Frequently Asked Questions About Distance Learning

We’d like to thank all parents who time out of their busy day to attend our parent sessions. We hope you found the interaction as useful as we did. We received a number of questions before, during and after the sessions, which will be responded to individually. In the meantime, here are Frequently Asked Questions and our answers: 

How do I know my child won’t have learning gaps during this time off campus?

Curriculum at UNIS Hanoi follows a ‘spiral’ design. This means that learning is spread out over time and opportunities exist in between learning new concepts so that students can consolidate their understandings, practice and improve. Following this revision and practice period, new and more complex/difficult content is added. In a spiral curriculum, concepts are visited many times throughout a year, and across multiple grade levels. This means that concepts are revisited again and again at a steadily increasing level of difficulty throughout the course of an academic year. 

During the month of February, much of what is being learned are concepts that most students are already familiar with. When the students resume school, there are opportunities within the school timetable for teachers to assess each child’s progress and consider revisiting previous tasks if needed.

How are students being assessed?

Our Distance Learning programme is designed to deliver the same content your child would have received if they were in the classroom. As much as possible, teachers have redesigned their lessons to suit online learning. Teachers, Learning Support Teams and Counsellors are checking in regularly (sometimes daily) and are aware of students’ progress. 

If your child is in Middle and High School, formative and summative assessments are still on the schedule. To check upcoming assignments parents can log into their Veracross parent portal, click on the ‘Assignments’ tab and view their child’s schedule. 

Will UNIS Hanoi open during Spring Break, on Saturdays or extend the school year?

We are making every effort to open our school as soon as possible. However if we are forced to remain close in March, we will continue to deliver distance learning. We believe that our distance learning programme has supported the continuity of learning and that “learning gaps” have been minimized during school closure. When school opens, teachers will ensure that children who have not met the  expected learning outcomes will have the time and support they need to meet these expectations. We have made some initial changes to the school calendar – our final professional development day and parent, teacher conference days will be regular school days and Wednesday dismissal time will be extended to the same dismissal time as rest of the week. We will continue to discuss this should school closure continue.

The work the teachers are sending is too much and we as parents are not teachers. What can you advise?

We understand the burden our current situation places on families, in particular parents who may feel as if they’ve suddenly had to become both parent and teacher to their child. Our teachers are looking to simplify instructions so that the onus isn’t on a parent to explain a task. Teachers will also recommend a time limit for each task. We also would like to remind all parents to do as little or as much as they believe they and their child can accomplish in a day. It’s okay to not do all the slides. For more guidance, please read our tips here. Also, please ask the teachers of your child for help.

What additional help is available for families who do not speak English as their first language?

In response to parent feedback, we have added to the Distance Learning slides, instructions and video with clear explanations for EAL students. Families have reported that this is the most effective way for our EAL students to understand instructions clearly. If parents are having trouble understanding the instructions, please contact your child’s homeroom teachers immediately.  

If campus remains closed until the end of March, what plans are in place to support Grades 11 and 12?

We understand concerns regarding Grade 11 and Grade 12. First and foremost, please rest assured we are making every effort to reopen the campus to students. Additionally, we have been delivering synchronous learning to our IB Diploma candidates and increased face-to-face time with each student. Please know that learning is still occurring and students are still required to complete tasks and submit assignments as requested. We are also finding alternative ways to bring teachers and Grade 11 and Grade 12 students together until campus reopens. 

As a School, we have reviewed the examinations timetable for Grade 11 and, in the unfortunate event we do remain closed until the end of March, we are able to reschedule mocks and examinations as these are decided by individual schools and not by the IBO. 

We are working closely with Grade 12 families to make alternative arrangements for mocks in the unfortunate event we will remain closed in March. Final Examinations for Grade 12 students begin on Thursday 30 April and we are confident campus will reopen by this time. Additionally, we continue to liaise with the IBO and college and university admissions teams around the globe to inform them of the extenuating circumstances our students find themselves in. 

We believe that our distance learning programme has supported the continuity of learning and that “learning gaps” have been minimized during school closure. When school opens, teachers will ensure that children who have not met the  expected learning outcomes will have the time and support they need to meet these expectations. We have made some initial changes to the school calendar – our final professional development day and parent, teacher conference days will be regular school days and  Wednesday dismissal time will be extended to the same dismissal time as rest of the week. We will continue to discuss this should school closure continue. 

Hand Hygiene Matters – A Powerful Antidote to Illness​

Hand washing is such an important public health measure for reducing the impact of communicable diseases such as influenza, COVID-19, and seasonal flu . 

Students from Discovery through to Grade 5 were given the option to help us create a poster that they can understand and follow the steps of hand washing, while learning how important it is to wash their hands. Watch this space in the next TIN TUC to see the amazing work they are creating.

Prevention of communicable diseases:

  • Maintain good health by eating nutritious food, drink a lot of water, get adequate sleep, and engage in physical exercise regularly.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue away in the trash after you use it.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
  • Avoid sharing glasses, straws and spoons.
  • Avoid close contact with patients with flu-like symptoms.
  • Avoid being in crowded and poorly ventilated places for an extended period of time.

What should I do if I get sick?

Most people with the flu like symptoms have mild illness and do not need medical care or antiviral drugs. If you get sick with flu symptoms, in most cases, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people except to get medical care.

  • Hand washing is a powerful antidote to illness​. Wash hands with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • ​When coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth with tissue or turn away from people, and cough into the shoulder or crook of the elbow. Throw the tissue in the trash bin after using.​
  • ​Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you have flu-like symptoms, stay home for at least 24 hours (extended to 48hrs during the COVID-19 outbreak) after the fever is gone.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs.

If, however, you have symptoms of flu and are in a high risk group, or are very sick or worried about your illness, contact your healthcare provider (doctor, physician assistant, etc.).

This is a great online course that anyone can take on how you can protect yourself from COVID-19.  https://openwho.org/courses/eprotect-acute-respiratory-infections

https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/index.html

https://www.who.int/

WHO Vietnam Expert Insight on COVID-19

Experts from the World Health Organisation (WHO) Vietnam gave faculty, staff and parents an exclusive presentation on the COVID-19 today (Friday 14 February). 

WHO Representative for Vietnam, Dr Kidong Park, together with his team members Dr Sotoku Otsu and Moreblessing Moyo gave an enlightening talk on the COVID-19 (more commonly referred to as the CoronaVirus) and what scientists currently know. 

It’s not entirely new: Delving into the science, Dr Otsu, the Diseases Control and Health Emergency Team Coordinator, said the Coronavirus is a known disease within the health community and COVID-19 is a new strain of a virus they are already familiar with. In fact, she shared, the CoronaVirus exists in the common flu as well. And although WHO had declared COVID-19 to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) on 30th January 2020, Dr Otsu reassured the audience that the public should not be overly alarmed. She added, “PHEIC is declared when an extraordinary event is determined to constitute a public health risk in other states through an international spread of disease and to potentially require a coordinated international response. By declaring PHEIC, WHO [alerts] countries to be prepared for managing and preventing this disease.”

Vietnam Government has been diligent and proactive: The WHO team commended Vietnam for their proactive response to safeguarding their citizens from the virus. However, Dr Otsu highlighted that ‘almost all’ confirmed cases of the CoronaVirus had a clear link to China. Additionally, in China only 28 cases of the virus were found in children. There have been no confirmed cases of CoronaVirus in children outside of China, she stated. 

Transmission and infection is limited: During the one hour presentation, Dr Otsu and Dr Park illustrated how the virus is transmitted. The ‘mode of transmission’ they shared was via droplets (a cough or a sneeze). However, Dr Otsu said that a droplet is too heavy to ‘fly’ farther than a metre away, thus, for human to human transmission to happen, a person would have to be very close to the person sneezing or coughing and the droplet would need to be transferred typically on to the face for the other person to be infected. The doctors also shared that the virus needs to ‘live in a cell’ in order to replicate. Outside of a human body or animal, the virus ‘dies’ after a few hours. The doctors emphasised the importance of hand washing with soap and water as the best way to ‘kill’ the virus and limit the chance of spreading. The doctors also revealed that the incubation period for the virus is between three to five days. Therefore 14 day quarantines ensured there was an extremely low risk of contagion. 

Current Situation in Vietnam

  • The Vietnamese government has been very proactive in stemming the spread of the virus
  • The Vietnamese government opted to take extra measures such as closure of schools
  • The Vietnamese authorities are carrying out ‘contact tracing’ to ensure that people who have interacted with known ‘cases’ are being tested, monitored and quarantined. 
  • To date, there are 16 confirmed cases, concentrated in three provinces – Vinh Phuc, Thanh Hoa and Khanh Hoa. 
  • Six people have fully recovered and have been discharged from hospital
  • 602 people are under monitoring

WHO Recommendation for the General Public

  • Stay Healthy (eat well, sleep and stay hydrated)
  • Avoid close contact with people with respiratory symptoms 
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds

Recommended Information Sources:

From the Head of School: School closure – daily update #5

Dear Families,

We would like to take this opportunity to thank parents and caregivers who have worked with students to make distance learning a positive and successful learning experience.  We would also like to acknowledge and thank our teachers who have endeavoured to provide meaningful and engaging distance learning opportunities for your children.

As you know, schools in HCMC have been directed to extend the current closure and universities in Hanoi have received a similar notice.
At this time of sending, the Hanoi Municipal People’s Committee has not yet made an announcement for Hanoi. We are ready for both the possibility of continued distance learning on Monday and for the possibility of reopening.

Please check your email over the weekend and we will inform you of UNIS Hanoi’s decision in time for school on Monday.

Thank you again for continued patience and understanding.

Yours sincerely
Jane McGee

Monitoring the Novel Coronavirus Outbreak

Please note this news article will be updated during the Tet Holiday week:
Update 27 January:

In the face of the unfolding CoronaVirus global crisis, the UNIS Crisis Response Team has remained in regular contact over the holiday period and has decided to take the following measures to protect our community as we return from the Tet Holiday:

  1. To prepare for school to open on Monday February 3, campus will remain closed for the entire Tet Holiday. Open campus, originally scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday has been cancelled.

  1. We are following our pandemic response School Operating Regulations and ensuring we have appropriate measures in place for the current level of the outbreak as well as any changes that may occur. The plan includes procedures for all aspects of the school including hygiene, sanitation, access to campus, communication and possible online/off-campus learning provision. More details will be communicated prior to the start of school.

  1. Tournament and Event Cancellation Updates:

It has been decided to cancel our hosting of the APAC Basketball tournament which was scheduled for the week after the break. Like many other international schools in the area we cannot at this time take any risk to our community which can reasonably be avoided.

Our students will not be travelling to the international events scheduled immediately after the Tet break which have been cancelled, and it is unlikely that those scheduled throughout the month of February will take place.

February event status summary (January 27 12:00):

  • APAC Swimming – Cancelled
  • APAC Basketball at UNIS – Cancelled
  • AMIS (Band and Orchestra) – Cancelled
  • MRISA Basketball (HCMC) – tbd
  • APAC Band – tbd
  • APAC Theatre – tbd
  • MRISA Soccer – tbd
  • Model United Nations at UNIS – tbd

In the meantime, as you travel in the region please continue to follow the guidelines shared by our School Health Centre below to limit your exposure and protect the safety of your family and our community.

HEALTH TIPS FOR TRAVEL:

  • Choose the window seat to minimize contact with others.
    You’re more likely to get sick if you sit within one or two rows of a sick traveler, but you can’t predict this in advance. In general, no matter where you end up, you’ll want to avoid as much contact with other people as you can.
  • Turn on your air vent.
    While you aren’t likely to catch something from the recycled air, you may still be at risk from airborne pathogens hovering near you. So turn the air vent to low or medium and aim it to blow down into your lap. This will hopefully direct those germs away from your face.
  • Wipe down your tray table, armrest, and seat.
    Bad news: The airline does not clean your accommodations nearly as often as they should. Researchers have found that the seat pocket and armrests are some of the germiest spots on planes, though the in-flight entertainment screen, tray table, and other areas of your seat follow not far behind.
  • Avoid in-flight magazines, blankets, and pillows.
    Like those seat surfaces, there’s no guarantee these items have been cleaned recently. You’re probably best off avoiding them altogether. If you tend to get chilly, just bring your own sweater.
  • Wear a Surgical Mask.
    This will help protect you from large droplet particles, and if your flight is a long one, you will need to change it (every 8 hours is an approximate recommendation.)

USEFUL LINKS:

PERSONAL HEALTH PRECAUTIONS:

  • Hand washing is your number 1 defence!
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Use hand sanitizer, even after washing your hands.
  • Rest well, especially if you have a long flight.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

After you land, don’t let down your guard. Remember, while your actual flight may make up the bulk of your travel, you’re also in close proximity to other travelers in the airport, taxis, and other parts of your day. So don’t get complacent once you’re off the plane.

RETURNING FROM THE HOLIDAYS:

  • Please DO NOT send your child to School if they are sick, you are putting other students and staff at risk if you do so!
  • If your child is sick or you are concerned, please contact the School Health Centre for further instructions.

 
Update 25 January: The APAC Swimming tournament (and all other APAC events in China) has been cancelled and our students will not be travelling for this competition.
In addition we have alerted our colleagues in China and Hong Kong that we cannot host their students should the APAC Basketball event at UNIS still happen (scheduled for February 5). The situation is being monitored closely and that decision will be made later in the week.
Our student athletes and families involved in hosting have been informed.

 

Posted 24 January: Due to the news of the Novel Coronavirus (nCoV) outbreak originating in China, we would like to reassure you that we are monitoring the situation closely and planning for possible School responses to protect our community should the situation worsen.

At this time (January 24 14:00), there are 2 confirmed cases of the Coronavirus (nCoV) reported in the news in Vietnam. Today, schools in China have also started to report receiving direction from the government for the cancellation of non-essential events, and we know that one school at least has cancelled hosting tournaments.

This is a fast developing situation and we will be monitoring it closely and keeping our community updated during the break.

We have international tournaments planned immediately after the Tet Holiday which will be impacted. Also, depending on the developing situation, schools may be further impacted following the Lunar New Year national holidays in Asia. We are working in collaboration with health agencies and our international school colleagues for an effective and responsible response.

In the meantime, as some of you are preparing to travel during the holidays, please be aware of the international concern around the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak and take note of some advice from our School Health Centre.

HEALTH TIPS FOR TRAVEL:

  • Choose the window seat to minimize contact with others.
    You’re more likely to get sick if you sit within one or two rows of a sick traveler, but you can’t predict this in advance. In general, no matter where you end up, you’ll want to avoid as much contact with other people as you can.
  • Turn on your air vent.
    While you aren’t likely to catch something from the recycled air, you may still be at risk from airborne pathogens hovering near you. So turn the air vent to low or medium and aim it to blow down into your lap. This will hopefully direct those germs away from your face.
  • Wipe down your tray table, armrest, and seat.
    Bad news: The airline does not clean your accommodations nearly as often as they should. Researchers have found that the seat pocket and armrests are some of the germiest spots on planes, though the in-flight entertainment screen, tray table, and other areas of your seat follow not far behind.
  • Avoid in-flight magazines, blankets, and pillows.
    Like those seat surfaces, there’s no guarantee these items have been cleaned recently. You’re probably best off avoiding them altogether. If you tend to get chilly, just bring your own sweater.
  • Wear a Surgical Mask.
    This will help protect you from large droplet particles, and if your flight is a long one, you will need to change it (every 8 hours is an approximate recommendation.)

USEFUL LINKS:

PERSONAL HEALTH PRECAUTIONS:

  • Hand washing is your number 1 defence!
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Use hand sanitizer, even after washing your hands.
  • Rest well, especially if you have a long flight.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

After you land, don’t let down your guard. Remember, while your actual flight may make up the bulk of your travel, you’re also in close proximity to other travelers in the airport, taxis, and other parts of your day. So don’t get complacent once you’re off the plane.

RETURNING FROM THE HOLIDAYS:

  • Please DO NOT send your child to School if they are sick, you are putting other students and staff at risk if you do so!
  • If your child is sick or you are concerned, please contact the School Health Centre for further instructions.