HUSKY EXPRESS Feb 29, 2020


 Administration Corner 

  Head of School    

Extending Online Learning

Last night (Feb 28) the Governor of Hokkaido declared a state of emergency, asking us to stay indoors as much as possible and to limit our movements. 

This action is aimed at preventing a scenario in which Corvid-19 spreads rapidly. 

To further support government actions, HIS had already decided to extend online learning into the week of March 9 ~ 13

March 16 ~ 20 will be our scheduled Spring Break. 

IMPORTANT: On Monday, March 2, HIS will finalize plans for learning after the Spring Break. We expect to send out that additional message late on Monday evening. 

Resources for Parents and Students

We received these very helpful resources for families from one of our teaching staff and we thought it might be of help to share them with our school community as well. 

Helpful resources on explaining what the Covid-19 virus is about and also resources on how to deal with the worries that will crop up at a time such as this. 

We hope that at HIS we can continue to a supporting help at this time of challenge.  

Resources on Managing Feelings, Fears and Worries about COVID-19 - best round-up I've found 

video for ES kids

video fro MS + HS kids...?


Health-Related Updates & Preparations
[Updated for the Week of Feb 19] 

As of today, March 26, 2020, Hokkaido Board of Education has called for elementary schools to close from tomorrow, February 27. 

Please read the ELEMENTARY or SECONDARY (and DORMITORY) sections below, based upon your child’s section of the school. 

ELEMENTARY: HIS has made the following decisions in the elementary school: 

  • Tomorrow and Friday school will be closed to elementary students.
  • This is to give teachers one and half days to prepare for online learning. 
  • On Friday afternoon, parents are be invited to attend information sessions with their MP classroom teachers so they can learn how to support their kids with online learning work. [Times will be communicated to you by your MP teachers]
  • Today, elementary students will head home with all their essential books and resources. 
  • The librarian, Mr. Holywell, has opened up the library cap on the number of books students can take out, raising it to 10 books each. 
  • Students will be taking home additional reading material and parents would be welcome to check out book for their children on Friday, after the information session. 
  • The school building will be closed to elementary students from Thursday, February 27 ~ Friday, March 6. 
  • School administration will review information at the end of next week and follow any further information being provided by the Board of Education. 

SECONDARY:  HIS has made the following decisions for the secondary school:

  • The secondary school (middle and high school) will remain open tomorrow and Friday and regular classes are scheduled. 
  • Teachers and students will use this time to prepare students for online learning and to incorporate additional learning. 
  • Over the next two days, secondary students should begin to take home necessary books and materials to prepare to work from home. 
  • The school building will be closed to middle and high school students for all of next week, Monday, March 2 ~ Friday, March 6. 
  • Further details for online learning will be sent out to parents at the end of this week. 


  • The dormitory will remain open to dorm students through to next week. 
  • Dorm students will be expected to attend their online learning. 
  • HIS will be in touch with each dorm family over this next week as we evaluate the situation and make decisions. 

We continue to hope for the best and for a quick return to school but we feel these decisions help support the continued learning of our students and protect their health. 

Sincerely yours,  Barry Ratzliff (Head of School)


School Counselor  

HIS has secured a contract with a US-trained counselor who for this school year comes to HIS on a monthly basis. The counselor’s schedule is booked for this month and next month. If you would like to book a weekend session(usually Saturdays or Sundays at school) for your child to see the counselor, please contact either Administrative Assistant, Mr. Tawaraya; HoS, Mr. Ratzliff or Principal, Mr. Cooke.


  From the Principal’s Office  

Spring Bazaar Cancelled
Unfortunately, due to continued concerns about the coronavirus, the PTA and the school administration has decided to cancel the Spring Bazaar originally scheduled for April 11th.

We would like to thank all the parents and teachers who already had volunteered their time to make this year’s bazaar the fun community event we have enjoyed each year.

We do hope that we will see an improvement in the situation very soon but at this time it seemed inconsistent for us to plan for an event that involves so many people from the broader community when at the same time we need to close the school building.

Thank you so much for your understanding, and we look forward to your help and support in the fall when we start preparing for the Fall Festival!

MAP Testing
With the closing of the building due to coronavirus concerns, MAP testing is currently being put on hold. 

I will be consulting with subject teachers in the next couple of weeks to make a decision about whether we will continue with MAP tests this spring or cancel them in order to allow for more classroom learning. As soon as this decision is made, I will let everyone know.

SAT Exam Schedule - Semester 2
Because of uncertainty regarding whether HIS will be open at the time or not, the March 14th SAT will be canceled 

Students who have registered for the March SAT exam should contact me as soon as possible and I will discuss options for them to take the SAT at the next session in May.

If you are a first time SAT taker, you will need to set up a College Board account to register.  Please come to see me if you have any questions.

  • March 14th - SAT with Essay and SAT without Essay only (No Subject Tests).  Canceled
  • May 2nd - SAT with Essay, SAT without Essay, and SAT Subject Tests offered on this date.  
  • June 6th - SAT Subject Tests only (No SAT with Essay or SAT without Essay). 

Next PTA Meeting
The next PTA meeting was scheduled for Wednesday, March 4th. Due to school closing next week, this meeting will be postponed now until the next convenient Wednesday. Please stay tuned for more information.

Babysitters and Tutors
Any family looking for a babysitter or a tutor is welcome to contact me. From time to time, students are looking to make some extra money after school.  I have a list of some students who are interested in finding out about babysitting or tutoring opportunities in the HIS community. Please contact me at

 Greetings from the Executive Board 

Notices from the Executive Board:

If you wish to learn about what the Executive Board is

and what we do, please follow this link to the HIS homepage:
(Governance page is here)
If you wish to read the minutes to our meetings,
to read in detail, what exactly was discussed and decided on,
then follow this link to the HIS homepage minutes archive:
(Minutes Archive is here)

The Executive Board had its annual Scholarship Fundraiser this June. If you wish to see the Final Report,that shows how much money we were able to raise, please find the link to the document here.

 @ Niseko 

Dear Teachers, Staff, Parents and Prospective Parents of HIS Niseko

This is to inform the community that the HIS is conducting an emergency meeting in regards to the latest Covid 19 developments. We expect to share information soon on the possibility of closing school, the expected duration of the closure and immediate actions towards online learning.

Please note that Wednesday’s MAP standardized testing and EY’s trip to the Yoji Center is cancelled until further notice.

We will send more information as it becomes available.

Our Best Learning of Late:
Thank you, teachers, for your dedication and teamwork.
HISNiseko added six students practically overnight. We continue our tradition of learning in a high challenge, low-stress environment. I have heard nothing but positives from our newly arrived families.
In short, I am very proud of your good work. Keep teaching these children well. They are very lucky to be learning with you.

PTA LINE update for newly arriving families

LINE lets you share photos, videos, voice messages, contacts, and location information in the moment. HIS Niseko started an informational group via Line. The Head of School, Niseko teachers and parents of HIS Niseko students are invited to join.
To receive an invite, please download the Line App via your smartphone. send a friend request to Barry Mernin.
I will then send you an invitation to join HIS Niseko PTA group.
Please see me on any morning if you have any problems joining.

Barry Mernin 

Hokkaido International School Niseko

 HIS Parent E-mailing List 


Husky Parents!!
Do you ever have trouble receiving the weekly HEx, Husky-Info bulletins or other school-wide emails?  Do you have another email address to which you’d like to receive these electronic communications? If so, please email us at  or phone the main office so we can update our mailing lists and include you as soon as possible!

 From PTA 

PTA Steering Committee Meetings
Please note, all Steering Committee meetings are held on the first Wednesday of each month. Any parent is welcome to attend, and please let Megumi or Neil know if you would like to become a regular (and voting) member of the committee.

PTA Information Website:

 Husky Hugs 

Husky Hugs go out to...

  • Cenobia and supporting teachers for organizing and operating the ski days both last week and this coming week. 
  • Mark and Barry M. who will be accompanying OE students on the upcoming Sapporo Dake trip.


 Upcoming Events 


Upcoming Events

Feb 25 - March 13 - MAP Testing grades 4 to 11  Postponed
Feb 27-28 High School Overnight (Jozankei) - Grades 9-12  Cancelled
Feb 27-28 Middle School Overnight (Takino) - Grades 6-8  Cancelled
March 14th - SAT with Essay and SAT without Essay only (No Subject Tests)  Cancelled
March 8-17 Junior Service Trip to Myanmar  Cancelled
March 16-20 Spring Break
March 25-28 Grade 9 Kyoto Trip  Cancelled
April 11 Spring Bazaar  Cancelled
April 13 School Holiday
April 14 End of 3rd Quarter
April 24 HIS Reads Finals
April 24 Sports Award Banquet
May 2nd - SAT with Essay, SAT without Essay, and SAT Subject Tests offered on this date Cancelled
May 4-5 Golden Week
May 29 Annual Music Performance at Kitara
June 4-5 MP3 Overnight to Jozankei / MP1 & MP2 Day Trips
June 6th - SAT Subject Tests only (No SAT with Essay or SAT without Essay).
June 10 MS / HS Sports Day
June 11-12 Middle School Overnight
June 15-16 Soranuma (Juniors)
June 15-16 Niseko (Freshmen and Sophomores)
June 18 Last Day of School (Half Day) Afternoon Graduation
June 19 Teacher Last Day


At the moment after school activities are being canceled.
Please stay in touch with the latest announcements regarding when we can restart.

Go Huskies!


If you are an HIS parent and are looking for a babysitter for an evening or on the weekend, please feel free to contact  
Interested HIS parents can then be provided with a list of students available for babysitting.
Also, if you are looking for a student tutor for your child, please contact  

 The Publications & Media class 

This year the students have revived the online student website, www.TheHusky Pulse with lots of new content including artwork from elementary, middle, and high school students, MP3 narratives, high school writings, student articles on HIS events and the Hokkaido outdoors.

Also check out HIS Newscast, a series of quirky video reports created by high school students.

The Husky Pulse, created by students for all to see.


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