Director’s message 62

ISO Community,

First of all, I would like to thank my colleagues for handling this challenging situation, full of unknowns, very professionally. Thank you to our parents and Board of Trustees for their reliance, perseverance, and dedication to our community.

8 years ago, … – I can’t believe it has been that long – I made one mistake, one time: during the Ebola Crisis of 2014. I announced that the Board and I would re-evaluate, after the first week of October, whether our campus and the country were safe and appropriate for students and teachers to return.

What I learned was that many families made plans based on that sentence, and did not rush to enroll in schools in the countries where they were located at that time. A few students did stay behind, and we put them on an online program called K-12. Well, times have changed, and now we run the online program ourselves.

Going forward, I never mentioned a date again, until we officially reopened the school in Monrovia in February.

In March 2020, when COVID struck, I learned this lesson well, and I never announced ANY date when the school may reopen.

Well, this week… I got it all wrong!!!

A. On Sunday, I sent a note that there would be no school on Monday, as we were not clear of the present situation on the ground here in Ouagadougou.

B. Then on Monday, we announced, following the Government decree, that school would be off on Monday and Tuesday.

C. On Tuesday, I had a quick Board meeting and we decided and announced that we would use Wednesday as an evaluation day, and be back to school on Thursday. That message was sent out at 5:00p.m.

D. Then at 9:00p.m…. the Government made another decree saying that schools would be closed until next Monday.

Luckily, we planned on using Wednesday as an evaluation day, so it gave us a chance to get the new wording out regarding the new Government decree, which was sent out late on Tuesday night to the Burkina Faso population.

In any event…. I know it has been frustrating. I have been in challenging situations in Venezuela, Paraguay, El Salvador, Guatemala and of course Liberia…. but this clearly has been the most challenging in getting information correct. I apologize for any mixed messages (as there have been more this week, than throughout my career thus far).

Let’s work together, as we enter this new year knowing that:

  1. Things are going to be challenging
  2. We need to expect the unexpected
  3. We will need to plan for what we did not plan for
  4. We will need to be understanding, as we are in uncharted territory…. dealing with civil unrest, a pandemic and a worldwide economy that is being very challenged right now
  5. Most importantly, we should keep the focus on our students, and be as positive and indulgent as possible during this very unique time.

Thus, please keep in mind that we can only plan at this point, as things may indeed change. We saw it a few times this week!

Thanks again for your unwavering support and commitment.

Please take a look at the first edition of our Counselor Newsletter. It comes at a perfect time, given the current events. It includes some tips and advice by our social-emotional counselor Ms. Laurence Traore to help all us deal with the unexpected.

Looking forward to seeing everyone back on campus very soon.