Dear SAS Community,
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 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 a faculty planning day to prepare. Unless circumstances change, we will resume normal school on Monday April 6.
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 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 coming to school. 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 school openings and closings. 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 the 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.
Distance Learning Update
We have received positive feedback regarding day one of our distance learning practice session. Here are a couple thoughts from some of our high school students:
“Zoom has lots of features that make it easy to simulate what we would do in a real-life classroom, such as raising your hand, breakout rooms!”
“The classes actually went pretty well (save for occasional internet disruptions), and teachers were able to give us help they normally would give us in actual classrooms. “
We are pleased that our distance learning practice days have generally gone well. We recognize there is room for growth and improvement, and we will work together to improve the experience. I am grateful for the work that our educators have put into preparing for distance learning and the impact that is having. As we continue our distance learning plan after spring break, please use this website to access the links to the materials needed and reach out to your child’s teacher directly if you have questions.
Layer Two Case Updates
Yesterday, we learned that a member of our security team was in close contact with a relative who tested positive for COVID-19. The guard is doing well and has no symptoms. Our best wishes go out to him. The guard is now considered a layer two contact and is on 14-day home leave. We are in the process of contact tracing and we will ask all layer three individuals who had contact with the guard to follow the applicable health protocols, including twice-daily temperature checks. As a reminder, layer three individuals have not been in direct contact with individuals diagnosed with COVID-19. We will keep you informed as we learn more.
At this time I am happy to report that the two parents who are confirmed cases are recovering well. Our one other staff member and two students who are currently layer two’s show no symptoms and will be able to rejoin our community at the completion of their 14-day Stay Home Notice. Personally, I am fully recovered. Thank you for your good wishes.
As a reminder, campus will be available for you and your family to use beginning on Tuesday, March 24, providing you meet all the health/travel criteria that apply to our students. There will be ongoing cleaning throughout the break and we ask that you respect the cleaning team as they clean our entire campus.
During the week after spring break (Monday, March 30 - Friday, April 3) we ask that parents and students not come to campus unless there are urgent reasons to do so. We want to ensure our teachers have the time to collaborate, plan, and deliver their distance learning lessons.
If you need to conduct any business with our operations team (finance, admissions, communication, IT, facilities), we ask that you make an appointment before coming onto campus because we are using a portion of this time to let them practice distance-work options.
Finally, I want to finish with a story illustrating one way this situation has brought out the best in our community. As you may know, the border to Malaysia was recently closed, which has an impact on some of our staff who live in Malaysia and commute here to work. I would like to recognize and thank our faculty for the tremendous care that many of them have shown in relation to these employees, including offering them places to stay in their own houses. I am happy to say that we have worked closely with these employees and arranged accommodation for them in Singapore. We are exploring other avenues to continue to offer support to them and their families.
I hope all of you have the chance to spend time together as families over spring break.