors and staff across the school are actively sharing information about the social and emotional concerns that may arise during a situation that is capturing so much of the world’s attention.

Continued Health Imperatives

We continue to repeat Austrian, CDC, and WHO advice that active handwashing, attention to coughing etiquette, and social distancing whenever possible remain our best practices for slowing the spread of the virus.

If you present the following symptoms, please call the health hotline ("Gesundheitstelefon") 1450 (English-speaking representatives available) as soon as possible:

Fever
Cough
Shortness of breath
Breathing difficulties

If you are unsure, please call Mrs. McCormack, School Nurse, at +43 1 401322131.

For more health recommendations and answers to other questions, please visit the Coronavirus page of the Stadt Wien website or call 0800 555 621.

Self-Quarantine Recommendations

Families who have traveled to a high risk area, or who have been exposed to COVID-19 must quarantine for 14 days according to Austrian authority guidelines.

Resources

World Health Organization: Coronavirus
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Coronavirus
European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control: Coronavirus

From the WHO Director General

The World Health Organization leader, yesterday, offered strong words about the world’s response to COVID-19:

From the WHO Director-General.

While the Emergency Response Team regrets the changes to student, employee, and staff activities, we are bolstered by the leadership shown by global health ministries and hope to return to normal campus life as soon as possible. We’d like to share an excerpt from remarks given by the Director-General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

We’re concerned that some countries have either not taken this seriously enough, or have decided there’s nothing they can do.

We are concerned that in some countries the level of political commitment and the actions that demonstrate that commitment do not match the level of the threat we all face.

This is not a drill.

This is not the time to give up.

This is not a time for excuses.

This is a time for pulling out all the stops.

Countries have been planning for scenarios like this for decades. Now is the time to act on those plans.