School Notifications Regarding Coronavirus Outbreak
NOTIFICATIONS REGARDING CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK
Dulwich College Beijing is adapting to the latest developments in the coronavirus outbreak and following the guidelines from the authorities. Here you will find the latest whole College notifications sent to parents. We will continue to keep our community up to date.
The school will remain closed to students, staff and all visitors until further notice.
Online learning begins on 3rd February.
LETTER FROM SHUNYI CENTRE FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION
Click here to read the letter, which includes a list of four medical institutions opening fever clinics in Shunyi District.
NOTIFICATION FROM 14 April 2020
From the Headmaster:
I hope that you had a good weekend.
Following nine weeks of online learning, I am pleased to share that authorities have announced official dates for a limited opening of Beijing campuses. Please note, this is a limited, staggered start, beginning with ‘Grade 12s’ (that is our Year 13) from April 27 and ‘graduating middle school class’ (our Year 10s) from May 11.
For Year 13s, with this recent news, we now have a chance to be together and to complete the year appropriately, gaining important closure and celebration, even if social distancing and such like will be the new norm at school. Details to follow on our plans on campus. Year 13s will have completed their IB programs at the end of this week, but there are some excellent opportunities from the DCI group for pre-university accredited courses being organised. Mrs Edwards and her team will be contacting all Year 13s with further details shortly.
The authorities will announce return dates for other year levels at a later date. I shall keep you informed.
The focus remains on providing the highest quality learning for all our students, whether on campus or online. We have students all round the world and we shall ensure that everyone continues to receive the excellent individualised experience that our staff have offered so far. In terms of border and visa controls, we hope that there may be some relaxation in due course and will continue to discuss these matters with authorities also. However, there are no signs in that direction at present.
With regard to re-opening, albeit in a small-scale way, we have a team of people here, from all support service departments, who will work on preparing the campus for important inspections. We shall follow the strict protocols on re-opening from the advisory bodies and our campus will be ready and safe. We shall soon provide FAQs once more information is confirmed.
Whether you are in Beijing or overseas, I thank you for your ongoing support. For those Year 13 and Year 10 students in Beijing, may I ask (as requested from authorities) that you take your temperature and note this every day for the next 14 days or until your year group is called to return. There are many stipulations to follow in order to keep everyone safe and well when school resumes. I thank you for your attention to this.
We are delighted with these announcements of staggered re-opening and look forward to others in due course. As always, please contact me or school leaders through the usual officials channels if you have any questions. In the meantime, I hope that you and your families are keeping safe and well.
NOTIFICATION FROM 6 March 2020
From the Headmaster:
I hope that you are safe and well.
I have very much enjoyed the contact that I have had with parents this week, from our Friends of Dulwich and with Trustees on Tuesday, to our Year 13 parents on Friday. The discussions were enlightening, and I am so grateful for the huge support from so many. There will be an IGCSE meeting after the break, and we hope to see our Year 11 parents in an online meeting. Mrs Edwards will send details.
The appreciation of what our teachers are providing for online learning has grown even stronger. From the staff perspective, I know that our teachers are keen to offer as interactive an approach as possible. I am happy to speak to anyone about ‘live’ learning and its benefits and limitations. Of course, all our provision is age specific, and a balanced mix of activities, feedback, voice and face is what works best. I cannot say that my Early Years assembly was an Oscar-winning performance, but one does one’s best.
There will be another Dulwich survey sent to you in due course and we hope to hear your feedback again. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to contact us (no need to wait for an official DCI survey). As a reminder, if you have any concerns or successes to share about your own child, please use the most effective channels of communication: your child’s teacher, year group leader, key stage leader, Deputy Head or Head of School.
Our community is looking forward to the spring break (9-13 March) and a chance to take a pause from screen time also. I mentioned this in my last letter to you. I also mentioned the date for teachers to return to Beijing. However, despite DCB and DCI’s best intentions and rationale, the situation with regard to advice for those Beijing educators currently overseas has changed rapidly and drastically. Indeed, the school has been in consultation with advisory bodies and many involved parties at length. Therefore, we must resume our former advice and ask that staff wait for school notification on re-opening before planning their return. Our teachers are keen to regain normality in their working lives, but we all recognise that in this extraordinary situation, developments may occur suddenly and may be beyond our control.
The same advice therefore applies to our parents and students. Please wait for a re-opening date to be announced before settling your travel plans. I would be happy to talk to any parent who has questions about this. Simply email me with your name and contact number. Rest assured that Dulwich College International and Dulwich College Beijing continue to act in the best interests of our students and our staff.
I am pleased to say that I am now back in Beijing with my family and online deliveries are working well on our second day of quarantine. Our neighbours have been extremely kind, and it is good to be home. I look forward to seeing you in due course, when we are all back at DCB.
I hope that your children enjoy the break from the screens and have a good week.
NOTIFICATION FROM 3 March 2020
From the Headmaster:
I hope that you and your families are safe and well.
I have been in touch with many parents this week and will soon hold a video conference meeting with Friends of Dulwich, and then Trustees, and later in the week with Year 13 parents. Thank you in advance for connecting with me.
I have recently been in consultation with DCI, our College Leadership Team and other Heads of College. I have written to the DCB staff yesterday on a number of important matters: return to Beijing, quarantine, spring break, May holiday. I would like to update you immediately on all decisions, which as always have our ‘Students Come First’ ethos in mind.
Return of staff to Beijing
Whilst all our teachers have been doing a magnificent job on online learning provision for your children from their locations around the world, we are now asking our teachers to return to Beijing. This is in order to have all our staff here ready for whenever we have a re-opening notification. All staff will be back by 15th March and will then enter two weeks of quarantine.
It is important that all students not yet in Beijing also return by 15th, to ensure that they fulfil the 14 days’ quarantine. If we do not have evidence that a child has been in Beijing and completed quarantine, he/she will not be able to come to school when it reopens.
In terms of school re-opening, we have not been given a date yet, but the above ensures that we are ready by early April. We shall keep you informed of any news on this front.
Spring Break and May holiday
Given the extraordinary circumstances and need to think of our students’ learning programmes, we have decided to move our spring break. The spring break holiday will now run from 9th – 13th March. This will allow for a much needed break in e-learning and a chance for students and teachers to take a break from their screens. It will also allow teachers travel time uninterrupted by the need to focus on their classes.
The May holiday will now run from 1st – 6th May. This will provide a pause at the right time and even a chance for those who have remained in Beijing throughout this crisis to leave Beijing, depending on the status of the virus. We have considered our IB and IGCSE students also, and Mrs Edwards will be in touch with further details.
I have made contact with some parents recently on this subject. I shall be talking about it today also in our Friends of Dulwich meeting. I would like to make clear that ‘live’ learning is just one aspect of our provision. A sense of balance, from synchronous to asynchronous, a range of engaging activities, feedback recordings, monitoring, tracking, videos, recorded stories, along with 1-1 meetings, ‘live’ coffee mornings and social catch-ups are all important. There is a misperception by some that only ‘live’ is worthwhile teaching and learning. Balance is the most important aspect of the provision. Please contact your class teacher, year group leader, key stage leader, deputy head of school or head of school if you have any concerns with regard to your own child and that balance. Thank you.
Thank you for your responses to our last official DCI pulse survey. There will be another sent your way in two weeks’ time. We are also aware of private Wechat surveys organised by groups of parents. Please do not feel obliged to answer any unofficial surveys, but please do contact us through the above channels of communication as requested.
I would like to thank you for your ongoing support at this time and your trust in us. If we work together as a community, we shall be stronger in overcoming the current obstacles.
NOTIFICATION FROM 22 FEBRUARY 2020
From the Headmaster:
I hope that you received the newsletter on Friday. I decided to send you this message below from Mr Fraser White, Chairman and CEO of Dulwich College International, today rather than yesterday, so that it would not be lost.
May I wish you a good weekend and hope that your children manage some ‘non-screen’ time, which is so important too.
With kind regards and stay safe,
Message from DCI Chairman & CEO Fraser White
Thank you for your support over the past few weeks.
While the COVID-19 situation continues to be unpredictable, our goal remains to reopen our schools as soon as possible, based on decisions by the Chinese authorities. We will keep you informed as soon as we receive updates.
We aim to provide three weeks’ notice ahead of our school reopening dates to allow families one week to arrange for their travel back to China, followed by the 14-day self-quarantine currently required by the Chinese authorities.
In the meantime, our DCI team has been working hard to address a number of the challenges, questions and needs of our community based on your feedback.
Online Learning Innovation Team
Online learning is underway across our group of schools and across all year levels.
While this is taking place, we are constantly improving our online learning provision. The feedback that parents, staff and students have shared last week has been very helpful in informing us of the areas that we need to focus on.
We have brought together an online learning innovation team comprising:
- Education specialists from DCI’s headquarters
- A range of strategic development partners, including Evidence Based Education (EBE) to advise us on learning and assessment in the online space
- Our school-based education and technology experts
This team is dedicated to sharing best practice, accelerating professional development and optimising our teaching content in partnership with each school community.
As you are aware, even before we moved to 100 per cent online learning, advanced online learning platforms like Wohui were already an important feature of the education provided to your children. This has enhanced our ability to migrate to online learning with speed.
In light of the uncertainty, please be aware that it may be necessary for us to move the Spring Break holiday. We therefore strongly recommend you do not make any commitments for you and your family until we confirm to you the Spring holiday dates.
Additional Learning Experiences
While our teachers are making every provision for online learning to be as comprehensive as possible, there are certain campus-based experiences that we consider to be a part of a holistic Dulwich education.
Understanding that learning must be bespoke to every child’s needs, your school leaders and teachers will be working closely with you when school reopens to identify any appropriate additional learning experiences that would benefit your child.
We will provide the following refunds:
- School bus
- Paid co-curricular activities
You will be hearing from our school administrators on specific details in a follow-up communication.
Support for Examination Year Students
This is an important period for the students taking their IGCSE, ‘A’ / ‘AS’ level and IB diploma exams. We are working closely with the exam boards, and based on the current regulations, we are confident that we have been able to identify alternative arrangements for the examinations to take place, and that no student will be disadvantaged.
More details will be shared closer to the exam dates.
In addition, our university counsellors and the DCI central education team are actively engaging with universities to ensure they are fully aware of the crisis and that our students’ applications are dealt with fairly.
We are constantly looking ahead to work through the different challenges that emerge as the situation evolves. Rest assured that we have mobilised the full weight of our network to support our schools and communities as one family.
We cannot thank you enough for the faith and trust that you have given us. We look forward to continuing our partnership with you as we manage this situation together.
NOTIFICATION FROM 15 FEBRUARY 2020
From the Headmaster:
Please see below a message from the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Dulwich College International.
I sincerely hope that you will be able to relax a little this weekend. I shall send you further updates as soon as possible.
Message from DCI Chairman & CEO Fraser White
While we await a date for reopening, based on current guidance from government authorities, we are also aware that the governing bodies in different cities have advised a 14-day self-quarantine period for people who are returning to the respective city.
In light of the fact that we cannot at this time give any certainty about when we will be able to open school as the unpredictability of the COVID-19 outbreak continues, it is clear that we should give some guidance for all staff, parents and students in our China schools. Accordingly, our aim is to give three weeks’ advance notice as far as possible before the date that our school will reopen. This three-week period gives our staff, parents and students a week to arrange for travel back to the city, followed by a 14-day self-quarantine period at home. The above provision is, of course, subject to further guidance by the authorities.
In the meantime, online learning will continue, and I am confident you will also see continued enhancement to the learning experience in the coming weeks.
We are greatly encouraged by the high engagement of your children, and we want to thank you for the strong support you have shown during these first few weeks as we transition to a different learning experience.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 issue, DCI has had in place a planning team to support our schools in managing this fluid situation. They are working closely with our teachers to explore the different enhancements to online learning that we will roll out each week.
Thank you for being a great partner during this period.
While we are not able to predict when school can reopen, know that your community is here for you and working hard to enable your child’s learning.
NOTIFICATION FROM 13 FEBRUARY 2020
From the Headmaster:
Please find below a message to you from our Chairman and CEO, Mr Fraser White.
As you will see, Fraser White mentions feedback. In a separate email tomorrow, you will be receiving a survey regarding your child’s online learning experience so far. As DCB greatly values your views, we thank you in advance for your completion.
Message from DCI Chairman & CEO Fraser White
The last few weeks have continued to be an unpredictable and unsettling time for all of us as the Covid-19 outbreak continues.
In these situations, we need to pull together and support one another – to continue to build that sense of community.
Our priority is to ensure that your children continue with their regular curriculum. Our schools’ mission during this time is also to provide a way for your children to connect with their peers and teachers through our online learning.
Putting Students First in Everything We Do, Everyday
Our faculty are working round-the-clock to provide a well-balanced combination of live teaching, office hours, pre-recorded materials and learning activities.
Your teachers actively engage students with ongoing feedback so that our child-centred approach continues to be at the forefront, even in these extraordinary circumstances.
Accelerating Innovation as One Family of Schools
Recognising that this situation is unexpected, using platforms you and our teachers are familiar with, has allowed them quickly to bring our regular curriculum into an online learning environment within an extraordinarily short space of time.
These platforms are best suited to complement face-to-face learning, so our Education and Innovation teams at DCI have been working with schools to optimise the existing platforms to support remote provision. In parallel, we continue to innovate and look to leverage real-time data to inform improvements and adjustments personalised to your child.
Furthermore, the teachers within our family of schools (both within and outside of China) are all sharing best practice, tools and content to ensure that the learning experience benefits from good ideas and continues to develop.
Partnering to Pioneer New Ways of e-Learning
To help us pioneer a new way of experiencing learning online, your partnership in sharing insights about your and your children’s experience is absolutely critical. Each school is implementing and refining a feedback loop to capture valuable parent and student insights to further inform and improve developments.
Thank you for standing together with us during this time. Your continued support and partnership mean so much to us.
Our school leaders and all our staff, not just from your school, but from the wider Dulwich family, as always, are here to work through this period together.
NOTIFICATION FROM 4 FEBRUARY 2020
From the Headmaster:
Firstly, I would like to thank you for your engagement in the online learning that your children are undertaking. My staff have worked tirelessly to produce the very highest quality learning tasks. As a parent myself, I can see how much effort has gone into the e-learning from the staff side and how individualised feedback to students from staff has been forthcoming. There will be initial areas to adjust but I can say with confidence that I have seen many brilliant and varied examples of the most interesting and interactive work. I have sent some of these through to the Dulwich College International Group Executive Board.
I shall write later this week about the power of asynchronous learning, versus ‘live’ lessons. There are some misperceptions which I shall address.
However, at present, I have pleasure attaching a letter to you from Mr Fraser White, Chairman and CEO of Dulwich College International. Please see below.
From DCI Chairman & CEO Fraser White:
I know many of you are understandably anxious and concerned at this time. The last two weeks have been fraught with uncertainty because of the escalation of the coronavirus outbreak.
We are all receiving updates ‘round-the-clock on new government guidance, travel advisories, additional measures – the list goes on.
Just as we have had to make many adjustments in our schools, we know that you are having to manage this across many fronts.
So, first and foremost, we want to say a big thank you for being so understanding, patient and supportive during this time.
Our school leaders and their teams have worked tirelessly over the Lunar New Year holiday to adjust to these very unusual and trying circumstances. Most have shortened their holidays, cancelled travel plans and given up family time so that we can get online learning up and running, and make all the necessary adjustments to school life for your child.
We understand that in times like these, you most critical worry is about the health, safety and well-being of your child – please know that these continue to be our topmost priorities.
While this is a challenging time for all of us, our community in each school – and indeed our family of schools around the world have risen to the occasion and have come together to lend support, ideas and solutions.
I am confident that with your partnership and the continued dedication of all our teams in school, we will be able to keep our children safe, healthy and learning during this time.
Your school and we shall send you regular updates on what our plans are. We ask for your patience as we adapt to what is a constantly and rapidly changing environment.
The Chinese authorities and authorities outside China are updating their requirements on an almost daily basis. You can assist us by keeping a constant eye on communications from your school and providing information that is requested by the authorities. In many of these cases, these requests for information are obligatory, so your assistance is absolutely essential.
I look forward to being able to welcome you back into our schools again when we are given the guidance by the relevant authorities to reopen and when we know it is absolutely safe for your child.
In the meantime, our teachers, staff and our full management team are here for you and your children.
You will hear from us shortly.
NOTIFICATION FROM 29 JANUARY 2020
Update – School Campus Closed Until Further Notice
From the Headmaster:
In light of the continued escalation of the coronavirus situation and in line with the guidance from the local authorities, our school will remain closed until further notice.
Online learning for our students will begin on February 3rd. During the school closure, our teachers will be working remotely to deliver online lessons and will return to school as soon as we receive guidance from the respective municipal authorities.
Our teachers will be able to respond to any questions you have during regular school hours (8:30am – 3:30pm, Beijing time). Teachers will not all be based in Beijing, but will be able to find a suitable time to respond.
For those students who are preparing for IB or IGCSE examinations, teachers are fully aware of deadlines and will support students in meeting these.
We will be in touch with more details on the online learning arrangements closer to the date. Rest assured that our DCB staff will work extremely hard to ensure that online learning, including progress and feedback, is of the highest quality, which we all expect from DCB.
As always, we are in close contact with the local authorities to ensure that we are in line with their guidance and we will continue to provide updates progressively.
I am aware that the media has not always been helpful, by producing quite alarmist articles and exacerbating the situation. Therefore, I would advise using only the most reliable sources for all information, which include the FCO, Embassies, Consulates, Beijing Education Commission, and the messages passed to you from me, any member of the College Leadership Team, and our Dulwich Group Executive Board.
Thank you for your patience, support and understanding during this challenging time. It is so important that we work together to ensure the safety and the learning continuity of our children during this time.
We have set up a dedicated email to take questions specific to the coronavirus situation: HealthandSafety@dulwich-beijing.cn
Please reach out if you have any questions.
NOTIFICATION FROM 29 JANUARY 2020
Sports Facilities Closure & Postponement of DCP Activities
Due to the coronavirus situation and the school’s closure, all sports facilities are currently not available for use. The reopening date for Dulwich Legend Sports Club will align with the start of regular school activities as determined by the Beijing Municipal Education Commission (BMEC). As a result, all DCP activities scheduled to start on 3rd February have been postponed. Parents will be contacted about reimbursements or make-up classes when we are back to full operation.
Thank you for your cooperation and understanding. Please contact DCP@dulwich-beijing.cn if you have any questions.
NOTIFICATION FROM 28 JANUARY 2020
CORONAVIRUS PARENT COMMUNITY Q&A
1. What are these additional cleaning and disinfecting measures the school is taking? Are these guided by any health organisation? How do you know they are effective against the coronavirus?
The additional deep cleaning and disinfecting measures we are putting in place over the next few weeks are part of an infection control protocol that we have established based on previous outbreak situations and through consultation with external experts.
2. If we have a family member who is a suspected coronavirus case but are not from Wuhan or Hubei, what do we do?
Please seek medical advice from a known medical provider immediately. We have also set up an email to address queries and concerns specifically around the coronavirus issue. Please send an email to email@example.com and we will respond within 24 hours.
3. If I had previously visited Wuhan, does that mean my child will not be allowed back into the school?
Make sure you and your family follow 14 days of self-quarantine and keep a temperature record for those days before school reopens. You may be asked for this record.
4. What happens if one of my family members at home has a fever or flu-like symptoms?
As above in #2 - seek medical advice from a known medical provider immediately. Please alert the school at the earliest opportunity so that we can find the best possible solution and make the necessary arrangements for your child.
School Closure / Learning Provision
5. Is the reopening of school likely to be delayed further based on the current situation?
We are working closely with the authorities on this and will make a call based on their guidance and how the situation continues to develop.
6. Has the school tested out its online learning resources? What steps have you taken to ensure the quality of learning?
Our online learning platforms have been developed to manage situations such as these. The teachers are all working closely together to ensure that lesson plans are up-to-date, and we are ready to deliver the lessons effectively when we commence online learning on 3rd February. You will be notified before then of the plans within each school.
7. What contingency plans is the school making if the government is going to delay the reopening of schools so that the quality of learning is not compromised?
Our teachers have begun preparation work to enhance the online learning experience, and we will provide more details on these enhancements, should this scenario occur.
8. What steps is the school taking to ensure that it is ready to reopen? / When the school reopens, what steps are you taking to ensure that it is an ‘infection-free’ zone?
The self-quarantine and additional cleaning and disinfecting measures that are in place over the next few weeks will go a long way towards ensuring we are ready to reopen. When school reopens, we will continue with regular temperature checks, limit school activities and continue with ensuring the highest standards of hygiene. At present, no visitors, including students and staff, are allowed into our school.
However, we continue to be guided by the authorities on this matter and will share any changes to this as the information becomes available.
9. Will you be extending the school year to make up for these few weeks of school closure?
As online learning begins on 3rd Feb, which is the original school reopen date, we do not currently see the need to extend the school year but may revisit this as the situation evolves.
10. I understand the government has given guidance not to organise any large gatherings / conduct large-scale examinations. How will that affect our school?
We will be reviewing all school activities in advance of school reopening so that we can make the necessary arrangements. We will provide details of specific activities progressively, when school reopens.
11. This is a critical year for my child with major exams coming up. How will the current arrangements in the school affect the exam arrangements? What additional support is the school providing, given that school closure might extend further?
Our Head of Senior School, Ms Rachel Edwards, and her academic team are looking closely on this matter. We will reach out to you with more details to properly address your child’s needs and support them for this critical year.
NOTIFICATION FROM 26 JANUARY 2020
In light of the continued escalation of the coronavirus situation, the Dulwich Global Education Board has taken the decision for the colleges and schools to reopen on 17th February 2020, unless otherwise advised by the authorities.
This is clearly a very serious situation and the health and safety of our students and staff is our first priority. Therefore, in addition to postponing the opening of schools, we are putting a variety of measures in place:
Online Learning from 3rd – 14th February
Lessons will resume via our online learning platforms on 3rd February and will continue until school reopens. We will follow up with more specific details later next week on the online learning arrangements. No student or parent is to come into school for any reason before the 17th February. This includes outdoor playground areas, swimming pool and gym. DCP activities have also ceased.
Communications with the School
During this period until school reopens on 17th February, most of our staff will be working remotely in consideration of their health and safety, with a very lean team in the schools from an operational perspective. We have thus set up an email address dedicated to managing queries during this period: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional Extensive Cleaning and Disinfecting
We will also be taking the opportunity during these two weeks to conduct additional extensive cleaning and disinfecting of our school premises and facilities to ensure we are well prepared to welcome our students back when school reopens.
Message from education authorities: if any member of staff or student is changing his/her travel plan or has a change in health, the person will have to resubmit the survey. Please adhere to this.
If you are out of town, it is advised that you return home with enough time to guarantee two weeks of self-quarantine before school reopens.
Thank you for your patience and support during this time.
NOTIFICATION FROM 25 JANUARY 2020
School Update Regarding Disease Prevention Measures
Message from the Headmaster
You will have been sent a health and travel survey, required by the Shunyi District Education Commission. It is essential that this is completed by you as soon as possible, thank you.
I would like to give you a little more information before further decisions are made early next (by the DCI group and Heads of College) with regard to any delay in re-opening. We are monitoring this evolving situation carefully and are in daily contact with education authorities and United Family Healthcare for advice. We are well aware that one school group has decided to delay its re-opening: I am in contact with all the International School Heads in Beijing and we are sharing all information on an ongoing basis.
Here are some further points of information that I can give you today.
Cancelling of school trips and events
Based on guidance from the Chinese authorities for schools to avoid any large gatherings of students and to reduce unnecessary travel, we will be cancelling school residential trips, school-based events and external visits from 3rd February – 16th February. Further information about refunds, where applicable, will come as soon as we are back at school. Based on advice from the authorities, we will review the trips and events that are scheduled for after 16th February.
Preparation for e-learning
In the event that the authorities require schools to close, we have begun preparations to provide for online learning so that students can transition to this smoothly, should the need arise. We hope to update you by Monday 27th January if we are to remain closed beyond 3rd February.
Continued heightened hygiene practices
As we had earlier communicated, the school continues to employ heightened hygiene practices throughout this period and will take the opportunity during the Chinese New Year holiday to ensure thorough cleaning and disinfecting of our premises and facilities. As always, we are closely connected to the local authorities and will implement additional measures based on any updates to their guidance.
Thank you for your continued patience and partnership during this time. We will continue to keep in close touch on this issue and provide regular updates on developments in school. Please reach out to my team and me if you have any queries in the meantime.
This is a challenging time but nevertheless, we do hope that you are still able to enjoy the Chinese New Year holiday season.