Director's letter for students, 13 March 2020
I want to write to all of you at the end of what has been an unprecedented week in the life of any school. The events from the outbreak of the coronavirus across the world since the start of 2020, has challenged every country and every community as it has spread so fast and people try to find solutions if they close down parts of a country such as travel and especially schools, in an attempt to stop it spreading. No one knows how long the situation will last for but based on the countries this affected first, it may be more weeks out of school. I want you to know that we shouldn’t fear this or be anxious but instead we use our intelligence, talk to our parents and teachers about concerns and we continue as normal as possible. We are prepared for this situation.
The school anticipated this and it is normal for every school to have a special crisis/risk plan to deal with emergency issues if they happen, such as a suspected fire or the loss of electricity, for example. So we planned ahead and we have made sure we shared with everyone what would happen if the government ordered schools to close as they did on Tuesday. The most important thing in all of this is YOU. Our dear students. I have spent a lot of time talking to the leaders of international schools where this had already happened and took their advice on how we continue school in these circumstances. We developed a Distance Learning Plan (DLP). There is a special page on the school website on the coronavirus with the links. Your parents also have the link and it is in the weekly bulletin from school. Spend time reading the section for students. We will communicate regularly through the weekly bulletin, our social media (FB and Twitter) and our website’s special section for coronavirus.
At the end of this week, we are all pleased to see, despite a few technical issues, how we can take the entire school online and the daily schedules can continue as “normal”. I am really proud of all of you in the way you have responded and made it clear you do not want your learning to suffer. This shows maturity and ownership of your education. We all want the same thing and I have made it clear to all the staff and to parents two key things;
1) These are not “snow days” and 2) This is our “NEW NORMAL”.
The international schools I spoke to said the more everyone gets into your distance learning plan, the more sophisticated and innovative this becomes. In fact, it has revolutionised and transformed learning in these schools in a very positive and 21st century way showing how technology used well can be very beneficial for flipped and independent learning. Some of the key skills a student and global citizen of the 2020s needs to have.
To make this work you will need to:
- Keep to your daily schedule and follow it as in school – the whole DLP is based on this schedule. We advise parents to even ring a bell for lesson changes to help get into the mindset of school.
- Online etiquette is important. No pjs, in fact putting on school uniform helps the mindset. No being silly online and teachers have the wonderful power of muting mics if people are too noisy. Online safety too!
- Log on daily and follow your lessons & complete the work set by your teacher. This is all about interactive learning and not following work just to occupy your time. It will have no value this way.
- Daily attendance is recorded and if you miss lessons this will be followed up in school as an issue as normal.
- Any questions or issues you try to solve it first through your teacher and if it is about connection then contact Mrs Lynda as Distance Learning Coordinator (email@example.com)
Take care and be mindful and good for your parents/grandparents/carers at home. This is a “New Normal” for them too as well having you learning from home for now. We all need patience and understanding for this to work successfully.
Thank you, students.
Mr. Robert Ford