Educating for the Future
06 March 2020
From the Master 来自校长 마스터Dear parents I hope that you and your families are all safe and well. I wrote last week of the improved prospects in the city, and all the news I have continues to suggest that the measures taken over the past few weeks have helped to turn the tide. Of course, the news we all anticipate most keenly – the physical reopening of the school’s estate – is not yet confirmed by the authorities, but we continue to make detailed preparations for that long-awaited date.
E-learningClasses across the school continue next week. Parental feedback has already been very useful in honing our practice and next week we will send out a short survey to further gauge parental satisfaction with the programme. In this way, we can continue to provide responsive, targeted support, as well as stretch and challenge our pupils online. In addition, as many of our expatriate families begin their 14-day quarantine period, it is a useful time to reflect on the impact of e-learning on a child’s wellbeing. I would urge families to explore the activities prepared by our ASA teams as well as the resources supplied by Mr Gater and Mrs Wood. Keeping mind and body fresh under such conditions is essential for all our pupils and their families. Further Reading Educational Insights丨Taking Care of Ourselves and Those We Love
The school estate and preparations for reopeningI wrote a couple of weeks ago about the ways in which the school was preparing for the physical reopening of the estate. Work has gone on relentlessly since that time, heightening the security arrangements and ensuring that, as we look to return to the school, all aspects of our daily lives are further protected against the spread of Covid-19. Thus, with the guidance and support of the CDC and the Education Bureau, as well as our partners at the United Family Hospital, International SOS and the overseas chambers of commerce, we have developed an exhaustive emergency response guide for our teams to observe. Measures included additional electronic body temperature scanners at the access points; extensive disinfection work throughout the school; special catering plans; secure provision for medical support in the event of a suspected infection case and additional supplies of masks and sanitisers. Access to the school will be strictly limited for an initial period, to ensure that pupils are as protected as possible against potential exposure to the virus. Parents will receive more details of the preparations and restrictions in place as soon as the plans for the physical reopening are announced.
Impact on calendar eventsI announced last week that I would update parents on the changes to the school’s calendar for the remainder of the school year. Thus, if the school is permitted to be open before 6th April, we will conduct face-to-face teaching through the period previously identified as the Qingming/Easter holiday. As I have said before, the online learning has been a hugely positive experience for us, but it is important to get our young people back to school for both academic and social reasons. Secondly, major school events have either been postponed (as in the case of Chicago, for example) or cancelled. The most high profile of such events is, regrettably, the Summer Fair, but our overriding priority is to keep our community safe. We will look to replace it with a charity programme within the school, aimed at supporting the victims of the Covid-19 epidemic. School trips and sports events have also been impacted. All day trips until the end of May have been cancelled, and parents of children who have signed up for residential trips will shortly be receiving a letter detailing the arrangements for each of these. The school is acting on behalf of parents in dealing with the travel and insurance companies involved. The news in Tianjin and across China is increasingly positive, although across the globe the picture remains uncertain. Our focus for the rest of the year, therefore, remains an unswerving commitment to keeping our children – and their families – safe from further risk. Whilst the calendar may be altered over the coming weeks, the emphasis on learning will never be compromised. My colleagues and I are determined to make this a year of academic achievement for all our young people, and not simply one remembered for the hiatus caused by the virus. Best wishes Julian Jeffrey MASTER