We are very fortunate in that we do not have many new staff appointments this year which not only provides us with stability but security as we start the school year during a time when there is uncertainty about the reopening of borders. All of our returning staff will stay in China throughout the break. If they undertake any domestic travel, they will return to Shanghai fourteen days prior to being required to return to school thereby ensuring that there is no disruption due to mandatory self-isolation. Key members of our staff such as our two new Mathematics teachers are already in China and we have secured the visas for one of our new scientists and a new Music teacher. As an organisation, Nord Anglia Education is working extensively with local authorities to facilitate the return to school of our personnel outside the country. As an organisation, we are also looking at the possibility of chartering our own plane to secure the return of the staff required for the start of the school year. Such is our commitment to our schools and families. The directory however gives you a transparent understanding of who we have in the city and where our team who are not in Shanghai are currently located.
The ongoing pandemic continues to place a degree of uncertainty on the foreseeable future. Therefore, contrary to previous years, our returning students will receive details of their form teachers and classes in the last week of August. Kindly rest assured that the well-being and progress of our students is, as always, the central focus of our planning. As classes have not had as much time together in school this year, we are planning to minimise changes as much as possible. Our current staff have identified friendship groups and if any moves relating to well-being are required these will be communicated before the start of the academic year. Key to getting the balance right in each class is having as much clarity about the make -up of each year group as possible. When we re-open after the summer, we hope that each and every one of our students who have continued to be supported by the Virtual School Experience can return to Shanghai. We also hope that our new families will be able to start the school year in person rather than in the virtual world. However, at this juncture the lack of certainty means prematurely forming class lists could lead to possible disappointment if rearrangements might be required. As such, we have made the decision to wait to publish class lists before Orientation Day. Should you have any questions or feedback please do not hesitate to reach out to me, Mrs Keenan or Mr. Graham directly.
Finally, as confirmed last week by the Shanghai Education Commission, we have been required to change the school academic calendar. Please download the copy of the new calendar below that has been adjusted to reflect the same number of teaching days as the previous calendar. I also wanted to confirm that in recent weeks we have been planning extensively for the scenario of a possible return to a Virtual School Experience (VSE). We will be changing our approach and after extensive training of staff will move to the exclusive use of the Microsoft Teams platforms to deliver all our Virtual School live lessons. More information will follow in due course. I am sure that many of our parents will be familiar with the capabilities of this platform. Microsoft Teams gives us greater ability to work in a safe environment and to support a more robust virtual provision. Should we be required to close again, our students will now be able to receive fully timetabled live virtual provision replicating the school timetable. VSE will also be in place at the start of the year for any of our students not yet able to join us.
Mr. Graham and Mrs Keenan will be writing to you this week with further information pertinent to your child and details of summer activities supported exclusively by Nord Anglia Global Campus and our collaborative partnerships with UNICEF, MIT and Julliard. Finally, please do rest assured that whilst we will take a break during the summer, I will continue to regularly update the school community. As a senior team, we will also host a number of virtual coffee mornings so you can discuss updates about the extensive planning that will take place to prepare the campus for the resumption of a full school offer including CCAs. In addition, we will continue to ask for you to share your travel plans and will keep you informed as to any changes to regulations or travel restrictions.
Once again thank you for all your support and for trusting us with your most precious children. We value your support and partnership as we work together to facilitate your children’s educational journey. I have no doubt that next year we will come back even stronger. For those members of our school community who are moving on to start their next chapter, both staff, students and parents alike, we hope you leave our school proud to be a Pudong Tiger and with many fond memories. We wish you every future success.