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Director's Dispatch: Planning for Next Year

While our teachers are focused on providing an effective online learning program for students to continue their academic growth, we are also planning for next year. While there is still uncertainty regarding when the airport will open and when the Senegalese government will allow schools to reopen for on-campus classes, the Board of Trustees and the Administration have developed a range of scenarios. The Board and different Board committees are meeting on a regular basis to examine enrollment projections based on a range of factors and create financial models based on the projected enrollment, so we are prepared for each possible outcome.

We certainly hope that we can all be on campus from the start of the year, but if the government does not allow schools to hold classes on campus, an online learning program will be needed. To be prepared, we will be taking a number of steps. This summer, all ISD teachers will be required to participate in professional development opportunities focused on online learning. A team of educators, led by Dr. Nneka Johnson, our Innovation Director, will be gathering feedback from students, parents, and teachers about the experience these past few months, consulting with other schools on the successes of their programs, and reviewing research to identify the best practices for online learning. Our goal will be to have an improved online learning program to meet the needs of all of our students. While we hope it will not be needed, we will be ready for the possibility.

The safety of our community is always our number one priority. When campus does reopen for students, we will most likely need to implement new protocols to increase social distancing. We will form a committee of educators, our school nurse, operational staff, and parents with expertise in this area, to look at a variety of measures we can implement to keep our community safe. Our school nurse has been collecting social distancing protocols from a range of schools around the world to inform our work. I am in contact with the Directors of schools around the world that have started to open with social distancing in place, so we will be able to learn from their experiences.

ISD will be opening for the 2020-2021 school year! I know it is hard dealing with the continuing uncertainty regarding the existing restrictions in Senegal and different countries around the world. We all want to go back to the lives we had in January. While we do not know how the virus will continue to impact our lives in the coming months, I am confident ISD will have an outstanding educational program for our students!

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