Dear SAS Faculty and Staff,

Thank you for your efforts to continue to support our kids and live our core values of honesty, compassion, respect, responsibility, and fairness in these extraordinarily challenging times. I appreciate all you are doing. 

I recognize the high level of concern out there about how the spread of the virus is affecting not only our community in Singapore but friends and loved ones around the world.  As deep as its effect on the physical health of our communities, COVID-19’s impact on the level of anxiety and uncertainty across both our professional and personal lives is perhaps even deeper. 

To reduce some of that uncertainty, we want to tell you before we leave for spring break of our plans for our return after the break:

We will continue distance learning for one week after we return from spring break (Tuesday, March 31 - Friday, April 3), with Monday, March 30 being an additional planning day to prepare.  Unless circumstances change, we will resume normal school on Monday April 6. Except as provided for below, faculty and staff should report to school on Monday, March 30.

Why this decision?  We have been clear from the beginning that our overriding priority in our decisions is the health and safety of our community. We have heard from many of you of your concerns about the number of family members of students and educators who have recently returned or are now returning home from overseas. We have seen that the vast majority of the recent uptick in cases in Singapore is from overseas returnees.  

As of tonight at 11:59 p.m., all travelers returning to Singapore from any country in the world will be issued a 14-day Stay-Home Notice. Restarting normal school on April 6 will allow us to clear this two-week period with regard to any returning family members. As an additional precaution beyond those currently required by the government, we will now ask that all students who have a family member who has traveled overseas to wait 14 days after the return of the family member before returning to campus. This gives those students and families, as of today, a two-week notice period of this new rule.  

We are aware that local schools in Singapore will resume classes on Monday, March 23. We normally are consistent with Singapore schools with regard to opening and closing. In this instance, however, we believe the different travel patterns of our community members require us to wait this extra week before we resume school. It will also give us two weeks to observe the situation in Singapore schools.  To date, there have been no instances we are aware of in Singapore where there has been transmission of the virus within a school or even from a school-aged child to an adult. We want to keep a close eye on the degree of spread in Singapore during the two weeks after schools resume.  

We will also be implementing a set of further social distancing measures in our schools when we resume, particularly around classroom and lunchroom seating, and we will detail those in days to come.

With regard to next week, please take the break. These have been very busy and stressful days. Again, please take the break. We have lots of road left to travel this year, and we want you to fill your tank for that journey ahead. 

We will have a planning day on Monday, March 30, to review our distance learning experiences of this week and collaborate and plan for the days to come.  Should we need to extend the distance learning period beyond the week of March 30, we are not intending to have an extra planning day. Please do not use spring break to lesson plan -- you will have that Monday to do so. 

A number of you have raised important questions and we attempt to respond to them below. Please let us know if you have questions we have not answered. We will endeavor to do so as soon as we can. We know how important it is to provide the best answers we can, even if they may be incomplete at times, during these times of uncertainty. 

 

Q&A

  • Can faculty and staff with childcare needs teach from home the week of March 30?
     
    • Yes.  I appreciate those of you who emailed me to raise concerns around the issue of childcare and my email from yesterday.  We will work with you to address childcare issues you may have. We do not have all the answers yet, but are open to ideas. In the meanwhile, if you need to work from home that week because of childcare needs, you may do so. 
  • I have a university-age child returning to Singapore to join our family until further notice.  Is it possible to apply for a dependent pass and obtain health insurance for them?

    • Please let us know if you have that need, and we will assist you here. We will apply on your behalf for a dependent pass for your university children below age 21 who are temporarily residing in Singapore due to the current external uncertainty.  Similarly, if they do not have medical insurance, we will help you obtain local coverage medical insurance for your returning children. Please note that adding your university child to your insurance plan is subject to dependent pass approval. Therefore, once the dependent pass has been approved, we can add your child to your plan, if you choose this option. If you wish to apply for a dependent pass and medical insurance, please send an email to Xin Yu Phua.

    • If you have a child returning, please make sure to fill out a travel declaration for that new member of your household. 

  • Can I come to work the week of March 30 if a household member has traveled in the last 14 days?
     
    • Yes. The rule requiring you not to come to school for 14 days after household member travel will come into effect at the end of the two-week notice period on April 6. Our current rule remains unchanged with regard to your own travel -- if you have personally been out of Singapore, you need to clear 14 days before coming back to school. In all cases, we ask faculty to model the social distancing norms that we are going to be expecting of our students.  And, if any family members (regardless of travel history) are showing fever or respiratory symptoms or you are unsure, please work from home.  
       
  • I am afraid that the country my parents are in will close their borders and I need to go home to be with them. Can I go? What happens if I cannot get back to Singapore?
     
    • If you have an urgent family circumstance, please see Christine Henning.  We appreciate the importance and urgency of these situations and are still working out how to address them.  We have read the recent advisory from the US State Department and are aware of its potential impact.