Updated: Feb 24
Right now, parents around the world are facing a challenge that’s new to many: overseeing their children’s education from home and figuring out how best to ensure that their children continue to learn while being cooped up and isolated from their peers. Meanwhile, many of those parents are also trying to complete full workdays from home, and the situation poses many hurdles. This is surely a time that will test our flexibility, creativity, and adaptability, to say nothing of our sense of humor!
In the midst of this, a little reminder to parents that may actually give hope and perspective: this chapter will pass, and your children will return to “regular” schooling. Given that this is the case, we encourage families who are planning for a future assignment to think longer-term, even in this moment when life seems to have frozen in place.
What does this mean? Many international and independent schools around the world, while closed for classes, are nonetheless continuing their admissions processes for this coming fall. They are doing their best to adapt their admissions processes to fit the situation—e.g. doing interviews online and providing virtual tours instead of physical ones, and they continue to welcome applications. This means that, even if an assignment is temporarily or potentially on hold but may proceed, parents should continue to focus on fall admissions and take care of the process now, even if it might not end up being necessary. In many Asian locations, some schools are currently planning to reopen in April, so the demand for spots in those locations can be expected to resume in a steady nature.
Likewise, some state/public systems that require applications (such as in England) will also continue their typical processes, such that families should not wait until September to begin thinking about the right school for their children.
Some guidance for families who are applying to schools they may not visit in person:
· Ask the school how they are handling the COVID-19 closure and what kind of ongoing education support they have offered their students; perhaps ask to see some samples of online education for your child’s current grade level.
· As you do this, bear in mind that bricks and mortar schools are not used to providing online education, and they have had to scramble to implement new systems and adapt their teaching; so be gentle in your judgment of them and how well their teachers are handling the situation--They are learning also, probably with some assistance from their students!
· Ask the school about their current enrollment for the next school year and how its projected demographic will have changed or remained the same.
· Since you may not visit the school in person, make a list of the people you would have liked to meet, and ask if you could arrange conversations or virtual meetings with them—e.g. SEN or IB coordinators or teachers of a particular subject.
· Ask Admissions if they could put you in touch with current parents who might be able to expand your sense of the school from a distance.
We hope this is helpful, even if only as a reminder that this chapter will pass and our children’s lives will eventually return to normal. And so will ours.
This week, Bennett will be creating a COVID-19 specific website with resources for parents and mobility program managers, in hopes we can lend a helping hand.
With best wishes for health and sunshine in the meantime,
Elizabeth & the Entire Bennett Team