From the Head of School

Dear Families,

This past week has been filled with learning experiences and celebrations that define our community at UNIS Hanoi and our commitment to our mission, vision and values.
On Monday, the school observed the UN’s International Day of Peace in a myriad of ways including making Peace Cranes, practicing mindfulness through yoga sessions and at the Diploma level, investigating the role and number of the UN Peacekeeping Operations around the world. In recognition of our host country, on Thursday, curricular activities in the ES explored the tradition and importance of the Autumn Moon Festival throughout Vietnam. And for those of you with children in Grade 5, you will be aware that the current unit of inquiry exploring different forms of governance and the impact on citizens has led to a “peaceful” protest on campus calling for action on Climate Change.
This weekend, over 100 of our parents will be participating in the Goody Bag Discovery Trail and I would like to extend a thank you to those who have taken the lead on this project and also our eco-friendly partners for their commitment to collaborate with our community. It is a great way for all of us to learn more about this incredible city.
And, finally, thank you to a group of our Grade 12 parents and students for initiating the School Cookbook project. It is not too late to contribute to the over 100 recipes currently submitted. The deadline has been extended to September 28 and details can be found in this edition of Tin Tuc.
The learning and engagement of our students, your children, is palpable.
Have a wonderful weekend.
Jane

Join UNIS Hanoi’s Sustainability Committee

Want to help make UNIS Hanoi a more sustainable school? Now you can by joining our Sustainability Committee to help us on our journey.

What’s a Sustainable School?
A sustainable school practices and models sustainability in all aspects of its mission, governance, operation, its engagement and relationship with the outside community, and of course, its curriculum, teaching and learning processes. 

How can schools do this?
As places of learning, schools can help students understand our impact on the planet and how to effectively address the challenges we face. Solutions to the world’s current and future challenges may be found in our classrooms and schools. Already at UNIS Hanoi we have introduced recycled rainwater in some bathrooms, solar power panels in the Ly Thai To Building, reduction of single use plastic and many more energy efficient initiatives on campus.

The 2018-19 Sustainability Committee brainstorm ideas

In fact over the last two years, the UNIS Sustainability Committee has addressed all areas of school operations and worked to include sustainable solutions and improvements in our working environments, our physical well being, our professional development and our service learning groups. 

And the journey continues…

The sustainability committee is now developing realistic action plans for this year. If you are motivated to help us achieve our goals please register HERE. You will be contacted shortly before our next committee meeting.  

UNIS Hanoi lives our commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by ensuring a balanced consideration of nature, economy, society, and wellbeing guides our choices and actions.

Upcoming events September 28 – October 4

Tuesday, September 29
Join Davidson, Smith and Union Colleges (USA)- Online info
20.00-21.30

Wednesday, September 30
Christian Colleges and Universities Virtual Seminar
20.00-21.00

Thursday, October 1
Virtual ES Learning Conferences
8.00-16.00

Virtual MS Parent Session
11.00-12.00

Saturday, October 3
SixColleges.Org: Information session for international students
8.00-10.00

SAT test
8.30-13.30

UNIS Hanoi Observes UN International Day of Peace

Faculty, students and staff wore blue and white on Monday as the school observed the United Nations International Day of Peace. Every year, September 21 is set aside by the UN General Assembly to call for a strengthening of peace among nations. At UNIS Hanoi, students in ECC practiced mindfulness through yoga sessions, while students in the Elementary School retold the tale of a Japanese girl called Sadako and discovered the meaning behind the 1000 origami peace cranes.

Our students cranes were installed in the library, and will remain an everyday reminder to the community about the UN’s work towards attaining world peace.

At the Diploma Level, the Global Politics class seized the opportunity to learn more about the United Nations and hold careful and critical conversations concerning the work of the UN, including a look at current UN Peacekeeping Operations. Guiding questions included:

  1. What is the value of the UN?
  2. What are the limitations, strengths & weaknesses of the UN?
  3. If we did not have the UN would we still need it?
  4. What is at stake with regards to addressing and answering these questions?

UNIS Cultural Collection Enriches Student Learning

The UNIS Cultural Collection is an educational collection designed to inspire learning through the lens of Vietnam’s rich cultural heritage. This collection was made possible by the generous donation of more than 200 Vietnamese cultural and historical artefacts by a UNIS Hanoi parent and her business partner from 54 Traditions.

While the official launch of the collection to the community is not until the UN Day Celebration, our teachers couldn’t wait any longer, wishing to advance their students’ learning experience by bringing the collection to their classes.

This week, Grade 8 students have been observing and drawing items from the UNIS Cultural Collection in the current unit focusing on improving drawing skills. While focusing on line, mass and ink, the students looked at objects such as instruments, baskets and rice cutters. A variety of clothing items from the collection were the subject matter while examining patterns and using watercolor. Grade 9 and Grade 10 students who are currently in the iBlock Vietnamese Textiles looked at the weaving and embroidery used in these textiles.

Meanwhile, Grade 7 students, as part of their Individuals and Societies classes, explored artefacts in the UNIS Cultural Collection for their exciting new project: showcasing their learning and helping be cultural ambassadors for Vietnam.The unit focuses on culture and how it forms a part of our shared identity with others, which is often dependent on time, place, and space, and can be expressed in many ways. This week the students examined different items and their connections in class. They also had a chance to look at the collection in person and begin the investigation of the diverse ethnic groups and cultures in Vietnam.

Grade 7 will be creating videos explaining the artefacts and the cultures they are from. These videos will eventually be part of the UNIS Cultural Collection’s on-campus exhibition and online resource. If you are interested in helping be a community contributor or you feel you have any expertise or insight to help contribute to this project, please contact Laura Kaufman.

 

Hot Food Service Coming Soon!

We have presented our plan for food services based on our current circumstance to the local authorities and have been given the green light to move ahead with offering hot food service in the canteen. The required modifications to our dining area are underway. These modifications include the installation of brand new plexiglass dividers, as well as an implementation of an enhanced canteen cleaning roster, to ensure we’ve taken every precaution against COVID-19 as we possibly can. 

UNIS Hanoi’s hot food service plans to commence on Monday October 5.

Please continue to read Tin Tuc for updates. 

Goody Bag Discovery Trail – This Weekend!

Our Community Connections special weekend launch is here!
Our UNIS Connectors are looking forward to welcoming you, and we hope that you have enjoyed signing up for activities for the weekend and planning your trail to visit them. There are spaces still available for activities and time to make your plans today!
You will meet plenty of new friends out on the Discovery Trail this weekend and every time you see one of our UNIS Eco-Bags be sure to say “Hi” and take the opportunity to get to know someone new!
All the details for the events and the special offers to ‘fill your goody bag’ are on on our Community Connections page on the Parent Portal and some of the highlights for this weekend include:
  • Maison Art Market at Maison de Tet Decor featuring many of our UNIS Connectors on site (Saturday).
  • Free kickboxing trial class with Pace Gym (all weekend – booking required)
  • Tradition textile workshop with Future Traditions (Sunday – booking required)
  • Free workshops at Hockett Haus of Crafts  (Sunday drop-in)

Thank you for signing up for your eco-bag ‘passport’! Your bag has been sent home with your child. Please check with them. 

If they forget to bring it home you can either collect a bag at Maison de Tet Decor (26 Quang Ba, Tay Ho, Hanoi) from 09:00 – 10:00 (look out for the Community Connections table) or use the ‘Virtual Bag’ you have been sent by email as your passport until we can deliver your bag to you. All the UNIS Connectors have been informed and will recognise the ‘virtual bag’ as acceptable for the offers this weekend. Please be ready to show this email on your phone. 

Whether you have just arrived in Hanoi or have been part of the community for years, our new Community Connections Programme will have something for you.

Our goal is simple – to help orientate new families and inspire all our parents to try the wonderful range of shops and services in Tay Ho and further afield in Hanoi, with a strong focus on environmental sustainability and ethical partners.

We are grateful to the scores of UNIS Connectors (ethical shops, businesses and organisations) that have stepped up this week to offer you all a special welcome and special offers.

We look forward to seeing you out of the trail!

EVENTS: Saturday, September 26: 
  • 9:00 -17:00: Maison Art Market at Maison de Tet Decor. Read more about the event here.
  • 9:00-11:00 and 15:00-17:00: Free trial classes at Pace Kickboxing & Fitness To Ngoc Van. Call Ms. Giang at 0976056410 at least 15 minutes before to book your slots.
  • All day: Guided tour of The Secret Garden‘s professional music and lesson studio with free ice cream for kids (and adults!) Get $10 off demo lesson when enroll in September.
  • 9:00 – 21:00: Moon Festival event at Playtown: dragon dance and lantern making. Discount on entry.
  • 10:00-15:00: An introduction to Lotus Painting at Marina Slewka’s Lotus Painting Workshop. Refreshments will be available. Get 15% discount for future workshops if you sign up on the day. Visit their Facebook to find out more.
  • 10:00 – 16:00: Free drop in Yoga class and amazing discount when buying 1 month pass at Zenith Yoga. Get 20% discount when ordering food from our Vegan cafe (We serve proper coffee/espresso, juice and kombucha). Sign up here.
  • 11:00 – 14:00: Enjoy free refreshment when you shop at Cattan New York Clothing. 10% discount for UNIS Hanoi Families all year round.

EVENTS: Sunday, September 27: 

  • 9:00-11:00 and 15:00-17:00 all weekend: Free trial classes at Pace kickboxing & Fitness To Ngoc Van. Call Ms. Giang at 0976056410 at least 15 minutes before to book your slots.
  • 10:00 – 12:00: Workshop Open Day for UNIS Families at N Square Creative Learning Center. Enjoy our welcome coffee , tea and snack and introduction of workshops, teachers and chit chatting. Kids’ workshop include: Swimming, Craft & Storytelling, Baking, Hip Hop – Jazz dance Adults’ Workshops include: Art – painting , sketching, shading. Sign up here.
  • 10:00 – 14:00: Free workshops at Hockett Haus of Crafts. 10:00 – 11:00 Tie dye 12:30 – 13:30 Mask Making & Coffee 13:00 – 14:00 Bohemian Art & Clay making.
  • 13:00 – 17:00: Open house at Future Traditions Showroom. Meet Future Traditions designer Cynthia Mann and renowned textile producer Sam Thi Tinh from Hoa Tien Brocade. Special discounts on all Future Traditions collections, a free gift and a range of ethnic Thai textiles will be available for sale.
    From 15.30 to 16.30 Tinh will run a special “taster” dyeing workshop. As numbers will be limited to 10, please email your request to participate to cynthia@futuretraditions.asia.
  • 10:00 – 16:00 all weekend: Free drop in Yoga class and amazing discount when buying 1 month pass at Zenith Yoga. Get 20% discount when ordering food from our Vegan cafe (We serve proper coffee/espresso, juice and kombucha). Sign up here.
  • 9:00 – 21:00: Moon Festival event at Playtown: dragon dance and lantern making. Discount on entry.
Check out the Directory and Map on our Community Connections page on the Parent Portal.

Questions? Please contact Events Coordinator, Giang Pham (pngiang@unishanoi.org).

Tips to Help Your Child Achieve at School

Everyone wants their child to perform well at school. How can you help your children reach their maximum potential? Research has identified four factors which influence a child’s learning at school and this is where you can make a real difference.

Eat Breakfast
Studies and research show students who eat breakfast are significantly:

  • More attentive in the classroom
  • Earned higher grades
  • Have fewer behavioral and emotional problems.  

Breakfast doesn’t have to be a huge and complicated meal but it is probably the most important meal of your child’s day. Try and make eating breakfast a habit and soon even reluctant children will get the hang of it. Milk or a milkshake, fruit smoothies, fruit juices, fresh fruit, yoghurt, cereal (though watch that sugar content), wholemeal toast, rice or noodles, are some of the options for a healthy start to the day. If children complain about a lack of time, it takes merely a few minutes to eat a banana and drink some milk!

Healthy Snacking
For the same reasons as above, if you are giving your child a snack for recess make sure it’s a healthy one. Candy, chocolate and potato chips will give them a sudden increase in blood sugar, but are digested too quickly which will result in a short lived burst of energy. Soon they will be feeling hungry again making them irritable and leaving them unable to concentrate in lessons; just ask a teacher about that lesson before lunch! It makes good sense to give your child something nutritious which will sustain them until lunchtime. Healthy snack options that can help bridge the gap until lunchtime include:

  • A piece of fruit
  • Yoghurt or a milk drinks (watch for sugar content)
  • Raisins or other dried fruit 
  • Cereal bars (watch for sugar content) 
  • food high in protein and fibre, for example fruit and cheese.

Drink More Water
Hanoi can be very humid during the warmer months, add to that the amount of physical exercise and sport our children do and they can very quickly become dehydrated. By the time a person feels thirsty they are ALREADY dehydrated.

This can lead to:

  • Headaches
  • Lethargy
  • Inability to concentrate properly 
  • Muscle cramps and weakness during exercise
  • Constipation
  • Long term challenges such as continence problems, kidney and urine infections, plus kidney stones. 

It is important, therefore, to make sure your child remembers to drink plenty of fluids. The standard recommendation for children is 1.5 to 2 litres daily, drunk at regular intervals throughout the day. Always check that your child has a water bottle with them and remind them to drink more if they are doing sports or if the weather is very hot (on average a child weighing 30kg loses half a litre of water when exercising). 

Teenagers are particularly prone to not drinking enough, they get busy and simply forget. Teenage boys over 14 should average 2.5 litres a day with more in hot weather. Teens who do a lot of sport, as well as increasing their water intake, may also benefit from drinking one of the many sports drinks available on the market, which replace both fluid and electrolytes. 

Get Enough Sleep
Making sure your child has enough sleep is also vitally important and research actually shows that teenagers do need more sleep than adults! Tired children are poor performers; they are less alert and less able to concentrate than their peers who are getting a good night’s sleep. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine in the USA recommends that:

  • Preschoolers sleep 11-13 hours 
  • Children in grade school sleep 10-11 hours 
  • Teens sleep 9-10 hours a night. 
  • High school children should not be working into the early hours of the morning and study needs to be balanced with leisure and downtime in order to reduce stress levels and provide enough relaxation to sleep.

Try to encourage teens to plan their weekly workload so that they don’t leave everything to the last minute and make sure they are not taking on too much as it’s impossible to do everything (keep an eye on all of those extracurriculars). For younger children, try to set a regular bedtime during the week and get into a routine of getting school work done before providing some relaxation time together, perhaps by reading a book in bed. 

Practice Positive Parenting
Many studies have shown that ‘positive parenting’ also plays a huge part in our children’s achievement levels. It is considered the most effective style of parenting where parents are shown to be warm, fair and in control. 

Remember that children cannot be good at everything, and so try to celebrate the things they do well and encourage them with the things they find difficult. Putting too much pressure on children to always perform well can have an adverse effect and they may become stressed and ‘burnt out’. 

Life is all about balance so make sure your child has the time to do the things they enjoy such as listening to music, playing sport, watching TV (yes we did say that!) and socialising with their friends. 

Just a few simple steps can make all the difference to your child’s achievement levels at school. Here’s to happy, healthy learners!

What’s on your Parent Portal?

This week, we take a look at the online Library Service…

Did you know? Parents can still borrow a range of books, publications and magazines from the UNIS Hanoi library. Items can be requested either via email to library@unishanoi.org or by accessing the Library catalogue and placing a HOLD on items to borrow. Printed books, magazines and publications will be sent home via a student from your household. Digital material such as eBooks can be accessed through Sora. Information on how to set up a SORA account can be found on this LibGuide.

And there’s more! As well as the opportunity to borrow publications from the library, parents can also discover how our Library Team supports the student learning that takes place from Discovery right up to Grade 12! 

Visit the Community Wellness LibGuide for great resources available for families.

The Library Service is stocked with printed and online resources, giving UNIS Hanoi families a wealth of information at their fingertips. We are looking forward to welcoming parents back on campus on Saturday mornings when our restrictions are eased and normal library weekend hours resume.

From the Head of School

Dear Parents,

As we complete our fifth week of school, we continue to welcome back returning and new students and their families to Hanoi and the UNIS Community. This will continue throughout the first semester. Our faculty, staff, students and SCO have been modeling our core value of “Community” as they extend a warm welcome and intentionally reach out to offer support and build relationships.
This past week, we had nearly 100 of you join us for our first Community Meeting of the year. Thank you. We know from educational research that parent partnerships are key to the success of student learning. The recording of this meeting can be found on the Parent Portal. During and following the meeting, we collected questions from the community and you will find the responses to all included here in the TinTuc.
Tomorrow, UNIS Hanoi will be celebrating 33 years of offering an outstanding educational experience aligned with the Principles of the UN to children from around the world and our host country Vietnam. Happy Birthday UNIS Hanoi!
As a quick update, please mark your calendars for the upcoming Autumn Break which will take place from October 10 – October 18. The holiday will take place as originally scheduled.
Enjoy the weekend.
Jane

Questions Asked at the Head of School Community Meeting

We’d like to thank all parents who time out of their busy day to join our first Head of School Community Meeting zoom call this week or watched the shared recording. We are pleased that nearly 100 parents joined the meeting live and a similar number have watched the recording which is still available for parents on the Parent Portal.

Our team responded to as many of the questions that came up during the meeting as possible, and because of the large number in attendance, parents were invited to submit follow-up questions via the Parent Portal. Below is a round up of questions asked during and after the Community Meeting, together with our answers.

General 

Do you want to remind people to sign up for the laptop/device insurance? And the cost?
Parents are given the opportunity to sign up for laptop/device insurance as part of our enrolment and re-enrolment process. We will add the details under the Secondary and Elementary School sections on the Parent Portal for convenience. 

When will we have more details regarding the December School Holidays?
We will provide more details regarding the Winter Break immediately following Autumn Break. Please note:

  • Autumn Break will run as scheduled the week of October 12-16.
  • The first two weeks (December 19 – January 3) of Winter Break will not be adjusted. It is the third week that will be confirmed or moved following October Break.

Last week, an Elementary School student entered the School and parked his bicycle. As he was making his way to the classroom, someone stopped him and asked for his ID card. When he couldn’t produce it, he was told to go back outside the campus and walk around to the main gate and re-enter the campus from there, which he did. I know he’s not supposed to leave the campus without school and parent’s permission. Can you explain what happened on this occasion please?
Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We will work with our security team to ensure this does not happen again in the future. Elementary School children do not need their ID to enter campus. Only Secondary School students are required to produce their ID and will be directed to the main gate if they do not have their ID on them.

Curriculum and Co-Curricular 

I hope that students who want to take four IB Diploma (DP) Higher Level subjects are given the opportunity to do so.
Please contact the IB Diploma Coordinator (dpcoordinator@unishanoi.org) and/or your child’s School Counsellor to discuss your child’s IBDP course selections. 

Will students be going on Trip Week this semester?
Trip Week for Grades 5 – 12 are currently postponed. We have marked this on the School calendar since the start of school.

Was there MAP testing during the first semester last year?
Last year, we did not have students take the MAP testing at the start of the school year. This is a change from last year and we will continue this new timeline moving forward both for baseline data and to include new students.

My child tells me that he struggles to play sports with a mask on. Although I fully understand the importance of wearing a mask throughout the school day, I’d like to know if the PE teachers are adapting the curriculum to accommodate the wearing of masks?
Our PE teachers are actively monitoring the students and the impact of wearing a mask during activities. Lessons are planned to take into account the wearing of masks. Please also encourage your child to speak directly to the teacher if they are experiencing difficulties.  

When will parents be allowed on campus again? If it’s not possible to allow full access, would it be possible to allow limited access, at off-peak times, such as afternoons or weekends? It would make the logistics of swim practice, music lessons and ASA pick-up so much easier for parents of younger kids, especially those who don’t live in Ciputra.
Guidance from the Ministry of Health, Department of Education and Training in Hanoi and the Tay Ho authorities is ever evolving. At this time, we do not know when parents will be able to join us on campus. We do continually review the situation. 

As all MRISA events have been cancelled this year, what are the plans for UNIS Hanoi to intermix with other schools in Hanoi? Can we join any other international school or Vietnamese school tournaments for sport or drama or art etc?
Through a collaborative decision making process with partner schools from APAC and MRISA the decision was made to suspend all activities requiring travel outside of Hanoi for the first semester. Meetings with our partner schools will reconvene in early 2021 to evaluate the situation and determine if this position will extend through the second semester.  

We are in continuous communication with other schools in Hanoi, including all Hanoi Activities Conference (HAC) partners, to prepare to participate in tournaments, arts, and various cultural exchanges when it is deemed safe to do so. We are also exploring the possibilities of virtual options for various activities and events including virtual ASAs, virtual cross country events, virtual swimming events, and virtual MUN conferences.

Community Connections

Will the Head of School Community Meeting recording be available via the Parent Portal?
The recording of the presentation was made available via the Parent Portal on Tuesday afternoon. It will remain accessible via the home page until the evening of Tuesday September 22. 

In the future, can you explain to us how we can have a dual communication approach in terms of hearing from the parents and addressing some other questions that might be out there? For example, ask for questions before the session and then do a FAQ during the meeting?
We have used many models in the past and will continue to explore different options for effective engagement and dialogue with our parents during the year. However, for this meeting, as we had a significant amount of information to present for the start of the school year and given the high numbers expected in attendance, a more general Q&A session was not practical. We hope that opening up the question submission option gave parents adequate opportunity at this stage. Formats will continue to be adjusted throughout the year. 

What is the deadline for signing up onto the Goody Bag Discovery Trail?
The Goody Bag Discovery Trail (September 26-27) is our very first Community Connections event and seeks to bring new and returning families together to explore the great things on offer in fabulous Hanoi. To join the Discovery Trail, families are advised to sign up before September 24 in order to receive their eco-bag in time. However, there is no deadline for the programme which will  run all year long and your eco-bag is your ‘passport’ to all the special offers available through the programme. You are also welcome to simply ‘join the trail’ without sign-up but you will not have access to the special offers

Are parents welcome to apply for the UNIS Impact Fund for a project related to the School?
Yes! The UNIS Impact Fund is directed by a cross-community committee with parent, student, faculty, staff, Board and alumni representation. All these stakeholder groups in our community can also apply for Project Grants. The Grants Committee reviews all those applications for decision making. The Grants Committee is a sub-group from the main Impact Fund Committee and has two SCO reps on that committee. To learn more about our process and the criteria for approval, please visit our Giving page on our website: https://www.unishanoi.org/giving/impact-fund

Are there any plans to postpone UN Day to next semester when parents may be allowed onto campus?
We have discussed the timing of our UN Day (November 13) and the possibility of postponing celebrations, but the overwhelming feedback from students and teachers was that they wanted to stay as closely connected as possible to the International UN Day (which occurs on October 24)  and make the most of our current on-campus presence. The SDG Week (November 9-13) which precedes UN Day is also a key part of the School’s planning for students and ties to many of the current curriculum units. However, we are considering ongoing opportunities and we are certainly planning to find ways to involve all our community members in activities to celebrate that week.

Canteen Services

Sustainability and food packaging: It would be good to have a discussion about how we manage the use of packaging given the current canteen set up. What is your plan for this? Also, has feedback been provided to the canteen service, and questioning the reasons for the food waste that happens in the classrooms when students aren’t eating the food delivered? This is not aligned to our core values of sustainability around food consumption.
Providing a boxed lunch service through our Canteen providers, Epicure, is a temporary measure which we created as a service for our families in these challenging logistical times. Families are welcome to opt into this service or students can also bring a boxed lunch from home if they prefer. And many choose to do a mix of both. We encourage students to study the menu before ordering to avoid food waste. The menu for the boxed lunches has been updated with feedback from students and parents. Currently we deliver more than 500 lunches daily and this number remains stable with high levels of satisfaction reported.

In addition, we planned the delivery service to be as environmentally friendly as possible and all the packaging is bio-degradable and made from recycled materials. We are currently investing all our energy in this area in resuming a canteen service under strict regulations. Sustainability is a School goal this year and we will be focusing on this later in the year once we have service resumed.

Canteen and Cafe operations: There is confusion in the community as to why Concordia and BIS have opened their canteen and cafe from the start of the school year, while UNIS Hanoi hasn’t. Also, I have heard that a number of other international schools in Hanoi are providing opportunities for their students to have access to a choice of meals, including hot meals, from the cafeteria or cafe. Can you explain why we’re operating differently?
UNIS Hanoi is subject to restrictions imposed by Hanoi and Tay Ho authorities (People’s Party, Health Authority, and Department of Education and Training). Our COVID plan was subject to an inspection and agreement with the local authorities and in line with government directives. We cannot comment on how other Schools are operating in different local authority areas.

Please detail further the canteen plans you have for improving the quality of food served. This is not just about returning to hot lunches, as even prior to COVID-19, the food quality and nutritional content was very questionable. Would it be possible for the school to look at an independent nutritionist to assess the service and provide advice? Given pre-ordering, has it been considered that students could have a weekly menu of options that is available each day so that they can choose? Has any feedback/dialogue been formally provided to parents and the canteen service regarding the service of the canteen?
A number of changes based on student and parent feedback were implemented in the canteen at the start of the 2019-2020 school year. At that time, a “Student Food Advisory Committee” was also formed and met regularly during the first semester. There are plans underway to reconvene this committee in the next couple of weeks. As we move towards reopening the canteen and moving back to regular canteen services, we will continue to work with our parent representatives on the SCO regarding our food services and also gather feedback from the wider community through our Annual Climate Survey. The boxed lunches were designed as a short term solution for those in our community who wanted continued lunch service. There are a number of suggestions embedded in these questions that will be taken under advisement and shared with our Canteen Services provider, Epicure. 

Can Secondary School students be given access to microwaves to warm up food brought from home? Perhaps an Epicure staff member could operate the microwave to help ensure social distancing is practiced?
Microwaves are not in use at the moment because we would have to disinfect the microwave to meet COVID-19 sanitation standards between each use. 

Bubbles and Masks

I am very clear on the process and purpose of the contact tracing system, and how it works. UNIS is working hard to mitigate risks, and can only be responsible for this on campus. However, I am not sure that the ‘bubbles’ you presented at the meeting will adequately hold up against the government guidelines if there is a COVID case (F0, F1) at UNIS. I support the social distancing approaches and mask use. But the current approach to keeping grade levels separated is not effectual – e.g. mixed grade classes (drama, language, maths), parents/teachers mixing across grades, siblings in different grades, cleaning staff travelling together to school and working across the school. Can you please explain the rationale for the ‘bubbles’ in a bit more detail, and a good way to do that might be to ‘map out’ a few ‘case scenarios examples’ for parents on what it might look like if there is a COVID case connected to UNIS. I assume you have already done this in our Business Continuity Plan so this might be a good process to share with the community.
The concept of bubbles is part of the government regulations. Our goal with bubbles is to limit the number of our community members that would be considered F1, F2 or F3 should there be a case in our community (parent or student). We are currently required to contact trace as an organization and report F0, F1 and F2 contacts. For example: If a parent with a student in G10 tests positive, the G10 student would be F1 (until tested); classmates, ASA peers, and bus peers would be F2; the remainder of our students would be F3 or F4. We would request that F3 and F4 students remain on campus (this has been granted in the past), rather than being required to close campus for all students. 

Please see the detailed explanation from our Director of Operations and Finance, Misty Shipley in her article “Bubbles, Canteen, Masks and more…” in this week’s Tin Tuc (September 18).

According to WHO recommendations, “children aged up to five years should not wear masks for source control” (Advice on the use of masks for children in the community in the context of COVID-19 Annex to the Advice on the use of masks in the context of COVID-19 21 August 2020 https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/WHO-2019-nCoV-IPC_Masks-Children-2020). With this in mind, why does UNIS, which has continuously put forward its compliance to WHO recommendations during this COVID-19 crisis, not followed the said recommendations on the use of masks for 5 years old children and younger?

We do appreciate measures which allow the UNIS campus to open in a situation when Covid-19 infections occur. Ensuring good hygiene and washing hands, measuring temperature and separating different grades (bubbles) are good examples of this. Wearing masks at entrance areas and “mixed zones” will support this bubble system. However, wearing masks within the homeroom for kindergarten children seems, in the current situation, too much and not right if we consider the strong impact on the children’s development such as hindering their social and language development because they can’t see faces. We hope that UNIS will further develop the current system to be more flexible. A system consisting of different levels with defined measures, could be easily applied if the situation might get more difficult again – and opened up again in a defined way if the situation allows. Of course we understand that UNIS has to comply with government regulations. However, we see that public and international schools in Hanoi do not require kindergarten children to wear masks or socially distance within their groups. Is this a special regulation which applies only to UNIS Hanoi? And if yes, what is the strategy to negotiate with the authorities about the loosening of these requirements for kindergarteners?

The early childhood setting is all about prevention. In the ECC we are continually trying to lay the foundations for the children to develop an internal locus of control. Locus of control is split into two parts, internal locus of control and external locus of control. External locus of control is the belief that situations and outcomes are a result of the environment and the environment only. Internal locus of control is the belief that situations and outcomes are the result of one’s personal skills and abilities. If a person has a high external locus of control they will contribute things that happen in their life as the effects of other environmental situations outside of their control. If a person has high internal locus of control they will credit a particular situation as an effect of something they did personally. A fundamental component to development in early years is establishing consistency. Consistency allows the children to understand fully what the boundaries are and what is expected of them. Realistic and achievable boundaries will allow the children to express themselves in the correct way and create a secure atmosphere whilst the child is in the setting. As the times are still unpredictable and there is no guarantee that there will not be another outbreak. It needs to be taken into consideration how developmentally appropriate it is to have consistent policies in place for our youngest learners, in order to prevent confusion, misunderstanding, and unnecessary frustration surrounding staying safe and healthy. 

At UNIS we consider teachers and parents to be partners in the process of learning, as well as fostering and placing value in reciprocal exchanges between children and adults throughout the course of constructing knowledge. I would like to invite you to consider the notion that there is not clear scientific evidence to support the concept that children are not carriers of Covid-19. Below are a few articles on the subject. As a community, the health of our educators is extremely important and should also be considered when putting in place preventative policies. 

 

Bubbles, Canteen, Masks and more…

At this week’s Community Meeting with the Head of School, we shared information about our ever-evolving approach to managing School life in the age of COVID-19.

As Ms McGee shared at the start of the School year, our decision making is multi-faceted, taking into account local authority directives, Government guidance and emerging educational expertise from peer schools managing significant crisis levels.

Our foundation through all our decision making is to ensure that we can safely keep students in School as long as possible, even if there were to be cases in the community. So despite the current situation of safety in Hanoi, we know it is unpredictable and can all change with very short notice. Our responsibility to our community is to be ready for that reality every day and our ‘frontline defence’ is mask wearing and operational ‘bubbles’.

As a school we have chosen to prioritise mask wearing since distancing can be challenging to enforce. Our experience is that we are able to be very successful with masks and this is appreciated by our local health authority and factors in their decision making for UNIS Hanoi.

At the Head of School’s Community Meeting this week, we explained briefly about our grade level and course ‘bubbles’ – groupings of students with known and manageable cross-over – which we have identified should crisis intervention be required and in the hope that we might not have to close school for all students.

As part of the current Ministry of Health regulations for schools, grouping of students is a requirement. Our goal with bubbles is to limit the number of our community members that would be considered F1, F2 or F3 should there be a case in our community (parent or student). We are required to contact trace as an organization and report F0, F1 and F2 contacts. The bubbles expand if students participate in ASA’s, sports, and/ or if they ride a bus.

For example: If a parent with a student in G10 tests positive, the G10 student would be F1 (until tested); classmates and faculty, ASA peers, and bus peers would be F2; the remainder of our faculty and students would be F3 or F4. We would request that F3 and F4 students remain on campus (this has been granted in the past as a result of our bubbles and mask wearing), rather than being required to close campus for all students. 

UNIS Hanoi is using this as an opportunity to work with the local authorities on best practices in an international school. It does not mean that if we have a positive case (on campus) we will not be shut down, but it does mean that by being responsible, we can keep as many students on campus as long as possible. 

As Vietnam learns to live and operate with COVID-19, we are working to present a model that can be emulated through the local school system and at the same time keeping our students and staff as safe as possible.

At the centre of School management of bubbles are shared areas such as the Canteen, which in addition to distancing (since masks are removed for eating) also have layered hygiene regulations with regards to transmission. However we are actively working on introducing Canteen service as soon as we can.

Starting next week, the cafe will have increased serving hours and students staying for after school activities will be able to buy drinks and snacks until 16.30. Service will be via the outside serving window and social distancing will be observed. In addition, High School students will be able to make purchases during their off-schedule, study-periods.

As Hanoi continues to open back up, new Government guidelines are being released and local authorities are finalising their level of adoption. Some of these apply to schools and others do not. We will take them into consideration as we review our procedures. Our community’s health and safety is our highest priority. Please remember that all decisions to update our campus and operational procedures will be undertaken with this priority in mind

We will have more information for you next week. Thank you for your patience and understanding and for supporting your child/ren’s understanding if they express any frustrations.

Misty Shipley
Director of Finance and Operations

Upcoming events September 21-27

Monday – Friday, September 21-25
UK Universities Virtual Week

Monday, September 21
International Day of Peace

Tuesday, September 22
MYP Online Parent Information Session
10.30-11.00

Thursday, September 24
Moon Festival Assembly – Virtual
9.25-10.15

Friday, September 25
ES Parents & Administrators Morning Coffee – Virtual
9.00-10.30

Saturday, September 26
UNIS Autumn Intrasquad Swim Gala
8.00-13.00

SAT test
8.30-13.30

Saturday & Sunday, September 26-27
Community Connections Programme Weekend Launch

Community Connections – Goody Bag Discovery Trail!

Whether you have just arrived in Hanoi or have been part of the community for years, our new Community Connections Programme will have something for you.

At a time when on-campus events are challenging to organise for 750+ families, and yet the need for connection is perhaps greater than ever, we are re-imagining our community events and services. And our first event of the year is our Goody Bag Discovery Trail – September 26-27

This event is designed to offer our traditional campus fair, as a Goody Bag Discovery Trail out in the community to coincide with the most popular family festival – Moon Festival!

Our goal is simple – to help orientate new families and inspire all our parents to try the wonderful range of shops and services in Tay Ho and further afield in Hanoi, with a strong focus on environmental sustainability and ethical partners.

We are grateful to the scores of UNIS Connectors (ethical shops, businesses and organisations) that have stepped up this week to offer you all a special welcome and special offers.
You could make a Moon Cake with Hanoi Cooking Centre, or create a unique piece of Lotus Leaf Art with Marina Slewka. You could deep dive into local textiles at Future Traditions or start a new hobby – Yoga? Pony riding? Music lessons? Painting class? Jazz dance?
And Maison de Tet  Decor is holding their first Saturday Fair of the year to coincide with our Discovery Trail and you can meet up with friends for coffee and discover a wide range of artists and artisans together.
So many options and there are more coming in!  Find out all the latest information on the Community Connections page on the Parent Portal where you can also sign up for your eco-bag ‘passport’ for all the offers!
And this week we are developing a map and a directory so you can be masters of your own exploration!

What do you need to do now?

  1. Sign up for your eco-friendly goody bag (designed by a G12 student and produced with a UNIS Impact Fund Grant – read the full story in Tin Tuc)
  2. Mark September 26-27 in your calendar and arrange to meet up with friends to get out and explore together.
  3. Sign up for an event, workshop, class or visit with our launch weekend connectors. See the full list below
  4. Bookmark the Community Connections page on the UNIS Parent Portal and check back regularly for new events and special offers.

Questions? Please contact Events Coordinator, Giang Pham (pngiang@unishanoi.org).

September 26-27Goody Bag Discovery Trail

PROMOS: Only available when you arrive with your special eco-bag:

  • Playtown: 20000 VND discount on entry until end of October 2020.
  • Quilts & Arts gift shop: Moon Festival Special Offer of 30% discount on all items. Valid from now until Oct 30.
  • Simple Coffee: 25% off 1 bag of coffee beans.
  • Hanoi Pony Club: 10% discount on outrides (60 minutes) throughout the school year. 15% discount for the Weekend of Sept 26.
  • Asvelis Veterinary Hospital: 10% Teeth scaling for your pet (to be used once a year)
  • Collective Memories: special discount of 10% on all art prints from Sep 26 to Sep 31.

EVENTS: Saturday, September 26:

  • 9:00-17.00: Maison Art Market at Maison de Tet Decor. Read more about the event here.
  • 9:00 – 11:00 and 15:00 – 17:00 all weekend: Free trial classes at Pace Kickboxing & Fitness. Call Ms. Giang at 0976056410 at least 15 minutes before to book your slots.
  • All day: Guided tour of The Secret Garden‘s professional music and lesson studio with free ice cream for kids (and adults!) Get $10 off demo lesson when enroll in September.
  • 10:00 – 13:00: Visit Marina Slewka’s Lotus Painting Workshop and enjoy free refreshment.
  • All weekend: Moon Festival event at Playtown. Check back for details.
  • All weekend: Free trial class at Pace Kickboxing & Fitness. Check back for details.
  • Zenith Yoga: Come visit their studio, enjoy free refreshment and get 15% off when order from their vegan cafe.

EVENTS: Sunday, September 27:

  • 9:00 – 11:00 and 15:00 – 17:00 all weekend: Free trial classes at Pace Kickboxing & Fitness. Call Ms. Giang at 0976056410 at least 15 minutes before to book your slots
  • 10.00 – 12.00: Workshop Open Day for UNIS Families at N Square Creative Learning Center. Enjoy our welcome coffee , tea and snack and introduction of workshops, teachers and chit chatting.Kids’ workshop include: Swimming, Craft & Storytelling, Baking, Hip Hop – Jazz dance Adults’ Workshops include: Art – painting , sketching, shading. Sign up here.
  • Workshop at Hockett Haus of Crafts. Check back for details.
  • 13:00-17.00: Open house at Future Traditions Showroom. Meet Future Traditions designer Cynthia Mann and renowned textile producer Sam Thi Tinh from Hoa Tien Brocade. Special discounts on all Future Traditions collections, a free gift and a range of ethnic Thai textiles will be available for sale.
    From 3.30 to 4.30 Tinh will run a special “taster” dyeing workshop. As numbers will be limited to 10, please email your request to participate to cynthia@futuretraditions.asia.

Help Change the World For Good!

  • Do you have a project you are keen to launch?
  • Are you involved in a Service activity that needs support?
  • Could an existing small project grow with a little help?

The UNIS Impact Fund is designed to support both ‘Big Ideas’ through its annual GOALS and smaller ‘Project Ideas’ through its GRANTS programme.

Our Big Ideas are all set for this year. We will continue to work on our UNIS Botanical Garden and our Solar Power on Campus projects. Watch out for full reports from our busy committees in next week’s Tin Tuc.

And now we want to hear from YOU with your ideas for smaller project funding grants. Anyone can apply for a grant (students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni). Our grants are designed to support individuals or small groups to pilot, experiment or prototype ideas to a maximum of $2,500 USD.

Your idea must create IMPACT, support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and be a project relating to one of the following areas:

  • Sustainability initiatives
  • Service Learning
  • Learning Excellence: Academics, Arts, Athletics
  • Facilities improvements
  • Professional Development

Fill out a GRANT APPLICATION today!

You can apply anytime and the Impact Fund Grants Sub-Committee will review them as they come in – the first meeting will be October 8. And if your idea is approved the funds are available immediately!

Thanks to the School Community Organisation, who are partners for the UNIS Impact Fund, we have funds ready to award for the GRANTS Programme and our Community Connections Programme is also supporting the Grants Programme this year! We have the funds – now we need the ideas!

We want our students to wake up every day knowing we can all make a difference, explore a passion for change and empower others to build their dreams. Together.

Find out more on the UNIS Impact Fund website

Questions? Ask our Director of Advancement, Emma Silva: doa@unishanoi.org