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Return to Campus

Posted: September 11, 2020

Following the EDB announcements that schools were able to proceed with class resumption in phases, Discovery College sent its class resumption plans to the EDB for approval. I am delighted to inform you that we received this approval earlier today, meaning that we can now share the arrangements with you.

Schools are being asked to adopt a phased approach to class resumption. Throughout all phases, strict standards of health and safety must be adopted to ensure every student is safe and the risk of viral transmission is managed effectively. We have updated our Class Resumption Guide and would ask all parents to read this guide carefully and in full as there are a variety of actions for which your attention will be required both ahead of, and during, the class resumption period.

16 September onwards – early resumption period for specified purposes

According to EDB requirements, a small proportion of students (less than one sixth of the student population) can return to school from 16 September, for half days only. This early return is in connection with specified activities – those cited in EDB guidance include induction for new students, and additional on-campus time for students who are due to sit public exams. 

In light of this, we are placing emphasis during this period on face-to-face time for:

– Year 1

– Year 13

– Students in other yeargroups who are new to DC

The precise arrangements are:


  • For Year 1, the hours of on-campus attendance will be 08.20 – 12.00.
  • For Year 13, the hours of on-campus attendance 08.20 – 12.40. Students in this yeargroup will then be able to travel home / have lunch, and will take part in an online learning block during 13.50 – 15.10.
  • The introduction of Year 1 to the campus in two halves over two days mirrors DC’s normal practice with Year 1 induction; having students attend in smaller numbers allows for targeted attention to students on this vital first day physically at school. Further details, including a reminder of who is in Group A and who is in Group B, will be sent to Year 1 parents shortly.
  • Year 13 will not attend campus on Thursday 17 September because they have a scheduled online university fair, which has been long in the organising and as usual is a key milestone in students’ HE preparations. We will utilise the remainder of the ‘one sixth’ allocation on this day to provide on-campus orientation for new students in Years 2-9. This will happen at specified times and details of this will be sent to these students and their parents shortly.
  • For all yeargroups not attending during this early resumption period, the current online learning arrangements will continue

23 and 29 September – Phased Resumption

According to EDB requirements, from 23 September, around 50% of yeargroups are able to resume on campus lessons. From 29 September, the remaining students are able to return to campus.

The arrangements for this phasing are:

During Phase 1, the yeargroups that are not present on campus will continue with current online learning arrangements.

Full Day Class Arrangements

At Discovery College, we have been approved to provide full day classes based on the arrangements we are able to facilitate for safe eating spaces during lunchtime. We are fortunate that our campus layout, plus the upgrades to our equipment and infrastructure we have engaged in over recent weeks and months, affords this possibility. 

In particular:

  • we will be utilising four separate eating spaces, with appropriate physical distance between each seat, and specific seating configurations and/or use of perspex partition dividers to ensure additional separation where possible.
  • we will be operating several lunch sittings to minimise student numbers in each space, and are able to provide close supervision and a heightened cleaning regimen over lunch.
  • there will be no onsite catering so all students will be required to bring a packed lunch, with their own individual utensils wherever such items are needed.

The hours of campus attendance for 23 September (Phase 1) and 29 September (Phase 2) onwards are therefore ‘as normal’, i.e. all students must be on campus by 08.19am, and will have departed by 15.15. The only variation to our normal hours during the resumption period, for however long the relevant health and safety requirements are in place, will be that we will adopt a ‘staggered departure’ as follows to minimise traffic in the corridors and atrium during our departure process:

Buses will run as normal from 23 September onwards. 

The Secondary timetable, which has been adapted to be a ‘three longer blocks per day’ model since the start of the academic year, will continue in this adapted model until October half term. This ensures a. that online learning arrangements can continue during the phasing process and b. that a smooth transition back to the ‘regular’ secondary timetable can occur at half term.

Classroom Layout and Social Distancing

We have been working intensively to secure new options for how to ensure student safety and adequate separation in classrooms while also promoting forms of learning that align with our values as a College. Partition dividers will be used extensively throughout the College to ensure that students have a safe individual workspace in each room they use and to minimise the risk of viral transmission. The partition dividers are made from transparent acrylic, are constructed to an industry standard, and are being supplied by a reputable supplier who has already worked with schools and other prominent organisations in Hong Kong. This new equipment will ensure that collaboration and engagement can still be promoted while also achieving very high levels of safety.

Other Measures

As noted above it is vital that all parents read and adhere to the Class Resumption Guide, which includes a variety of specific actions that will be needed ahead of their child’s first attendance on campus. These include the following:

  • All students must have a health declaration completed by their parents via the ESF App. This health declaration will be launched and communicated to you in more detail on Friday this week, and will be accessible by visiting the App and clicking the ‘Ding!’ button.
  • Daily temperature checking will need to take place at home each morning prior to a student attending campus. Your child’s temperature will then need to be entered into the App, by no later than 07.40. The temperature record function is in the same location on the App as the health declaration, i.e. click the ‘Ding!’ button under your child’s name. (N.B. Further temperature checking will also occur upon entry to the school campus, as noted in the Class Resumption Guide).
  • All campus users will need to wear masks, use hand sanitiser, maintain appropriate physical distance and adopt relevant hygiene measures

Thank you for bearing with a long message – we know how important it is for our whole community to be clear about the process we will follow in the coming days. The key point is that we are delighted to be able to welcome every student back to campus, for full day classes, by the end of the month. We look forward to working with all of you to ensure the resumption period is safe and effective, and is as enjoyable and fulfilling as possible for every student as we resume those face-to-face connections that are so important to the way we operate as a school. 

As questions arise, please use the Questions Form at the end of the Class Resumption Guide to communicate with us and our staff will aim to respond to you as quickly as possible.

James Smith