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Skagerak communications about COVID-19

This hub contains all major communications about COVID-19 that directly affect the Skagerak community. The content will be updated as new communications are sent.

27 February - information update from the school

Dear Skagerak Parents

A quick message about the current corona virus situation. We as a school, are following the Sandefjordkommunehelsedirektorat guidelines and procedures for this outbreak. I am in constant communication with the school nurses, keeping up to date with any measures to be taken or information to be distributed etc., While this is currently a serious public health situation in some parts of the world, theHelsedirektorat believe the immediate risk to Norway remains low at this time. Attached are the public health documents currently being distributed.

Skagerak can always be better prepared, without causing panic. Our cleaning company has been engaged to focus on hygiene risk areas for cleaning and to ensure every entrance has a functioning and filled hand wash stations. All primary and middle school classes will be getting a short hygiene visit from the school nurse and receive some infectant supplies.

As a school community, it is also important to highlight the fact that it is important to keep children home from school when they are ill.

For worst case scenario as a school community:

A trial digital day was being planned for next year, where all Skagerak student stay home for one day, and learn digitally (TEAMS/ONENOTE/SEESAW). If the global situation starts coming closer to home, these plans will be moved up.

As always please contact the school should you have any questions, suggestions or concerns.

Kind regards,

James Tester

06 March - information update from the school

Dear Parents,

As we work through the current situation concerning the corona virus- please find an update on what the school is doing surrounding the upcoming school trips in May and beyond. We have taken additional travel insurance measures as a precaution for all of our trips.

Here is an overview:

What is the School’s Policy on the Coronavirus and the upcoming School Trips?

The School will adhere fully to the official advice from the Foreign Ministry (Utenriksdepartementet) and the Norwegian Public Health Institute (Folkehelseinstituttet). If either of these public authorities declare that any of our destination countries are unsafe at the time we plan to travel, then that trip will be cancelled immediately. We are following all instructions and direction from this authority.

If the trip is cancelled, do Parents receive a refund?

All participants on school trips are fully insured by the School (policy document is attached). In terms of the corona virus, this insurance only comes into effect after one of the above mentioned Public Authorities has declared our destination unsafe, upon which then parents will receive a full refund.

What if Parents want to withdraw their children, even if the Foreign Ministry and the Public Health Institute say where we plan to go is safe?

Parents may choose to withdraw their children at any time and they can come to school as normal. However, any cost that we are unable to get refunded (usually flights, hotel deposits etc.) will not be refunded to parents.

As a school, we do have some time and will wait before making a decision unless directed. The earliest school trip has a cancelation cut off date of April 14th. (MY2 trip to the Hague)

As soon as we hear anything further, we will let you know straight away. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to make contact with the school.

Kind regards,

James Tester

09 March - information update from the school

Dear Skagerak Parents,

Please find below a further update surrounding the coronavirus situation, upcoming school trips and parent conferences:

Situation at Skagerak:

We are not panicking. However, due to the extraordinary circumstances globally with the coronavirus we are taking extra precautions surrounding classroom hygiene and routines. Every teaching space has now been provided with a disinfectant kit- with a spray bottle and paper towels. Also introduced are dedicated handwash routines in lower classes and instructional signs throughout the school and at every toilet. As a school, we are following directives from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health about school level measures and changes in our daily routine. All schools in Vestfold/Telemark are operating normally. The school administration is following this situation very closely.

Parent Conferences

This upcoming Wednesday March 11th is the 2nd set of parent conferences. For this particular evening, we will be taking extra precautions with this large gathering of people. AntiBac stands will be scattered throughout the high school building, and we will operate through the evening with a no handshake policy. There will also be some more information available about what we are doing as a school.

Supporting and Talking to Children - Concern over this new virus can make children and families anxious. Children look to adults for guidance on how to react to stressful events and need factual, age appropriate information. Teaching children positive preventive measures, talking with them about their fears, and giving them a sense of some control over their risk of infection can help reduce anxiety. Here is a resource to help you speak with your child - Talking to Children about Coronavirus.

Students in close contact with a confirmed case

If a student has been informed by Public Health authorities they are a close contact of a confirmed case of the novel coronavirus, irrespective of whether they have developed symptoms, they cannot attend school, school events,

Parents/guardians should notify their school, and evidence from the public health authority is required for the student to return to school.

Upcoming School Trips

As we work through the current situation concerning the coronavirus- please find below an update on what the school is doing surrounding the upcoming school trips in May and beyond. We have taken additional travel insurance measures as a precaution for all of our trips. (attached)

Here is an overview:

What is the School’s Policy on the Coronavirus and the upcoming School Trips?

The School will adhere fully to the official advice from the Foreign Ministry (Utenriksdepartementet) and the Norwegian Public Health Institute (Folkehelseinstituttet). If either of these public authorities declare that any of our destination countries are unsafe at the time we plan to travel, then that trip will be cancelled immediately. We are following all instructions and direction from this authority.

If the trip is cancelled, do Parents receive a refund?

All participants on school trips are fully insured by the School (policy document is attached). In terms of the Coronavirus, this insurance only comes into effect after one of the above mentioned Public Authorities has declared our destination unsafe, upon which then parents will receive a full refund.

What if Parents want to withdraw their children, even if the Foreign Ministry and the Public Health Institute say where we plan to go is safe?

Parents may choose to withdraw their children at any time and they can come to school as normal. However, any cost that we are unable to get refunded (usually flights, hotel deposits etc.) will not be refunded to parents.

As a school, we do have some time and will wait before making a decision unless directed. The earliest school trip has a cancelation cut-off date of April 14th. (MY2 trip to the Hague)

As always, if you have any further questions, concerns or suggestions please contact the school.

Kind regards,

James Tester

10 March - information update from the school

Dear Skagerak parents,

Out of an abundance of caution, we are cancelling the parent conferences scheduled for tomorrow. These conferences will be rescheduled or moved into an alternative format, hopefully in the near future.

This is due to the rising risk of the coronavirus and recent developments within the Vestfold/TelemarkKommune. It is not worth elevating the risk to our community with this large gathering.

Instead, tomorrow will be a staff planning day.

I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and will provide further information about the rescheduling of these conferences soon.

Kind regards,

James Tester

11 March - information update from the school

Dear Skagerak Parents,

Please see the email message below this.

We currently have a kindergarten teacher who is under home quarantine, with a partner who has tested positive. Test results have been delayed across the Fylke due to demand and we have been told that this will not be in until tomorrow. Until these results are in and out of caution, I have asked kindergarten parents to make alternative arrangements for tomorrow’s school day and have temporarily closed the kindergarten.

Thank you for your patience and understanding during this extraordinary time. I will send out further information as soon as I receive it.

From: James Tester
Sent: Wednesday, March 11, 2020 4:55 PM
To: James Tester <James.Tester@skagerak.org>
Subject: KG health update #5 - important
Importance: High

Dear KG parents,

This email is to inform KG parents that Ms. H is staying home for the next 16 days in home quarantine. She is connected to one of the travelers from the Austrian ski resort that has tested positive. She has been tested for the coronavirus, and unfortunately at this late hour we still have not received the results. The decision to close the school, or even just a section like the kindergarten rests with the kommunelege. As we are still awaiting the test result, I think it is best for the sake of logistics that KG parents be prepared to make alternative arrangements for child care for tomorrow.

Thank you for your patience and understanding during this extraordinary time. I will send out further information as soon as I receive it.

Kind regards,

James Tester


Skagerak International School har bedtforeldre å holde sine barn bortefrabarnehehageavdelingen for endag. Detteerfremtiltestresultat for enbarnehagelærererklart. Denne lærerenernå I karantene, dahennessamboererbekreftetsmittet av coronavirus ( Ski ferieØsterike). Resultateneerventetimorgen. Denne avgjørelsener tatt for å væreekstravarsomogunngåunødvendigrisiko.

Derforber vi foreldre om å skaffealternativtbarnepasstiltestresultateterklart. Vi har god kommunikasjon med kommunelegendoktorAugestadogskolesjef Seeberg. Når det ersagtsynesjegsomskoleleder at det erskuffende at ikkeenlærer med 25 elevererprioritert I forhold tilraskt test resultat. (48 hours) Vi fortsetter å ta utvidedeforhåndsreglerskolen, med håndvaskstasjoner, vaskerutinerklasserommeneogkansellereing av allearrangementersliksomforeldrekonferansen i dag. Vi følgeralleretningsljneroginformasjonframyndighetene.

James Tester- Skole Rektor

Daniela Allen- Pedagogiskleder

12 March - information update from the school

Dear Parents

Skagerak International School is closing officially from tomorrow Friday March 13th until Monday March 30th. This is out of caution and social responsibility. The Kommunelege has approved of this.

We currently do not have any staff members or students diagnosed with this virus. If that is to change, Parents will be notified immediately.

As a school we have developed a Digital Learning Plan school policy that is attached to this email. I ask that all parents take the time to read the introduction and the school specific sections for your son/daughter.

We have also been working very hard over the past few days with students, preparing them practice lessons on our digital learning tools. In preparation of this closure, parents will be an important part of the process in making a digital learning platform conducive to learning. We think it very important to give parents an opportunity to learn and/or practice on our digital learning tools we will use.

Platform tutorials:

Microsoft Education for Parents

SEESAW

TEAMS


ONENOTE


MANAGEBAC

There will be more information coming shortly. Of course, if you have any questions or concerns please contact the school at any time.

Kind regards,

James Tester

12 March - information update from the school

Dear Skagerak Parents KG-PY4,

This is an updated notice following the press conference from the Norwegian government from 14.00 today.

Children from kindergarten age through PY4 with parents working in vital functions in society, must be given care in their kindergarten or school. Prime Minister Erna Solberg says “we must remember who we are protecting. We can therefore not leave childcare up to grandparents in at-risk groups”.

The statutory right for parents to stay home to care for children will be extended.

What we need to know:

Before 18.00 tomorrow, parents in KG-PY4 who work in socially critical functions, and therefore have a statutory right to send their children to school, must inform the school by email at ja.tester@skagerak.org We will retroactively request documentation from your employer that you belong to a profession which performs a vital function in society, but understand that this may not be obtainable immediately.

The Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection defines the following as vital functions in society:

Governance and crisis management:

  • Constitutional bodies and the administration
  • Emergency response and crisis management

Defence:

  • Surveillance and intelligence
  • Preventive security
  • Military response

Law and order:

  • Rule of law
  • Crime countering activities
  • Investigation and prosecution
  • Peace and order
  • Border control
  • Security of prisons and institutions

Health and care:

  • Health services
  • Care services
  • Public health measures
  • Nuclear emergency response

Emergency services:

  • Search and rescue emergency response
  • Fire protection
  • Civil defence
  • Chemical and explosive emergency response

ICT security in the civil sector:

  • Secure registers, archives, etc.
  • Data protection
  • Incident management in information and communications systems

Nature and the environment

  • Pollution emergency response
  • Meteorological services
  • Monitoring of flood and landslide/avalanche risks

Security of supply:

  • Food supply
  • Fuel supply

Water and sanitation:

  • Drinking water supply
  • Sewage handling

Financial services:

  • The financial market
  • Financial transactions
  • Means of payment

Power supply:

  • Electricity supply
  • District heating supply

Electronic communication networks and services:

  • Ecom services
  • Electronic communication security

Transport:

  • Transport capability
  • Secure transport systems
  • Secure transport

Satellite-based services:

  • Satellite services

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns surrounding this update.

Kind regards,

James Tester

15 March - information update from the school

Dear Skagerak parents,

I hope that everyone has had as good of a weekend as possible in these extraordinary times. Moving forward, I will be sending regular school updates such as this via email and other formats.

As we have now transitioned Skagerak International school fully into a digital world, this will surely be another interesting week. (we have come quite a far way already in three days- thanks to an amazing staff and adaptive students) With the school now fully on TEAMS, SEESAW and working 100% digitally, please remember that the students and teachers are adapting and are all a little bit nervous about how to do this. (see the attached SEESAW video of a grade 2 student reflection for a laugh, and to see how similar their sentiments on digital learning might be to yours) This will be a learning curve for the whole learning community, and the Skagerak staff is ambitious and inspired to facilitate for innovative learning experiences. We will get through this and be a better school at the end of it.

As sent in an earlier email, Skagerak has developed a Digital Home Learning Plan. (also attached) Below is a short summary of some important points:

Digital Home Learning:

Attendance will be taken. If students are sick or have other excused absence, parents must log this in Managebac as usual.

We are mindful of the WHO’s recommendations of maximum screen time per day for various age groups and will therefore facilitate for blended learning experiences in front of and away from screens.

Lessons and activities will be timetabled and complimented by independent learning sessions where the teacher is available. The students and parents will get an overview of when each teacher is available to contact and which channels of communication we will use for this.

The teachers will be working during the school closure, but some teachers will have to care for their own children at home or due to other reasons be unavailable some days or at some times.

Parent Information Flow:

Moving forward, I will be putting together a weekly podcast for parents for updates and information. (first episode out tomorrow with special guest DP coordinator Nik Winander for important questions with our senior students, and Morten and Julie Johansen- Jotun dad and daughter from Shanghai living digitally since Christmas with some tips for parents and students!)

I will also cover the following items:

  1. Skagerak Health Update
  1. Whom to contact for various items
  1. Attendance routines in eth 3 sections PYP/MYP/DP
  1. Special student home scenarios
  1. Caring for our Community
  1. School Trips Update

If you have any particular items you would like to be addressed in these podcasts to parents please send me a message.

Getting Through Week #1

This will be a new daily life for all of us, and we encourage you to maintain as much structure in your everyday as possible. Read for leisure, participate in making food, play board games, write letters, do handywork, do physical exercises, be creative and learn new things that you do not usually have the time to invest in. Our students our amazing, and as IB learners are experienced in learning through inquiry and have practise in utilising their ATL skills!

Good health to all,

James Tester

16 March - Corona podcast #1 - weekly info update from the director

Digital updates from director James Tester's Skagerak CoronaCast

16 March - Digital Home Learning Plan

16 March - Update from the IBO

23 March - Corona podcast #2 - weekly info update from the director

Digital updates from director James Tester's Skagerak CoronaCast#2

23 March - Update from the IBO

May 2020 examinations are cancelled

Dear parents and students

There has been an official update from the IBO regarding the IBDP exams in May 2020 - Please see the above link. The special circumstances we are now in globally have necessitated this. More information will be released on March 27th on the specifics of how marks will be calculated and how the Diplomas will be awarded. It is important to note that the IBO is working closely with universities and governments around the world to ensure that there is no disruption to the qualifications students receive and university admissions.

It is important to emphasize that classes for DP2 will continue to run as scheduled. The students are continuing to complete their Internal Assessments and the final predicted grades are being calculated and uploaded to the IBO.

Please contact me or DP Coordinator / Vice principal Mr. Niklas Winander should you have any further questions.

Thank you and stay well,

Kjeld-Jørgen Glittenberg

High school principal

24 March - information update from the school

Dear Skagerak Parents and students,

School Closure Extended

I have just received updated information from UDIR that the school closure will be extended until April 14th Although this is not a surprising extension, it will present us with new challenges and adaptations. As we make adjustments as a school we will be using the valuable survey data from staff, students and parents to help guide us in our decisions. (new survey this Friday)

Communication Routines

One common area of concern noted throughout the data is the abundance of, and the need to streamline, communication and information. Regular classroom and subject specific communication will continue through SEESAW and TEAMS for teaching and learning. All admin and important school related information will be condensed into a weekly Podcast (Sunday evening) and an email from the admin or coordinators (Monday morning) of each school section. This weeks episode has information from Dr. Bård Nome, Jenny Glittenberg (university counsellor) and John Goodnow, director of the playmakers production Oresteia.

Emergency SMS system

As a school we also now have implemented an emergency SMS system for the school community. I will be sending a test SMS text tomorrow on this system-please let the school at office@skagerak.org if you do not receive this text.

High School Examinations

Please see the email below sent by the High School Principal Mr. Glittenberg about the cancellation of the final exams from the International Baccalaureate. More information is being released by the IBO on Friday and will be communicated.

Dear parents and students,

There has been an official update from the IBO regarding the cancellation of the IBDP exams in May 2020. special circumstances we are now in globally have necessitated this. More information will be released on March 27th on the specifics of how marks will be calculated and how the Diplomas will be awarded. It is important to note that the IBO is working closely with universities and governments around the world to ensure that there is no disruption to the qualifications students receive and university admissions.

It is important to emphasize that classes for DP2 will continue to run as scheduled. The students are continuing to complete their Internal Assessments and the final predicted grades are being calculated and uploaded to the IBO.

Please contact me or Mr. Winander should you have any further questions.

Thank you and stay well,

Kjeld-Jørgen Glittenberg

As always please contact the school (digitally) at anytime if you have any questions, concerns or solutions.

Kind regards,

James Tester

27 March - update from the IBO

30 March - Corona podcast #3 - weekly info update from the director

Digital updates from director James Tester Skagerak CoronaCast#3

1 April - update from the IBO

13 April - Corona podcast #4 - weekly info update from the director

Digital updates from director James Tester Skagerak CoronaCast#4

20 April - Corona podcast #5 - weekly info update from the director

Digital updates from director James Tester Skagerak CoronaCast#5

This week information podcast includes:

News and updates for the Skagerak community

  • May 17th
  • Skagerak Fall Trips
  • Skagerak News and Events

Preparations for the Kindergarten reopening on Monday April 20th

An overview of the Kindergarten preparations from Ms Daniela Allen, for the reopening Monday April 29th

A digital production of Oresteia and the Golden Apple: A Skagerak Playmakers Production

Originally scheduled for a March world premiere- the coronavirus forced the cancellation of the 2019/2020 Skagerak Playmaker production of Oresteia and The Golden Apple. Luckily with industrious students and a diligent director we have a podcast version of the production. Enjoy and thank you Beverly Martinsen and John Goodnow!

This past week, the amazing Skagerak kindergarten team of Daniela Allen, Monica Herrebrøden, Anne Rue and Cristina Comino has worked tirelessly to make these plans come to realization and make our kindergarten as safe and functional as possible. A huge thank you to this amazing group of caring, flexible and professional educators.

Enjoy the week of sunshine and stay healthy,

James Tester

27 April - Corona podcast #6 - weekly info update from the director

Digital updates from director James Tester Skagerak CoronCast#6

11 May - information update from the school

Dear Skagerak parents,

After a long period of uncertainty, I can now pass along information and dates regarding the school reopening dates.

School Reopening:

From Monday May 11, all grade levels in Norway can be returning back to school. This reopening process will be a gradual, with a mix of physical and digital learning until the end of the year in MY1-DP1. For the remainder of the school year the entirety of the primary school will be housed within the red building, while the middle school high school will be housed together within the high school building. Routines, procedures and timetables will be adjusted to make sure that Skagerak is as safe as possible with this return. Much more information will be provided to each cohort group and parents by their individual homeroom teachers before return.

Parent conferences:

Parent conferences were originally scheduled for March 12th, the day before full school closures in Norway. For the past seven weeks our teachers have admirably transitioned into a digital world, keeping up with our IB education. One important part of our program is parent feedback and self-guided student conferences. Obviously the traditional way of doing conferences is not possible at this time, however, there is still a need for some students and parents to meet digitally with teachers and ensure all goals are met for the 2019/2020 school year. We have identified the date of May 20th for these conferences to take place. More information about these parent conferences and the altered procedures for each school section can be found in the document attached.

The PYP Exhibition:

The PY6 exhibition is the culmination of our PYP program and is a wonderful display of inquiry. The grade six students have been working hard throughout the year on this exhibition and would be traditionally celebrated with a formal evening with presentations and sharing from the students at school. However, like most things around the world with COVID-19 we have had to adjust this year.

Ms. Siddall and our amazing grade 6 class were not only able to adapt, they created a professional and impressive virtual exhibition that is currently making waves digitally around the world! I encourage all of the Skagerak community to click on this link to see what these kids of PY6 are capable of and how they are changing the world!

And finally, there will be an episode eight of the Skagerak CoronaCast that will be sent out on Saturday that will go over the changes and adjustments to Skagerak procedures with the school reopening. The FAU chair Rowella Hansen will be joining me on this episode to discuss events from the parent Council and plans for the end of the school year.

Kind regards,

James Tester

18 May - Corona podcast #8 - weekly info update from the director

Please find the link for episode #8 of the Skagerak Corona-cast. In this week's episode we have:

  • News and Events
  • The Fabulous PY6 Exhibition
  • Details on the return to school for PY5-DP1.
  • Parent Council chair Rowella Hansen
  • Parent Conference Details

James Tester

26 August - Skagerak sickness routines

Can I attend at school today?

See the Skagerak guideline below for attending school in case of illness


    • WedOct21 Parent conferences
    • SatOct24 Skagerak Junior Playmakers - The Golden Apple

      The Golden Apple - duration 30 minutes, 2 and 4 pm on Saturday 24 Oct, 3 pm on Sunday 25 Oct

    • MonNov16 Teacher planning day

      School closed to students


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