8 Apr 2021

Middle School Daily Schedule – from April 12th

Dear Middle School Parents/Guardians and Students,

Thank you to the 257 Middle School parents/guardians and the 325 Middle School students for responding to our feedback survey about the new Middle School daily schedule.

We understand the new schedule was quite a change from our previous daily schedule and caused some initial concern. After running the schedule for ten days we sought feedback from Middle School students and parents/guardians.

72% of students and 82% of parents/guardians expressed a preference for the new daily schedule with all periods 1-5 taking place on campus. As such we will continue with this schedule from April 12th while the current EDB guidelines are in operation.

There were some helpful queries and questions made in the comments section of the feedback survey which I will clarify below.

1) Can the day run until 14.30 like in other schools?

No, this is not possible. 13.30 is as late as we can run the schedule given EDB requirements for a half-day only. No ESF school is running a daily schedule as late as 14.30 having had an 8.15 am start. Some international schools are running schedules that finish later but they do not start at 8.15 am.

2) Can we just have a regular school day with lunch on site?

No. This is not possible at the moment. Schools are permitted by EDB, on the condition that all staff are COVID-tested every 14 days, to have 100% of students on campus for a half-day only. There is no other option available currently.

3) Students are hungry by 13.30pm.

We recognise that students will be hungry by 13.30pm. We would encourage students to have a hearty breakfast and to bring two snacks to eat during the two break times we are providing for Middle School students. Students are bringing snacks for one breaktime but many of them are not using the second snack time to eat. Using the second breaktime to snack will hopefully alleviate the hunger they will be feeling.

4) I’d prefer my child has a proper lunch rather than eat snacks – isn’t it the same thing?

EDB has been very clear that students cannot have lunch or eat the type of food that would be appropriate for lunch. On each occasion we need to apply to EDB for school resumption. We cannot refer to lunch or provide space for lunch. Students can ONLY eat snack-type food and do so, as far as possible, by not removing their mask. I know this is far from ideal and is not easy for young children to manage. However if we wish to be open 100% for a half-day these are the EDB and CHP requirements we need to live by for now.

5) Why can’t my child sit in their tutor room during break?

The school resumption plan submitted to EDB must specify what breaks students have and where they go. Students cannot sit in their tutor room and eat their snack unsupervised. The removal of face masks is considered a significant transmission risk factor by CHP. Tutors are also on breaktime or teaching Senior School students so they cannot be used to supervise tutor rooms. As such students must be out in the open air and/or moving around rather than gathering in tutor rooms. Middle School and Senior School students have intentionally different breaks. Hopefully each section of the school will have sufficient space during break times for students to move around comfortably.

6) Can Wednesdays be a five period day also?

Wednesdays are permanently scheduled as four period days. There is no additional fifth period that can be scheduled. This would mean a significant change to the overall timetable structure – which subject is scheduled for which year level etc? In the current schedule we are able to deliver all timetabled lessons. Some students are invited to attend lessons for a fifth period on Wednesdays in subjects where catch-up is needed.

I’d also like to acknowledge and thank survey participants for their many positive comments and support for our staff. The comments are appreciated and gratefully received.

I hope the above information is helpful to you. We will continue to monitor the impact of this schedule on students going forward. As always your on-going feedback is welcome.

Kind regards.

Carol Larkin