Perseverance Conquers All

Thailand continues to make encouraging progress in the battle against the spread of Covid-19. A number of European countries, much worse hit than us, are already implementing the early reopening of schools. Though the global situation cannot really yet be called ‘positive’, we at Wellington College Bangkok are now looking to the future and planning all the protocols for campus reopening. We will share them with you soon, but please be assured that I am very much focused on safety and will cut no corners.

Having made the decision to postpone the Summer Term for three weeks, I am (at time of writing) happy to be considering the likelihood of at least three weeks of in-class learning before the end of the School Year. I do not know when we will be permitted to reopen the campus but this seems to be a reasonable assumption.

The Minister for Education yesterday addressed all international schools and promised to reassess the situation every fifteen days, from 15th May. He also strongly emphasised the importance of Remote Learning.

I have received many, many thoughtful messages from across the whole school, and I can see support being given amongst parents and families as well.

In education, people sometimes say ‘it’s all about the kids’. And, of course, it is. But – especially now – a big part of helping students is helping their parents. I was contacted this morning by someone from the University of Oxford, which has been working with the WHO and others on supporting parents in the time of Covid-19. They have produced some very useful little help sheets – in Thai as well as English – that you might like to have a look at HERE. If parents cannot run their lives effectively in this crazy situation, they cannot do the best for their children.

That is why we changed the term dates. That is why we gave everyone a credit against the fees. That is why we have offered an interest-free instalment plan. That is why we have given you Holiday Activity packs. That is why we have radically upgraded our Remote Provision for the Summer Term, based on constructive feedback from parents. While we are Remote, I cannot supply actual childcare (I would if I could!) but we continue to take account of your needs – which are not all the same – as much as we can. No school does more.

As I say, I am looking forward to weeks of face-to-face lessons on campus before the end of our school year. The school day will be different from what we are used to, though, even then. Very stringent safety measures will be in place. Some activities will not be possible. We will be making sure we can control the number of students – and adults – onsite, for safety reasons. And the first term of next school year will still be very different from ‘normal’.

We should not expect or – worse – demand a magic solution. The world has a long way to go.

In Japan, they say 七転び八起き (nana korobi ya oki): fall down seven times, get up eight times. The motto of the first school I taught at was ‘Omnia Vinces Perseverando’: perseverance conquers all. All schools are required to supply Remote Learning for as long as necessary: the quality of ours is very high, and improving all the time. My advice is – to students and parents alike – don’t give up!!

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