Since our last update on January 4th, there has been no movement or decision made by Austrian authorities on several points that are most critical to us at present: When will schools be allowed to open in Salzburg Province; When the lockdown ends definitively; and how long the quarantine restriction on the borders will continue. Despite this lack of definitive information, we can confirm our plan for the resumption of both instruction as well as accommodation in our dormitories, barring government actions that would hinder this directly.
Since Monday, January 4th, there has been no significant reduction of positive infections in Austria. Although they are down dramatically from where they were 6 weeks ago, we are still averaging around 2,500 positive infections per day this past week. We seem to have hit a plateau at a level that is still too high given the government’s target of less than 1,000 per day and a 7-day incidence rate of less than 50.
Salzburg Province continues to have the highest positive infection rates in Austria, nearly double the national average. Local politicians and health officials are considering plans to address this which may include quarantining whole towns or areas.
The quarantine requirement at the borders is to be continued through this week minimally and stricter controls on the borders between Austria and the Czech Republic have been put into place this past weekend.
All areas of Austria remain at the RED health-risk level presently.
There is some concern that the higher numbers in Salzburg Province may be due to the Covid-19 mutation first located in Great Britain (UK B117) having made its way here to Austria although this has not been confirmed through data collected to date.
The Austrian government has not yet changed its plans to end the present lockdown on the 24th of January, allowing all businesses, theaters, restaurants and hotels to resume business (perhaps with proof of negative test for consumers upon entry). Schools in Austria are presently online and are scheduled to open their doors for in-class instruction on January 18, depending upon the local infection situation. Given the numbers in Salzburg Province, it may be that Salzburg schools do not begin live instruction in classrooms until the 24th. No particular information has been given concerning when the quarantine requirements for entry into Austria will be ended, but it is assumed that this will be on either the 18th or the 24. Again, the government wants to maintain the possibility of delaying this if the positive infections remain unacceptably high, locally or nationally.
Our Planning at Present:
January 18-22: Online instruction resumes for all students; dorms remain closed through January 22, 2021.
January 23/24 and onward: Dormitories open and boarding students arrive as possible.
January 25 onward: All students in Austria and in the dormitories participate in classes on campus under health restrictions called for by the RED health-risk level as boarding students continue to arrive. Any students not physically present can continue online instruction assistance.
We will maintain a one-week spring break period in April (April 3-11) to make up for the loss of instruction during the extended winter break. There are no other changes in the calendar planned other than the inclusion of the postponed Fall Excursion sometime this spring if possible.
Please continue to bear in mind that we are unable to quarantine any resident students here on our campus. Until the quarantine requirements are suspended, resident students cannot take up residency at AIS-Salzburg. All resident students may move back into the dorms as of the 23rd of January provided the quarantine has been lifted or the students are already inside Austria. Necessarily, all boarding students will need to present proof of a negative Covid-19 less than 72-hours old test upon arrival on campus.
This information is based upon a tentative and changeable situation. Any new, relevant information that we become aware of in the coming days will be posted on our website via the button below and sent to parents directly.
Please reply to this email if you have any questions.