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Reopening Copenhagen International School

Greg Varner

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“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” is a quote from Arthur Ashe that the Director of the Copenhagen International School, Sandy Mackenzie, uses as inspiration for the school during this challenging time. The Copenhagen International School reopened its primary school on the 15th April with approximately 350 students and recently opened its doors on 18th May to the rest of the students.

Principal Sabrina Manhart shares her insights and reflections on creating a successful reopening of the primary school at the Copenhagen International School (more details can be found on https://www.copenhageninternational.school/c19/) :

  • Involve key staff – work collaboratively with leadership group and expand to include operational group including union representative and work environment person
  • Create guiding principles – protect the safety and health of students and staff in line with governmental guidelines and regulations, provide students with some familiarity of school routines for social/emotional/academic learning and provide clear expectations for teachers and students during this emergency learning environment
  • Build on the known – keep it simple and be willing to adapt and change
  • Hold a planning day for staff on campus – ensure a flexible approach to solve issues and involve key staff and partners (e.g. cleaning company) to detail solutions
  • Communicate regularly with staff and parents – start early, before reopening communicate with parents daily and offer a virtual town hall and then after reopening continue weekly updates  

Sabrina summarized that the reopening was viewed as a success for the entire community. She stressed that no one has done this before; therefore, it is important to work collaboratively with staff, communicate with staff and parents, and embrace the approach “do the best you can with what you have”.



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