This has been a very positive week here at Wellington College. You probably saw the little video I made for the students, including a brief glimpse of the new Theatre. I spent some time there yesterday, looking at various small details. Unfortunately, this is not really a theatre-going time in history, so it will be a while before we can use it properly for shows, productions and concerts, but you should get a chance at least to visit it (in small, socially-distant groups) before we close for the summer.
Much of the week has been given over to preparations for re-opening the campus. You may have heard various dates being suggested; we don’t think it will be this month but, whenever it is, we will be completely ready to open our doors as soon as we are given the go-ahead by the Government.
When the campus does re-open, I know that many of you will be very eager to get your children back here, while others will still want to keep their children at home. This is an uncertain time, and of course we support you either way. Remote Learning will be available throughout this term. It is very likely that some portion of the curriculum will continue to be accessed remotely for at least the rest of 2020: we should all be ready for a little flexibility and change. In the first week or two after re-opening, we may have to run half-classes – either half-days or one-day-in-one-day-remote. This decision will be for the government to make, of course.
We are also looking at the implementation of UV disinfection as well as drone-spraying(of the facility, not the people!) and floor-based processes for shoes.
Of course, we will implement full social distancing measures, mask-wearing at all times, clear limits on movement and mixing between groups. But that doesn’t mean we have to think narrowly: the key question for us is not what we cannot do, but what we can do. Our curriculum in the time of Covid will be as rich and varied as possible, without compromising anyone’s safety.
Ms Byrne is producing a series of short videos for parents, which will explain our procedures and the reasoning behind them. We will release these regularly over the next couple of weeks – please do look out for them.
There is more and more talk around the world about people’s emotional health in this time of lockdown. I think we are generally very lucky to be here in Thailand: the government has been very successful so far with its virus containment measures – I understand there are currently only 112 cases left in the whole country – and there is not anything like the same disaster-panic here as there is currently in the UK or the US.
Nevertheless, life is not the same as before and being ‘trapped’ at home as a young family is almost bound to stir difficult emotions, frustration, anger, confusion, fear and so on. Personally, I have found lockdown itself to be quite pleasurable, but I know that if it had happened fifteen or twenty years ago, I would not have felt the same way at all!
It is a regular theme of mine, as you know: negative feelings themselves may not be avoidable – they arise outside our control – but we can still be thoughtful, grateful, forgiving, kind, loving and rational. No-one has to attack others: we’re all in this together!