Newsletter 5 9/4/20 (update 8)
Easter greetings and Coronavirus
Kia ora koutou
How different our world now looks from my last newsletter on the 13th March. If we hadn’t have gone into ‘lockdown’, today would have been the final day of Term 1. As fate would have it and with the outbreak of a global pandemic our world has changed and we are now in our school holidays with the start of Term 2 to start next Wednesday 15th April.
As of next Wednesday your sons learning will look very different. While we remain at Alert Level 4 he will be learning from home. Essentially we will be keeping to the routine of his normal daily timetable. Teachers will have set work on Microsoft 365 ‘Teams’ (they will probably have made contact with him to give him guidance already) that your son can complete during that period ie If he has Maths Period 1 on Wednesday he should be doing Maths work during this time. During this time his Maths teacher will be available on Microsoft 365 ‘Teams’ to communicate with your son and/or provide feedback on his work. Teachers may also choose to provide communication/feedback at a later time at their discretion. We ask for your support in ensuring he keeps to the routine of his daily timetable as best as possible.
If there are any issues with your son’s schoolwork contact his teacher directly in the first instance (all teachers emails are on the school website – go to ‘Contacts’ then ‘Staff list’) and if needed contact his Year Level Dean in the next instance.
There are also great resources available on the Ministry’s Learning from Home website www.learningfromhome.govt.nz if he needs any supplementary resources.
During House Group time (Tuesday and Thursday at 9.40am – 10.00am) his House Group teacher will be available for pastoral support and guidance and I know a number of House Group teachers have already set up a video conference link for their groups to communicate on.
During Assembly times (Monday and Friday at 9.40am – 10.00am) I will be posting a video on Microsoft 365 ‘Stream’ and emailing a link to your son and also posting the link on the front page of the website.
In terms of pastoral support for your son, he will have his House Group teacher to talk to, but also his Year Level Dean will be available. If it is a more serious matter then you should contact our Guidance Councillor Mr Colin Pine – his email address is email@example.com
Easter weekend may not be what you had planned a month ago but I know you will enjoy the time with your family. The news today that recovered cases has for the first time since ‘lockdown’ exceeded confirmed cases would appear to be extremely positive news. Thanks for your continued support and kindness in these incredibly unique and challenging times. Wishing you all a Happy Easter.
He waka eke noa
We’re all in this together
Coronavirus update 3rd April (update 7)
Kia ora whanau
I hope you have all managed to cope with the first week of 'lockdown' and are staying safe in your 'bubble'. If you are anything like me, along with getting plenty of work done, my jig-saw puzzle and Wii Sports skills have improved significantly. It is also important to get outside for plenty of fresh air to avoid going 'stir-crazy' inside and also stay in regular contact with your friends. At a time like this our mental well-being is all important. There is some great information available on the Ministry of Education website if you simply search "Covid-19 and wellbeing".
The Ministry's priority at this moment is to ensure that all children have access to the resources that they need to partake in on-line learning. The following is an extract from a bulletin I was sent earlier today
"To help make sure your child can keep up with their learning at home, the Ministry has asked for up-to-date information on your child’s year level, lockdown physical address and the resources your child will need. The Ministry will use the information to identify where devices and hard copy learning resources may be needed to be delivered. We won’t be able to meet everyone’s needs all at once but we will continue to provide as much as we can, as it is available.
We may be contacting some of you to check the details we have for you are correct. Resources are limited and it will take time to get them to learners who most need them, so the sooner we are able to get this information to the Ministry the better".
We appreciate the large number of you who have already given us this information and we will be doing our best over the next week to provide the Ministry with details of those students who still do not have devices or do not have internet connectivity. If this applies to your whanau or you know of a family who may not have either a device or the internet please do not hesitate to contact me directly by replying to this email.
Before school starts back on April 15th your son will be contacted by all his teachers to ensure he knows how he will be learning in that particular subject area from home. Your son needs to check his school e-mail and go onto Microsoft 365 'Teams' for the latest information. I know that this week (despite it being the 'holidays') a number of staff have been trying to contact students.
Please be kind, keep safe and look after each other.
He waka eke noa
(We're all in this together)
Staff on-line learning PD
Coronavirus update 24th March (update 6)
Staff have had an excellent PD day today going over on-line learning via Microsoft 365 ‘Teams’. I am very confident that when the new term starts on Wednesday 15th April we will be “good to go” as an on-line school. More details about how teaching and pastoral support will look will be emailed out towards the end of the holidays.
Thursday – Friday
This Thursday and Friday staff will be trialing work on-line for your sons to complete.
Most students should be familiar with how to use Microsoft “Teams” but if not an instruction email has been sent out to both student and parent emails. Google “How to use Microsoft teams” also works.
Students without devices
Over the next 24 hours we will be delivering devices to the homes of all those students who have indicated they don’t have a device. This is a final reminder to contact the school office if your son needs a device.
If your son needs any IT support during the "lockdown" our advice is to either call the New Era helpdesk at 0800438428 or email a staff member and they will email the New Era helpline.
Picking up text books and equipment from school
Some staff may have contacted you regarding coming into school to pick up text books to support learning during the ‘lockdown’. School will be open from 10am – midday tomorrow (Wednesday 25th March) to collect these books from the following rooms.
Social Sciences (B21)
Ready for Work (B5)
Musical instruments (Music room)
Children of essential workers
The school is open for instruction tomorrow (Wednesday 25th March) for the children of essential workers (a list of essential workers is on the covid19.govt.nz website). They are to report to the school library at 9am where they will be supervised by the Senior Leadership team.
Be kind, keep safe and continue to look after each other.
He waka eke noa
“We’re all in this together”
Darryl Paterson (Rector)
Coronavirus update 5
Kia Ora whanau
Today the Government announced that schools will be closing from midnight Wednesday 25th March. On Wednesday only the children of essential workers need to attend school. (A list of essential workers is on the covid19.govt.nz website). Supervision of students coming to school on Wednesday will be undertaken by the Senior Leadership team in the Library from 9am.
This Thursday and Friday your sons will receive work from their teachers either on the Microsoft 365 platform “Teams” or through Education Perfect.
School holidays have been moved forward to begin on Monday 30th March until Tuesday 14th April (inclusive).
From Wednesday 15th April we will be open once again for “on-line” instruction until the Alert 4 status has been lifted.
Teachers will be working off-site but will be setting work “on-line”, predominantly via Microsoft 365 “Teams” or other Microsoft apps and will be available for communication during their normal timetabled classes.
If your son does not have a device at home to work from (in this instance smart phones are acceptable) then could you please contact the school urgently and we will arrange for a device to be delivered to him.
These are incredibly challenging times and something that none of us probably ever anticipated. However, these restrictions are our best chance to slow the virus in New Zealand and to save lives.
We will keep in communication with you over the coming days, particularly with respect to the support we will continue to be provide your son as an “on-line” school.
As the Prime Minister said “be kind, keep safe, and look after each other”.
He waka eke noa
“We’re all in this together”
Darryl Paterson (Rector)
As you are all aware the Covid-19 situation continues to evolve and change on a daily basis. Because of this, and due to the fact that we have Anniversary Day on Monday and Teachers Only Day on Tuesday I will wait until Wednesday morning before providing a further update.
You do need to be aware that people over 70 and those classified as being high risk, due to having compromised immunity and certain existing medical conditions, are being advised to remain at home. This will affect a number of our staff and students.
Please advise us if your child is considered a high risk individual. Although we have medical information for most of these students, there may be others we are not aware of. The school office will be open on Tuesday.
Darryl Paterson (Rector)
Update 4 22/3/2020
Kia ora koutou
With so much information and misinformation swirling around about COVID-19, I wanted to share with you what will happen if we were to have a case in our school community. We have been planning for this and are in a position to respond quickly.
As soon as a case is confirmed in our immediate school community (eg. a student, staff member, or member of their household), the Medical Officer of Health and Ministry of Education will inform me about this, and we will work together to get quick and clear messaging out to you.
If there was a case confirmed of someone in our school, we will likely be asked to close temporarily by the Medical Officer of Health. This will allow time for close contacts to be traced, appropriate testing to be undertaken, and a careful clean of the school to be undertaken.
If our school does need to close temporarily, we have a plan in place to support student’s learning. For the first 2 days there would be no expectation that teachers set work as these days will treated as a “weather event”. If the school remained closed for a longer period of time students would be set work through the on-line platforms of Microsoft 365 ‘Teams’ or Education Perfect. Staff have been instructed to provide sufficient work per their normal contact time and feedback to students via these platforms. We are in the process of refining a continuity plan if the school was to close and should have this finalised by Tuesday.
We know COVID-19 feels scary and of course people are concerned for the wellbeing of our children. Please be assured that with no case confirmed in our school, your children are safe here. Please read below an excerpt from a bulletin received last week from the NZSTA (NZ School Trustees Association) which I believe is a timely reminder why schools should remain open.
Continuity of learning – Distance learning can be a useful backup, but for most students, most teachers and most schools face to face learning is more effective. It is important that students can keep accessing the best education we can offer them for as long as possible. That means continuing to attend school until there is good reason not to.
It’s safer than being somewhere else – One of the biggest concerns for health authorities is untraceable social contacts. Students who are not at school are highly likely to congregate in other places where it is not possible to identify who they may have been in contact with. When students (and staff) are in school it is much easier to trace any potential contacts they may have during the school day, and notify them if any of those contacts is suspected of contracting the virus
Keeping calm and carrying on – Maintaining normal routines and social contacts is important for the emotional wellbeing of students, staff and the wider school community.
Pastoral care and peer support – the relationships between students, and between students and their teachers are an important emotional support in times of uncertainty. Peer support for adults in the school can also be an important source of emotional and practical support.
Social cohesion - Although it’s at the bottom of our list, the consequences of a school closing can be severe for the whole community. While we need to be ready to manage this when it becomes necessary, there is no advantage in prolonging the disruption beyond what is needful.
Good hygiene is a priority at our school, and we are reinforcing this regularly with all students and staff. We know that practicing good hygiene is still the best thing we can all do to prevent illness. Unfortunately, due to the unavailability of hand sanitiser we have not been able to put this into all classrooms. It would be extremely helpful to us if you are able to give your son some to bring to school. I can assure you there is plenty of soap and hand towels in the toilet areas and this is being constantly replenished. Our cleaning team are working extra hours to ensure the school is well cleaned – in particular, hard surfaces, door handles etc.
How you can help us?
First and foremost if your son is not unwell – send him to school. For reasons identified above, at present it is the best and safest place for him to be.
Please contact the school office and update your contact details if they have changed since your son enrolled (if you have not done so already).
Please contact the school office if your son - a) does not have internet access at home or b) does not have a device to work from at home (smart phones are acceptable devices in this instance). We do have a list of students who regularly use our school devices but this may not capture all students who don’t have a device at home. Note – students will be sent an online form tomorrow to assist with the collection of this data.
If you haven’t done so already, please inform the school if your son is immuno-suppressed (if so he shouldn’t be at school). Immuno-suppressed includes people with heart conditions, high blood pressure, kidney problems, diabetes, people undergoing treatment for cancer and blood conditions.
Give your son some hand sanitiser to bring to school.
We are getting the most up to date advice and guidance so that we can confidently make informed decisions about the safety and wellbeing of our school community. We have always prided ourselves on our ability to display the school value of RESILIENCE and if we all work together I know we can counter this once in a generation pandemic most effectively.
Kia ora whanau This is the latest update from the Secretary of Education regarding coronavirus.
You may have seen that the World Health Organisation has now declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic. As noted by the Minister of Health, this doesn’t change what New Zealand is doing to respond to coronavirus. The Ministry of Health has been working through its pandemic plan since January. You will also know the Government has already implemented a range of measures to minimise the impacts to New Zealand. This includes border restrictions, a requirement to self-isolate on arrival in New Zealand from China, Iran, Italy and the Republic of Korea and immediate and detailed contact tracing of any confirmed cases. It is important to note those four countries account for more than 90% of cases globally and China and the Republic of Korea have significantly declining numbers of new cases.
We have 5 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand and it is pleasing to know they are all doing well and are at home. Their children, four students at Auckland schools, continue to be well and show no symptoms. While we expect that more cases will arise, the Ministry of Health says that with continued vigilance the chance of widespread community outbreak is expected to remain low in New Zealand. We all have a role to play in this.
For our school, our pandemic plan is also ready to be implemented if needed. In the mean time we will continue to focus on good hygiene practices. Hand washing and good cough etiquette are very important tools in preventing the spread of illness including colds, flu and COVID-19.
One other action we can all take is to be vigilant about our own health and the health of our children. I will be encouraging my staff to stay away from school if they are showing signs of illness such as coughs and colds. I ask that you please do the same with your children. Colds and flus are common in schools and by staying away, seeking medical attention and practicing good hygiene, we can all keep any spread of illness to a minimum.
The Ministry of Education has developed specific guidance for parents to assist them when talking to their children about coronavirus.
You will appreciate the importance of giving children factual, age-appropriate information about COVID-19 so that they can feel informed and in control. The guidance will support parents to have those conversations – Talking to children about coronavirus