Below are updates sent by the Headmaster to the school community
Term 3 at BISP, March 13, 2020
Thank you for your continued support and patience. We are currently in uncertain times which no one could have predicted, yet so many are affected. In spite of all these challenges, dangers and risks, the BISP community remains safe and supportive of each other, albeit at a distance! We know that many families have been affected financially and that online learning has added a new dimension to family life and routine.
As we enter a 14 day ‘lockdown’ in Phuket, as well as still being under the direction of an emergency decree until 30th April, we wish to advise that online classes will commence from Monday 20th April for at least 2 weeks. We hope to give further information at the end of the month as to when normal classes can resume at BISP. The Primary and Secondary leadership teams will email more details in due course about the continuation of online learning. Our Year 11 and 13 students should continue to check emails and communicate with staff as necessary in order to complete the requirements from the examination boards. There will also be further information given about the end of year formalities.
Thank you for your support, March 20, 2020
Thank you for your support and patience as we approach the end of the first week of online learning. We appreciate that students and parents have had to adjust to a very different style of education and environment. Staff have also worked tirelessly to post lessons and prepare work for the coming week. Any updates from the authorities will be shared with parents as we receive them.
Wishing you and your children a restful and safe weekend.
School Closure March 17, 2020
According to the Prime Minister’s Press Conference this afternoon, all schools in Thailand must be closed commencing on Wednesday 18, March. Please keep your children at home until further notice. We will email all parents tomorrow (Wednesday) with further information regarding online learning for your children. Boarding students will be cared for in the Boarding Houses.
BISP COVID-19; Update 9 – (March 13, 2020)
This afternoon the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Health made an announcement to add seven more countries to the high-risk list. These have not yet been confirmed on the Ministry website, but please be aware that, if confirmed, travel to Thailand from these countries by members of the school community, will necessitate the application of school quarantine protocols. The additional countries are:
- United Kingdom
Any family with visitors from the countries on the high-risk list must self-quarantine from school for a 14-day period from the time of the visitor’s entry into Thailand. Please be prepared for this
The Ministry of Public Health website should be updated in due course, but there is often a delay between the updating of the Thai language website and the English:
The full list of countries now reads: China (Hong Kong and Macao); South Korea; Japan; Taiwan; Italy; Iran; Germany; France; Spain; Singapore; Sweden; Norway; Switzerland; USA; Netherlands; United Kingdom; Denmark.
Please also be aware that deep-cleansing is taking place in the school every weekend.
COVID-19 Update 8 (March 12th 2020)
Recent OPEC Announcement
Four countries have been given a special hazardous status: Republic of Korea; China including Macao and Hong Kong; Italy and Iran.
Travel from any of these four countries involve additional measures which require self-quarantine without going outside the house. If anyone self-quarantined in this way leaves the house the 14-day period must begin again. Also, if anyone connected with the school is suspected of being contagious they must self-quarantine under the same conditions, in which case the school may close for a day to spray antiseptic solutions inside and outside buildings, and clean all surfaces inside school.
There are a number of other requirements for travellers from this special group of four countries. More general information can be found at ddc.moph.go.th/viralpneumonia/eng/index.php
Please remember that the Ministry of Education, OPEC and ISAT have added their own layers of directives to schools on top of those relating to public health
Spain has now been added to the official list of high-risk countries published by the Ministry of Public Health.
The list is:
The Disease Infection Zone:
- China (Hong Kong and Macao)
- The Republic of Korea
Ongoing Local Transmission:
Please continue to be vigilant and contact the school in the event of any uncertainty about our protocols. If anyone has recently travelled from Spain, your children will now be required to quarantine from school for a 14-day period beginning from your date of return to Thailand.
For those students who are under self-quarantine they should be able to access on-line learning. However, the students need careful monitoring to ensure that they are opening up the on-line links and doing the work that is being set. Please contact the relevant Principals if you have any concerns in this regard.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS CONCERNING SCHOOL PROTOCOLS
What is required?
If any student or visitor to a family has arrived in Thailand from a high-risk country within the last 14 days, then self-quarantine from school is necessary from the date of entry into Thailand until a 14-day period has elapsed. This includes all the children in the family if the self-quarantine is not at a location away from the family.
Why is it required?
With additions to the high-risk list, and as time goes on, it may become easy to forget the seriousness of the legislation that requires families to self-quarantine when appropriate, and the fact that prosecution under the terms of the Act of National Contagious Disease (2015) may be an outcome for people not responding accordingly.
The school follows all directives of the Ministry of Education, one of which is to follow the information given by the Ministry of Public Health on the listed high-risk countries. The full and updated list appears on the official website of the Ministry of Public Health.
Why is there some confusion about the list of high-risk countries?
This is because four countries have been elevated to a higher threat level, but it does not mean that only four countries are now on the list, the list as of March 12 includes twelve countries and territories.
How will the school respond if anyone knowingly places our school community at risk (this includes risk of school closure)?
The school will investigate the facts and make a report to the local authorities if a person knowingly places our school community at risk by not following our health protocols.
This may also lead to the permanent withdrawal of a family from the school if there is a deliberate attempt to hide information that places our community at risk of contagion or of school closure.
What should I do if I am uncertain about my recent travels?
Please inform the school if you have travelled to a high-risk area and explain the measures that you are taking to self-quarantine from school or your children. Please be aware that children will not be allowed in school for fourteen days if they are living closely with someone who has travelled from a listed high-risk area. The threat, if we are not able to ensure that we follow the Ministry of Education’s directives, could be school closure. Please help us to ensure that this does not become necessary for any reason.
Why doesn’t the school routinely check passports?
A number of parents ask why we do not check passports; the reasons are given below:
- Passport checking would take several minutes for every passport seen, and this would be necessary every few days as a minimum requirement.
- Checking passports is logistically very difficult (airports with trained staff do not find it easy when a thousand people descend on immigration counters) and would need to be done regularly (both parent and children’s passports would need to be checked).
- Either all people entering the school would need to come into one entrance, or many staff would be required to check all our entry points.
- Not all students have passports.
- The children should not have to be responsible for looking after their passports throughout the day – these are very important personal documents.
- Not all countries stamp passports (EU Schengen for example which opens travel to 26 states in Europe – Italy, Germany, Spain and France among them).
- To interrogate children concerning their movements, and their parents’ movements, without parents being present is not acceptable.
- A large number of students are dual passport holders.
- Checking a student’s passport will not reveal the travel movements of any close family member – and we cannot bring all parents into the school every time we check passports.
- There is a legal question concerning our authority to routinely check this personal document.
- Every time a country is added to the Ministry of Public Health list, the school would be required to check passports again – the following day. This would mean that daily passport checks would be necessary, with all the parents, because not all families are immediately aware of Ministry of Public Health directives when they are made.
- The school has no authority to compile travel data from passports, neither does it have the personnel infrastructure to support such an undertaking, as well as updating information, on a regular basis.
- Individual parents may, of course, volunteer passport information if there is any concern about their recent travel.
The school has to rely upon the integrity of the parent body.