Staying Open and Providing Support (March 17)

Staying Open and Providing Support (March 17)

Dear all,

Our country is facing a severe crisis and the situation has continued to develop rapidly. In an environment with alarming headlines, social media filling up with experts commenting and one country after the other closing its borders, students are becoming increasingly scared and worried. There are no clear answers to the myriad questions being asked. At this time it is more important than ever that our students find our schools to be there when needed. We know that our schools, for many, have become a safe place where they can meet and talk to teachers and friends. They need to talk because they have difficulties understanding what is happening just as we us adults do. Some are very scared.

That is one of several reasons why we stay open when there are increasing demands for an immediate closure of all schools. We do understand the fear and worry that prevail, and we share the same concerns as we also have families and loved ones who are within the risk group. Many of us working within our schools also have our own children amongst students.

The Swedish Government and authorities urge institutions as schools to remain open and not contribute to this rapidly escalating closure of the Swedish society. We can only speculate if our authorities will take the decision to close our schools but up to that point we have an obligation to continue as long as is physically possible. Many parents are now working flat out, day and night, trying to keep our society afloat and need us to be there for them. All of us that have chosen to work within schools one way or the other are very much aware of the responsibility we have. We will stay open as long as possible and will only close if ordered to or when we find that we are unable to uphold the safety of our students and staff. Our schools are no less safe than the rest of society, perhaps to the contrary. 

The course of action we have chosen from the beginning of this crisis is to follow the recommendations of the authorities and prepare to escalate as necessary and as the situation demands.That is the decision we took and we stand by it. 

As of Wednesday, March 18, Internationella Engelska Gymnasiet Södermalm is going over to full-time distance learning according to the Government’s directive presented on Tuesday, March 17.

We have now unfortunately come to the point where we have to gradually shift to distance education in some of our schools. Our schools are well prepared for this. Our principals have full mandates to, within certain limitations, take executive decisions depending on the local situation. Our schools will focus their resources where they are best needed so depending on the situation there could be changes in the schedule. The decisions will be taken in each school by each principal and in dialogue with IES head office.

Our principals have already started to prepare a shift from classroom teaching to distance teaching and they will issue instructions when needed. The situation is different across our schools and while some schools will implement immediate changes some will continue as normal. Each school will issue information for their students and parents.

Distance education means that our schools are open as teaching is still being conducted.

IES  is now planning for what must be done later this term as there are many questions but we will address them as soon as possible. What to do with national tests, how to ensure that we can compensate for lost teaching hours, how to catch up in subjects that cannot be taught on distance (PE, Home economics, Crafts etc)? What about gymnasievalet? There are many questions and few answers but we will come back with information as soon as possible. Right now our focus is on the immediate situation and we ask for your patience.

Please keep reminding everyone of the “simple” rules:

  • If you are sick or have the slightest symptoms, stay at home.
  • Parents report absent students to school according to normal routines.
  • Stay at home for two days after the last symptoms have ceased. 

Stay safe and healthy,

Internationella Engelska Skolan

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