COVID-19 LATEST UPDATES
Greg Cairnduff - AISB School Director
At the school we are maintaining a positive mindset, we look forward to getting back to what it was like before. We miss the children, we miss meeting and talking with you. Our staff members, Teachers Teaching Assistants, Administration team, nannies, drivers and others, miss working in a school buzzing with purpose.
These are testing times as our families know only too well, we will do all we can to work in partnership with our parent community to get through this difficult time.
We will continue to keep our school community updated as we navigate our way through what the future brings.
DIRECTOR'S UPDATE - 24TH MAY 2020
Dear Parents, Carers and Staff
I hope you have all had a lovely weekend.
We are about to go into week six of term 3. Thank you to students, parents and staff, for maintaining the rhythm of the remote learning program so far this term.
This week, our Year 9 students are taking IGCSE trial examinations from home. This is a lead up to next year, when at around this time of the last term, they will be doing their final examinations before moving up to their A levels in years 11 and 12. Although it is a unique situation for them to be doing these examinations at home, they will also have more practice examinations under school exam conditions in term 1 next school year. I am sure all of our school community will join with me in wishing our Year 9s all the very best for these trial examinations.
It’s great to see the Readathon get underway. It is very different this year but as a key element of the culture of AISB, it’s very important that we maintain this part of our school’s tradition. In this Readathon, we will see staff participation in Poetry Slam 2, a new and important element of the Readathon. I thank Ms. Gail for leading the organisation of this important event in the school calendar.
I realise that many of you are waiting to hear an announcement about the school re opening, our staff are also looking forward to this announcement.
Some people have written to me mentioning what other schools are doing about the students coming back. Our position is that we will not reopen the school until we get official permission from the Ministry of Education granting us approval to reopen.
How we will let you know once permission to reopen is granted.
We have no idea when that permission will come, but when it does, we will send all parents an SMS message on our bulk messaging ap. This will ask you to read your email which will have been sent before the SMS, the email will provide details about the opening.
I would like to inform parents that we have been working on the health and safety protocols and operational changes that will have to be in place when we do open the school. These changes will have an impact on many of the way things are done. Drop off and pick up will be different, social distancing measures, personal hygiene, school cleaning systems, playground practices, school transport loadings, catering arrangements and so on, will be quite different from the way things used to be. We will provide details of these arrangements as we finalise them, they should be available by Thursday this week.
We will also send home a family medical declaration form that we will need to receive before your child can return to school. Many parents may be undecided about sending their children back to school. In the end, this is your decision, but please wait until you receive our new operating details before you make your final decision.
I trust this update helps you understand that we are getting ready to reopen, while at the same time, there has been no deviation from our focus on remote learning which will continue this week and for as long as it is required.
I wish all families and our staff a great week ahead.
DIRECTOR'S UPDATE - 14TH MAY 2020
Dear Parents and Carers
I am sorry that it has been a while since I wrote to you, from today the updates will become regular again.
I trust you and your family are all well and coping with these unusual conditions, although the conditions feel a little less unusual now, as we have been living our lives very differently since March 17th.
It has been a long time for families to have their children out of school, but like many other countries, Thailand’s policies the strategic actions are working well.
I am sure you are waiting to hear that there will soon be good news that that the school will be reopening again soon.
I am not able to give you that news tonight. When we do hear that we can open again, you will receive an SMS from the school asking you to read your email, as we will let you know as quickly as we can.
When do we expect to know about the reopening of the school?
I have to be very careful not to create the impression that we know when international schools will reopen. As of today, we have no knowledge of when that might be. What we do know is that the Minister of Education will make a public statement tomorrow which will address various matters in relation to schools and the COVID strategy.
That is all we know.
Preparing the school for reopening
We are already preparing for the reopening. We are currently putting practical plans into place which include many operational changes such as:
Arranging class rooms to enable physical distancing of students and staff;
Modifying catering arrangements;
Providing entry and exit points for drop off and pick up that do not cause congestion;
Timetabling staggered start and finish of the school day
Using face masks, face shields and protective clothing;
Increased cleaning and personal hygiene practices;
New transport schedules that take account of reduced loadings on vans;
Changes to playground arrangements
These are just a few of the things that will be different from the way we used to operate. Our goal is to get the children back to school and keep the children, all staff, parents and carers safe at school. I mention these things to let you know that we will be ready to open as soon as we get approval to do so.
When we do open the school there will be differences from the daily rhythm of school before the start of term 2.
I trust this gives you an idea of what we are doing in preparation for the much hoped for return to school.
There will be another update on Sunday 17th May.
DIRECTOR'S UPDATE - 19TH APRIL 2020
Dear Parents and Carers
I trust this update finds all families safe and happy after the break between terms 2 and 3. We are excited by the thought of the start of the new term. Although the shortest of our terms, Term 3 is always the busiest one, as it is the culmination of the academic year. The holiday is now behind us. Teachers and executive staff have worked tirelessly during this time, to make the changes to our remote learning program. Heads of School and our teachers have recently written to all families outlining the changes.
School Culture: Sense of Community
Schools, like all organisations have their own organisational culture. The culture of AISB is based on a sense of community, this is underpinned by the events we hold such as assemblies; mid-year and end of year concerts; student show case performances; the House System; our developing sports teams, and many other things that contribute to the sense of community.
We come to term 3 with a determination to continue as many of those elements of school culture that we can. Although the format will be different, due to social distancing and school facilities not being available to meet as a community, many of our events will still go on. For example, Ms. Lori will run Chess Player of the Month; assemblies and Bounce Back awards will continue and next Saturday, April 25th we will hold our annual ANZAC commemoration. These activities will be adapted to our current operating conditions. Details to be announced soon.
Update: Reopening the school
This the question that we, the staff and you, the parents, are keen to know about. As of today, we have no further information on an opening date. The Minister of Education’s directive of April 9th keeping the school closed, is still in operation.
I have attached the English translation of that directive, see the reference to International Schools in the final paragraph, quoted below:
Furthermore, international private schools with different school term dates are permitted to start the school semester immediately, providing that they are able to offer instructional models and methodologies in line with the State of Emergency as declared in the area where each school is located.
We remain hopeful that we will be permitted to open the school as soon as the COVID 19 strategy enables safe conditions for the Governor of Bangkok or the Ministry of Education to permit schools to reopen. I assure all members of our community that you will be officially notified as soon as possible after we receive permission to re-open.
I want to thank our teachers, our administration staff and our Heads of School, for their dedication and commitment to enhancing the remote learning program. They have worked though this holiday to ensure we all give our best to the students and their families as always. Parents, please allow our staff time to implement the new aspects of the remote learning programs.
Following this update there will be a short letter sent to all parents in 5 languages this is to inform all parents, but particularly non – native English speakers, what steps they can take to obtain additional assistance in understanding lesson and technology requirements.
I trust that you and your children will have a wonderful term ahead.
DIRECTOR'S UPDATE - 26TH MARCH 2020
Dear Parents and Carers
I hope this update finds you well
It seems a long time since we saw our students and you, their parents and carers. Yesterday, we all completed the first week of operating in the off-site mode. All of our staff are working very hard on the learning engagements and from what we have learned, enhancements have been made to the systems we are using.
Teachers are being very creative in planning and following up the work of their students. An example this creativity will be the primary and middle school virtual assembly on tomorrow. I hope parents also becoming used to the process. You are our partners in helping the children with the activities and tasks being provided by teaches. I thank you for the feedback you send, we will always reply to your suggestions and comments, but we cannot guarantee that we can always implement you suggestions.
Some key aspects of what is ahead for school operations:
At this point we can only have certainty for about two weeks ahead. Although we have longer term contingency plans.
1. The Current situation – school closed to students:
Most of you would know that on Wednesday, a State of Emergency was declared by the Prime Minister, this will be in place until the end of April. Many restrictions are in place and a further restrictions will be introduced in the coming days. The State of Emergency also indicated that the provisions introduced by the Governor of Bangkok last week, are still in place. The Bangkok Governor’s special directive issued late last week that international schools are to remain closed to students, up to April 12th. As this is in the middle of our school holidays and we will not be able to reopen until April 20th at the earliest.
2. End of Term Holidays
There is no change to the holiday dates, the last day of term 2 is April 3rd. Unless there is an extension of the closure of schools to students, the first day of term 3 will be April 20th.
We are hopeful this will remain at that date, but like so many of the uncertainties of the times, we are also preparing for offsite learning to continue if the opening date changes..
3. Term 3
Start Date: We are planning to open on April 20th please note the proviso in point 1 above.
Tuition Fees Term 3
New Due Date
The due date for the fees has been moved to Friday 17th.and Saturday 18th April. Offices on each campus will be open on those days. Please make payment by bank transfer or if paying by cash or credit card you can come to the campus office to pay. We will limit the number of people coming into the office in order to maintain social distancing.
4 Afternoon Activities
Based on the assumption that the school will start on 20th April, arrangements are being made for missed Afternoon Activities to be made up in term 3. This may have an impact on the start date of Afternoon Activities for Term 3. We will have a better idea of the plan for this within the next two weeks.
5 Lunch Fees
Lunch fees for thirteen days will be credited to term 3. In conclusion today, I want to thank all parents, carers, the staff and our students, for the very significant contributions you are all making the continuing learning and protection of our students. These are testing times as our families know only too well, we will do all we can to work in partnership with our parent community to get through this difficult time.
Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns.
On behalf of all us at AISB,
I wish you good health and happiness