Health & Safety
safe |sāf| adjective
[predic.] protected from or not exposed to danger or risk; not likely to be harmed
At Concordia International School Shanghai, we focus on how to define the word "safe" in holistic terms
Concordia focuses on ensuring that all members of the community are safe and feel secure while on campus.
Concordia is located in the desirable neighborhood of Jinqiao. As the popularity of the area grows, so does the number of students and families coming onto the campus. With their whistles and warm smiles, our campus security guards safely usher students on and off campus each school day.
Plant security on the Concordia campus encompasses a combination of ID cards, closed circuit cameras and 24/7 personnel to maintain a safe, yet inviting environment. Concordia also embraces emergency preparedness and campus security procedures.
Concordia maintains a Health Office with full-time, registered nurses to tend to the occasional cut, bruise and fever during the school days. Bi-lingual and highly skilled, the nurses are also fully qualified to handle emergency care. Additionally, for the safety of the entire community it is mandatory for each child to have an updated Medical Form on file.
Concordia demonstrates our investment in athletics and wellness by having a full-time, certified athletic trainer on staff. The athletic trainer serves the students and faculty out of a purpose-built office which is equipped with the physical therapy tools needed to focus the community on wellness and to keep student athletes safe during their practices and games.
The athletic trainer also attends practices and games to handle any sports-related injuries that may occur.
"Neuroscientists conclude that students excel when they feels emotionally respected and safe."
–Middle School Counselor
The emotional safety and well-being of its students is an important and intentional consideration at Concordia. All children face certain complex emotions during their school years—it’s part of growing up. But for students in international schools there are added challenges such as living in a foreign country, adjusting to an unfamiliar culture and often having to make new friends and say good-bye to old ones on a fairly regular basis.
“At Concordia we acknowledge and respond to the transition process as everyone can be impacted in various ways by this mobile lifestyle.” - Elementary School Counselor
Using the International Model for School Counseling, Concordia addresses the issue of international education by providing elementary school classroom guidance lessons that deal with the social and emotional impact of moving to and living outside of one’s home country.
Transitioning students also find support through the school’s Ambassador Program for Grades 7 to 12. Student ambassadors create a friendly school environment by corresponding via email with new students before they arrive and by helping them get acclimated during those first few hectic weeks at school.
At Concordia we do more than respond to bullying–we simply do not tolerate it. Counselors intentionally educate students on how to respond to bullying whether it is aimed at them directly or they are bystanders to an inappropriate exchange.
Since adolescence is unfortunately a common time when bullying occurs, the middle school faculty work with the students using and teaching the Restorative Justice Model. This involves monthly guidance lessons and advisory periods which help students to understand that they have a voice, as well as a responsibility, to stop bullying when they encounter it. Students learn techniques on how to do this; they also get active and ongoing support and development from teachers, counselors and administrators who help them with the process.
Self-harm occurs when an individual chooses to inflict wounds upon themselves because of psychological distress. Although it is difficult to understand this behavior, it becomes a coping mechanism for some people. Feelings of anxiety and distress, feeling outside of one’s body, and the need for self-punishment are among the reasons self-injurers site for their behavior. Self Harm left unaddressed may lead to more serious suicidal ideations and/or suicidal attempts.
Suicidal ideation refers to when someone has suicidal thoughts. Most people who have suicidal thoughts do not take action; females attempt more often, while male teens have a higher rate of suicide. A student with suicidal thoughts may also be dealing with abuse, depression, anxiety or eating disorders, gender confusion, Families with medical histories of mental illness, could be prone to suicidal ideation.
Ideation can be vague ( simply a wish) to more serious degree with a specific plan. The following factors can be risks to consider or protective factors adding to the situation: intrapersonal thoughts, social context (family system), and cultural norms (regarding mental health).
Here are some of the symptoms a student might express to a teacher, peer, or counselor:
- feeling or appearing to feel trapped or hopeless
- feeling intolerable emotional pain
- having or appearing to have an preoccupation with violence, dying, or death
- Having a plan to kill themselves
- having mood swings, either happy or sad
- talking about revenge, guilt, or shame
- being agitated, or in a heightened state of anxiety
- experiencing changes in personality, routine, or sleeping pattern
1. Any staff member who becomes aware that a student may be suicidal is to immediately notify the school counselor or an administrator and assure that the student is not left alone.
2. A school counselor or school administrator will see the student immediately and continue to ensure constant supervision of the student.
3. If the student is violent and is in danger of hurting him/herself or others, the school administrator is notified.
4. The school counselor or school administrator will attempt to conduct an interview. The purpose of the interview is to provide staff with information to determine how to best ensure the safety of the student. The student is informed that appropriate actions will be taken and that confidentiality can and will be breached. The students may be given appropriate choices on how the suicidal ideation, action, and or plan is disclosed.
*The counselor may adjust the procedures in emergency situations if in professional judgment modifications are necessary to ensure the safety and welfare of the student or student body.
School Counselor / Administrator / Head of School Responsibilities
Based on the interview, one of the following procedures is initiated:
A. If the student's responses indicate that he/she may not be at imminent risk:
1. The school holds a Signs of Safety Meeting with parents to create a safety plan. Parents are advised of the need to supervise and support their child. School team shares resources with the parents. The meeting is documented and follow up meeting is set.
2. The grade level principal and the assistant head of school or the head of school are notified.
B. If the student admits to being suicidal or his/her responses result in suspicions of immediate risk, the following steps are suggested to ensure the student safety:
1. The parents are notified immediately of the seriousness of the concern and informed that the student is not allowed to leave the school unless accompanied by a parent or guardian or another person for whom the parent permits to pick up the student. Parent's permission to release the student to another person is documented.
2. The grade level principal and the assistant head of school or the head of school are notified.
3. The student is not to be left alone and remains with the support staff member until a parent/guardian or person identified in an emergency takes charge of the student. The parents are advised to take the student immediately to the nearest emergency room and/or to a licensed mental health provider for a crisis evaluation.
4. Before the student is discharged, school staff advise the receiving person of the need for continued supervision and support for the student.
6. The student can safely return to school only after being evaluated by a licensed professional mental health provider. The school team holds a Signs of Safety meeting and an action plan is established prior to the student’s return to his or her classes. School administrator is aware of students return and re-entry/safety plan. The safety plan must be completed which advises parents of the school’s concern for their child and their responsibility to ensure the safety of every student. The plan is then signed by the parent and the school official and serves as documentation of the consultation and the parent's acknowledgment of the school concern for their child suicidal ideation, suicidal threats and or self-harm. A copy is kept by the school. The plan notes if the family is resistant to school safety processes.
7. If the student returns to school without evidence that an evaluation occurred, the support staff member immediately consult the administrator. Supervision of the student is reinstated until the parent/guardian picks the student up and/or provides a safety clearance document from a licensed mental health professional. The student may not return to school unless the parents/guardians seek out a licensed mental health professional.
“We will continue to do what is necessary to make sure we have a safe, high-quality learning environment for our students and community.” - HOS
- Actions Speak Louder Than Words
- Creating Good From Bad
- Safe and Healthy Environment
- Monitoring External Air Quality
Concordia invests in providing a safe and healthy environment for our students, including long-term sustainable solutions that ensure clean air in campus buildings. Over the past four summers, this commitment has resulted in upgrades which amount to more than eight million RMB. Air filtration is strategically placed, aimed at ensuring the best possible air quality for our learning environments.
Most recently, during the summer of 2017, Concordia upgraded all outside air systems and air handling units to have improved filtration and capacity to bring more oxygen into the classrooms and working environments.
In the summer of 2016, Concordia added vestibules on the ground floor and enclosed the second-floor pedestrian bridges to manage the number of locations where outside air enters the buildings. This 3.6MM RMB investment helps manage the air quality in large gathering areas such as gyms and commons.
In 2014, Concordia invested over three million RMB adding hermetic seals to doors, changing and upgrading air filters and installing fixed air filtration systems that reduce and maintain clean air in all classrooms and large gathering areas.
Concordia provided an authentic learning opportunity for AP Environmental Science students to analyze the actual air quality readings from around school. These students later presented their findings to interested (and impressed) parents from the entire school. High school science teacher, Anne Love, commented, “It is rewarding to see my students engaged in the important work of analyzing air quality data and am excited to communicate their knowledge to the community.”
Most recently, students worked together with the Operations Department and the Physics Department of the High School to create AQI monitoring devices that have been strategically place around campus to monitor air quality. Students also created a presentation on air quality in the school that resulted in an award at a competition in Hawaii.
Built-in systems in each building across the campus provide clean and safe air, eliminating the need for individual air purifiers in each classroom. While some worry because they cannot see the air purifying system, it is always there in the background ensuring that our students are safe and cared for as they learn and study in their classrooms.
Long before the AQI hit its highest reading in Shanghai in 2013, Concordia already had guidelines and procedures in place to deal with poor air and had openly communicated them to the school community. Those guidelines have been validated in light of shifts in Shanghai's air over the years.
These guidelines and procedures are actively monitored and adjusted to ensure clean air across campus.
Concordia can ensure through a customized air filtration system that internal air quality remains well below US EPA standards in regard to 2.5 particulate and other pollutants even when the external air quality is poor.
External air quality levels are checked throughout the day and reported via a color coded signs by entrances to each division using our own monitoring equipment on the roof of the HS Building. Using our own monitoring equipment on the roof of the HS Building. This equipment is the same as what is used by the US Consulate.
- Green – is normal
- Yellow – Scheduled activities will be modified so that children avoid prolonged exertion while outdoors.
- Red – Recess and PE, and outdoor will be held indoors. Outdoor athletics and CCAs will be modified or canceled.