I trust that this letter finds you and your families in good health and spirits.
In my information letter of 23rd June 2020, I set out the three possible plans for our re-opening on 14th September. I now write to update you about the plan which will be in place to start the first term of academic year 2020 – 2021. Considering the current state of the pandemic and the social distancing and mask wearing mandated by the Benin government and the WHO under such circumstances, our decision is that the Plan B – Hybrid Model be implemented.
The hybrid model will involve splitting the classes into two groups (A and B) so that classroom capacity will be reduced. All students will be required to wear face masks in school and to sit in assigned seats. All staff members will wear masks.
Group A will be physically present in school in week 1 and group B will have remote accessibility into the classroom and will follow the lesson from home. In week 2, group B will be physically present in school and group A will follow the lesson remotely from home. Week 3 will have group A physically present again, and so on. We intend to place siblings in the same group, unless requested to do otherwise.
Google Classroom and Google Meet are the platforms to be used for remote learning. Google Classroom will be used for lesson periods and Google Meet for tutorials. Remote sessions will follow the class timetables to maintain structure and parallel what would be school working hours. (Information about modified class timetables will be forthcoming.) Homework will be set for remote sessions, as is the case when children are physically present in school. Correcting will be done, and teachers will expect deadlines to be honoured.
For this Plan B, we ask that you equip your child(ren) with a functioning device (laptop or tablet) and ensure that there be a reliable internet connection.
First and foremost, the safety of our children and of our staff is our top priority. We are following the latest government guidance as well as that of the WHO, as we develop and implement a number of new ways of operating. This will allow us to re-open as safely as possible, focusing on measures that will help limit the risk of COVID 19 transmission within our setting. Some of the steps we are taking in readiness for re-opening under Plan B include:
Asking that anyone who is displaying COVID 19 symptoms, or who lives with someone who does, not to attend the setting. That includes children and staff who work here. - Taking temperatures at arrival to school.
Keeping our children in small groups with as much consistent staffing as possible and minimizing contact with other groups around the setting.
Washing our hands frequently. We have developed routines to ensure children understand when and how to wash their hands, making sure they wash them thoroughly for at least 20 seconds using running water and soap, or using alcohol hand rub or sanitiser, ensuring that all parts of the hands are covered. (Hand sanitiser bottles will be readily available throughout the school.)
Implementing an enhanced cleaning schedule, ensuring surfaces touched by children and staff are cleaned regularly and throughout the day, including table tops, door handles and play equipment.
Asking parents and carers to physically distance from each other and from staff when dropping off and collecting their children, and to limit drop off and collection to one parent or carer per household. Detailed instructions will be given and will need to be impeccably followed.
In addition to our institutional changes, it will be critically important for each of us to adjust our individual behaviour, as the health risks in our world and community have been significantly enhanced. Even with the best of planning, the school cannot eliminate those risks, so we must adopt a culture of shared responsibility and care for the safety and well-being of everyone. For example, it is essential that travellers rigorously respect quarantine periods, as mandated by the Benin government. Knowing that there may be cases of children (or families) at higher risk of becoming infected due to medical conditions or becoming seriously ill if exposed, I also wish to make it clear that those children will have the option of sticking to remote learning.
We, unfortunately, will not be re-opening our Playschool and Nursery at this point. We will be monitoring the situation as we move through the first term and will update you if there is to be a change at a particular point in time.
I hope you will take the time to read this Information Letter carefully. As there are many aspects to re-opening school in a new and safe manner, you will receive updates on a weekly basis leading up to 14th September. A great deal of work is already underway to implement the changes which have been imposed by the pandemic. The staff and I long to see the children back in school. Although the coming months will be different, and perhaps difficult at times, we can and will find new ways to learn, teach and move forward together. The quality of our experiences will, for the most part, depend on the patience and kindness with which we treat one another and ourselves.
I thank you in advance for your cooperation.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Web: www.eis-benin.org Haie Vive, Cotonou, 08BP0430, Benin, West Africa Phone: (+229) 21 30 12 74 / 21 30 92 87 / 21 30 32 65 Registered in conformance with act of 7/9/2000, No. 105/MENRS/CAB/DC/SP I.N.S.A.E. No. 2978010355364 | C.N.S.S. No. 21705