Safe Learning

A short film from our first week in our landmark new campus, showcasing the safety measures we have in place

doha
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new school

We were delighted to welcome our students to our new landmark campus in line with Ministry guidelines.

Like schools around the world, ACS International Schools in the UK and Qatar were closed to on-campus learning for much of the spring 2020 semester. For the new school year, ACS faculty and staff joyfully anticipate greeting all of our returning students back in person, as well as welcoming hundreds of new families to our extended community.

We are creating the ‘next normal’ together, with appropriate caution, but also with the imagination and determination that makes ACS schools such special places to work and learn. During these uncertain times, we are confident and ready to return.

We are exercising extraordinary care as we implement Government guidelines for COVID-19 security in every aspect of school life. We take all reasonable precautions. Here are some of the robust systems of control that we use to minimise risk and ensure the safety of all students, families and employees.

Health and safety

Essential measures of our ‘prevent and respond’ strategy include:

  • a requirement that people who are ill stay at home
  • wearing masks as stipulated by the government
  • robust hand and respiratory hygiene
  • enhanced cleaning arrangements
  • active engagement with Ministry Of Public Health as required
  • consideration of how to reduce contacts and maximise distancing between those in school, wherever possible.

The principal measures by which we will reduce contacts will (as much as possible) include:

  • grouping students together
  • avoiding contact between groups
  • arranging classrooms with forward-facing desks
  • School nurses work in close collaboration with local health authorities and in line with standards set by the Medical Officers of Schools Association.
  • staff maintaining distance from students and other staff as much as possible.

School nurses work in close collaboration with local health authorities and in line with standards set by the Medical Officers of Schools Association.

Students 11 years and older must wear masks on ACS busses. All teachers and staff - including temporary teachers and coaches - are trained in infection control and mental health first aid.

We have a robust plan for identifying and isolating students who develop COVID-19 symptoms at school. We work closely with local health protection authorities to report coronavirus-related absences, and notify anyone who has been in close and extended contact with confirmed coronavirus infections (as required).

We attend to the mental health and wellbeing of faculty, staff and students by:

  • monitoring self-reported measures (Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Health Scale)
  • providing access to internal and external resources (including school counsellors and an Employee Assistance Programme)
  • educating for wellness in a dynamic programme of personal health, social, and relationships education, along with advisory groups for personalised pastoral care.
Learning and teaching

Small homeroom or year group (grade-level) cohorts stay together for most of the school day, and they use the same spaces as much as possible. Where possible, teachers rotate to work with fixed groups of students in their identified learning spaces.

We’ve carefully reviewed our facilities to ensure adequate ventilation and safe capacity. Wherever possible, students have individual desks, facing forward, spaced at 1m for social distancing (Grade 2 and above). Teachers generally work at a 2m social distance and engage with students side-to- side for short conversations. Where social distancing is not possible, we use face coverings, shields or modified scheduling to reduce risk of infection.

Specialist learning spaces are individually risk-assessed, and additional PPE is provided when a full, broad and balanced curriculum requires interaction that can’t be adequately socially-distanced. We provide a full educational programme of visual and performing arts, design, and laboratory sciences that follow strict safety guidelines of the relevant professional associations.

Teachers are prepared to support students temporarily learning from home while in isolation. We also have extensive contingency plans should it be necessary for large groups of students (or, in the case of another local or national lockdown) to learn at a distance.

We use best-in-class educational technologies and hybrid-ready instructional design. We support student learning regardless of location, easing necessary transitions between home and school. ACS schools have extensive outdoor spaces and athletic and sports facilities. These excellent fresh-air environments provide inspiring spaces in which to learn, play and compete.

School life

We sanitise high-touch public surfaces and common spaces four times each work/school day. Rooms are thoroughly cleaned each evening. Teams are prepared to conduct ‘deep cleans’ of spaces affected by any confirmed cases of COVID-19. Each room is equipped with sterilisation supplies.

Drop off and pick up are carefully controlled to limit congregating. One-way systems and zone controls are in place where possible to prevent crowding.

Catering services are conducted according to Government guidelines for commercial food service. Younger students will begin the year eating in their classrooms. Dining halls will be limited in capacity and older students will eat in socially-distanced shifts.

We won’t be holding assemblies and large group meetings for the time being. Libraries and other shared facilities are capacity-limited and subject to enhanced cleaning regimes. We are not undertaking international travel for the foreseeable future. Educational visits will be limited and local.

We will review these operational changes as per the instructions from the Government.

Extra-curricular programme

A full range of after-school activities will begin on schedule, both on campus and online. Late busses will be available with advance registration.

ACS athletic directors and coaches are working closely with our school sports associations and sport-specific governing bodies to plan the year. We expect play to return to a more normal condition as the year progresses. We are considering opportunities to adjust seasons and focus on intramural and local competitions so that student athletes can enjoy a full experience of school sport.

We will prioritise skills development and (re-)conditioning that support a wide range of interests, activities, and fitness levels.

Visitors and events

We are limiting the number and size of events, following Government guidelines about safe practices, and using outdoor spaces whenever possible.

We expect parents to remain in their private vehicles, and welcome them on campus by appointment only. We are asking parents to avoid congregating informally or socialising on campus, and to maintain 2m social distancing when they visit.

All visits are logged. Only essential external workers are allowed on campus during the school day, and all contractors are screened for compliance with COVID-19 workplace security guidelines.

We are only holding essential meetings in person. Any face-to-face meetings are being conducted with appropriate social distancing and additional measures in place to minimise the risk of viral transmission.

FAQ's

 

Full Return to Campus

Frequently Asked Questions Doha 

(Updated 20 August 2020)

 

Decision making principles and authority

 

  1. Who makes the decision for ACS Doha to return to campus?

ACS Doha works directly with the Ministry of Education as well as the Ministry of Health to determine protocols around opening of campus. 

  1. Why are we keeping the school calendar as is?

The nature of our international community means that families have needed as much lead time as possible to make travel arrangements, and in many cases manage the logistics of enrolling children in their new school.  ACS Doha was informed by the Ministry of Education of the start date of 1 September 2020, and made slight adjustments to allow for 180 days of learning.

  1. What happens if Doha postpones or delays its planned reopening of all schools in 2020-21?

We will be prepared to respond accordingly with an online transition period to the new school year if the situation changes. However, we expect school to start on the official Ministry of Education timeline.

  1. What are the guiding principles of ACS’s return to campus?

We follow guidance developed by the Ministry of Education, applying its directives to our own contexts, resources and facilities. While we respectfully review and remain mindful of other schools’ decisions and the public health/ educational policies of many countries, we rely on the best judgment of the local Ministries and their engagement with the national public health authorities. Both as a matter of public spiritedness and in our capacity as a registered school, we believe this is the most reasonable and practical basis on which to make strategic and operational decisions during a public health emergency.

Essential measures of our ‘prevent and respond’ strategy include:

  • a requirement that people who are ill stay at home
  • robust hand and respiratory hygiene
  • enhanced cleaning arrangements
  • active engagement with local Ministries
  • formal consideration of how to reduce contacts and maximise distancing between those in school wherever possible and minimise potential for contamination so far as is reasonably practicable.

The principal measures by which we will reduce contacts will (as much as possible) include:

  • grouping students together
  • avoiding contact between groups
  • arranging classrooms with forward facing desks
  • staff maintaining distance from students and other staff as much as possible.
  1. What policies have been reviewed and amended with respect to the return to school?

These policies are available on the ACS public website. They will be updated before the new school year begins to reflect our full return to on-campus learning.

  • Health and Safety
  • Safeguarding and Child Protection
  • Student Behaviour.
  • First Aid and Administration of Medicines

Risk Assessment Process

  1. What is our risk assessment process?

Health and safety risk assessments identify measures to control risks during education and childcare setting activities. Health and safety norms allows the school  to assess risks and put in place measures to reduce the risks so far as is reasonably practicable. ACS Doha keeps and records details of risk assessments, the measures taken to reduce these risks and expected outcomes. ACS Schools record significant findings of the assessment by identifying:

  • the hazards
  • how people might be harmed by them
  • what has been put in place to control risk.

ACS has produced key risk assessment templates for consultation with families, faculty and staff. Risk assessments are continually reviewed and revised as necessary. Live versions will be posted on accessible ACS websites, and monitored on a regular basis by campus Health & Safety Committees.

Additional risk assessments for specific roles and activities are developed, shared for consultation, reviewed by experts, and posted on SafetyCloud (ACS employees only - our internal repository of health, safety and wellbeing compliance resources).

  1. What are the main pillars of our risk management strategy?

At the highest level, we manage risk through preventative measures and response planning.

We also rely on the good will, responsible action and full cooperation of all members of the ACS community by understanding, endorsing and behaving in accordance with our Doha ACS Community Health Citizenship Charter.

  1. Whom have you consulted / taken advice from with respect to the risk assessment strategy?

The key sources of information and standards for Covid-safe schools upon which rely include:

  • Ministry of Education and Higher Education Qatar
  • Ministry of Public Health Qatar
  • NHS and Public Health England
  • National Association of Head Teachers/ Association of International School Heads
  • Confederation of School Trusts
  • National Education Union
  • ACAS (Advice, Conciliation and Arbitration Service)
  • The Key for School Leaders
  • Surrey County Council
  • Southalls Associates (our legal Health and Safety ‘competent person’)
  • Boarding Schools’ Association
  • Independent School Bursars Association
  • Council of International Schools 
  • Medical Officer of Schools Association
  • ACS Health and Safety and Facilities & Estates professionals.

In addition, we consult with our broader international schools networks as well as a wide range of relevant specialist advisory bodies and professional groups (for example, the Association for Physical Education).

  1. Where can I find ACS Covid-19 risk assessments?

The ACS Schools Risk Assessment Templates can be accessed here. 

Additional role- and activity-specific risk assessments can be found on SafetyCloud (ACS employees only).

Protective Measures/ Prevention

  1. What’s been done to make ACS facilities as safe as possible?

We have undertaken a complete review of our facilities and operations to make sure we can support a safe full return to campus-based learning. Following government guidance, we have consulted widely with authoritative groups to develop a comprehensive checklist-based approach to ensure that we are ready safely to welcome back all students, parents and staff back to our facilities.

Among the actions we’ve taken include:

  • securing the advice of health and safety experts to make and review our plans
  • organised facilities in ways that lower risk of transmission, we will be using training around “keep right” but may also include where necessary one way routes
  • communicated clearly that symptomatic individuals do not attend
  • provided materials, procedures and reminders which promote regular hand cleaning, respiratory hygiene, sanitation and social distancing
  • created secure spaces and rapid response plans for handling potential cases
  • confirmed that our cleaning procedures meet standards and recommendations as well as relevant guidance for food services, office spaces and non-health care settings
  • conduct a comprehensive facilities utilisation and ventilation review, analysing traffic flow, pinch points, communal spaces and capacity limitations
  • added Perspex shields to protect personnel in close contact with external visitors
  • provided extra hand-sanitising facilities at key locations
  • provisioned rooms with cleaning supplies and appropriate PPE for managing poor respiratory hygiene
  • Increased the frequency of cleaning throughout the day 
  • replaced open waste bins with covered receptacles, and added covers to toilets to reduce aerosol transmission.

We will continue to monitor conditions, procedures and implementation of Covid-secure policies, and engage in respectful dialogue with stakeholders about health and safety during the pandemic.

  1. What other measures have you put in place to limit transmission of the virus?

All faculty and staff will be fully briefed on how we will work together to make our learning spaces and classroom procedures as safe as reasonably possible. New health and safety training will be required that encompasses updated policies, collaborative risk assessment and professional development in infection control.

  1. What about families and teachers who’ve travelled overseas this summer?

We expect all members of the ACS community to complete all government-imposed quarantine requirements before entering any ACS campus. 

  1. How will you deal with students or teachers who will be beginning the year in quarantine?

Teachers must complete any travel quarantine requirements before their appointed return to work. We are working on a case-by-case basis with faculty and staff who may be caught out by rapidly-changing international travel regulations. They will not return to campus until their required quarantine period ends, although they may be assigned to work remotely.

  1. Are students required to wear a face coverings (mask) at school?

In practically all cases, yes. Divisional plans will give more detail on expectations of students wearing face coverings masks.  As part of specific risk mitigation strategies for a number of  learning spaces or other close-contact environments, we may require shields. If an extended activity requires students to have a shield, they will be provided, and students will be trained in their proper use. 

  1. Are parents required to provide their child with face coverings (masks)?

Yes. Parents should provide the necessary face coverings (masks) for their children to wear at school. We will have an emergency supply of face masks in certain situations.
 

  1. Are staff obligated to wear face coverings (masks) or other PPE?

Faculty and staff must wear a face covering (mask).  As part of their individual risk management strategies additional requirements may be necessary. We will provide advice and training about the selection and use of face coverings, and we expect staff to model best practice.

We will use other measures to minimise risk of transmission, according to government guidance, including staff maintaining social distancing, limiting group size, etc. If that is not possible in the regular course of their duties, ACS will provide face shields as an additional measure. Medical staff have appropriate PPE for use in specific situations.

  1. Are you conducting temperature checks?

Schools are required to have infrared thermometers on hand and use them to manage safe access to the campus.  We will follow up with more details as per government regulations.

  1.  What is the cleaning regime ?

Cleaning staff will sanitise high-touch public surfaces and common spaces at least four times each work/school day. Rooms and circulation areas will be thoroughly cleaned each evening. Teams are prepared to conduct ‘deep cleaning’ of spaces affected by any confirmed cases of Covid-19. 

Any shared internal learning surfaces or equipment will be disinfected between groups under teacher supervision. Each classroom / learning space is equipped with materials to sanitise surfaces. We will train teachers and students in proper cleaning procedures for their personal spaces during the school day.

Social Distancing

  1. How are we defining groups?  (More detail is provided in Divisional Plans)

These definitions represent the best balance of limiting group size and making it possible to deliver the full curriculum, particularly when students are required to be inside for break times during hot weather. 

In Early Childhood, we will define groups ( “bubbles”) according to the building. Pre K3 and Pre K4 are in one building, and KG will be in another. To further ensure health and wellbeing, we will :

  • Work to limit the number of adults each grade and class have face to face contact 
  • Develop routes for each class to use throughout the buildings
  • Work to limit the number of classes and students that come in close contact

Lower school groups (“bubbles”) are defined as the grade level to which a student belongs. Each group is located in their own block and floor.  Example: Grade 1 is in Block D ground floor, Grade 2 is in Block C ground floor. Students will remain in these groups throughout break times, lunch times and in specialist lessons such as languages, Islamic studies, the arts and PE. 

In the Middle High school, groups (“bubbles”) will be defined by grade groups. Each group is located in their own block and floor.  Example: Grade 6 is in Block G, ground floor.  In most cases, subject teachers will move classes, rather than students.

In High School, groups  (“bubbles”) are two grades, Grades 9 and 10, and Grades 11 and 12. Subject teachers will move to the areas within a block.  Each group is located in their own block and floor.

If a group needs to move to an alternative space (ie science laboratory, art room) that space will be booked in advance so that disinfecting takes place before and after occupation. There will be defined routes so as to minimise contact. 

Each ACS bus roster will be an identified group, as will any in-person after school activities.

  1.  Will groups be allowed to mix?

Because of the complex nature of schools and educational programmes, students will likely be part of multiple groups(”bubbles”). The purpose of  these groups (”bubbles”) is to locate the setting in which students spend most of their time, and to make it easier to identify and isolate transmission of the virus with minimal interruption to other groups. 

Operationally, we will sharply limit the amount of time and closely monitor the conditions under which groups(”bubbles”) can mix indoors, and closely monitor cases in which students must be part of multiple year groups.

Specialist teachers and middle/high school teachers will be in contact with multiple groups of students, maintaining social distancing whenever possible (or using additional measures if needed, such as working side-by-side, using face shields, or limiting the amount of time spent working with individual students).

  1. How can young children be expected to practice social distancing?

Students are expected to practice Ministry and School guidelines to maintain social distance. In Early Childhood and Lower school, we understand and recognise that social distancing will be a new way of working, and we will support children and families to understand how to keep safe and to work with others in a new way.  We will use a range of age-appropriate strategies to help our young learners to:

  • Develop frequent hand cleaning and good respiratory hygiene practice
  • Understand and know what social distancing looks like
  • avoiding contact with anyone with symptoms
  • regular cleaning of settings, with easily disinfected learning resources
  • minimising contact and mixing
  • proper ventilation and use of outdoor learning spaces whenever possible.
  • appropriate use of PPE as necessary
  1.  What happens if older students don’t follow social distancing guidelines?

We will all be working together to keep each other healthy, so teachers and peers are responsible for encouraging and respectfully reminding each other to be informed, take care, and stay well. We expect the tone of these reminders to be positive and educational, not punitive. However, disrespectful, repeated and intentional disregard of Covid-security guidelines is subject to disciplinary action.

Staff

  1. What are you doing to keep teachers and staff safe?

As part of our due diligence, we are screening and providing individual risk assessments for clinically vulnerable staff households. We will collaborate with teachers and staff who are unable safely to return to campus to make appropriate arrangements.

We continue to update our detailed risk assessments for teachers and staff and will be collaboratively engaged in making work spaces as safe as possible. 

Teachers  and staff will be trained in infection control. Staff spaces will have limited capacity. Teachers and staff will have dedicated time to access shared areas between student groups. 

  1. Are teachers and staff required or permitted to wear face coverings (masks) or Personal Protective Equipment?

Yes.  Teachers and all staff must follow local Ministry regulations.

  1. Are teachers expected to run parallel in-person and online versions of their classes?

No. Teachers will develop robust support for students who are self-isolating or otherwise unable to attend school because of an authorised absence. We work to maintain students’ connections to their classroom learning communities and teachers, and ensure that they are able to continue making expected progress. In some cases, learning for remote students may be synchronous (live, at the scheduled class time); however, teachers will implement strategies and design learning engagements on a case-by-case basis, and they will often include supervised but still largely self-directed learning.

Educational Provision (Learning and teaching)

  1. Will learning look the same as it did before the pandemic?

We will provide a full educational programme that represents a broad and balanced curriculum as scheduled in standard timetables. Teachers will be focusing on ways to engage students and build collaboration skills under reasonable constraints of social distancing.  We will continue to achieve ACS expected learning results that focus on students’ growth as effective learners, confident individuals, and caring contributors.

Some classroom activities, teaching strategies and learning engagements will change in order to limit contact with students and reduce opportunities for transmitting the virus. Teachers will look for meaningful opportunities to learn outdoors when appropriate.

We will continue to explore and implement Modern Classroom methodologies and integrate educational technologies that support student learning and increase teaching effectiveness.

  1. What will be the focus of learning and teaching?

Our first priority is the health and wellbeing of students and staff, and we will be celebrating responsibly the re-establishment of social connections, friendships and learning with others. Teachers will immediately begin informal screening and diagnostic assessment to gage students’ starting points against the new year’s learning goals. We will conduct MAP testing after 4 weeks of instruction in order to target growth opportunities, respond to individual needs, and plan any necessary interventions. We will accelerate learning where needed so that students’ progress will not have been interrupted by school closures last year. Based on feedback from teachers and students, we do not anticipate significant learning losses or gaps in learning.

Teaching teams have carefully re-organised the second year of IB Diploma courses to make sure students have completed the curriculum and all required internal assessments and are prepared by mock examinations for the May 2021 session. 

The IB has indicated that MYP eAssessment will be conducted in May 2021 regardless of any school closures at the time.

  1. How will we be caring for students’ mental health and wellbeing?

We will begin by focusing on social emotional learning, ensuring that everyone feels safe and secure at school and understands how we have to work together to stay healthy. Transitioning back to school, or to new stages of education, will be a key topic of conversation. We recognise a wide range of experience that people have had of lockdown and distance learning. Most students and staff adjusted well and exhibited great flexibility and resilience. Our counseling, advisory and safeguarding teams will watch carefully for students and staff who were more severely impacted or have trouble readjusting to on-campus learning. 

  1. What will you be doing to support students with special education needs and disabilities? 

While many students with learning disabilities or other support needs thrived educationally during distance learning, others found it more difficult to manage learning independently. Throughout the lockdown, our student support teams continued to serve students with individualized attention and ongoing encouragement and academic reinforcement. We will continue to support students in their return to school, with special attention to students with social-emotional challenges.

  1. What about specialist spaces, including sports and physical education?

We will utilise specialist teaching spaces and equipment needed to provide a full educational programme. We will follow Ministry and industry-standard guidelines for learning environments like rehearsal facilities, performance venues, art studios, design and science laboratories and athletic facilities. We will use a range of measures, including enhanced cleaning, individual resources, and provision of PPE if required.

  1. What about itinerant teachers and coaches?

We will provide socially-distanced work spaces for itinerant teachers and ensure that they understand all Covid-secure measures.

  1. Will you be running a full alternative programme of distance learning for students alongside the on-campus provision?

No. 

Extracurricular activities

  1. Will there be after school programmes on campus?

As soon as possible, we anticipate that schools will offer a range of online and in-person after school activities. We will follow the lead of sports’ governing bodies in their measured approach toward a full return to pre-pandemic activities. All activities will be thoroughly risk assessed prior to commencement.

  1. What about athletic teams and competitions?

ACS Athletic Directors and coaches are working closely with our school sports associations and sport-specific advisory groups to plan the year. We expect play to return to a more normal condition as the year progresses, and will consider opportunities to adjust seasons and focus on intramural and local competitions so that student athletes can enjoy a full experience of school sport. All sports activities will be thoroughly risk assessed prior to commencement.

  1. Will we have school trips?

We will not be undertaking international travel for the foreseeable future. Educational visits will be limited and local. All school trips are risk assessed, and we will continue to risk assess school trip with additional COVID considerations.

School operations

Transportation

  1. What about busses?

Busses will operate as planned, with additional safety measures. At the moment the only information we have from the Ministry is that busses capacity will be 50 % . We are still waiting for the information regarding the further actions from the Ministry. 

Catering

  1. How will you manage lunch and snacks? 

As this is a changing guideline from the Ministry, please review Division specific communications.

In Early Childhood, students will have their snack and lunches in their classroom and in open learning zone areas ( to allow for more space for social distancing). The safety and comfort of being in a familiar environment with the adults they know will continue to be the practice.

Lower school students will have their snack and lunches in their classroom and in open learning zone areas (to allow for more space for social distancing). Teachers will encourage social distancing and washing of hands before and after lunch. As the weather cools, outside areas will be made available.

MHS classes will use assigned areas on a rotational basis to ensure adequate social distancing. The manner in which grades have been allocated to learning sections will provide ample space to eat in a convivial and safe environment. 

Medical centres

  1. What medical services are available?

ACS schools are staffed by trained school nurses whom have access to support from local Physicians. Our lead nurse in the UK facilitates common campus policies and practice. School nurses work in close collaboration with local health authorities and in line with local standards.

Attendance

  1. Are parents obligated to send children to school?

In-person school attendance is compulsory, starting from 20 September, in line with the government regulations, and the school must be notified of the reason for any absence. If you have specific concerns, please contact your divisional principal, school nurse, or student personal counselor.

  1. How is ACS reporting student absences?

The Ministry of Education requires us to record and report student absences on a daily basis. If a student is ill with Covid-19 symptoms, awaiting a test or tested positive, we request that parents inform the school so that ACS Doha can act accordingly to proper protocols and Ministry guidance. 

  1. Will school days start and end at the same time?

Yes. We don’t anticipate wide-scale staggering of start/stop times, as we have other arrangements in place, space, and clear procedures for pick-up and drop off. Additional school and division-specific information will be available at the beginning of the academic year.

Non-classroom spaces

  1. Libraries

School libraries will be open where possible, but will operate with limited capacity, enhanced cleaning, and other Covid-safe practices.

  1. Common rooms and other shared facilities

Common spaces will be limited to specific year groups where possible, and subject to limited capacity, increased ventilation and enhanced cleaning.

Visitors

  1. Are parents welcome on campus?

We are developing detailed procedures for safe drop-off and pick-up at each Division. Please follow the guidelines from your specific division and contact your Principal with questions. 

  1. Will parents be allowed to congregate on campus?

No. We will encourage strict physical/social distancing, and ask all parents to stay at acceptable socially distances at all times when on campus

  1. Are parents required to wear face coverings (masks) on campus?

Yes. It is currently the law in Qatar.

  1. Will you hold large events?

We will sharply limit school events in order to minimise contact and avoid crowds. We will review this policy on an ongoing basis.

  1. Can we schedule parent meetings?

We are grateful for the ongoing support and encouragement of the ACS parent community. Schools can host small meetings (for example, PSO committees and leadership groups) in which participants can be registered, socially distanced, and wearing face coverings (masks) if they are working together in enclosed indoor spaces for extended periods. Following parent meetings, ACS cleaners will sanitise meeting rooms before use by students and staff. We can always look for ways to meet virtually.

  1. Will external groups be allowed on campus?

We will sharply limit external groups’ access to ACS facilities, and consider requests on a case-by-case basis. External groups will not use ACS facilities during the school day, and their plans will be fully risk assessed to reduce opportunities for cross-contamination.

  1. What about admission tours and open days?

Tours will be based on prior appointments and will be small groups, all Open Houses will be virtual where possible. As per Government instructions from 1st  September Phase 4 we may be able to host small group events on campus. Our Admissions team will risk assess on campus tours prior to the commencement of the tours.
 

  1. How will you manage visitors and contractors?

All visitors will be screened for compliance with government regulations. During school hours, we will limit contractors to essential work only and check their company’s risk management strategy for its commitment to compliance with industry-specific Covid-secure workplace guidelines. All visitors will be required to follow the ACS visitor protocols and will be informed that they must follow ACS requirements whilst on campus.

Response to coronavirus infection/transmission

Infection/ suspected or confirmed cases of Covid-19 (students, faculty, staff, and people in their households)

  1. a. If anyone in my household has COVID-19 symptoms, what should we do?

b. What if a teacher, staff, student or someone in their household has a suspected case of coronavirus disease?

DO NOT COME TO SCHOOL. You should get a test, seek medical attention, and follow advice from health authorities. We are preparing flowcharts for faculty/staff and parents that outline what to do for the most common situations, in line with local regulations.

This advice can change on short notice. Always follow the latest government guidelines.
 

  1. What if someone becomes symptomatic while at school?

Government guidelines require that anyone with a suspected coronavirus infection should immediately go/ be escorted at a safe distance to the school medical officer/ nurse. The person who is ill will be safely isolated from others and cared for by trained personnel with appropriate medical grade PPE. After evaluation the affected person(s) will be collected by a family member/ sent home in a private vehicle with reasonable preventative measures unless immediate medical intervention is required.

ACS attendance officers, medical staff or HR partners will follow up.

  1. What if a teacher, staff, student or someone in their household has a confirmed case/ tests positive? Will we be told?

We will follow advice from the Ministry and notify the affected community as soon as we are made aware with the next steps to be taken. We will not disclose the name of students/families or staff members in any communication about positive test results or confirmed cases of Covid-19.

  1. a. If we have a positive case in the Grade ”bubble” group, does the Grade ”bubble” group with siblings of students in the directly-affected Grade “bubble” group also need to test and isolate?

b. If students are in the hall together for lunch and one of those has a positive test for Covid-19, does everyone else have to isolate?

c. If two separate Grade “bubble”  groups are together and there is a confirmed case in one group, do both groups have to isolate, including all staff who had been in contact with them at any point in the last day (or more)?

The answer to these three questions is ‘not necessarily’. ACS will implement the advice of the local Ministries when deciding on any response at the group, grade level, divisional or school level.

  1. If students cannot attend school because they’re self-isolating, what’s the provision for them?

Teachers will work with students individually to help them remain connected to their classmates and make expected progress in the curriculum. A range of strategies exists to keep students learning, so teachers will not run separate online courses for students who temporarily cannot attend in person. In some situations, real-time streaming of course content and live interaction with the timetabled class can be possible. However, teachers will not be expected to manage remote learners in the same way as students learning on campus.

Contingency planning

  1. What preparations are you making for distributed/ remote/ online learning in case groups have to self-isolate, or in case there is a local or more general lockdown that prohibits learning on campus?

We are making contingency plans to implement large-scale distance learning in which ACS will again be ready to support students learning remotely from home. Using online tools (including synchronous class sessions and interaction with teachers and peers). ACS teachers worked tirelessly in the spring to ensure continuity and continued progress for all learners.

We learned a great deal from students’ experiences, parent feedback, and teachers’ innovative practice. In future distance learning scenarios, we will focus on improving 

  • Increasing student engagement and peer interaction
  • Building online community
  • Supporting parents of younger learners
  • Balancing student workload
  • Facilitating more efficient communication between teachers and students
  • Creating dependable and easy to use weekly and daily schedules that are consistent across classes
  • Standardising work flows (assignments and feedback)
  • Introducing additional educational technologies that support effective teaching and assessment practices.
  1. How will we support individual students who are learning remotely while self-isolating or in quarantine?

Teachers will design strategies and interventions to ensure that students temporarily learning remotely can stay connected with their classmates and continue to meet their learning goals. This provision will vary depending on a wide range of circumstances, including the nature of the course, curriculum objectives, classroom protocols, learning design, relevant instructional materials and technology, the number of students affected, and available staffing.

Schools will work with parents and students to manage these situations in the most appropriate, reasonable and practicable ways possible. Each situation will require ingenuity and patience. As part of our back-to-school planning, we will talk with students about how to improve self-management skills and develop additional support for parents who are supervising learning at home.

Additional information

  1. Where do I go if I have additional concerns about ACS’s COVID-19 security or my individual situation?

Please contact your Head of School or Divisional Principal (parents), or your line manager or HR partner (employees). Our community Health Citizenship Charter calls for respectful dialogue and responsible use of social media platforms. 

  1. How can I submit questions that might be useful to add to the community FAQ? 

We welcome your input, constructive critique, and considerate engagement with these important matters of concern. You can share your questions through the following forms:

  1. Where can I find specific FAQs and other resources for ACS employees?

Please refer to emails sent by HR.

  1. Where can I find support for staff mental health and wellbeing?

In order to support staff mental health and well being, an Employee Assistance Programme is available to all our staff to provide extra support to balance the demands of everyday life through a company called Care First. 

The Employee Assistance Programme consists of the following elements:

  • Unlimited access to 24 hour confidential Counselling, Information and Advice Services for employees 
  • Real time online counselling 
  • Up to 8 telephone counselling sessions per problem for employees 
  • Up to 8 face to face counselling sessions per problem for each employee. 
  • Care first Lifestyle (Wellbeing online) - The Care First Lifestyle site can be accessed from today by visiting CareFirst Site and ACS International Schools unique Lifestyle 

Login information has been shared with all staff via email.  Please communicate with HR for further information.

 

WE HAVE WORKED CLOSELY WITH FAMILIES, TEACHERS, FACILITIES STAFF AND EXPERTS IN THE FIELD TO COMPLETE A COMPREHENSIVE RISK ASSESSMENT THAT WILL PROTECT THE HEALTH, SAFETY AND WELLBEING OF OUR COMMUNITY.
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Admissions

Our Admissions teams are able to offer private virtual or on-campus tours and virtual open days for prospective families.

Please register here to book a private tour or open day