Details for the School Start
2020-2021 SCHOOL YEAR
CAISL’s draft planning for the opening of classes on campus.
As more information becomes available from the Portuguese government/health authorities, this plan be altered in accordance with mandates and recommendations.
To all of the CAISL Community,
I hope each of you is having a good summer holiday and finding ways to relax and stay connected to family and friends. I am sure that high on your “what’s happening” list is the reopening of school. While it is way too early to give any final plans, I don’t want to get too far into August without giving you our current thoughts and possibilities.
The CAISL staff continue to be at work, some of us on campus most of the time and some planning while “away.” We are all working to make our return to school joyous, productive, and safe. I know that the CAISL parents and students share our desire to be together again for the 2020-2021 school year.
Our plan is to have classes on campus for all ages unless there is a specific mandate to go to “distance learning” (Class@Home) for some or all ages.
To make this happen, there needs to be some significant changes to the way CAISL has operated in the past—and the way we hope to operate again in the future. Some specific changes, as they are currently planned, are on the web site. I do not expect these changes to last all during the 20-21 school year as the government could impose more restrictions or remove some restrictions. We very much hope the latter and when the government allows, we will adjust our procedures to be less restrictive.
For students and staff to be on campus for in-person learning, each of us must do our part, not only during the school day but also away from school in our personal lives. At school, we will be following the mandates of the health authorities as they relate to hygiene, masks, physical distancing, limiting interaction between groups, prohibiting access to campus to everyone except employees and students.
Unless every family is also following the health mandates, the restrictions at school will be ineffective and have the potential to bring contagion onto campus unnecessarily.
Each one of us must fully comply 24/7 with the regulations as to masks, hygiene, limiting interactions with others and maintaining the limit of group sizes.
One of CAISL’s values is Providing a caring and safe environment that supports diverse learner needs. This is the foundation for any learning, but while “safe” does mean physical safety, it means much more.
One of the greatest challenges we face is how to provide the CAISL students an environment which is as “safe” as it can be to reduce the possibility of catching the virus. However, ‘safe” also means emotionally safe and this is of concern. Children cannot learn in an atmosphere where they are afraid—of touching the hand-rail, of speaking to a classmate/teacher, of playing on the playground.
We as adults may have our own fears, but we cannot pass these on to the students. We can and must teach basic hygienic standards and explain why they cannot (right now) play with their friends in the other class but we have to do this without making them fearful. Cautious—yes; fearful—no.
If we all follow the heath mandates, there is increased likelihood that classes on campus can continue! We eagerly look forward to easing some (and eventually all) of the restrictions and hope that can happen during this school year!
With special thanks to Associação de Estabelecimentos de Ensino Particular e Cooperativo (www.aeep.pt) for keeping private schools continually updated on the changing government mandates and health requirements and to the Association for the Advancement of International Education (www.aaie.org) for being the primary connection among international schools allowing us to share our concerns and tips throughout this pandemic challenge.
CAISL is a student-centered educational community in which we challenge ourselves and each other to do our best and to make positive contributions to our diverse and ever-changing world.