As we approach the end of our two-week transition back to school, it gives us an opportunity to pause and reflect upon the return to lessons, the safety of the school and our wider community.
We have been overwhelmed by the amount of support, encouragement, and best wishes for this term ahead. I would like to thank all parents for this positive start to our Academic year. It has been a pleasure to speak to the students each morning at drop off and ask them about their teachers, lessons and how they have settled back into school. I am very proud of all staff who have hit the ground running with a huge amount energy, enthusiasm and dedication to help our students focus on their learning and further experiences that all children should be able to embrace as much as possible.
Perhaps now more than ever, it is essential that children are allowed to enjoy their learning, to think and talk about school life, interact with their friends and teachers, and to have lessons in a 'normal' classroom environment as far as possible.
All safety measures are put in place to protect our whole community. Some are less obvious 'behind the scenes', some can be explained to students, while some may be trickier to talk through, especially for our younger students to understand. Nonetheless, they mean we do our best and encourage our students to focus on enjoying their learning, their face to face interactions with those around them and the incredible moments they share in class. Some conversations are for adult ears only, while some should be with students. To differentiate these is a challenge but paramount during this time as we protect, support and help our students. Safety measures discussed in a positive, calm and constructive manner will help in most situations and I thank parents for your steadfast support with this. For now, all around the world this is unfortunately the situation that students need to get used to.
The safety measures in place at BISL and further changes are included below in this article.
As a school, we often refer to our values – Respect, Empathy, Excellence, Challenge. As an international community this is essential as we celebrate diversity across our school. Having over 40 nationalities enriches us with experiences, knowledge and understanding of how others feel. As we work through this academic year, we must develop respect and empathy on how we treat each other and those around us. These are two values we can model for our students to see and hear daily. I am very proud of how we display and discuss these as often as possible. At school we can be different in many ways, but we are all united in working to do our best for our students.
Now in Week 3, we have decided to put further support in place to help families as we transition safely back into school during this block. Decisions are communicated each Friday and important updates may be made more frequently if guidance is provided by the Ministry of Health/Education for all schools in Slovenia.
- The addition of extra after-school provision for Year 3 and 4 until 3.40pm. The provision for Early Years, year 1+2 stays the same. More information in the newsletter.
- Our Sixth Form area (available for our Year 12 and Year 13 students) will be open until 4.30pm from Monday 7th September for independent learning.
- Our first off-site trip of the academic year is scheduled for Thursday and Friday 10th/11th of September as the Year 7 and 8 embark on their adventure days.
Safety is our number one priority at school and we continue to check and follow the latest guidance available (Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, WHO, etc).
As we move into week 3, we will continue with the following procedures in place on a temporary basis and will review daily and update each Friday:
- Sanitation guidelines, handwash and antibacterial gels will continue to be used throughout the school.
- Masks for staff and students (from Year 2) in corridors and common areas only, will continue to be used throughout the school.
- Lunches will be delivered to classrooms (This has removed the need for students to walk along corridors with masks).
- No large gatherings of students and teachers will be planned for indoors.
- Parents in the building by appointment only.
- After school supervision has been extended as mentioned above.
The following areas may be updated individually should further information from the sources above be confirmed:
- Masks for all staff in offices/smaller spaces.
- After-school clubs.
- Presentations for parents/calendared events (some events may take place in smaller groups at school, outdoors at school, virtually, etc)
- Possible split classes.
The latest guidance from NIJZ on wearing masks is illustrated in the table below.
- All students must have a signed declaration from their parents to allow them to return to school.
- All students should bring in their own resources, including water bottles, pencil cases, technology, headphones, etc as normal.
- Toilets will be cleaned frequently throughout the day. They will be used on an individual basis (one at a time) only, upon teacher’s permission.
- Students must follow health and safety guidance as directed by the school.
- Class teachers and Form tutors must make sure all students in school have a signed declaration from their parents.
- Teachers will ensure that classroom doors will be kept open and classrooms are well ventilated regularly.
- Teachers have access to hand sanitisers and sprays to maintain a high level of hygiene in the classroom.
- Staff must follow health and safety guidance and ensure that students do the same.
- Parents must provide a signed declaration before their child(ren) can return to school.
- Parents are not permitted to enter the school building without a prior appointment.
- Drop off and Pick up procedures should be followed as per guidance last week.
- Parents must follow health and safety guidance and encourage that students do the same.
- Parents who choose to keep their children at home during this time can access a provision of online learning and resources, provided by the teachers in the form of our Learning Management System, Canvas.
The new building is rapidly progressing with work on the second floor now visible, the foundation for the bridge (connecting the current school building with the new structure) taking shape and further work on the elevator structure completed. We are excited about the developments and continue to review the health and safety of the building works on a daily basis to ensure our site is as safe as possible during this time.
We have enjoyed a range of presentations through webinars during the first two weeks back at school. A huge thank you to the staff for providing informative and interesting discussions about the following:
- After-school Activities
- Performing Arts & Sports
- Curriculum (to meet your teachers)
- Student Voice & House System
Drop off and Pick up Procedures
In my last update, I mentioned our pick up and drop off procedures. Thank you to all parents for following this guidance, as it is essential that we start and end the day with an awareness of traffic safety. We will continue to work with the local police to monitor our systems, ensuring that everyone arrives and departs our school site in an orderly manner.
Our Enrichment Days finish tomorrow with our third Saturday.
The purpose of these Enrichment Saturdays is to try and replace some of the face to face experiences that our students missed through online learning. These interactions with each other are vital at school as the children grow and develop. Our online learning lessons provided by our team of dedicated and committed staff were excellent in the conditions they faced, but across the world, students still need certain opportunities such as:
- Face to face interactions
- Team building/sports
- Outdoor exercise
- Practical experiments
With all schools in Slovenia starting back this week, it has been an important and a busy time. I am very proud of the way in which our community has conducted itself to help others, think of others and united to return in such a positive fashion.
Further updates about our health and safety procedures regarding coronavirus and information to keep in touch are communicated via email in the first instance. General or optional updates will be available on our Facebook and website platforms.