Message from the Principal
As this unusual summer break draws to a close I’m sure that we are all starting to think about the return to school. Throughout the pandemic, OIS has been in contact with Associação de Estabelecimentos de Ensino Particular e Cooperativo who have offered guidance based on their communications with the government. Our plan for the school year 2021-22 is largely based on their advice and on the experience of other international schools both here and overseas.
Clearly, things will not be back to 100% normality for some time, but with careful planning and sound advice, there is no reason why our children cannot return to learning at school. OIS will fully re-open to all students on Wednesday 1st September.
There will be no online classes, and the return is not optional. The information contained within these pages should be used as a working guide to school procedures. Be aware that if the situation changes or guidance is adapted, then we will respond accordingly.
The latest information will always be posted here and via our Facebook and Instagram page. We are looking forward to continuing teaching and learning, and we aim to do so in the safest way possible. We know there are risks involved, but with good practice and sensible precautions, we believe we can manage them.
I ask parents to play their part in keeping our community safe by following the government guidance and observing the school instructions. Of course, it is absolutely critical that you, your children, or members of your household, do not come to school if you have any symptoms and that you inform us of any Covid-19-related medical matters. Working together we can be safe and continue to learn at school.
Steve Lewis – Principal
Vaccination and Testing
We strongly urge all members of the OIS community to vaccinate if possible. Almost 100% of teaching and administrative staff are vaccinated and already a significant number of students are vaccinated too. We believe this is the best way to protect each other. For our records, we would appreciate it if you could inform the school nurse when your children have been vaccinated.
Now that covid tests are widely available we encourage everyone to test themselves in the 3 days before returning to school. This is not mandatory, but it makes good sense, especially if you have been travelling and socialising.
School Sports and Activities
Currently no new guidance has been issued to schools so until we are advised differently we will continue to operate covid-secure bubbles for our students. This means that we will offer a limited programme of after school sports and there will be no ECA’s. Music instrument lessons (one to one) will happen with all the necessary health precautions in place.
PPE and Hygiene
Anyone coming into the school buildings must wear a mask or visor (if they have the appropriate medical declaration). Face masks must be worn (mandatory) by everyone from 10 years old and above inside the school buildings. We strongly recommended to be used FFP2/ KN95 masks. Masks for Years 2 to 5 are strongly recommended by the Portuguese health authorities, and OIS supports this approach, however they are not mandatory. Outside, and with a minimum distance of 2m masks are not mandated but are permitted. Hands must be sanitised on entry. We have regular cleaning of high contact surfaces throughout the day, and disinfection of all areas in the evening. High usage rooms and surfaces will be disinfected through the day. Each room has sanitizer (which must be used on entry) and an equipment cleaning kit. Inside, we aim for a minimum of one meter between students, and two meters away from teachers and other adults. Outside, students must stay two meters apart. A one-way system is in operation along corridors, with distanced queuing for break and lunch.
If you have any doubt or concern about the health of members of your household PLEASE DO NOT COME TO SCHOOL. Contact SNS for advice on where to get tested and please inform us of the outcome. If we suspect Covid during the school day you must be available to come to school to collect your child immediately.
On Wednesday 1st September we will all return to school. School buses will run and drop students in the playground where they will remain until school starts at 08.15. Arrivals by car should ‘kiss and drop’ with absolutely no waiting as this will cause congestion. Students enter via the front door and then after checks and sanitizer, proceed to the playground. Fingerprint readers are not to be used. Lockers will not be available, so bring everything you need in a backpack. You cannot share any equipment with others so you must bring everything you will need such as pens, rulers etc.
Break and Lunch
In secondary, the café will be open for break, but closed for lunch. Microwaves will be available to secondary students but only during their bubble lunch time. Students MUST go outside if the weather allows as cleaning will be ongoing inside. School lunch will be served on a strict timetable to each bubble of students. They will have limited (but reasonable) time to eat because of spacing issues inside. A packed lunch from home, enjoyed as a picnic outside in our beautiful grounds, would seem a very good option under the circumstances!
End of School
Due to potential issues with traffic we are staggering the end time of the school day. It is critical that parents adhere as closely as possible to their allocated collection time (given below). If you have children in different year groups, collect at the earlier time.
ALL STUDENTS MUST BE COLLECTED BEFORE 4.15pm. When your arrival to school is imminent, please call your child so that they can make their way to the front of school for collection. We will have staff on hand in the collection area to radio students in the holding area to try to make this operation as smooth as possible.
- Year 5 & 6 students should be collected at 15.25 – 15.40.
- All other years at 15.40 -15.55.
- School buses depart at the normal place and time.
- NB: no second bus!
- Siblings leave at the time and place of the youngest sibling (unless by prior arrangement)
Our bus partners will ensure disinfection of buses between trips and appropriate distancing whilst on buses. Drivers are shielded. Masks must be worn on buses and hands sanitized on entry. There will be no late bus so everyone must leave when school ends. Buses will leave at the normal time, so students should go to the bus area immediately as school ends.
Parents and Visitors
To minimize contact with people from outside school, parents are not allowed to visit unless invited by the school. Please be aware that in keeping with the most recent advice from our local health delegate, we are insisting that all parents who come to school are either able to show a vaccination certificate or a negative test result from the last 3 days. Suppliers and other legitimate visitors will not be in direct contact with students or teachers and will be discouraged from coming into school wherever possible.