COVID-19 Prevention and Plans for Distance Learning

Current Health Measures

  • Students must wear masks at all times
  • Everyone entering the building must complete a Health Declaration Form
  • Students with symptoms of any sickness will be sent home and are not encouraged to come to school with even mild cold symptoms
  • Lunch seating is arranged so students do not face each other
  • Desks and work areas are arranged to maximize social distance
  • Hand sanitizer bottles are available around the building
  • Common areas are cleaned and sterilized regularly by our facilities staff

Future Distance Learning Plans

Overview

Should the pandemic situation in Macau change in the future, resulting in the resumption of enforced school closure, the school has a detailed plan to ensure that learning will continue.

The goal of the plan is to ensure that the entire school community has a unified vision and approach. Although students will not be in the classroom, with a collaborative effort we can ensure that the quality and rigor of the school’s programmes are not compromised.

How parents can prepare

  • Download and read the Distance Learning plan (Nov 2020, PDF)
  • Ensure you are familiar with and can access the tools we currently use, Edmodo and Zoom
  • Confirm you have home internet
  • Purchase sufficient working devices for your children to use
  • Explore how you might collaborate with and support other parents

School Support

We recognize that this is a challenging time for students, staff, and parents.

The school stands ready to offer assistance in any way it can, and we encourage anyone who may be experiencing difficulty to reach out to the school administration.

Our March 2020 Distance Learning Experience

When SON suddenly switched to distance learning in March 2020, teachers and parents joined to make the best of this difficult situation and still provide a rich educational experience to students. You are welcome to learn more about this 12-week distance learning experience:

  • While for many students the experience of distance learning lasted only a few months, the impressive results of this period, along with the tremendous efforts that contributed to it, are worth noting.
  • From February 2020, the school faithfully followed DSEJ guidance not to unduly pressure or overwhelm students. At the same time, because of adjustments made early on and additional learning and support structures that were put in place, the school was able to make the best of a difficult situation.

We realized that most of the curricular materials could be creatively adapted and delivered remotely.

As we did so, students took advantage of new opportunities to develop certain key lifelong learning skills central to the curriculum, such as developing a degree of independence when approaching unfamiliar tasks, cultivating personal discipline and resilience, and strengthening analysis and problem solving abilities.

Encouragingly, several teachers reported that by using small breakout rooms during videoconference sessions, they were able to better tailor their lessons to individual learning needs.

For aspects of the curriculum that we felt would be less effective if taught remotely, we modified our approach to better fit the circumstances and shifted focus to elements that could be accomplished.

In kindergarten, for example, where greater supervision is required, we favored producing videos that could be watched anytime instead of scheduled online classes. We also made the materials more visual and included detailed instructions.

For older students, for example, instead of trips to engage in service in the community, we adjusted our lessons to focus more on nurturing the qualities and attitudes required for selfless service.

With this rebalancing, many learning objectives could still be achieved. However, certain specialized activities, such as those requiring in-person use of our science labs, were flagged for additional focus once school resumed.

Any gaps in learning were filled in the following months, while students in key secondary grades were assisted to satisfy external program requirements.

In all cases, teachers have coordinated to offer additional support classes after school and on Saturday mornings for students who need the help, in addition to what they each have been doing individually.

Furthermore, over 200 students registered for the extended study sessions offered in July.

The progress that was made amidst unprecedented circumstances is the result of a truly collaborative effort.

  • Students responded to the challenge with resilience and took charge and responsibility of their learning.
  • Teachers meanwhile put in countless extra hours and overcame many technical and instructional challenges for which most had little prior experience. Many teachers, out of deep concern for particular students, even offered one-on-one assistance.
  • Our curriculum team was proactive in supporting teachers to ensure that expectations were carefully set and the major curricular goals were achieved.

Further, among our school community, the outsized contributions of parents cannot be overlooked.

Much fell on their shoulders to ensure that the right materials and schedules were in place at home to ensure their children could complete their work. We are aware that younger students especially tended to require the ongoing supervision of an adult, which had a greater impact on the lives of many parents.

While numerous accounts of parents mentioned becoming closer to their children and more knowledgeable about their child’s schoolwork in this process, we fully acknowledge the many sacrifices that were made.

We were delighted by how much we were able to achieve on such short notice and under such challenging conditions.

We learned a lot which is all reflected in our new plans in case we re-enter a lockdown and need to provide education remotely.