C17: skolgång i en pandemi = schooling in a pandemic
I dis-enrolled the kids from Futuraskolan International School this week. Yesterday, I returned their school iPads, math books and library books and picking up their official "leaving papers" from the school. Walked through the school gate, into the door, put hand sanitizer on, and walked in. Kids running everywhere, no obvious protection other than the hand sanitizer.
In between everything, we've been downloading grade reports, files, etc. It's been interesting to look at the correspondence from the school and how it's changed over time- I've posted a some of the correspondence from more recent times below (it gets a bit long but might be of interest).
On our end, we pulled our kids from in person school on 15 March and they've been working from home ever since. As noted before, one of the reasons for leaving Sweden is our concern about putting our kids back into a school with too many kids and packed hallways- especially when we feared that our kids would a) be a vector of contagion to school or b) bring something home.
Repeated requests from parents to know more about sanitation have not been answered. A request this week to meet with the school's CEO (this school is part of set of private schools)-- when all kids have been required to return to school this week-- was responded to with an answer of "I can meet you next week." When you have parents worried about the health and safety of their kids and their families, telling someone I'm too busy to meet with you until next week is poor form at best.
Individually, various teachers have been great- warm, caring, engaged. They have worked with the kids- helping us move Stephen into 8th grade to manage more advanced math, etc. We knew that school work wasn't going to be their main learning objective this year anyway- life and living abroad was. Who knew that managing critical health care and a pandemic would become part of the learning objectives too!
In between, I've been working closely with the State College Area School District (SCASD) staff to re-enroll our kids. I actually don't care if they are in school (I should, I know), but having structure and more to do for them is actually helpful- watching movies all day leads to grumpy kids fighting with each other (I've not yet written the blog post entitled "pointless arguments" but have thought a lot about it).
The SCASD management, teachers, and staff have been brilliantly helpful: kind, caring, reaching out to help us navigate re-enrollment, class selection for Stephen. We had a discussion with his principal and guidance counselor at Delta on Sunday. We've been planning to enroll Stephen in Delta, a new school for him, in the fall, but are doing so now- so he's learning a new school, new lingo, and how to engage in April for the school term. When trying to figure out delivery of chromebooks for school and a deep quarantine on our return, his new principal said he'd drop them off for us. Brilliant. Elizabeth will have a teacher we've worked with before- Kate Hallinger (Stephen was in her class for both 4th and 5th grade).
So we're making the school transition from Sweden... kids will get to manage the 6 hour time difference with us. Stephen's all school meeting today is at 2 PM eastern, 8 PM our time. Elizabeth's first official zoom class will be at 9 AM eastern, 3 pm our time on Friday.
Wish us luck!
If you want to see the evolution, below are some but not all of the recent pieces of correspondence from our kids' school in Sweden between parents and CEO.
April 20 letter from parents to CEO:
April 22 email from CEO to parents:
April 22 letter from parents to CEO:
April 26, 2020 letter from principal to parents:
In the past week you have been informed through a letter by our CEO, ____, that starting from Monday the 27th of April we will resume our regular schedule and distance learning will no longer be provided.
We understand that there are many feelings surrounding this decision. It is a very challenging and stressful time living in the Covid-19 global pandemic. We are empathic to your concerns, and we aim to ensure you that we care about our students and consider what is best in their return to school on Monday.
We have made changes to routines for entering the school in the morning, lunch times and increased hygiene procedures. Our contracted cleaning company also has been providing increased cleaning at school.
We are asking all parents and extended members of our school community to refrain from entering the school’s playground or school building, and to stay outside the school’s front gate. We will have staff outside to greet the students at 8:15 and between 8:15 and 8:25 will we be gathering the primary students in the playground and lining them up outside to be collected by their classroom teachers.
This is to ensure that all the primary school children are entering the school at the same time, giving staff the opportunity to greet them, welcome them to school, and impose hand sanitization. Fritids will still operate as usual with additional hygiene routines upon entering and leaving Fritids in the morning.
Middle School students are asked to come into the building at 8:15, make sure that they apply available hand sanitizer when entering the school. The students will be instructed throughout the day to wash and sanitize their hands and working areas before and when leaving the classrooms.
To ensure a safe environment in our lunchroom we have adapted our routines. We will have additional staff in the lunchroom to help serve the food so the children do not touch any serving utensils, plates, glasses or cutlery.
We have updated our Health and Sickness policy. In this policy you will find our guidelines and procedures. If your child has any symptoms of COVID-19, your child has to stay at home and needs to be reported ill, following the regular procedures. If you decide to keep your child(ren) at home, please email the classroom teacher, Ms. ____ and Ms. ____ with your motivation.
If you must keep your child home due to their underlying or high risk health conditions, please provide a doctor’s note noting their medical condition. Please be aware that with the high volume of communication it will take longer than usual for your message to be answered, but please be assured they will be.
Attendance rules have not changed and are being requested to proceed as normal. If your child misses over 20% of classes from April 27 we will again be reporting to proper school authorities.
As distance learning will no longer be offered, there will be no option on Admentum to report that your child is attending by distance learning. As the situation within Sweden changes and students return to school, please look for further communication with updates to our school routines as many decisions must be discussed across both schools populating our Erik Dahlbergsgatan location.
April 27 email from CEO to parents: