27 January 2021
Dear Parents and Students,
“Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.” (Zechariah 4:6)
For almost a year now we have been living with ‘the new normal’ that the pandemic has brought us. We have been wearing masks for long periods, keeping socially distanced, washing our hands frequently, improving our technological and ZOOM skills and switching to online services for things like shopping. There are few opportunities to go out resulting in a lack of face-to-face communication, which can lead people alienating each other on social media.
At the same time, in surrounding regions and countries’ economies are in recession and the medical systems are collapsing. So far, 97 million people have been diagnosed worldwide, and the cumulative number of deaths has reached more than 2 million. Many people cannot be with their families, and others have lost their loved ones. Therefore, in order to protect the safety of oneself and the community, the goal of the government is to block the chain of community transmission. Schools are involved in a specific group testing program to cooperate with the government's epidemic prevention strategy, because nobody knows if he or she is carrying the virus, and an asymptomatic carrier may become a source of infection for other people. I personally had an upper respiratory tract infection in the mid January, so I immediately sought medical treatment and took COVID test immediately. After recovering, I then participated again in the school’s Deep Throat Saliva Test at the end of January to fulfill my civic responsibility and set an example for students. Having the test taken is a responsibility of the citizens. Taking the test and letting our school and staff know the results within that particular time slot can ensure the safety of teachers and students in school, and help the government with tracking cases in the future if necessary.
Some people may ask when this ‘new normal’ will end. Or when ‘normal service’ resume. However, it may be a long journey for tens of millions of cases to return to zero, and it could take a while for the effectiveness of the vaccinations kick in. Perhaps people in all countries could be more united and disciplined to fight against the pandemic. However, given what has been learnt from the past year, even if a region can be cleared of the virus, as long as the flow of people or logistics continues, there will always be new cases. It is unrealistic to expect a return to the normal any time soon.
With the above in mind, it is clear we need to face the ‘new normal’ with a positive attitude, and reflect on how to optimize and implement new measures or plans made due to the ‘new normal’ from time to time. We have to keep an open mind and consider multiple alternative approaches to solve the problems in front of us. If one road will not work, then calmly find another. Flexibility is the wisdom of today's life. If you combine this with perseverance and determination, what can't be done? At the same time, we must rely on God to be with us, not our power or talents, as God will lead us down the right path.
The new direction of the school aims to help students to adapt to and engage in this ‘new normal’ learning and teaching model, and hopes to establish a digital-free home learning model so that students can integrate their face-to-face learning and online learning at any time. Students have to learn to concentrate when learning at home and have more interaction. Teachers need to be able to assess the students’ progress. Moreover, assessment is not limited to the ZOOM, we also focus the importance of summative assessment. Right after Christmas, we arranged for students to return to school in an orderly manner, one-sixth of the school at a time, for half-days (morning or afternoon) to take examinations in a fair and just environment. This allows us to reflect on the learning effectiveness of students and adjust the teaching methods or remedial support for students in the second term. Should you have any appreciation or suggestions to school, feel free to let us know.