Commencement Messages: Thanks, Typhoons, and Traffic!
Sep 2, 2022
At the end of the second week of the academic year, I must offer my sincere thanks to all members of the ISF community for the smooth start to the school year. While not without its challenges, we seem to have navigated the anxieties and uncertainties that characterize the start of each year to find ourselves underway and in reasonably good shape. ‘Back to School’ events, in progress across the school at present, are an important part of our commencement traditions, as they provide parents with an understanding of what is planned and expected during the academic year.
At the start of each academic year, it seems almost inevitable that an inclement weather event will disrupt classes in the first day or so after commencement. This year proved to be no exception. The T8 associated with the Severe Tropical Storm Ma-On last week led to the suspension of face-to-face classes for a day. With the new year barely underway, we used technology in various ways to connect students and their teachers for learning activities. Our intention now is to review the results of these arrangements and refine or restructure as needed. As always, we seek to invoke the spirit of learning that has been ever-present during the frequent disruptions to face-to-face classes over the past few years: the suspension of classes should not lead to the cessation of learning.
Another almost inevitable feature of the start of each academic year is the return of traffic congestion in our neighborhood. While we are not alone in handling large volumes of traffic at the start and end of each school day, we must all act to protect the safety of our students and the community through our collaborative efforts. Attached to this whole school communication is a map of our local area that shows the various drop-off and pick-up locations shared with the Transport Department, which recently sent observers to check on traffic conditions.
In particular, please respect the expectations of the community and the school when dropping off or picking up your child: drive safely, do not park illegally, do not block intersections, and show courtesy to other motorists and pedestrians. Members of the ISF community must be aware of the strong opposition in some parts of our community against the use of any private vehicles for all school-related journeys. Some believe that all of our students should travel to school by bus or on foot. Our best defence is to minimize our impact on the neighborhood through considerate and legally compliant behavior on the roads around our school.
Finally, I must also ask all members of the ISF community to be vigilant in matters of personal and public health. Media reporting of a recent surge in COVID cases is a reminder that we must continue to exercise care for ourselves and each other to safeguard the health of our children and prevent the spread of the virus. Schools are required to report the number of positive cases among staff and students each day. If the number of cases reported by a school is deemed too high, class or school suspensions may be imposed, as was the case for three classes in the ISF Primary School this week. If your child has any symptoms of illness, please keep them at home and seek medical advice.
I look forward to hosting some of you at my first Head of School Coffee Morning next week. Circumstances permitting, we will meet ‘in person’ in the newly revamped Exhibition Foyer for an overview of the year ahead.
Dr. Malcolm Pritchard
Head of School