I write to you to set out the arrangements we have made to open in September. Before I set out these arrangements, I first wish to take this opportunity to thank you for your understanding and cooperation since we had to close school back in late March. We know that this period has been challenging for many families, in particular when you have had to juggle work commitments with managing childcare.
We have been working hard to take the necessary steps to be ready to welcome children back to school in September at the proposed start of academic year 2020 – 2021 (14th September 2020), provided it remains authorized by the government of Benin. It is important to note that our preparation involves making sure we have three plans in place:
Plan A – Full return to school in the pre-COVID 19 scenario. This plan can only be implemented if COVID- 19 has been deemed not to be a significant risk in Benin.
Plan B – Hybrid model: To be implemented if the government’s directives remain as they are now, with social distancing and mask wearing in effect. The hybrid model will involve splitting the classes into two groups (A and B). Group A would be physically present in school in week 1 and group B would be following the lesson remotely from home. In week 2, group B would be physically present in school and group A would follow the lesson remotely from home. Week 3 would have group A physically present again, and so on. Google Classroom and Google Meet are the platforms to be used for remote learning.
Plan C – Remote learning, if the government will need to close schools due to a sudden, major increase in COVID 19 cases in the country. 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. Homework will be set as is the case when children are physically present in school. Correcting will be done, and teachers will expect deadlines to be honoured.
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, to develop and implement a number of new ways of operating. This will allow us to 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.
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.
I hope this letter gives you the initial information you need to understand the arrangements we are making in order to plan for the new academic year, 2020 – 2021. Although the evolution of the pandemic between now and September remains uncertain, it is important that you know that we will have three plans in place, ready to meet the circumstances of that time. I hope that you are assured that we will have taken all possible steps to ensure safety for all in our setting. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions.
We thank you for your cooperation and wish you and your families good health and safety over the summer holiday.
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