Dwight Network Panel Discussion
Bright and early at 6:30 am on May 22, Brantley Turner, representing Shanghai Qibao Dwight High School, logged into Zoom to join other Heads of School in our Dwight global network for a webinar entitled, “Re-opening in a COVID-19 World: International School Perspectives.”
Dwight was invited by NYSAIS — the New York State Association of Independent Schools — to speak to over 250 fellow NYSAIS members about the process of reopening schools in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Recognizing Dwight’s leadership role around the world, and its unique ability to provide insights from campuses where schools had recently reopened, NYSAIS members were eager to hear from Ms. Turner and Head of Dwight School Seoul Kevin Skeoch. Joining them were Head of School Dianne Drew and Vice Chancellor Blake Spahn from Dwight in New York.
As administrators of schools throughout New York State look to a hopeful reopening in the fall, if safe and possible, they were eager to learn from the experiences of Dwight Schools in Shanghai and Seoul. The panel discussed a number of topics, ranging from logistical considerations and health and safety protocols, to curriculum and classroom changes, as well as the social and emotional impact of COVID-19 on the school community.
With so many attendees, the webinar was a high-energy, interactive, and informative discussion. Ms. Turner and Mr. Skeoch took the lead on sharing experiences and facing hurdles in their individual Dwight communities, which reflect that of other schools in their respective countries. They discussed the need to protect the health of their students, faculty, and staff, while being conscious of the impact that online teaching and learning has had on everyone during this period. Additionally, they shared insights into making the shift back to being in school physically, what that has been like, and how they have prepared for a number of scenarios, including what to do if we have a COVID-19 case at school. Ms. Turner and Mr. Skeoch also offered advice for managing social distancing in classrooms and public gathering spaces such as the cafeteria, and touched on a range of other logistical, management, scheduling, and budgeting considerations. When the one-hour mark for the end of the panel discussion came, attendees were eager to stay on to learn more and ask questions, so the webinar was extended.
As there is no precedent to follow, Dwight in Shanghai and Seoul were proud to participate to help guide hundreds of fellow educators throughout New York State with first-hand knowledge gained from their earlier re-openings.
This was also a great opportunity for our colleagues at Dwight in New York to glean the same advice and insights, as our sister school looks forward to hopefully welcoming students back to campus in the fall.