One of the most important decisions you’ll make as a parent is transfer your kids to the right school. As if that’s not already hard enough. But if you only recently moved to Singapore, you’re not sure where to start, and a global pandemic is still raging in many parts of the world, then things are far from routine and much more challenging than the norm. Here are a few questions that you’ll want to ask to help you figure out which international schools fit the bill, and which one is the best option for your kids?
What is the setup?
Some schools are opening for in-person classes. Some are still doing distance learning. However, many of the schools offer families and parents a chance to choose between the two. They understand that some families are still wary about sending their kids back to school. Those who prefer to keep their kids at home are free to do so. Not all schools offer that flexibility, though, so be sure to look into that when you check out international schools in Singapore.
What is the schedule like?
Some schools offer an alternate schedule, meaning if the kids have in-person classes on Monday, on Tuesday they’ll have online sessions. This is to cut down on the number of students in the classroom. So, while there are students online, there are also kids at the school. The alternate schedule helps free up some space, making it easier to allow the schools to follow social distancing guidelines and rules.
How are you adapting to the changes?
When you choose a school, find out how the school has been adapting to the changes. What measures did the administration put in place, for instance, to protect the safety of the students, teachers, and staff? When the school opens its doors for in-person classes, how will the school enforce social distancing rules? Do they have the resources to provide that? Some schools are better equipped than others to handle the switch to distance learning. You’ll want to go with an option like that.
What happens if someone gets COVID-19?
You want to know that the school is doing everything it can to make sure that the school remains free from the virus. But hoping for the best isn’t enough. A good school will have contingency plans in place in case one of the staff members, the students, or the teachers contract the virus. What do they plan to do? How will they disinfect the school? Are they prepared for that scenario? Nobody wants this to happen but if it does, you want to make sure that the school is prepared to keep your child and the other kids safe along with everyone else on the school grounds.
What guidelines have you given out for the parents?
An excellent school should send out prevention and control measures that they will put in place. For instance, the administration should end out reminders on good hygiene practices. Also, they should encourage the kids to ask questions and express their feelings with their teachers and parents. Everyone is bound to feel stressed about what’s happening in the world right now. The kids won’t be an exception. The school should open up that dialogue. Meaning, they should let the parents, students, and teachers as well as staff know that if they need help, if their mental well-being is suffering, that they can ask for assistance.
What are the risks?
When the school reopens for in-person classes, the school should also take measures to prepare for the possibility of having to put the premises under quarantine in case someone tests positive for the virus. One of the things they’ll likely do is to assess the risks during transportation to and from the school. They should also send out guidelines on how to reduce the exposure and risk at these times.
What safety gear will your staff use?
In case the school opens for in-person classes soon, what kind of safety gear will the staff and teachers wear? Will they wear a mask? What type of masks will they wear? Will those safety masks and gear be enough to protect your child? You’ll want to ask about these as well to make sure the school is taking the situation seriously and that it’s doing its best to provide a safe environment for everyone.
What will you monitor after school reopens?
The school should keep an eye on how effective their team is about reporting symptoms. Also, what are the effects of the policies and measures they put in place? How is the number of school dropouts after the restrictions have been lifted? What is the impact of remote teaching on learning outcomes? What is the effect on the students and teachers? These are just some of the questions you’ll want to ask when you go looking for a school in this pandemic.