Time for a well deserved break…

If I think back to the day before our Tet Holiday, I am not sure any of us could have foreseen the impact of the “Coronavirus”. At that time, the crisis response team was meeting to discuss the implications of the virus on our co-curricular programme and the possibility of tournaments and festivals in China being cancelled.

Two months later, we are now at the end of Quarter 3, with no clear indication of when our students will be able to return to campus.

It has been a journey and a learning experience for every member of our community. We hope that during the Spring Break holiday next week, families are able to “unplug”, to spend quality time together and prepare to come back to school ready to re-engage in our Distance Learning programme. 

We know that COVID-19 has had a significant impact on our community and many businesses in Hanoi and around the world. As mentioned in our earlier communications, we ask that families contact the Business Office if they have any questions or need our support during this time. (Please email Thuy Tran: revenueaccountant@unishanoi.org)

As you know, we have already committed to refunds on all after-school activities, including UMA, Aquatics and Community Programmes. These are currently being processed by the Business Office and further reimbursements will continue to take place the week following Spring Break. Busing reimbursements will take place at the end of the school year.

In order for the School to re-forecast the 2019-2020 school budget, it is important for us to fully understand the impact our current situation has had on our revenue stream. Currently we are in the process of processing final Quarter 4 tuition fees and Quarter 4 withdrawals and identifying further variable expenses from Quarter 3 and Quarter 4. Once we have done this, we will communicate with all families. 

Unfortunately, we are still in the midst of the current crisis and do not have a full picture of the remainder of the year. We ask for your patience at this time and reassure you of our commitment to be a financially responsible, non-profit organisation for our community.

Finally, thank you for your support in the educational journey of your child. Distance learning is truly a home-school partnership.

Just this week we have seen our youngest learners deliver a virtual market for the community, we have seen an art project inspire parents to join their children with their own creations and we have had parents ‘visit’ universities with their High School children at an online College Fair. I know you will all have your own family highlights from this time and I encourage you to  take time to celebrate with your children as we admire their capacity to embrace this new learning journey. 

Have a safe, restful and relaxing Spring Break.
Yours s
incerely,

Jane McGee
Head of School

 

 

 

REMINDERS THIS WEEK:

Distance Learning Break: We have asked teachers from Discovery – G10 to refrain from assigning work during this time. As always, we encourage reading for pleasure during holiday time.  IBDP Grade 11 students will only be assigned optional tasks and these will not count towards a grade. Grade 12 Arts students who still have coursework in progress may wish to use Spring Break to consolidate their final products.

Please note that faculty and staff will not be responding to emails from parents and/or students during this time. If something urgent surfaces during the week, please use the headsoffice@unishanoi.org email contact and put “URGENT” in the subject header. If the School needs to communicate with families during the holiday, we will use our regular communication channels. We will not be sending out a daily update.

Returning from Spring Break: With the number of cases rising in Hanoi and Vietnam, we will be continuing with our Distance Learning programme following the Spring Break.

Following the holiday, you will see some changes to our communication as well as our programme. The changes are intended to continue to improve our service to our families as we face a longer period of ‘virtual school’.

Divisional Principals will communicate programmatic changes to you on our return and also send home essential information through the TinTuc each Friday.

Moving forward, my daily updates will be replaced with two weekly communications: Tuesday via email and Friday via the TinTuc. If there is an urgent message, we will send out a message immediately through both email and SMS. We will also be sharing our plans for parent coffees, sharing student learning and celebrations.

Remote Library Service Continues!

Students in Elementary School right up to High School can still enjoy access to school library books thanks to an improved remote borrowing service. The School’s formidable team of librarians have devised an innovative way to ensure students get their hands on books they want. Especially during these unprecedented times. 

During the first eight weeks of distance learning, the Library offered a “remote borrowing service” which enabled students and parents to place requests and pick up the books from the School’s main gate each day between 9am and 12pm. Unfortunately, due to campus closure, remote borrowing service had an impact on the local staff who supported the daily service. This led to a rethink of options. 

New Improved Model

The library team has now come up with an innovative way for books to be borrowed to ensure continued access to fabulous reads and exciting resources over the coming months.

PHYSICAL BOOK BORROWING

  1. We will still run a “remote borrowing service” for our families who are in Hanoi and can collect books at the front gate. Please browse the library catalogue here and use the following forms to write down your selections.  ECC Form  /  ES Form  /  MS/HS Form. You can email your forms to the library or include them in a library bag dropped at the gate. Alternatively you can send an email with your selections to librarystaff@unishanoi.org 
  2. The books will be delivered to the front gate of UNIS Hanoi every Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 9am and 11am. If the books are not collected on the requested day, the materials will need to be returned to the library. Books cannot be left outside after 3pm.
  3. You can also return books at any time by dropping them into the big box labelled LIBRARY at the front gate.
  4. If you are departing Hanoi, you can also leave the library and text books at the box at the front gate on Monday, Wednesday or Friday for collection.

DIGITAL LIBRARY

  1. The library team has curated a LibGuide for accessing digital materials including eBooks and audible books. This will be constantly updated with new materials. This provides a wealth of listening and reading choices for the whole family. This LibGuide is featured in the Mental Wellness Section of the UNIS Community Wellness Guide which has amazing resources to keep physically and mentally well.
  2. We have added a tremendous number of eBooks to our digital collection. The borrowing of these books is straightforward and explained in a screencast on the LibGuide. The hidden benefit of an eBook is that it returns itself automatically after 14 days, so you don’t need to remember to return it. However, it is easy to extend these books by yourself at the click of a button.
  3. We would highly encourage everyone to download the app SORA on the device that you intend to read your eBooks. Sora hosts all of our eBooks and audiobooks. It is very user friendly, comes in a range of languages and will host up to 6 devices on one download. Most people prefer to read the eBooks on ipads but many people do use phones or laptops. Each member of the family should use their own school login and password to read from their own Sora account.

OTHER SERVICES FOUND ON THE LIBGUIDE

  1. Author read alouds can be found daily
  2. Access to free audio books ready to download
  3. Tumblebooks – a vast number of books available for reading and viewing
  4. Epic reading – free home access to students who use Epic in the classroom
  5. Book trailers to introduce you to some of the newest books in our digital collection
  6. Virtual Book Clubs to join

Please contact Kate and Monica if ever you have any questions: Kate mshslibrarian@unishanoi.org and Monica eslibrarian@unishanoi.org

Families Come Together to Boost Community Spirits

Our world turned upside down on Monday February 3, when the Vietnamese Government, mandated all school campuses to close. Apart from a brief window on campus for High School, lessons have been delivered remotely ever since.

Now two months on, students and parents have come together to renew the UNIS Hanoi spirit of community with a week long campaign of appreciation and fun activities. 

Spearheaded by UNIS Hanoi parent, Molly Moore Abrams, with the endorsement of the SCO, rolled out a ‘Thank You to Teachers’ initiative from today (Friday March 27). In an email to parents, SCO executives and Grade Level volunteers said that ‘today marked two months of Distance Learning’. They added, “Now is a great time for students and parents to show their teachers and specialists some appreciation and end [the quarter] on a positive note.”

In response, students and parents planned a range of ways to express thanks to their teachers – some via video, some through beautiful artwork and others through heartfelt email messages. 

HS Senate Also Stirs Up School Spirit

Additionally, the High School Senate arranged a week of activities that would stir up School Spirit virtually. Led by Grade 9 HS Senate Rep., Sarah Anthony, the activities were designed to encourage School spirit, especially during these unprecedented times. 

The week’s activities included cookie baking, dancing and a day of randomness. Check out the best of the bunch here!

Art Lessons Become a Family Affair!

Moms and Dads, brothers and sisters are no longer sitting on the sidelines watching their Elementary family members have all the fun in Art lessons! Now families are joining in on the lessons and producing art for the teacher to see and grade too!

Elementary School Art Teachers, Emma Hamilton and Vicki Wilson-Jiwatram have received a number of art pieces, created not only by their students, but parents and siblings as well!

Emma says it’s been ‘so beautiful’ to see the family engagement. She added, “I regularly receive emails from families telling me they’ve really enjoyed the tasks set for their child.

I do think one of the major benefits of this distance learning experience is that the whole family gets involved in the curriculum more practically” commented one Grade 1 parent. “I thoroughly enjoy the slides alongside my children.

One student expressed his delight at being able to draw with his ‘big sis’, even though he missed sitting in the classroom with his teachers and friends. Another big sister revealed how helping her little sister complete her work has improved her skills as an artist. 

A large collection of artwork made by families has been amassed. Here’s a snapshot…

Distance Learning Offers Insight into Life after High School for Grade 12s

Grade 12 students have been letting their teachers know that the distance learning experience has inadvertently prepared them for life after High School. 

Students such as Emma Héloïse Dufour-Nogueira say that the past two months of learning from home has been a ‘nice simulation for university’. She added, “After we graduate from High School, everything will be left up to us and so this was really insightful for me. This period has given us an opportunity to figure out how we want to study.”

Emma, who joined UNIS Hanoi in Grade 11, is one of 76 students currently in the final year of the IB Diploma programme. With fantastic offers from her top choice universities already under her belt, Emma says she’s more excited than ever to start the next chapter of her life. And it’s all thanks to UNIS Hanoi. She explains, “I got into film because of UNIS Hanoi. When I first came to the School I was going to take Visual Arts, but then I saw there was a film course on offer and two years later, here I am – accepted onto a film production course at Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia!”

Emma says her teachers have been fully supportive of her and she’s grown to further appreciate the relationship she has with them. “You can still ask teachers anything and as a result, I feel even more in control” Emma revealed. 

Emma’s mother, Sophie Dufour agreed. She said, “I’m not worried for my daughter anymore. It’s become clear that Emma’s found a method that works for her, which is wonderful. Normally, it’s during the first year of university that a student would expect to struggle and learn how they’re supposed to study at that level. But Emma’s already experienced this and I think that’s amazing. It’s a blessing that we were here in Hanoi, just so she could attend UNIS Hanoi.”

Sharing our Gratitude…

This is a time of rapid change creating uncertainty and anxiety for many of us. As we face distance from our core communities and deal with the emotions of the quick departure of friends, we would like to take this opportunity to thank you. 

While much is beyond our control, we can take care of each other and of ourselves.This week, our faculty have been focusing on wellness with their messaging to your children. Wellness will continue to be embedded into our approach to distance learning and we encourage your whole family to engage: Keep calm, stay wise, be kind. 

Ending the week in which the global news has provided little cause for joy, on the UN’s International Day of Happiness, we would ask that you take a moment to pause and reflect, and to be grateful. We are privileged as individuals and collectively as a group for the health and safety of our community, the ability to stay connected with friends and relatives around the world, and to be part of a School, including faculty, staff, parents and students that demonstrate daily our core value of  “community”.  

We (the UNIS Hanoi Senior Leadership Team) would like to end the week with a sincere “Thank you” to all our community.

(With thanks to ES Instructional Coach for Technology, Neal Clark)

World Happiness Day

In 2011, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution which recognised happiness as a “fundamental human goal” and called for “a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes the happiness and well-being of all peoples”.

In 2012 the first ever UN conference on Happiness took place and the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution which decreed that the International Day of Happiness would be observed every year on 20 March. It was celebrated for the first time in 2013.

This year they share COVID-19 coping resources and advice including this ‘Coping Calendar’ with daily tips to stay positive. I encourage you to explore all their resources: https://www.actionforhappiness.org/news/covid-19-how-to-respond

UNIS Hanoi’s PHE Team Launches Wellness Site

The School’s Physical Health Education (PHE) team has launched a new Wellness resource site for the benefit of everyone in the UNIS Hanoi community. 

The Wellness Site can be accessed via libguides and is a one-stop-shop for videos, articles and websites relating to physical and mental wellness. 

Theron Tate, a Middle and High School PHE teacher said, “Since Distance Learning began, the physical health education team has had to think up new ways to ensure our students were still getting the recommended daily amount of exercise and maintaining their wellness. Now that we’re practicing social distancing, finding creative ways to maintain stay active has become even more important.”

The PHE team has included a number of fitness and general wellness resources that can be carried out indoors and by people of any age. “Although there’s a heavy focus on activities for our students we do encourage parents to use these resources too” said Theron. 

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, new resources will be added to the site. 

Explore the Theatre Digitally!

Students of all ages can watch some of the world’s finest productions online thanks to UNIS Hanoi’s Digital Theatre Plus subscription. 

This exclusive resource is a great way for students to get a dose of culture and arts into their distance learning schedule. Not only can students choose from performances of plays by William Shakespeare, Andrew Bovell and Yusra Warsama, they can also read study guides and theatrical explorations. 

Kristen Twynam-Perkins, the School’s MYP dance, drama and IB Diploma Theatre teacher said it was important to engage with arts during these exceptional times. She added, “This site gives us all an opportunity to still enjoy the arts. There are a number of excellent productions on this site. It’s great for the serious theatre students as well as budding new creatives who are looking for inspiration. There’s literally something for everyone!

For the login information please contact Kristen by email at ktwynamperkins@unishanoi.org

A new Global Virtual Reality!

With school closures announced around the world and more than 890.5 million students impacted, developing meaningful distance learning programmes has never been more important for schools and educators.

In response to the global need for educators to collaborate and learn new skills to support their students, UNIS Hanoi and Saigon South International School are proud to partner to offer the Vietnam Tech Conference – Virtual!

The Virtual Professional Development event will be hosted by UNIS Hanoi on Saturday April 25 from 07:00-13:00 (+7GMT) with concurrent tracks of 30 minute presentations and discussions forums aimed to engage educators from across the globe.

The Vietnam Tech Conference has been a premier professional development learning experience for schools in Asia Pacific for many years with a focus on how tech can empower learning. This year, our Spring event is being re-formatted to focus on Distance Learning and to help equip and inform teachers to effectively deliver learning remotely. Tech to empower learning on a global scale!

All workshops and online discussions will be volunteered and facilitated by our global community of educators and there will be no charge to attend any of the sessions which will be available open-source to all.

Teaching virtually and creating meaningful programmes is a challenge that we are all rising to and for most of us learning new skills and re-thinking how to engage our students. Let’s learn together!

We are encouraging teachers everywhere to share successes and consider offering a short workshop or online discussion about something they have tried and found to be successful or even transformative! Please share this message with your communities across the globe.

PROPOSE A WORKSHOP OR SESSION (click on the link)

UNIS Hanoi will host the conference on a virtual platform and presenters will be given full orientation before ‘going live’. For now, we ask teachers and trainers fill out the form and let us know what you can bring to the event to help others. They can even chose the best time zone for their global location or choose to deliver the session multiple times for different global audiences (7.00-13.00 +7GMT)

#learningtogether #vtcvirtual

(Please note this will not be a commercial platform for software providers to promote sales and the UNIS Hanoi and SSIS team will be pre-approving and moderating all sessions to ensure the highest professional standards from presenters and participants.)

Our Alumni

Dung Anh To Nguyen (Class of 2011) is working at An Phat Holdings, a company that offers bio-degradable, compostable packaging solutions through a brand called AnEco. Recently in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak Dung Anh and the company delivered 3,000 compostable paper cups to sponsor a quarantined living quarter in Truc Bach, Ha Noi. Dung Anh said, “We want to help protect people from the virus by using disposable cup but also protect the environment at the same time. In the future, we are looking to sponsor more quarantined areas.”

Every week we feature a short profile or an activity from our global alumni community in Tin Tuc. UNIS Hanoi is connected to over 50% of all alumni students, families and faculty with our very own world wide web connecting UNIS Hanoi in the four corners of the globe!

Head of School Daily Update – FRIDAY

Dear Families,

We are continuing to pay close attention to the impact of COVID-19 in Hanoi, Vietnam and around the world. We hope that your friends and family are healthy and safe.

For those of you who missed expressing interest in the Spring Break Programme for students in Discovery – G8, please let us know as soon as possible so you can register your child. The registration form was sent out earlier today to those families who expressed an interest in the programme. Please contact cocurricular@unishanoi.org for more information.

Although we are in the midst of the current crisis, we must also continue to prepare for the remainder of the year and for the 2020-2021 school year.

This week, the Strategy Team, reviewed our annual goals for the year and identified work that would need to continue into the 2020-2021 school year. Early next week, we will be reviewing the commendations and recommendations from the accreditation teams that visited our campus in early December. The recommendations will become additional goals and action plans for the upcoming school year. We will share this information with you very soon.

Enjoy your weekend.

Sincerely,

Jane

 

 

If you have missed any of my Daily Updates you can find them all online. And we hope that you will find the new COVID-19 Info Resources page useful that is linked from the website’s homepage and quicklinks.

Re-Enrolment deadline ends in 3 days

The deadline for re-enrolment has been extended to March 16, 2020.

Dear UNIS Hanoi Families,

We hope your family plans to return for the 2020-2021 school year; however, if you have plans to depart, please notify us through the online re-enrolment process AND by completing the “Withdrawal Form” on your Parent Portal.

In addition, we are excited to share with you the new features to the online re-enrolment process.

Passport & Visa Update: There is now a link for you to scan and
send the updated valid copies of both legal documents and
update the details and expiration dates for use for the co-
curricular trips, which will be reviewed by the Activities office
and shared with parents prior to the upcoming trip.

Bus Service Annual Registration: There is now a new online form that goes directly to the Transport Office to register annually for your child/ren.

Please note that we’ve extended the re-enrolment period to March 16 to allow more time for families to complete the process.

Please do not hesitate to contact us for any questions by coming to the Admissions Office in B7 on the second floor or by email
admissions@unishanoi.org or telephone 0247 300 4508.

Warm regards,
The Office of Admission

Get IT support in real time thanks to new service

Do you have trouble setting up apps and tools to help your child learn? Do you need help taking screenshots? Don’t worry, help is on hand!

Starting on Monday (March 16), a brand new online helpdesk service will go live, giving students, parents and teachers in our community the chance to ask one of our experts for support in real time.

“We’ve been providing email support since Distance Learning began but it can be slow due to the time delay in replies back and forth” revealed Adam Archer, the School’s Senior Manager for IT. “As the Distance Learning programme continues, this new system helps us serve families and teachers better by using video conferencing and screen sharing technology.”

How it works

The service works best on laptops but also supports iPads. Please be sure to un-mute your speakers so you can hear us.

Step 1: During the hours of 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, visit:  http://help.unishanoi.org

Step 2: Click on the large video icon

Step 3: Follow the Zoom prompts to join the web conference

Step 4: Our staff will greet you and ask what help you need.

In addition, the School’s Tech Team will continue to offer email or phone based support.

To speak to a Tech specialist, please call 024 7300 4512 ext: 8601

To email the team, please write to: techsupport@unishanoi.org

The Helpdesk Service is open from 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Free Spring Break Programme attracts more than 300

Plans are well underway to run a free Spring Break Programme to students whose parents registered their interest with the Co-curricular office last week. 

The School decided to offer a programme to families with children in Discovery to Grade 8 that would help consolidate math and literacy learning during the School holiday. Additionally, fun games, sports and art activities would be incorporated. But without a good idea on the numbers, planning couldn’t take place. The response to the initial email sent last week was positive, with families registering 360 students in total onto the programme. The Activities team is delighted that they can support every child that signed up!

Next Step

The families who registered their child’s interest in participating have since received a new email from the Co-curricular Office with a request to complete a form and health questionnaire to confirm their places. 

Gentle Reminder: The running of this programme is subject to any COVID-19 preventative measures the authorities put in place concerning school campus closures in the coming days and weeks. 

UNIS Hanoi’s Co-Curricular Activities Manager, Adrian Hubbard, will continue to communicate directly with families that have registered their children onto the programme. 

The deadline to complete the registration form and mandatory health questionnaire is next Monday (March 16). 

Advice from UNICEF: How to talk to your child about COVID-19

Are you unsure how to start a conversation with your child about COVID-19? Don’t worry, our friends at UNICEF have shared 8 tips for parents to follow to help comfort and protect their child. Read their expert advice here:

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by everything you’re hearing about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) right now. It’s also understandable if your children are feeling anxious, too. Children might find it difficult to understand what they are seeing online or on TV – or hearing from other people – so they can be particularly vulnerable to feelings of anxiety, stress and sadness. But having an open, supportive discussion with your children can help them understand, cope and even make a positive contribution for others.

1.  Ask open questions and listen

Start by inviting your child to talk about the issue. Find out how much they already know and follow their lead. If they are particularly young and haven’t already heard about the outbreak, you may not need to raise the issue – just take the chance to remind them about good hygiene practices without introducing new fears.

Make sure you are in a safe environment and allow your child to talk freely. Drawing, stories and other activities may help to open up a discussion.

Most importantly, don’t minimize or avoid their concerns. Be sure to acknowledge their feelings and assure them that it’s natural to feel scared about these things. Demonstrate that you’re listening by giving them your full attention, and make sure they understand that they can talk to you and their teachers whenever they like.

2.  Be honest: explain the truth in a child-friendly way

Children have a right to truthful information about what’s going on in the world, but adults also have a responsibility to keep them safe from distress. Use age-appropriate language, watch their reactions, and be sensitive to their level of anxiety.

If you can’t answer their questions, don’t guess. Use it as an opportunity to explore the answers together. Websites of international organizations like UNICEF and the World Health Organization are great sources of information. Explain that some information online isn’t accurate, and that it’s best to trust the experts.

3.  Show them how to protect themselves and their friends

One of the best ways to keep children safe from coronavirus and other diseases is to simply encourage regular handwashing. It doesn’t need to be a scary conversation. Sing along with The Wiggles or follow this dance to make learning fun.

You can also show children how to cover a cough or a sneeze with their elbow, explain that it’s best not to get too close to people who have those symptoms, and ask them to tell you if they start to feel like they have a fever, cough or are having difficulty breathing.

4. Offer reassurance

When we’re seeing lots of troubling images on TV or online, it can sometimes feel like the crisis is all around us. Children may not distinguish between images on screen and their own personal reality, and they may believe they’re in imminent danger. You can help your children cope with the stress by making opportunities for them to play and relax, when possible. Keep regular routines and schedules as much as possible, especially before they go to sleep, or help create new ones in a new environment.

If you are experiencing an outbreak in your area, remind your children that they are not likely to catch the disease, that most people who do have coronavirus don’t get very sick, and that lots of adults are working hard to keep your family safe.

If your child does feel unwell, explain that they have to stay at home/at the hospital because it is safer for them and their friends. Reassure them that you know it is hard (maybe scary or even boring) at times, but that following the rules will help keep everyone safe.

5. Check if they are experiencing or spreading stigma

The outbreak of coronavirus has brought with it numerous reports of racial discrimination around the world, so it’s important to check that your children are neither experiencing nor contributing to bullying.

Explain that coronavirus has nothing to do with what someone looks like, where they are from or what language they speak. If they have been called names or bullied at school, they should feel comfortable telling an adult whom they trust.

Remind your children that everyone deserves to be safe at school. Bullying is always wrong and we should each do our part to spread kindness and support each other.

6. Look for the helpers

It’s important for children to know that people are helping each other with acts of kindness and generosity.

Share stories of health workers, scientists and young people, among others, who are working to stop the outbreak and keep the community safe. It can be a big comfort to know that compassionate people are taking action.

7. Take care of yourself

You’ll be able to help your kids better if you’re coping, too. Children will pick up on your own response to the news, so it helps them to know you’re calm and in control.

If you’re feeling anxious or upset, take time for yourself and reach out to other family, friends and trusted people in your community. Make some time to do things that help you relax and recuperate.

8. Close conversations with care

It’s important to know that we’re not leaving children in a state of distress. As your conversation wraps up, try to gauge their level of anxiety by watching their body language, considering whether they’re using their usual tone of voice and watching their breathing.

Remind your children that they can have other difficult conversations with you at any time. Remind them that you care, you’re listening and that you’re available whenever they’re feeling worried.


Information compiled by Jacob Hunt, UNICEF communications specialist