Rugby School Thailand, part of Britain’s renowned Rugby School group, is reopening after earning the government’s approval of its counter-COVID-19 measures.
Rugby School Thailand is one of the first five international (and one of 48 schools in Thailand) that has passed the assessment criteria laid out by the Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Education for reopening under the ‘Sandbox Safety Zone in School (SSS)’ framework. The scheme sets out stringent measures to be implemented to ensure that schools operate in the most COVID-19-secure manner.
“Whilst we offer an excellent online learning programme, too much screen time is not healthy for developing minds. We are therefore working tirelessly to bring children back to live lessons. We are fully compliant with the government’s COVID-19 preventative directives and have implemented stringent medical protocols and a COVID-19 rescue plan to ensure that we don’t inadvertently create a COVID-19 cluster” said Taya Teepsuwan, founder of Rugby School Thailand.
Ms Taya said Rugby School Thailand has adopted additional measures applied effectively by Rugby School in the UK during their lockdowns. These include conducting PCR tests 48 hours prior to entering the ‘Safety Zone School’ areas, dividing classes into small groups and employing a fixed seating plan for lessons and meal times so that close contacts are easily identified should there be a positive case identified. Special and extracurricular activities outside school hours are done in small groups to prevent risk and minimise exposure.
She pointed out that at Rugby School Thailand we are well beyond the suggested minimum staff vaccination rate of 85% and many safety measures have been implemented:
- Under the ’18+3 Model’, students from year 7 to year 13 participating in the programme will stay at their boarding houses for 18 consecutive days, and will go home for three days;
- Students are subject to PCR testing before moving into the ‘sandbox bubbles’ and will undergo weekly antigen testing whilst in the bubbles, and again before going home;
- All teachers and school personnel will remain in the ‘Safety School Zone’ and will undergo weekly antigen testing; periodic random checks will also be done;
- All meals are prepared and consumed following COVID-19 secure protocols;
- Cleaning and disinfecting is performed regularly;
- In order to prevent cluster formations, COVID-19 rescue plans are in place should a positive case be identified;
- For pupils who opt out of joining the ‘sandbox bubble’ scheme, online teaching is provided through a live broadcast process using ‘Hybrid Learning’ technology;
- Pupils attending the ‘sandbox bubble’ will need to adhere to regular hand sanitising, mask-wearing and will be required to socially distance. Classes will be no bigger than 18 students;
- Sports coaching and activities outside the classroom is conducted with covid-secure measures in mind.
Ms Taya added that supporting personnel at Rugby School Thailand such as housekeepers, gardeners, technicians and drivers have also been part of the staff vaccination programme. COVID-19 preventative measures are implemented at their accommodation, private apartments and bubble locations. They commute between their accommodation and the school in RST shuttle busses which are subject to our stringent cleaning regimes. They have their three daily meals at school and are tested for COVID-19 by nurses every week, with random COVID-19 testing regularly carried out.
Additionally, strict cleaning regimes have been implemented to ensure that the delivery of fresh food and raw materials are delivered in a Covid-secure manner. Disinfection is carried out before ingredients enter the food production areas.
“This model is very challenging and of course there’s a risk, but it’s worth doing because it’s the only way to bring our children back to school. The success of the ‘sandbox bubble’ is down to the incredible work and commitment from our amazing teaching and support staff; I couldn’t be more thankful for their support and dedication. I hope the success of the ‘sandbox bubble’ will allow us to open a ‘day bubble’ for all year groups soon” said Taya.
Rugby School Thailand is a co-educational, day and boarding, British International School for two to 18-year-olds. It follows the British curriculum with students taking IGCSE, AS and A level examinations.
The school has an 80-acre campus with state-of-the-art facilities and space for children to enjoy active lifestyles. Unlike most international schools, RST follows the British private school model, with smaller classes and longer days that integrate sport and a variety of co-curricular activities, such as sailing, archery and bushcraft. While academic excellence lies at the heart, education at RST underpins its ethos, ‘the whole person, the whole point’.
Find out more at www.rugbyschoolthailand.ac.th