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Friday, 07. August 2020

Plans for 2020-2021 school year

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The second semester of the 2019-2020 school year was heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.Schools had to suspend in situ teaching and learning by the end of February or beginning of March respectively. It was only in the past few weeks that the schools were able to gradually return to in situ teaching. The European Schools in Alicante and Varese had to suspend in situ teaching until the end of the school year due to national lock down measures.

This period was a challenge for all of us –pupils, parents,teaching and administrative staff and members of the management alike –and we are grateful for the commitment of all stakeholders and the efforts undertaken by all of you.

Now it is time to analyse…

…what has gone well and the areas in which the European Schools need to improve in order to be prepared for the coming school year,which starts in two months.

The Joint Teaching Committee mandated a multidisciplinary ‘Task Force–Preparation of the 2020-2021 school year’, composed of national Inspectors, Directors’ Representatives, staff of the Office of the Secretary-General and representatives of Interparents, the teaching staff, the Accredited European Schools and the EU Commission,to analyse the risks associated with the start of the new school year and to provide concrete proposals to the Board of Governors by the end of July to mitigate the risks identified,in order to ensure a smooth start to the new school year.The task force bases its analysis on three potential scenarios. 

The task force bases its analysis on three potential scenarios:

  • Scenario 1: In situ teaching in all schools as a rule, but with restrictions for vulnerable staff (including Inspectors) and vulnerable pupils and restrictions for infected staff and pupils.
  • Scenario 2: Temporary continuation of lock down measures, which allow only parts of the school population to participate in in situ teaching.
  • Scenario 3: Temporary suspension of in situ teaching for the whole school or whole cycles.

It is important to emphasize that the main working hypothesis is scenario 1 –a full return to in situ teaching and learning for all teachers and pupils as from the beginning of the school year,with some supportive measures for vulnerable pupils and teaching staff.

However, the schools need to be prepared for a situation where during the school year, lockdown measures in certain schools or for certain groups may have to be applied again and the schools have to move from scenario 1 to another scenario.

In order to deal sufficiently with such a situation,the task force will address –with respect to all three potential scenarios –aspects of quality assurance, teaching standards for distance learning, assessment, training and evaluation of teaching staff. Particular emphasis will be placed on educational support, the challenges involved in potential distance teaching in the nursery and primary cycle and support for the BAC cycle. Finally, the task force will tackle the framework conditions of potential distance teaching and address aspects associated with the budget, human resources and IT infrastructure.

This message was send by Deputy Secretary General of the European Schools, Mr Andreas Beckmann.

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