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Operating School Transport During COVID - Round Table Discussion Summary
The International School Recovery Forum recently held a Round Table Discussion with International Schools from around the world to discuss the lessons learned and challenges faced in operating a school bus transportation service during COVID-19.  This post shares the insights from the schools and guidance from transportation consultants.
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Round Table Discussion - Preparedness at Schools – Planning avoids Future Disruption.
The Pandemic caught everyone unprepared and has highlighted the importance to have an emergency plan. As we return students to classrooms around the world let us be prepared for any kind of emergency or crisis that schools may face. In order to be properly prepared, a school should follow the 7 steps in Emergency Planning Management. 








Join our discussion with the former federal law enforcement agent and CEO of Clearpath EPM Mike Johnson. He will guide all participants through these steps to be prepared for the future and help schools avoid possible disruption.

As this is a Round Table session we will limit attendance to a maximum of 8 schools.  Please RSVP if you intend to join.
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Round Table Discussion - School Transportation – Technology to improve Safety, Efficiency and Communications.
COVID-19 has strained resources at schools due to changing regulations, schedules impacting routes and requirements for the health and safety of staff and students. Technology has been the enabler for schools to deliver a quality transportation service despite these disruptors. A command-and-control centre providing an overview of the bus operations combined with an app has allowed schools to respond effectively. 
Join our discussion with Carlos Guerrero, International School Transportation and Operational Risk expert in program development, policy writing, and crisis response planning related to student travel, campus safety, child protection, and medical response. He will share insights on how technology can help to: 

•    improve safety through documenting and sharing
•    create efficiency through cost saving tools including route planning 
•    support engagement by communicating relevant information such as schedule and procedural changes. 

As this is a Round Table session we will limit attendance to a maximum of 6 schools.  Please RSVP if you intend to join.
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Welcoming Meredith Herold to the International School Recovery Forum for COVID-19
The International School Recovery Forum for COVID-19 is pleased to announce that Meredith Herold has joined the ISRF as a volunteer consultant and subject matter expert. Meredith brings her extensive experience in both the private and public sector including Hospitals, community and in particular international school setting. She is a registered nurse specialised in paediatrics, midwife and maternal and child health nurse. In addition, she has qualifications in Health and Safety.
Meredith has worked in Australia, and across Asia. She has developed process and strategies to support schools in ensuring staff are competent and students are safe. In addition, provided onsite competency reviews, audits, mentoring and training to assist moving schools forward in a competitive international market.

We welcome Meredith to the team and thank her for volunteering her time in support of this effort to return children around the world to a normal learning experience.

A non-profit, volunteer led initiative, the International School Recovery Forum (www.sep-forum.com ) is a free, moderated resource for International and Independent Schools to share best practice, ask questions and learn from experts as schools continue to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. 

Please join the International School Recovery Forum for COVID-19 where you will find an extensive range of content from International Schools around the world as they navigate the COVID-19 Pandemic.  
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Lessons learned: Operating School Transport during a pandemic
By Linda Howard - School Transport Management Limited

Safely operating school transport services during the Covid-19 Pandemic has presented new challenges. Seven or more months later, where are we now and how is the industry coping? 

Please read Linda's post to learn more.
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Welcome Georgie McIntyre - International Education Consultant
Welcoming Georgie McIntyre to the International School Recovery Forum for COVID-19

The International School Recovery Forum for COVID-19 is pleased to announce that Georgie McIntyre has joined the ISRF as a volunteer consultant and moderator leveraging her extensive experience in International Education. 

A non-profit, volunteer led initiative, the International School Recovery Forum is a free, moderated resource for International and Independent Schools to share best practice, ask questions and learn from experts as schools continue to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. 

Georgie brings her extensive experience in International Education most recently as the Chief Learning Officer and a member of the Senior Leadership Team at the ECIS (Educational Collaborative for International Schools). Georgie’s experience leading the professional learning strategy for the international school sector at ECIS and her future career collaborations will be a valuable addition to our efforts at the International School Recovery Forum as we work to support schools during this challenging time.

We welcome Georgie to the team and thank her for volunteering her time in support of this effort to return children around the world to a normal learning experience.

Please join the International School Recovery Forum for COVID-19 where you will find an extensive range of content from International Schools around the world as they navigate the COVID-19 Pandemic.  Our next event – December 1st is a Round Table Discussion “Preparing Schools for 2021 and Beyond”.  You may register here: https://www.sep-forum.com/calendar/2-webinar-series/events/2020/12/
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All schools, regardless of their size, grade configuration or location should have an Emergency Operations Plan (some schools may use the term Emergency Action Plan or Crisis Management Plan) that provides a structure to document the school’s emergency planning, training, and support activities.

While a written plan is often required for accreditation or regulatory purposes, the process is more important than writing the plan as the traditional written plan usually sits in a binder or folder and would never be pulled out in the middle of an imminent threat response.

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Safety and Security During the Pandemic at International Schools
Mike Johnson of Clearpath Alerts and Richard Gaskell CEO of International Education Solutions discuss safety and security solutions that can be useful during the pandemic on a recent episode of TALK-IES.
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Recommendations for Access Control
Recommendations for Access Control during the COVID-19 Pandemic were outlined by Mike Johnson, CEO of Clearpath Alerts and Kevin Lloyd, Director of Together School addressing three primary areas for Access Control: Strategy and Policies, Arrivals and Dismissals, Movement on Campus.

As schools reopen, access control has become one of the most important factors enabling schools to reopen, stay open and protect the health and safety of students and staff. Access controls should be implemented based on policies and together facilitate approved access to a school or parts of the school.

See post for more information
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Recommendations for Physical Education during COVID-19
The International School Recovery Forum recently sat together with seven International Schools Physical Education leaders. The purpose was to discuss how to continue Physical Education with the restrictions coming from the COVID-19 Pandemic. The discussion covered available space, time limitations, learning criteria, teacher availability, adapting and communications.  This is a summary of their recommendations on how to manage the challenges.

Participating schools included:

Anglo American School Moscow

International School Düsseldorf

American School of London

Copenhagen International School

Sreenidhi International School & Sreenidhi Sports Academy

Zurich International School

American School of Barcelona

Physical Education Round Table Insights - June 9 2020.pdf
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School Transport Operating under Covid-19 Survey
As Schools are returning to classrooms around the world, one key component for many schools - especially in the International School community is the school's transportation service.  Please complete the attached survey to help us provide insights to schools as they seek to safely transport children between home and school!

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Communication is always important; however, during times of change or crisis, communication is critical. To ensure the right engagement within the community is created schools need to leverage people, processes, and tools.
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Round Table Discussion - Access Controls in COVID-19
Access Controls

Traditionally, access control refers to the practice of restricting entrance to a property, a building, or a room to authorized persons. Physical access controls can be achieved by a human (a guard or receptionist), through mechanical means such as locks and keys, or through technological means such as access control systems like smart card readers. 

Access controls are usually implemented based on policies and together facilitate approved access to a facility. Prior to COVID-19 schools would deploy a robust access control system to mitigate threats – criminal activity, child protection, child custody issues, etc. Now schools will need to deploy more robust access control to mitigate against new threats such as pandemics.

Awareness of who is on campus, controls on where will they are allowed to go on campus and tracing when were they on campus will require new considerations such as pre-screening, checking attendance of students, signing in and signing out visitors, and documenting all relevant information. These considerations need to be addressed for anyone within the school community – students, parents, staff, suppliers, and partners. Our discussions with schools indicated that many lack the needed policies, procedures, and tools to manage access control when it comes to COVID-19.

The International School Recovery Forum recently hosted International Schools from Russia, China, Thailand, Taiwan, Luxembourg, and Argentina to a round table discussion on Access Controls and discussed the following areas:

Access Policy / Strategy

Managing Arrival / Departure

Managing Movement / Access on Campus

Community Communication

Insights, Challenges and Learnings from these schools are presented below: 
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Recovery Plan Assessment
The challenge of reopening and being prepared for recovery from the Pandemic is a daunting task. There are no experts that have been through something like this. However, tackling recovery through a systematic approach can help schools ensure that their plans are complete. Having qualified and experienced professionals reviewing and providing suggestions can give that assurance and peace of mind that your school’s plan is comprehensive and complete.
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How School Will Look in 20/21 - The Munich International School
The Munich International School is prepared for the future with the systems in place for a successful start to school in August 2020 and has presented this great video detailing how things will look.
This is an excellent tool to increase confidence in the school community and to new prospective families. With spacious teaching spaces in six separate buildings, MIS has easily adapted to government regulations for hygiene and the highest standards of safety.


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Guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics encourage “having students physically present in school.” Dr. Sean O’Leary, an authorof that advice, explains why.

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Guidance for School Bus Operations during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Transport Canada has recently released guidelines and recommendations for the safe operation of School Busses during the COVID-19 Pandemic.  This document shares some interesting insights that International Schools who are operating a School Bus Service may want to consider.  The document addresses things to consider before, during and after a trip.

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Safe School Bus Operations - A Round Table Discussion
By invitation - A Round Table Discussion for International Schools offering transportation services who want to learn from other schools around the world as to best practices for operating a safe and efficient transportation service during Covid-19.
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The Change Management journey of reopening the Taipei European School
The Taipei European School closed for the Chinese New Year (January 24th-29th) but did not reopen until February 25th due to COVID-19. The school closed again March 23rd due to concerns about the Coronavirus and reopened again April 20th. Since then the school has remained opened. The one certainty this virus has brought is the need for ongoing change. This can be one of the most difficult challenges schools have ever faced. 

Kerry Nockolds, Director of Admissions and Marketing at Taipei European School, and Greg Varner, Director of Together School, provided insights on how to successfully navigate through change.

See Post for details.
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Budget Challenges and Suggestions to Manage
Schools that are reopening have provided some insights to manage rising costs. Fixed budgets are now stressed due to the many changes schools must implement such as Room to Zoom implementation, social distancing and health and hygiene requirements. Lessons learned from these schools include the key cost challenges and suggestions on how to mitigate rising costs. See post for full details.
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Ongoing Academic Delivery during COVID-19
As schools reopen, they need to adapt learning to meet new requirements resulting from the ongoing pandemic. Effectively implemented Blended Learning has become a necessity, combining online and classroom learning together with a wide number of parameters to consider. Blended Learning is not going away, and it is not clearly defined, not easily managed and not for everyone. The challenges faced with Blended Learning are from an instructional design, organization, and technical perspective. See this post for further insights from Dr. Matt Harris
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Communicating to Parents
Communicating to Parents

Schools that are in the process of reopening have shared some insights. Change is not always welcomed but, in this situation, everyone understands that change is necessary. Lessons learned from these schools include insights on how to structure and deliver communication. See post for full details.
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Effective Communications Poll

Has your school prepared to effectively communicate during the pandemic?
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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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Reopening a primary school campus
Reopening a primary school campus – Copenhagen International School share their strategies, challenges and opportunities


21st May 2020, 3pm - 4pm BST

Copenhagen International School is happy to share its reopening story with those who are interested. As requested by the Danish government, the Primary School campus was reopened on April 15 following the guidelines provided by the Danish government. The campus is now in its sixth week with increased cleaning, social distancing and smaller class sizes in place with grades 6-10 joining us on campus this week. Please join us if you are interested in hearing more about how we arrived at this point.


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