Lockdown 2 and Life at Concord

The UK is experiencing its second lockdown, but with a more lenient, human and flexible approach to ensure proper care for the underage and those in need. The second lockdown in the UK is better than the first one, as firstly, it takes into account the need for children, and students. While in March, people taking care of young children would be prohibited from meeting other people due to the two-person limit, during this lockdown, they no longer need to find a babysitter, etc. in order to contact another as the pre-school age child will be excluded from the two-person limit. The headache of looking for childsitter would also be avoided as schools, childcare and nurseries remain open, that working parents would not need to worry about how to settle their children should schools are closed.

On the other hand, more support is available for the vulnerable ones during the second lockdown. To name a few, the support bubble allows childcare being provided by another household, and single parent family can mix with other nominated household. The government has taken into account the need of many, and the leniency allows a more efficient and caring approach, while maximally minimizing spread of the virus.

Last but not least, more services are open during the second lockdown, from essential healthcare services including dental and optical pratices, to product collection services. Delayed treatments and misdiagnoses would be avoided, and those who are in need would be able to order products without going through massive procedures. To sum, the second lockdown would definitely minimize inconvenience to maintain daily life, and households with elderly or children would greatly benefit from the more humane approach.

Concord College is not only following suite with government guidelines, but is also going above and beyond to ensure the school campus remains a fully functioning and safe place.

During the lockdown, trips to town are temporality called off, filtering students to the new Concord online shop where a range of necessity and luxury items are available for purchase. As always, Concord is still organising an abundance of fun, on-campus activities to get involved in. These are taking place in year group bubbles, adhering to the government regulations. Different coloured lanyards have been adopted by our school, ensuring this rule is followed. One activity that my friends and I have loved challenging ourselves with is the “Pedal4Lalibela” project whereby the whole school is trying to generate enough mileage to travel from the U.K to Ethiopia by exercising such as on spin bikes. This project raises money for a school in Ethiopia that we have links with. I also enjoyed pyjama day last Friday where the whole school got to wake up, roll out of bed and go straight to lessons, because we wore our pyjamas in honour of Children in Need day. Everyone who wore pyjamas donated a pound to the British charity.

Cindy and Rose – 6.2

Online Learning in the New Term

While school has reopened and many of our classmates have gone back to campus, there are still some of us who chose to stay behind in our home country. Teachers need to cater for this by conducting hybrid teaching. Those of us still at home would have to attend lessons online using Teams whilst the others attend in person with social distancing measures in place. Being one of those who are not at school, I would like to share my experience of hybrid learning…

Interestingly, I found that when teachers have students attending classes in person, lessons go more smoothly, and they convey concepts more effectively as compared to last term when it was fully remote, understandably. What this means is that for this term, studying online may not be as disadvantageous as what many would first imagine. However, equally, when the lesson is better delivered, it is tough for me to stay focused throughout the whole school day. This is especially so in the evenings after a few hours of lessons, I would find my eyes extremely tired from staring at the screen which would lead to a struggle to concentrate. This is mitigated on the days when I have more free periods to take breaks in between lessons. Online classes from afternoon into the night also means no evening preparation for classes the next day. The adjustment of having to finish up my homework in the morning is challenging as I sometimes fail to allocate enough time to do so. This is now even more important since Saturday tests have resumed.

From school events like cross-country to silly insider jokes made by classmates, we are definitely missing out on some of the fun. As a Prefect, I am also unable to fulfil some of my duties since I am away. The pandemic has shortened our high school experience, making teenagers from all over the world lose out on many opportunities to grow and socialise in the ‘normal’ environment we know. However, our safety is most important, and we should make use of whatever tools we have to minimise any disruption to our studies until the pandemic threat subsides. This pandemic has brought many negative impacts to our world but also good learnings and innovations to the way we conduct our lives and adaptations to this new normal.

Amber – 6.2

‘A Day of Life’ – Concord College (COVID-19 Edition)

Watch the Sixth Form students’ (lighthearted) perspective on COVID-19 and life at Concord…

By Anson and Nico.

6.2 End of Year Interviews

By Rose, Winona and Cindy – 6.1 

Looking forward to September

Without a doubt, it has been a tough year and I commend everyone’s hard work despite the less than perfect situation. As this academic year comes to an end, we are all looking forward to September, when we will all be united on campus once again.

We asked some of our friends from around the world to share with us what they are looking forward to in September.

The UK

Eben: Feeling part of a proper class community again

Ukraine

Nastya: Just simply returning to a sense of normality 

Nigeria 

Saratu: No longer having many time differences amongst all my friends; it’s been too much of a strain on my mental maths! 

China 

Anna: Not having to heavily rely on technology and my bad WiFi at home! Also getting to see people in person again

Hong Kong 

Tom: Being set free from quarantine so I can be my social self again

Malaysia 

Hazel: Returning to a normal and more fulfilling school timetable and routine

I’m sure these thoughts and feelings resonate with us all, helping us remember that in a way we are still connected despite being physically apart. This time away from Concord has also clearly created an opportunity to reflect upon things we appreciate, but may’ve previously taken for granted. I think this will make the return back extra special. We look forward to seeing you all on a buzzing campus once again!

Holly, Winona and Rose – 6.1

A day in my life during lockdown

Created by Cindy – 6.1

COVID-19 in Shropshire: A student perspective

Our names are Rose, Holly, and Cindy and we are currently in 6.1 at Concord College as ‘Day Students’ living very near the school in Shropshire. We are going to be writing a few blogs about the realities of the coronavirus here in the UK, as we feel it differs greatly from media portrayals. We seek to reassure overseas parents and students that are starting/returning to college in September.

 

Rose:  It is understandable that the UK having the highest death rate in Europe is making overseas families anxious and everyone is entitled to their own viewpoint, but I would like to put these figures that the media constantly flashes into context. The majority of deaths occurring in the UK occur either in care homes or in hospitals. Care homes are a hub of elderly and therefore vulnerable people, whilst in the hospital patients tend to be also elderly or have a pre-existing health condition such as asthma, making them vulnerable to the virus. Studies show teenagers are not vulnerable to the virus, as the deaths for people aged 15-44 has not increased.

Of course, the virus should still be a cause for concern for teenagers and that’s why myself and everyone I know in the UK are continuing to socially distance, whereby we stay at least 2 metres away from people outside our own household.

Another significant point to highlight is that here in Shropshire, the death rate is below the average of other counties. We are in the countryside, sparsely populated with plenty of open space, making interaction with others infrequent. Therefore, the virus here is not the mad, wipe-out wave that the media portrays, but rather a gentle tide that just needs to be watched.

 

Holly: With the government’s position changing weekly and the decreasing number of deaths, it is important that we continue to implement the government’s set rules into our day-to-day lives.

Across the country, supermarkets and pharmacies remained open during the nation-wide lockdown. Shopping for essential goods was and is to be kept to a minimum. Non-essential shops will be starting to open up again on 15th June (provided they meet the government’s standards) after being closed since the 23rd March.

We are now allowed to meet up with up to five other people in the outdoors but must remain 2m apart to limit the potential spread of COVID-19. This is a drastic change when compared to the previous rule of not being allowed to meet with any more than two people outside of those in your household.

Aside from essential workers (for example NHS staff), employers are looking at how to safely bring employees back into the workplace. Some employers even thinking of implementing shifts to minimise contact between employees and thus any further spread of the virus.

 

Cindy: Whilst COVID-19 has led to hundreds of thousands of deaths and created worldwide panic, as a Concord student, my life has been relatively different – much quieter and peaceful.

The world outside Concord has also changed drastically, as customers in essential shops such as supermarkets, must keep a 2-meter distance from each other; people are also frequently utilising face masks. Only one member of a family/household is allowed to be in the store at a time to avoid crowding but to ensure accessibility. Customers were advised to only touch items they intend to purchase and adopt cashless payments whenever they can to avoid any unnecessary contact. There are multiple cleaning stations, hand sanitizers and disinfectant wipes installed in front of the stores for the use of every customer that is queueing to make their purchases. Currently, people are no longer panic-buying, as we once again are seeing fully stocked shelves. For those who do not want to make the trip to the supermarket, contactless home delivery options have become very popular, as whatever you need is brought to you right at your front door. Everything is being processed in a very orderly manner.

One thing I have really enjoyed during the lockdown is walking my dog every day, as I can appreciate the peace and quietness in nature. On the other hand, I have also been keeping myself very productive as I have been having online lessons daily. I am able to FaceTime my friends all over the world to catch up with them. Quarantine life is not too stressful here in the UK, though I do wish life could get back to normal in the near future.

My Concord journey so far…

A short video by 6.1 student Panaree.

Lifeguard Training at Concord

Each year, 12 students are selected to partake in lifeguard training to earn their National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ), so that they can lifeguard the school’s swimming pool for the next academic year. Training takes place from January to March.

Lifeguard trials were held in October. We all turned up in our swimming kit, ready and raring to go. After many lengths and several minutes of sculling, the trial was over, and a couple of weeks later, the twelve new trainee lifeguards were announced.

Training started in January. Many of us had not spoken to each other much beforehand so it was a great opportunity to make some new friends. The first session was a 2-hour stroke technique workshop where we learnt lifesaving backstroke and sidestroke – both being rather demanding on the legs. It was a somewhat rude awakening for those of us who had overindulged over the Christmas holiday!

There were two training sessions each week, which consisted of two hours of theory and one hour of practical training in the swimming pool. As the weeks progressed, there was an increasing emphasis on the practical skills involved in first aid. Despite having done a first-aid course in the past I was surprised to learn that the CPR technique varies depending on the circumstances. For example, CPR for an unconscious adult is different from an adult that has drowned.

At the beginning of the second last week of training, the college announced its latest position on COVID-19, swiftly reducing our team of twelve to seven, as people had to return home. Due to the training groups dramatic decrease in size, it meant that everyone had more opportunities to practice and get more comfortable with each other. This allowed us all to feel more relaxed about our upcoming exam.

In the final week of training, we had 9 hours of training from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm, Monday through to Wednesday, with the final exam on Thursday. As you can imagine we were all feeling rather tired by Thursday but knowing that the end was in sight kept us going.

The exam consisted of a multiple-choice paper and a practical paper. In the multiple-choice paper, we were tested on pool management, the law surrounding pools, health and safety, first aid, etc. The practical exam tested our first aid skills and lifesaving techniques in the pool. We were all especially nervous about the head-splint rescue in the pool as it requires a lot of control and stability whilst in deeper water. Thankfully, we all managed to complete the head-splint successfully – all of our hard work had paid off. After the exam had ended, our two examiners let us know that we had all passed – much to our relief!

All in all, I think lifeguard training is an amazing opportunity that is available to us as students at school. It has taught me many valuable skills that I think will serve me well going into university and jobs in the future. We all learned a lot about the importance of commitment and dedication, as well as communication and teamwork in high-pressure scenarios. Moreover, my time-management skills and planning have never been better due to the time-consuming nature of training.

Holly – 6.1

First day of the Easter break at Concord

The 11th of April marked our first day of the Easter holiday. With only around a hundred or so people left in school, our campus has been quieter than ever. The usual laughs from students were gone, and instead, I was surrounded by the sound of birds and cats.

My adventure began with this golden cat passing by my window. Being a huge cat-lover, I immediately put my shoes on, brought my camera, and off I went. Walking around with that cat, I found beauty in this campus that I had never noticed. Warmth from the sun, trees with birds that sing, flowers in every colour you can think of and – even mushrooms in a small area of lawn? Spring term had been demanding and challenging with the increasing amount of workload for students. Maybe that was why, even when we lived here, we could not always notice these blessings around us. My favourite saying goes: “a walk in nature walks the soul back home.” Now that I have walked home, hopefully you – no matter where you are – could free yourself from stress and enjoy our precious nature. Have a fruitful Easter Holiday!

Eunice – 6.1