Principal’s Post #22: Upper School Virtual Learning Update

Dear SCIS Families,

We would like to start out by thanking all of you for your patience and well-wishes as we work to ensure learning continues for the SCIS community.  Given the realities of the extension of our campus closure as outlined in Director of Schools, Dan Eschtruth’s email (Feb 14, see below), we would like to provide you with a virtual learning update.  We recognize that many families find themselves in unique circumstances and our update may not address all of your individual questions.  We encourage you to reach out to the administration with your specific questions so we can identify the best way to support you and your students. 

Feedback on Virtual Learning

We have received over 200 responses from parents and students over the past week.  We are grateful for the time you have all taken to provide your valuable feedback.  We are making adjustments based on the feedback we have received.  Please expect that we will be sending out weekly surveys to parents and students alike, as it is essential that we have a finger on the pulse of our SCIS community throughout this virtual learning period. Please continue to provide us feedback through these surveys so we can continue to fine-tune our program. 

Support for Students and Parents during Virtual Learning

One of the most important outcomes of the feedback we have received is that we have been able to tailor our faculty efforts to continuously improve the virtual learning program.  From the student perspective, we have received valuable information regarding workload, communication, technology challenges, and the many successes students are having.  Parent feedback has helped us identify additional areas of support that are needed for both students and parents.  Overwhelmingly, the feedback has praised the job that teachers have done in designing engaging online learning experiences and supporting students.  We would like to join students and parents in thanking teachers for their efforts.  We would also like to draw your attention to specific supports we have available for parents and students. 

Virtual Learning Survival Guide

Please take some time to review the Virtual Learning Survival Guide. This guide has been designed to identify resources for students and parents to support the adjustment to virtual learning. There are also some tech tips for students in using the school platforms. Please click HERE to review the Guide.

Virtual Learning Guidelines

As we enter our third week of virtual learning, want to ensure that we are clearly communicating the important guidelines we are operating under during this period of virtual learning.  If you have a questions regarding a topic not addressed below, please reach out to the administration.

Virtual Learning Course Credit: High school students that complete the requirements of virtual learning courses will receive full credit for the duration of the virtual learning period.  As a WASC and IB accredited program, SCIS reports and transcripts are recognized by all schools and universities.

Virtual Learning Assignments: All virtual learning assignments, tasks, and assessments will count towards grades earned on student semester reports.  It is essential that all students continue to treat virtual learning with the same gravity they would treat face-to-face learning.  While teachers will continue to be flexible and supportive of students who face unique challenges, it is important to note that all assignments, tasks, and assessments will be factored into final grading.

Attendance: Attendance during virtual learning is earned through the completion of posted assignments, tasks, and assessments.  Teachers will reach out to students and parents if there is a concern.  Parents are asked to continue to email the Upper School Secretary Jelly Ling ( if students are unavailable for learning because of illness, or other family reasons. 

Submitting Class Work On Time: Given that students are across many time zones, teachers have been asked to be flexible with students regarding work submission by providing up to a 24 hours grace period for assignment submission.  Students who log in on a daily basis to complete and submit the day’s tasks, are considered to be on time, regardless of where they are in the world. If students need more time beyond this window, students should proactively request an extension from their teacher prior to the deadline. 

Parent Support and Involvement: Research shows that parent involvement in learning is essential.  This involvement during virtual learning is even more important.  We encourage parents to support students in identifying a productive work environment, organizational and time management strategies that work for them, and for parents to build in regular set times to review progress with students.  We recommend that this be a daily conversation between parents and students during the period of virtual learning.  The isolation of quarantine for those living in Shanghai and the solitary nature of online learning can also be an additional stressor for students.  We encourage parents to more closely monitor the social-emotional wellbeing of their children during this difficult time and reach out for help when needed.   For support on all of the above, please reference last week’s blog and visit the parent section of our Virtual Learning Handbook.


  • We continue to follow the rotating day calendar as published in ManageBac
  • Daily assignments for the day’s four classes are posted for students by 8am Shanghai time each day
  • ManageBac remains the primary platform for communication and work submission
  • Technology Help Desk Support: is available Monday-Friday 8am-11pm Shanghai time.
  • Contact Information
  • Passwords:  email if you need your password reset.

How is it going? Click to provide feedback on Week 2 of Virtual Learning.

Click to give parent feedback on Week 2 of Virtual Learning

Message From Director of Schools Dan Eschtruth

Dear SCIS Community,

I write to inform you of a recent announcement received from the Shanghai Education Commission and our Changning District Education Bureau. It states that all individuals returning to Shanghai, from either domestic or international locations, will need to undergo a 14-day self-quarantine period before being permitted to return to campus or participate in any related school event or activity. Our current understanding of the requirement is that it will be applied to all community members, meaning SCIS employees (Faculty & Staff), students, and parents. We do not currently have guidance on what the specific requirements of the quarantine will be, but should we receive further information, we will share that on to all.

I continue to remain in touch with other international schools in Shanghai and across China. Further, our Government Relations Department has been on the ground connecting with all available agencies to verify this information. We will continue our efforts to communicate with these groups with the hope of soon receiving guidance on when we will be able to return to on-campus learning. However, without a confirmed date, we intend to provide a reliable notification process to reduce the anxiety and uncertainty surrounding the potential unknown return to campus learning. As such, SCIS will provide notification of at least 21 days before our expected return campus learning date. We hope this will giveyou enough information to support your decisions on potential travel plans.

We are all eager to return to campus and come together as a community of learners once again. In the meantime, we remain committed to continuing our virtual program of learning throughout the government-mandated campus closure period. While we hope our 21-day notice will support families in making their return plans, we also understand that this may not be possible for some families. As such, I am working with our leadership team to determine how we will best support the likely transition period where we will have some students back on campus while others have yet to return.

I ask for your continued support as we approach this as a unified SCIS community – supporting one another where we can. Our partnership in learning has grown even closer as we witness the exceptional efforts of our faculty, students, and parents in working through the virtual program of learning. Our faculty remains committed to delivering the best virtual learning experience while our leadership team strives to provide clarity about our eventual return to campus learning.


Daniel D. Eschtruth

Director of Schools


Coronavirus Community Information

SCIS has developed a webpage on our system website outlining the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). We encourage families to check this link in order to access important information regarding our current campus closure and our response to the coronavirus. Previous updates are also logged on this site. If there are specific questions you feel need to be added, please email the administration.

Re-enrollment has begun for the 2020-2021 School Year

Last week, all SCIS families should have received an email via your scis-parent email account providing instructions regarding re-enrollment for the 2020-2021 academic year.  Please be sure to follow the instruction contained in the email for re-enrollment. Please note, you must use your email account details when signing in to the Online Re-Enrollment Website.  If you have any questions regarding the process for re-enrollment, please do not hesitate to reach out to the SCIS Admissions team at

Warm regards,

Frank Volpe, PhD Naomi Shanks

Upper School Principal . Upper School Vice Principal

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *