March 23, 2020

Dear XIS Community,

I hope this short update finds all of you doing well and staying healthy.

Because our Weekly Update is largely generated by teachers’ input (and we were just on Spring Break), this update is in lieu of our Weekly Update.  I do hope the students and teachers were able to take a much-needed break from online teaching and learning. We will return to our Weekly Update the following week.

It has been a very sobering week for the world as the numbers of cases are increasing in Italy, Spain, the United States, etc. as well as other highly affected countries. Early in the week, I was on an AAIE (Association of the Advancement of International Education) facilitated call with 75 international school headmasters from around the world. The Headmaster at the International School Milan started the call with his experiences right now in Italy. Despite the very somber mood, we did learn from one another and shared our experiences and gave each other advice. Clearly, uncertainty is the very thing we all have in common.

Following are the updates for the week of March 23, 2020:

Our plans for returning to Xiamen
As of today, the government has not given any indication of a set open date. As I mentioned last week, many of our teachers are in difficult situations owing to their own government lock-down rules, travel restrictions and flight cancellations and have been unable to return to Xiamen as yet. At present, China’s rules on incoming passengers are becoming stricter by the day.

Learning from a Distance

Our Learning from a Distance program will start up again on Monday. Principals and teachers are ready to deliver the learning. We are happy to say we are exploring new modes and methods and further enhancements to our program to better support our learning for the potentiality of a longer duration. We will hold three-way conferences by videoconference this week on March 25 and 26 and you should have received your child’s report by now. The principals will be sending information regarding the sign-up for the 3-way conferences and the format very soon. Currently, XIS is also completing a Learning from a Distance Guide to further support the learning for all of our students.

We hope to hear from you if you have questions or concerns about our Learning from a Distance Program.

Reopening plans

Given our circumstances, we know that we will have to be very agile and flexible when it comes to the opening of the XIS campus – this is simply a fact now as regulations can change quickly.  As a school, we will have to be nimble in that we will shift and reorganize to ensure we offer the best education given whatever circumstances are thrown our way. As of today, there is not a set open date.

IBDP Update

Last week the IBO updated their statement on the May 2020 exams.  While we still anticipate running the May 2020 exams at XIS, the IB will be providing further information about the May session this week.  See the statement below from the IBO.  The IBO posts regular updates at

COVID-19   (novel Coronavirus) updates – International Baccalaureate®13 March 2020   COVID-19 (novel Coronavirus) updates. As we continue to monitor the situation   for members of the IB community who are impacted by COVID-19, the Novel Coronavirus,   we will update this page with developing news and actions that are being   taken to support and protect our

Or, you can read it here:

The IB, like other examination bodies, is treating the challenges that this pandemic is presenting for our worldwide school community very seriously. We have deep empathy for the impact this is having on over 200,000 IB students across the globe and are currently reviewing all available options. We are gathering feedback from schools, students, universities and official bodies to determine the most judicious way forward. It is critical for us to ensure that the options we provide our world of schools are done with compassion for our students and teachers and fairness for the difficult circumstances our students and educators are experiencing. Ultimately, we want to ensure that our students have every chance of success as they pursue university entry or future career plans. Our students are at the forefront of our thinking as we navigate this extraordinary global pandemic.

We are working through these options with the utmost urgency and will be providing a decision on the May 2020 examination session and the options available for schools and students no later than 27 March 2020.

I want to extend my appreciation for all of your patience and understanding while we navigate our way through this crisis. We will get through this and come out stronger in the end. 

I found the following poem to be inspiring. I hope you do too.

When this is Over
by Laura Kelly Fanucci

When this is over, may we never again take for granted

A handshake with a stranger
Conversations with neighbors
A crowded theatre
Friday night out
A routine checkup
The school rush each morning
Tea with a friend
The stadium roaring

Each deep breath

A boring Tuesday
Life itself.

When this ends, may we find that we have become
More like the people we wanted to be
We were called to be
We hoped to be
And may we stay that way, better for each other because of the worst

Until next week . . .

Deron Marvin