School Year 2020-2021
Lessons Resume at MIS
We anticipate starting the 2020/21 school year on 20 August 2020 with full attendance of all students on campus for face-to-face lessons.
Our aim is to conduct instruction in such a way that we allow the maximum attendance of students at school while also providing as much safety as possible to prevent infection of students, teachers, staff, and guests with the novel corona virus.
The following information is intended to help MIS community members understand how the school is making decisions and educating students under these unusual and challenging circumstances.
Our Mission: Nurture, Challenge, and Inspire!
We are more committed than ever to our mission to nurture, challenge, and inspire our students. We are very proud that again in 2020, MIS' students attained excellent results in their IB Diplomas, in their MYP Certificates, and in the International Schools Assessments (ISAs).
- The MIS graduating class of 2020 scored an IB Diploma average of 36 points (out of 45), which is well above the global average and significantly above other IB schools in our region.
- The MIS Class of 2022 completed the MYP Certificate in June 2020 with an average score of 43.7 points (out of 56) -- an extraordinary result!
Even in challenging times, our educators do an extraordinary job of focusing on the most important objectives and supporting our students to succeed!
The Head of School, in consultation with the MIS Board of Directors and the School Leadership Team, decides upon how the school operates in all circumstances, including in the exceptional circumstances caused by the novel corona virus pandemic. However, neither the HoS nor the BoD is free to make all decisions independently. Because public safety and the safety of our students and teachers is at stake, we are required to comply with regulations issued by many government agencies, including:
- the Regierung von Oberbayern (government of Upper Bavaria)
- the Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Unterricht und Kultus (Bavarian ministry of education and culture)
- the Staatliches Schulamt Starnberg (school district office in Starnberg)
- the Gesundheitsamt Starnberg (regional department of health)
In the face of the current public health crisis, these organisations are issuing far more regulations than normal which affect the operation of MIS. In many cases, MIS is legally required to comply with directives of these agencies.
At the highest level, we prioritise the following aims in making our decisions:
- The health, wellbeing, and safety of students, teachers, staff, and visitors to MIS is our first priority.
- Student learning, particularly learning of key skills and understandings necessary for successful completion of academic programmes.
- The greatest convenience possible for families, students, faculty and staff members.
With regard to #2, student learning, we prioritise intelligently pursuing high-quality learning goals to ensure that students continue to develop key skills and understandings and that, to the greatest degree possible, students are kept on-track with their academic progress and goals. In the first weeks and months of the 2020/21 school year, we will evaluate student learning and will respond to any areas of concern. However, the end-of-year examinations administered in June 2020 largely demonstrated that student learning at MIS has remained on-track and consistent with our normal learning expectations.
Measures to maximise safety on campus
We are taking many precautions to reduce the likelihood that the novel corona virus could be transmitted among our students and throughout our community. These include:
- Hand washing and hand sanitizing. Everyone on our campus is being encouraged to wash their hands frequently with soap and water. Additionally, hand disinfectant dispensers have been installed at many locations around the campus.
- Mask requirement. Masks must be worn when students, staff, and visitors are moving about in common areas. Masks can be removed only when students are given permission by school personnel to do so, for example when students are seated in the classroom.
- Temperature checks upon arrival to campus. We will check the temperature of each person arriving to campus with a no-contact, infrared thermometer. Any person with a temperature above 37.5 degrees celsius will be prevented from entering the campus. Parents will have to retrieve any students with an elevated temperature that is detected at school immediately.
- Air circulation in classrooms. Windows will be opened and air will be circulated in classrooms on a regular schedule. It is therefore important that students bring sufficient clothing to stay warm, even when windows are opened and air is circulating.
- Reduced mixing and mingling of students. We are reorganising students' schedules to reduce the amount of mixing of students in different classes and grade levels. We are also assigning seating, so that we can track which students had close contact with which other students. We know that within class groups, we will not be able to guarantee social distancing at all times. We will work to keep groups separate from each other, however, and to reduce the number and diversity of people with whom students will come into contact.
- More automatic doors. We are working to decrease the number of common touch points around campus to reduce the risk that such points could serve as hubs for the spread of infection.
- Hygiene instruction for students. We will instruct students on how to protect themselves and each other through sensible practices both in school and beyond.
- Intensified cleaning and disinfecting. Our cleaning crew is washing and disinfecting surfaces through routine cleaning and through additional cleaning rounds during the school day, particular of high-touch surfaces.
- Distribution of disinfectants for cleaning of surfaces. Teachers and staff will have access to disinfecting wipes, which they can use if they identify ad hoc cleaning needs in the course of the day.
- Reduced number of visitors to campus. Each new person who enters the MIS campus is an additional opportunity for infection. We are intentionally reducing the number of visitors (including parents) on campus. Please help us by entering the campus only with an established appointment.
- Increased vigilance concerning students and adults with respiratory illnesses. We are taking steps to identify and isolate students and adults with symptoms of respiratory illness quickly and efficiently. We also ask that all parents take their children's temperature each morning. If there is any sign of elevated temperature, you must keep your child at home.
- Access to free corona virus tests for school personnel in order to catch infections early and reduce the likelihood that faculty and staff may be carriers of the virus.
While we can decrease the likelihood of spreading infection on campus, we cannot eliminate it. Despite our best efforts there will continue to be a risk of infection on our campus. Any institution that brings together several hundred people, especially with international backgrounds and greater mobility, will naturally be a potential point for the spread of infection. We must be prepared that individual students, teachers, staff members, or visitors may become infected with the novel corona virus. We must be prepared to pivot quickly between different modes of instruction. We must be prepared that any plans we make today may have to be suddenly changed tomorrow. We must remain flexible, ready to deal with uncertainty, and cohesive as a community.
MIS' values play an important role!
Schooling is not just about academic learning. It is also about social and emotional development. At MIS we aim not just to support students' achievement in core academic areas, but we also invest significant time and energy into developing students' understanding of their rights and responsibilities in a democratic society and to promote students' personal, social, and emotional wellbeing. Four principles that serve as core values at MIS are:
Care ∙ Respect ∙ Integrity ∙ Trust
Embedding these values in our daily interactions at MIS can help us reduce the likelihood of spreading the novel corona virus:
- We show CARE for others when we consistently employ measures like wearing a mask, coughing and sneezing into a tissue or into a bent elbow, and washing our hands frequently. Each of us could be an asymptomatic carrier of the novel corona virus, and taking precautions not to pass the virus on to others demonstrates our care for them.
- We show RESPECT for others when we recognise that their situation may be different than our own. Some members of our community are more susceptible to infection than others. Some have elderly or sick family members at home. Showing respect can mean being aware that other people's situation and needs may be different (and greater) than your own and behaving to protect their health as much as your own.
- We show INTEGRITY when we live by our principles, even when no one is watching. This includes keeping masks on our faces and following hygiene rules, even when no teacher, principal, or head of school is around. The new rules are meant to protect everyone's health, and they need to be followed, even when no one is present to enforce them.
- We show TRUST when make positive assumptions about other people's intentions. In the current pandemic, all of us are dealing with extraordinary challenges. Trust in a community is shown through patience, open communication, mutual support, and genuine attempts to understand others' point-of-view and situation.
If we all live by our core values, we will contribute significantly toward making MIS a safe, low-risk place for children and young people to learn, grow, and thrive. This includes living these values at school, at home, and in the wider world.
Onsite Instruction – Hybrid Instruction – Distance Learning
As we begin the 2020/21 school year, three different modes of instruction are possible, depending upon the further development of the pandemic:
- Onsite Instruction (Präsenzunterricht): Onsite Instruction means that all students will be taught by their teachers on campus on every school day. Onsite instruction is our first choice and will be the mode of instruction whenever possible. It not only optimises the possibilities for teaching, learning, and socialisation, it also provides parents with caring and secure supervision for their children.
- Hybrid Instruction: In case social distancing is reintroduced to schools, MIS may have to return to the Blue/White rotations that we experienced in Spring 2020. If this is the case, we will augment Onsite Instruction on alternating days with digital support for the students working from home. In some subjects, we will aim to introduce "Together with Teams" instruction, meaning that the classroom teacher will enable students at home to view lessons being taught in the classroom through videoconferencing.
- Distance Learning: In case infections are detected within our school community, we may have to switch to Distance Learning. In such an event, we would establish a schedule of student-teacher interactions as quickly as possible and communicate the framework to the affected students and families. We would aim to support student learning to keep pace with the expectations of Onsite Instruction and/or Hybrid Instruction. According to the current information from the health department, they would seek to close individual classes, individual grade-levels, or individual school sections instead of closing the entire school. But this depends, of course, on how widespread any outbreaks are.
A global emergency, like a pandemic, can sometimes make us feel powerless. Although we cannot make the pandemic go away, there are, indeed, actions we can take to protect ourselves, to protect those around us, and to support our children's health, well-being, and learning. We do have the power to make a positive difference and to mitigate the negative effects of the pandemic. We are grateful to the many MIS families who continue to support us in our mission to nurture, challenge, and inspire each and every one of our students, even in unusually challenging circumstances.