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Arusha Campus News – 9 Aug 2020

UWC East Africa Arusha Newsletter Sunday 9th August 2020

An aerial photo of the new Jacaranda and Baobab student residences and eight new staff houses

Dear Parents

As we prepare to open in just one week from now the mood around campus is one of excitement, tempered tangibly with a sense of nervousness. We now live in a world that has been shaken to the core by the global pandemic. The obvious health concerns are accompanied by the potential for COVID-19 discussions to become divisive and to break the fabric of our community.

I must reassure the whole community that our decision to open on August 17th has not compromised our commitment to providing a safe and healthy environment for our students. The start of the school year has been delayed one week in order to allow our international students to arrive on campus and undergo a period of quarantine. Students who arrive during next week will be asked to observe appropriate social distancing until their period of quarantine is complete.

We ask that ALL parents and visitors to the campus wear face masks at all times until they leave campus. We also stress that congregations of adults in class doorways at drop-off time should not happen. I am the first to acknowledge that this is not typical of our school. For years we have built up a wonderful family community and ‘stopping for a chat’ has been part and parcel of the school day. However, for now, let us do everything we can to minimise the risk to our students and teachers.

Our wonderful housekeeping staff will be ensuring that door handles and work surfaces will be wiped down with disinfectant every few hours throughout the day. Handwashing will be a ritual for all students. In Primary classrooms, handwashing will take place in their own classrooms before and after each activity.

We are looking at ways to make our canteen area safe too. The timings of lunch have been adjusted to enable Primary students to eat and finiish their lunch before Secondary students arrive for their meals a full hour later.

A committee has been formed to evaluate our efforts to minimise the threat of COVID-19 at our school. This is made up of parents, teachers, administration and medical experts. We aim to meet at least twice a week to discuss how things are going. If you have any concerns or contributions that you would like to us to consider, please feel free to email me philbowen@uwcea.org or WhatsApp me +255682911353

In the meantime, I look forward to welcoming you to a new look Arusha Campus next week!

Phil

From the Primary and Secondary Schools

The Performance Area (above) has taken on a change of appearance in recent weeks. The building has been converted to allow us to use it as an exam hall for 100 students. The stage has gone and the front of the building will soon be a magnificent wall of glass with a UWC East Africa motif to welcome everyone to the campus. We will still have a stage, but the platform will be recessed into the floor at the field end of the building. (See image below) When required, the stage will be raised by hydraulic lifts.
The educational staff on campus have been meeting all week to plan ahead for the new year. One of the major changes that is being looked at is a slight change in timetable for the students. We are looking at introducing a 6 day rolling timetable in the Secondary School. This means that the timetable will be based around Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 …. rather than Monday, Tuesday….etc We are endeavouring to ensure that the school day continues to follow last year’s timings. This type of scheduling is increasingly common in international schools around the world and enables greater contact time for students in all disciplines. The reason for the change is really to accommodate the extra subject choices being offered at Diploma level. This year we are introducing three new options including Business Management, Sports Exercise and Health Science and Theatre. The timetable will be unchanged in Primary.
Classroom space has been increased over the long break. Four new science laboratories (see below) have been built and whilst the race is on to have them ready by August 17th, we know that they will give us first class learning spaces for our science students.

Phil

The ‘hole’ in the performance area in which the retracting stage will be housed

One of the cavernous new science laboratories

The outside of the science laboratories

Fifty Up!

The new Baoabab house opened its doors this week for its first residents. This weekend we have been bringing in comfy furniture made from recycled plastic bags for the pavilion (above) 

Thats right! Our fiftieth returning resident arrived this weekend! The challenge of bringing in almost a hundred students from all corners of the globe has been challenging but we are getting there. Our teachers too are coming back and we now have all but two of our new teachers safely here in Arusha.

Karibuni everyone!

Outdoor Pursuits in 2020/21

The cold trek to the roof of Africa on last year’s Kilimanjaro Uhuru Peak expedition

This year will see our OP program expand again; it was only 3 years ago we were running 8 OP mountain hike trips. This year we will be offering more than 20 trips with 4 different focuses.  The Mountain hiking will continue bigger and better than ever with Kilimanjaro’s Uhuru Peak summit the pinnacle. We would like to see the Water OP move all the way to level 5 where we are planning to have students will be involved in service, creating coral nurseries, planting coral, Padi dive certification and creating artificial reefs. Similarly we plan to gear our Mountain Bike OP up to get to level 4 or 5 also, with a planned fantastic level 3 ride from Arusha to Moshi (through Arusha National Park) and the new flatland hike which was a hit will also be developing, building on the level 1 last year to level 2 this semester and beyond by the end of the school year.

We have done everything we can to keep the costs of these trips as low as possible to encourage students to get involved, but this does mean strict trip limits based on transportation and other factors to minimize cost.  For parents we will also simplify billing by adding most trips to your next quarterly invoice once you have approved participation.  This should reduce any transfer fees some people incur.  The exceptions are Socialist Peak and Uhuru which require significant up front costs.

Below is a list of trips and dates for semester 1 with dates and costs included.  Sign up sheets will be out soon.

Counselor’s Corner

Take a pause. Breathe. Smile, and reflect on the good memories you created during this time away from the regular school routine.

As we gear up for the start of the new school year, the UWCEA Counseling Department hopes you have taken some time to relax and refresh to prepare for the next phase of your journey. Although this has been a challenging time for many, it has provided an unusual opportunity to reflect and explore in ways that most have never experienced before. We have been given an opportunity to develop greater self-awareness and to learn/enhance new skills. Hopefully you begin the new school year with a positive mindset and a determination to continue to work on self-improvement since we are all a work in progress.

Thank you to those of you who took the time to complete the Well-being survey that was sent at the end of the school year. We are using that information to help guide our work this year as our team expands with the addition of Ms. Blessing Nicholas on the Arusha Campus. Unfortunately, due to the travel restrictions prevailing in some countries at present, Blessing will not be arriving until after the start of term.

On the career and college side of our work, we are excited about the exploration and research that students have engaged in over the long break. There have been lots of questions coming our way, and many students (with parents) engaging in the myriad of virtual resources available on Maia Learning and directly from the institutions that seek to find new ways to reach potential students. It has also been thrilling to hear about the internship and additional learning experiences that students engaged in during the break as they discover more about their interests and strengths. Our Life Skills program will delve into career readiness concepts as well as other skills necessary for a successful life during, and after, UWC East Africa. There will be numerous virtual presentations from colleges/universities and other organizations over the coming months, so stay tuned for more details.

There is so much to look forward to in the year ahead, and we can’t wait to begin the journey with you.

Stay positive, reflective, and safe,

UWCEA Counseling Team

Cassandra Ford

UWC East Africa Merchandise NOW on sale!

We have a fabulous range of new merchandise which promotes UWC East Africa. Hoodies, t-shirts, water bottles, mugs and bags are all on sale at Main Reception – just see Phil or Caroline.

Kit bags for PE and sports

T-shirts and hoodies in a range of colours

A UWC East Africa bag for life