Principals’ Post #26

Dear Upper School Friends and Family,

Over the last few days the news across the globe of the now pandemic COVID-19 has been startling to say the least. We hope that each and every SCIS family is staying safe and healthy wherever they are in the world. Here in Shanghai we are beginning to see signs of the other side of the local crisis, at the same time it is deepening globally. New concerns and their accompanying safety protocols are falling into place one country after the other, and as of yesterday, over 49 countries have announced school closures. Where just a few short weeks ago we in Shanghai may have felt isolated and disadvantaged, as the crisis goes global, we are learning that there are in fact some benefits to being ahead of the curve. Over the last six weeks we have learned a tremendous amount about what Virtual Learning can do, and how to keep our community of Dragons strong and united even when we cannot be together. We’ve got this!

Virtual Socials at the Grade Level

While students are now feeling more relaxed and at ease in the Virtual Learning environment, the isolation of living in isolation under virtual lockdown is beginning to take its toll, and students are ready to connect with each other, and build on the social and cultural relationships that are such an important part of the secondary school experience. Our grade level Advisors are working with students directly looking for ways to use live sessions on Teams to bring more community building fun into the school days. All Grade Levels have held at least one online “social” event, and in Middle School these are becoming part of the routine during the campus closure. In the last week, middle school classes have hosted a trivia contest, a bingo night, and today’s Kahoot. Students should watch their email for invitations to join. More ideas for virtual social activities should be brought to the Advisors.

Taking Tests at Home

You may have already received emails from teachers inviting you to supervise/proctor/invigilate written tests for your children during the Virtual Learning period. It is essential that students get regular practice completing assessment tasks under formal timed conditions, in preparation for IB Exams and other high stakes examinations that they will encounter at after high school. We ask that you support students by ensuring that they have a quiet room with a bare table and no “smart” devices. We ask that you supervise your students to ensure that testing conditions are upheld. When a teacher is scheduling a written test for your student’s classes, they will provide you with all the specific information you need. Please note the following:

  • The test will be scheduled for a specific date and time. Students may complete it in the timezone where they are, within 24 hours of the posted time.
  • A cover sheet provided in advance will list the specific test conditions for a given exam. This may include the timing of the test, a list of approved support materials, and so forth.
  • The test itself will be sent directly to the parents. It will NOT be posted ManageBac. If you are able to print the test, this is the best option.
  • All written tests should be completed in black/blue ink, on lined paper or on the test paper itself. At the end of the test, these should be scanned/photographed, and uploaded to ManageBac.
  • After each test, parents are asked to complete an Authentication Form affirming that testing standards, and any specific instructions on the cover sheet, were upheld.

Midsemester Calendar Updates

Please note the following adjustments to the March calendar:

  • March 25 will be a regular school day – Day 3. Student-Led Conferences are cancelled. Under normal circumstances, SLCs provide a fantastic opportunity for students to invite their parents into the school building and lead a meeting reflecting on their learning in their place of work. During this Virtual Learning period, we urge parents to take the opportunity to discuss and reflect with their students on what we are learning through this experience as it happens.

Week 6 Virtual Learning Parent Feedback Survey

Please continue to share your feedback with us each week as we seek to fine tune our program. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts!

Community Update from Dan Eschtruth, Director of Schools – March 6

Greetings SCIS Families,

I hope this email finds you well and thriving during this difficult period. I was pleased to see a large number of participants in the most recent Parent Survey and look forward to sharing our findings and responses with you in my next update. We continue to seek out and welcome your constructive feedback as it guides and improves our response to this crisis. We appreciate your sharing and will consider all suggestions as we continue our work to respond and adapt to this ever-evolving situation. Please find below our recent updates and announcements.

2020-21 Tuition Support

SCIS is fully aware that the current situation brings with it a wide range of concerns, including the toll it has taken on the economy and the bottom line for a wide range of individuals and businesses. In recognition that our school operates on a budget driven entirely by our tuition revenue, we still understand that we must all share the burden and support one another in developing out of this challenging situation. With this said, our Board of Directors has approved a tuition freeze for the 2020-2021 school year. Effectively immediately, we will revert the planned 2020-2021 tuition rate, back to that of 2019-20. This will represent an approximate saving of a 3-4% cost reduction for all families, based on the grade levels their children attend. We are pleased to present this news yet stand committed to continuing our efforts to identify and share support and resources we can provide as we come out of this situation together. 

The Office of Admissions and Finance will follow up as soon as possible with more details and a re-issued invoice to reflect the adjustments mentioned above. Furthermore, we recognize that many families have already made payment in full for the 2020-2021 school year, please rest assured, these payments will be retroactively adjusted to include the new tuition rate. We ask for your patience as the Office of Admissions and Finance works to roll out these changes.

Grade 12 IBDP Student Support Plan:

While Dragons of every age have felt the impact of the campus closure, none have been more dramatically impacted than the Class of 2020, whose final semester has come with some unique challenges. Fortunately, SCIS and the International Baccalaureate Organization are in a position to support students wherever they are in the world. The IBO is proactively taking steps to ensure that appropriate accommodations are in place so that our students and the 6000 IB candidates in China are not unfairly disadvantaged. This includes extensions to all schools in China for submission of external and internal assessments and allowing for some assessments to be completed at a distance – particularly helpful for our language classes. And, while we fully expect to be back on campus for the May IB Exam session, the IB has also made clear that other options are open for candidates in these adverse circumstances. Any senior not in a position to return to Shanghai for their IB Exams will have the option of taking the exams at an alternate venue, transferring schools, or deferring to the November 2020 exam session as communicated to Grade 12 parents directly by the Principals. Our DP Coordinators, College Counselors, and teachers are in communication with families. They are ready to support every family to make the decisions that will best meet the graduates’ needs as they move forward to the next stage of their lives. Please follow this link to learn more about our efforts to support our Grade 12 students. 

SCIS Campus Health & Safety Update:

Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19, our SCIS campuses have been closed to teachers, students, and any other visitors. During this time, our security team has registered and monitored anyone that has accessed campus. The essential staff that have been on campus for short periods have had their temperature checked upon arrival, were required to wear a mask, and wash their hands upon entering.

SCIS has upheld rigorous cleaning protocols at all campuses, and, with the current situation, these have been strengthened further as we strive to ensure the health of our community. In an effort to raise awareness of our preparation efforts, please review below the steps we are taking to prepare our campuses for the eventual return of our students, faculty, and staff. Please follow this link to learn more about our efforts to prepare our campuses for a healthy and safe return of all students, faculty, and staff.

Social & Emotional Support:

The SCIS Social and Emotional Support Team is working to share resources with the school community to help with the challenges surrounding the COVID19 virus. Several new resources have been added to the SCIS website under COVID19 Updates and FAQ’s link here. The Social and Emotional Support section includes guidance from the National Association of School Psychologists about how to talk with children about COVID19, and the International School Counselors Association offers guidance on managing feelings fears and worries of children.  Local resources from SCIS partner, Community Center Shanghai are also included.

Sincerely,

Daniel D. Eschtruth
Director of Schools
Shanghai Community International School

Announcements

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.

Technology Support Reminders

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

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 @scis-parent.org email account details when signing in to the Online Re-Enrollment Website.  The re-enrollment deadlines have been adjusted to account for the current situation. Please visit the admissions page for more details. If you have any questions regarding the process for re-enrollment, please do not hesitate to reach out to the SCIS Admissions team at admissions@scis-china.org.

Warm regards,

Frank Volpe, PhD Naomi Shanks
Upper School Principal Upper School Vice Principal

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