Pandemic preparedness was not scheduled into the academic calendar at our Maple Bear schools for the year 2020.
The education sector is well-versed on the importance of emergency preparedness as it relates to everything from natural disasters to lockdowns because the safety of every student is the highest priority at all times and all procedures are well-documented and understood.
However, there was no binder to pull from the office shelf that outlined the strategies and protocols needed to prepare for the return to school during a pandemic.
And yet, despite these challenges and uncertainties, our Maple Bear school owners had an exclusive advantage.
The agility and expanse of the Maple Bear Global network enabled the support and guidance our school owners needed during this turbulent time to ensure the safety of every student and staff member.
Take, for example, the experience of Maple Bear United Arab Emirates.
How Maple Bear UAE Navigated Operational Compliance During a Pandemic
After a lengthy and nearly devastating eight-month period of shutdown, regulators in the UAE finally signalled reopening permission for the early years sector in early September 2020. Nurseries were told they would be permitted to open by October 4th 2020, provided they met the exhaustive lists of reopening protocols issued independently by each of the regulatory bodies overseeing health, academic programs and facilities in the private education sector.
Within a timeframe just shy of four weeks, preschool owners and teams were being asked to provide precise policy directives, supported with documented operating procedures and implementation tools with evidence of use.
In a baptism by fire approach, preschool owners and managers were thrown head first into the world of strategic planning. They were tasked with developing comprehensive business risk mapping frameworks that take the general health and safety of environment, academic instruction and inclusivity risks into consideration.
Return to School Policy Planning Attainable Because of Support from Maple Bear Global
The deliverables expected by the regulatory bodies went way beyond the standard fire drill procedures we are all familiar with. However, Maple Bear schools in the UAE were well positioned to demonstrate compliance and document their readiness.
Drawing on the tools, products and direct real time guidance provided by the Maple Bear Global Communications team, the Maple Bear Gulf Communications and Management team was able to enhance the local school operational policy framework to adapt for the pandemic reality.
With schools returning to classroom instruction, the importance of risk mitigation, contingency planning and precision in policy and standards became even more critical. Every detail, from staff attendance to COVID-19 case detection and isolation protocols, needed to be refined and explicit.
Here are just some of the many considerations and amendments:
- establishing and implementing remote learning and instruction,
- student and staff illness as well as absence and leave during a pandemic,
- enhanced hygiene standards and sanitation procedures,
- monitoring and detection of infection,
- dedicated isolation facility on site,
- resource sharing and usage limitations,
- classroom configuration,
- scheduling and circulation of groups for social distance at arrival, throughout school day, and departure,
- remote business administration, parent communication, and team management systems.
Design of simplified tools, detailed SOPs and adoption of a shared cloud storage made both implementation and demonstration of compliance possible for all assessment stages and physical inspections.
The Advantage of Being Tied To An Internationally Established Education Franchise
The reopening experience of the region’s three preschools, which involved submission and approval from nearly five distinct regulatory bodies in the UAE, is a successful business case for the strategic advantage of being a part of an internationally established early childhood education franchise.
The most valuable asset lay in the assured consistency and quality across all franchises that a centralized reopening plan provides.
With a vested interest in maintaining the success of each franchise within the Maple Bear network, the corporate leadership teams at Maple Bear Global Schools have taken ownership of regional needs, and proved to be agile in the face of unforeseen challenges that have reared their head in this academic year.
Without a doubt, as we progress through this academic year, Maple Bear school owners around the globe will have deeper appreciation of the value of belonging to an organization that can draw on talent, tools and innovative best practices in business management with just as much strength as its unmatched ability to bring the best practices of Canadian education to education sector investors globally.
For information on Maple Bear franchise ownership opportunities, please go to the Own A Maple Bear School website for details.