Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Latest Updates & Guidance

St. Stephen’s School is closely monitoring the ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. As the situation continues to change rapidly, our top priority remains the health, safety, and well-being of our community, on- and off-campus.

St. Stephen's has been operating a remote teaching and learning environment since March 9th in compliance with Italian government regulations and will continue to do so until official guidelines are issued on when schools may reopen.

The School’s Board of Trustees, the Head of School, and the Administrative Team are currently planning for several contingency scenarios and will continue to take decisive, informed action based on the latest science and government decrees to limit the spread of COVID-19 while ensuring the continuity of the School’s teaching and learning mission.

By being proactive in our planning, we can safeguard our own health and the well-being of those with whom we interact. Our COVID Action and Response Center contains weekly announcements from our Head of School, health and wellness tips from the School’s counselors and nurses, e-learning and program information, and FAQs.  We will continue to update this page regularly to keep you informed of additional measures, so check back frequently or consult with us for additional resources.

e-Learning at St. Stephen’s

We believe that St. Stephen’s provides an excellent, well-rounded education, articulating both the academic development and the social-emotional development of our students.

In response to the school closure caused by the global Covid-19 pandemic, we have created an e-Learning Institute in order to be able to provide the same quality of education during periods of full or partial school closure. The aim of the institute is to conduct research and training in digital pedagogy and effective educational technology in order to enable our teachers to deliver a best-in-class online education when needed.

St Stephen’s students will benefit from this in many ways:

  • Students enjoy a tailored, authentic, and meaningful online course designed by their teacher in full knowledge of their needs, interests, and existing skills.
  • Successful online teaching requires very clearly defined learning outcomes, weekly plans, clear definitions of types of work and assignments, and clear expectations for teachers and students. In order to keep students engaged, teachers develop a rich variety of activities, including formative and summative written and oral assignments, quizzes, and discussions.
  • E-assessment focuses on open-ended tasks, with questions that allow multiple answers which cannot be googled. This is a much more meaningful way of assessing students for 21st-century skills, and one increasingly adopted by the IBO and universities.
  • Successful online course design leads to higher levels of student ownership and student-led learning, creating greater independence and scholarship, two key St Stephen’s values.
  • By being taught online during some periods, St Stephen’s students develop digital skills that will be essential for them in future workplaces and beyond. They become highly literate in digital presentation skills and online forms of public speaking. Teachers assign collaborative projects and small group work, which develop time-management and collaborative skills. They are also a good way of avoiding feelings of isolation and replacing some of the community feeling typically experienced at St Stephen’s.
  • When school closure is mandated, the school organizes a healthy mix of synchronous and asynchronous classes and carefully monitors engagement and time spent on computers. Asynchronous learning is flexible and independent, whereas synchronous sessions are opportunities to monitor progress and well-being.
  • During periods of school closure, the students need more, not less, community support. The E-learning Institute is researching ways to develop a strong community network that replicates, as much as possible, the experience of being a residential or day student at St Stephen’s. This includes digital adviser meetings, Grade Level Meetings, virtual study halls, Wellness Center appointments, and online co-curricular offerings for students.

When we return to teaching face-to-face full time, students will be much more digitally literate and teachers will have a much greater methodological arsenal and will be able to design classes that are more effective and more diversified.

Wellness

The faculty and staff at St. Stephen's go above and beyond to support students every day, and now is certainly no exception. This unique set of circumstances may bring with it new scenarios where students require pastoral support. It can be challenging to know how to support a struggling student on the best of days, let alone through Zoom, Google Meet, or email. The nursing and counseling teams are still here to provide any guidance to faculty should it be useful. If you have any concerns about a member of our community's physical or mental health, please reach out to nurse@sssrome.it or to AbbyCarlo, or Phil.

For managing stress, the School’s Wellness Center website has several suggestions and videos about calming anxiety and keeping healthy during coronavirus quarantine.

School counselors also filmed a short conversation over Zoom in which they provided some advice and useful things to consider as the community finds useful ways to support students:

In the links below are resources that specifically address supporting students throughout this period:

Health Precautions

The health of our community is our top priority. We realize the extraordinary social distancing measures and the ongoing uncertainty of COVID-19 are incredibly challenging. We hope you find the resources on this page helpful in maintaining your overall health and wellbeing. We'll continue to add to these resources over time.

Facts about COVID-19 infection

The severity of COVID-19 infection ranges from mild to severe. The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control include the following Symptoms, which may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms or combinations of symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of these symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain and aches
  • Headache
  • Sore throat, nasal congestion, diarrhea
  • New loss of taste or smell

Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing hospital treatment. Around 1 out of every 5 people who get COVID-19 become seriously ill and develop difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart and lung problems, diabetes, or cancer, are at higher risk of developing a serious illness. However, anyone can catch COVID-19 and become seriously ill. Even people with very mild symptoms of COVID-19 can transmit the virus. People of all ages who experience fever, cough, and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.

 

Is there a cure or a vaccine?

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 infection. Clinical trials for a vaccine and effective treatment solutions are underway in many countries, but at the moment, the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus.

Precautions You and Your Family Can Take

Stay-at-home and Social Distancing

  • Adhere to local government and department of public health stay-at-home orders.

 

Handwashing

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Please remind your children to wash hands after coughing or sneezing, before, after and during food preparation, after toilet use, and after coming in contact with animals.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Remind children to throw tissues in closed bins immediately after use.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

 

Wear a Mask

 Health organizations such as the CDC and the WHO recommend face coverings or masks when in public settings. While face coverings do no eliminate the need for physical distancing of at least one meter, they do add an additional layer of protection.

 

Official Resources

Below are several organizations that offer the most up-to-date information on Coronavirus.

  1. Call Italy’s 112 emergency number if you believe you have symptoms.  English speaking operators are available. You can also find additional numbers here.
  2. The W.H.O. (World Health Organization) and the CDC (Centers for Disease Control)
  3. INMI: https://www.inmi.it/cosa-ce-da-sapere-sul-nuovo-coronavirus-faq-e-numero-di-pubblica-utilita.html
  4. Italian Ministry of Health: http://www.salute.gov.it/portale/nuovocoronavirus/homeNuovoCoronavirus.jsp

 

Our community is taking every precaution it can to keep your children safe. We encourage you get in touch with us should you have any questions or if you need additional information.

FAQs

On March 9th, the Italian government closed all schools throughout the country in its efforts to control the spread of COVID-19. Since then, St. Stephen's has transitioned to a remote teaching and learning environment for our three hundred students.

St. Stephen's students will continue to participate in classes online until the government issues guidelines on when and how schools across the country may reopen.

Based on current data and projections for COVID-19, the School will be back in session in September 2020. However, the School's Contingency Planning Committee is also reviewing the possibility of exam sessions in June and is in ongoing discussions with local authorities about graduation ceremonies. Please check the bi-weekly updates from the Head of School regarding this subject.