Back to School (again!)

“Oh! Absence! The least clement of all human ills!”  – Paul Verlaine

We’ve had our fingers and toes crossed all week waiting for the confirmation from the Taiwanese government and we are now quite certain that we will be welcoming students back to school on Tuesday 25th February. We will be delighted to open our doors to them (and something tells me that parents will be pretty happy too!). Either way, I have to say hats off to everyone for the astonishing job you have done over the past three unforgettable weeks.

There will be a gradual return to ‘regular operations’ – please read all emails from TES administration for information on the procedures that will be put in place. For example, ECAs will not be starting back right away in primary, and parents – except for those with children in infants – will be required to remain at the school gates at drop-off and pick-up times. As a safety and security measure, certain outings and events that had been scheduled have been cancelled.

It is important for me to remind you that the return to regular teaching and learning will not be gradual! Since the decision was made on 3rd February for schools to remain closed, TES has made it clear that there will be no major changes to the school calendar. Some small scheduling changes will occur in order to ensure that students spend as much time as possible with their teachers in class (‘in real life’ rather than virtually) because that is what we have missed the most over the past 3 weeks. You will be informed of all of those changes in Monday’s Weekly Memo, so you can get back to planning and organising your family time as normal. We may add a few extra hours for our exam classes (but don’t we always do that anyway?) Again, I must insist on the fact that topics that were covered during the three weeks of e-learning will not be covered again in class – except possibly in the case of certain students who struggled with the distance learning set up.

As we get ready to go back to school, I would like you to spare a thought for the families, students and teachers of the AEFE schools in our Asia-Pacific zone who are not as lucky as us. The re-opening of the French schools in China is not going to happen any time soon (a particular thought for the International French School in Wuhan); Hong Kong will remain closed for a few more weeks, as will the schools in Vietnam and Mongolia, while the schools in South Korea and Singapore are preparing for possible closure (no official announcement has been made yet.)

Although we are all itching to get back into the classrooms and spend as much time with the students as possible, Friday of next week is the Peace Memorial national holiday in Taiwan, and there is no school. Many of you have been in touch to ask if we could make the 28th a regular school day, but it is not possible as many of TES’ employees are governed by local labour law and so cannot work, and the school cannot function without its learning assistants, secretaries, canteen ladies, bus drivers, nurses…etc.

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