Learning • Fun • Friendship
Previous COVID19-related updates
17th August 8.30pm
Good Morning all,
We are looking forward to seeing some of your children this morning. Overnight several more have enrolled so we will make changes to our bubbles and then get started.
There will be signage and teachers at school to guide you to the correct classrooms.
For those of you who are working from home we are going to open the library each day between 10 & 12am. Masks and gloves are compulsory.
Thank you and we will provide a further update later today.
Update 13th August 5.30pm
Whilst we are hopeful that our current preparations are for the short term, we feel it prudent to prepare for the potential of a longer period. I anticipate that we will know that decision sometime on Friday.
After reviewing the last Level 3 period we took on board the survey findings and as a result you should notice some changes. We haven’t been able to cater for all of those but have tried to adjust things to accept the reality of the home learning context.
I would like to share with you an aspect of the guidelines that we are expected to observe at Level 3 so that you can make appropriate decisions regarding sending children to school.
...Schools and early learning services are open today (Wednesday) and for the remainder of the week but only to those children who need to attend, particularly children of parents and caregivers working in essential services...
I need to clarify this statement because social media, the mainstream media and other commentators are using confusing terms. Schools are open. Children who need to attend are those whose caregivers are required to be at a worksite away from their house. This then means they can’t provide at home learning for their children. The word particularly causes confusion but acknowledges that there is no simply defined group. There are other examples of children who need to attend who do not fit that category. Principals have been asked to act in the best interests of their school community and make decisions based on their context but within the parameters of Level 3. We have also been tasked with supporting our communities through a tough time.
So, in making your decision. If you can not work from home and therefore not supervise your children, the next best place for them is at school (to quote the APPA President on last night’s news). Once you have made your decision, complete the online survey so that we can plan for that number. Please do that even if it's only a possibility at this stage. It’s easier to downscale an operation than scramble around for teachers at short notice. We must manage the school safely and this includes our staff, which I feel confident in doing, based on the previous experience.
The current situation is a reminder of how powerful the virus is and we have probably become too complacent with our daily practices. Let’s return to those highly vigilant times where we treated minor cold and flu symptoms with a high level of caution, maintained social distance practices and washed our hands very regularly.
We will update you on any further developments as they come to hand.
Reminder: Please continue to remain vigilant with respect to possible symptoms. The arrival of returning residents has demonstrated that we are not yet immune to the virus. Please avoid coming to school if you are unwell and let the office know in the morning if you are keeping your child at home.
Covid Update 19:
I am sure you were as pleased as I was to hear the Prime Minister’s announcement about moving to Alert Level 1. For us, there will be no major changes to what we are doing and our school continues to be safe to attend, including any staff and children who are considered more vulnerable to COVID. We have a good cleaning routine in place, people who are sick are staying at home and we continue to encourage good hygiene practices.
We are supporting contact tracing by having QR code posters at our entrances – so if you haven’t already downloaded the NZ COVID Tracer app the Ministry of Health’s NZ-COVID Tracer app page has information to help you do that. We will remove all other posters now as we feel routines are well embedded and you no longer need to fill out the onsite electronic register, instead, we will increase the number of QR codes around the school so that you are able to track your own movements.
We can now look forward to returning our school to the special place that it is in the fullest sense. This means that we can welcome you back into classrooms so that your children can share their learning once again. Please use common sense if you are feeling sick or have flu or cold like symptoms and maintain safe distances.
Finally, I would like to personally thank you all for the manner in which you have supported the school through the various stages and alert levels. You have certainly modelled our core school values to your children, our students. There have been too many examples of Kindness, Perseverance and Service to mention but suffice to say that these acts have not gone unnoticed and have been the constant that got us through. Well done! Now celebrate being at Alert Level 1 with family, whanau and friends with pride.
We look forward to seeing you very soon.
Covid Update 16: We are looking forward to welcoming your children back to school next Monday. This is a significant step towards a sense of normality. Having said that, we must operate under the premise that Covid 19 is still present within New Zealand; we are not out of the woods yet.
Students currently in a class bubble will continue to attend throughout the week as we transition and prepare for regular class placements to resume on Monday.
This notification will set out the operational changes that we intend putting in place to ensure everyone’s safety. I apologise in advance for its length and the amount of information that it will contain. It is in two parts. The first part is specific to Kauri Park School and the second part contains the Public Health Requirements.
Next week we will be operating under three principles:
● Minimise the risk of infection
● Identification and contact tracing of any subsequent infection
● Understand that Level 2 is not business as usual
To enable us to meet these principles we are requesting your support by following these guidelines, and talking with your children about them. It will be the collective effort and level of conscientiousness of the adults which will set our standard:
● Practicing social distancing: We are going to use the term wingspan and teach our students what this means. Essentially, putting your arms out creates your wingspan. This is more practical in larger spaces so we will also teach students about the moist breath zone. We have trialled this at school during Alert Level 3 and have found that it simplifies the terminology. However, our numbers are currently more manageable.
● Hygiene practices:The first day of school will incorporate all necessary teaching around safe hygiene habits.
● Dropping off and picking up: Contact tracing will be our biggest challenge. The contact tracing process will be sent as a separate notification. To simplify this in the first instance, we are adopting the supermarket model.
○ Please nominate the same single person to pick up or drop off.
○ If you can avoid it, please drop your child away from their class and allow them to walk the last bit.
○ Only one person to accompany a child to class.
○ Please do not enter the classroom (common sense to prevail should your child need reassurance).
○ Adults still need to maintain a 2 metre social distance, so please consider this as you move around the school.
○ Please leave school as soon as you collect or drop off. Whilst we normally encourage you to congregate and catch up this isn’t practical under Level 2. Sorry!
○ Please avoid arriving at school prior to 8.25am during Level 2.
● Other visitors to school: The majority of school business can be carried out offsite by phone or electronic means. If you do need to visit the school for any other reason during school operational hours-please sign in and out at the office. We will have a contactless process set up and as you have been doing at your local dairy, please use the 1 in, 1 out routine..
● Daily practices:
○ We will keep the drinking fountains closed initially so please send children to school with a drink bottle. We will facilitate refills during the day.
○ Students and staff who are unwell must remain at home and seek appropriate medical advice, prior to returning. We will contact you immediately if we need you to collect your child, should they become sick at school, so please ensure your contact details are current.
○ Break times will return to normal with additional staff on duty to monitor social distancing and hygiene protocols
○ Regular sanitising and increased cleaning regimes are in place
Finally, we would like to reassure you that returning to school is going to be okay. We noticed that our students, who have been back under Alert level 3, adapted within the first few hours and by the second day had established routines, friendships, and were happy. We will not be rushing things; getting students back with their friends, teachers, and school routines will be done with empathy and care. I also acknowledge that some of you are reluctant to send your children back to school on Monday. I trust you to make your decision based on your personal level of comfort.
Please email your class teacher if your child will not be returning immediately and we will work through a plan to maintain their learning.
Public Health Requirements for Early Learning Services and Schools at Alert Level 2 as at 5 May 2020
Overarching message: Leave home but in a safe way
Early learning services and schools are open for all children and students to attend and it is safe to do so.
There is further opening up of activity during Alert Level 2, particularly in terms of travel, education, sport and recreational activity, retail and hospitality, and personal movement. But it is not business as usual. Public health and border measures remain largely unchanged from Level 3, to ensure our approach to contact tracing, testing, isolation and quarantine is maintained.
The most important things you can do are keep washing your hands, cough safely, and keep surfaces clean, just as you have been at Levels 3 and 4.
The significant changes for schools and early learning services are:
● Physical Distancing – Physical distancing is a good precaution to prevent the spread of disease. In an Alert level 2 school environment, this means children, young people, and staff maintaining a physical distance so that they are not breathing on or touching each other, coupled with good hygiene practices (coughing into your elbow, handwashing and drying) and regular cleaning of commonly touched surfaces. There are situations where physical distancing is not possible, such as some sporting activities. In these situations extra emphasis on handwashing and drying (or cleansing with hand sanitiser) before and after activities and regular cleaning of equipment is very important.
In an early learning environment, it is not really possible to have a physical distance between children and staff. Young children require a lot of physical support and it is not possible to explain or maintain a physical distance between young children given the age of the children and set up of centres. This means good hygiene practices (coughing into your elbow, regular handwashing, and drying) are even more important.
● Mass gatherings – educational facilities, and school transport are not considered mass gatherings because they are managed environments. This means there are no restrictions on numbers of people indoors or outside at schools and early learning services other than what other public health or health and safety measures require.
The exception is where people from outside the school may be attending, eg for a school production or school ball. In these examples and if a school is hiring out their hall or allowing community groups to use school facilities, the mass gathering rules will apply.
● Sports and playgrounds – school playgrounds, sports equipment use and activities can resume. Contact sports can resume. This relies on being able to contact trace who is on site during school hours and at school team training and competitions. Any inter school events that recommence will need to have a contact tracing register in place to record those playing for and against teams.
● There are no restrictions on groups of children and students mixing with others on site. Where practicable where groups/classes do mix – attendance should be recorded as it should if the composition of groups and classes change during the day.
● Teachers/staff are not restricted to one group.
All schools are open on site for all year levels but distance learning will still need to be available if a school has staffing issues and for students that are not able to attend.
Ministry staff supplemented by resource teachers and school staff continue to support children with learning support needs by phone and Skype where their health status requires them to stay isolated.
Before and after school programmes can operate. An increased number of school redevelopment and construction projects may be able to resume if the requirements of Alert Level 2 can be met.
People at higher-risk of severe illness from COVID-19 (eg those with underlying medical conditions, especially if not well-controlled) are encouraged to take additional precautions when leaving home. They may work, if they agree with their employer that they can do so safely.
Specific public health measures to be taken in schools:
● Parents are asked to keep any sick children at home. If a sick child comes to school, the school has been asked to contact parents to collect.
● Children, young people and staff should be far enough away from each other so that they are not breathing on or touching each other, coupled with good hygiene practices and regular cleaning of commonly touched surfaces. There does not need to be a specific measurement but where practicable 1m should be used as a guide, particularly between adults.
● Hand sanitiser at entry to class rooms and in shared spaces. Soap, water and the ability to dry hands must be provided in bathrooms.
● Where practicable ensure that children and young people regularly wash and dry hands, cough and sneeze into their elbow, and try to avoid touching their face.
● Physical education classes and break time activities can include access to sports equipment including playgrounds but hygiene practice should be observed after playing with equipment.
● Disinfect and clean all surfaces daily.
● Contact tracing registers must be set up and identify which children and adults are on site, in each teaching space, including recording if there is a different composition of children and adults during the day. This includes recording visitors to the site, including parents.
PPE is not required or recommended as necessary in any educational facility by the Public Health Service.
Covid Update 15: As you are aware we will receive a decision about moving Alert Levels on Monday. Once again the outcome of this decision rests on Ministry of Health data.
The purpose of this communication is to consider the implications of a change to Level 2 based on the information I have received. Schools have not been advised of a return date because that is subject to Monday’s decision. However, we have been advised of the following:
“…We also agreed that when we make the decision to move levels, schools won’t open midweek – whenever the decision is made – they will open at the beginning of the following week. So if we make a decision to shift to Alert Level 2 next week, schools and early learning centres will have ten days from now to prepare...” Prime Minister’s Key Messages (extract), Thursday 7th May.
We know that our school will reopen fully under Alert Level 2, and based on Thursday’s announcement, we will plan for a Monday 18th or 25th May restart. When we do commence it will be under the following two principles:
· Minimise the risk of infection
· Identification and contact tracing of any subsequent infection
Essentially this means continuing with rigorous hygiene practices and regular cleaning. Additionally, we will need to maintain a contact tracing protocol. The school will develop that protocol early next week and send you clear guidelines and expectations ready for our return. I will also be able to give you information about the organisation for the Kauri Kids after school programme at that time.
Until that time please maintain the current protocols and expectations of Alert Level 3. Physical distancing is still required when picking up and dropping off at school for those of you who have your children back with us.
Message to our Students: This Sunday it is Mothers’ Day. That means that whilst we are always looking after our Mums, and telling them how much we love and care for them, this Sunday has been set aside especially for them. For them! Yes, just them! In case you haven’t noticed, Mums are real life angels with magical qualities. They know everything, from where you left your favourite toy, to where Dad’s other sock is. They usually answer those questions whilst facing the other way and busy with another tasks-MAGIC!
So, before Sunday, think of what you can do to make it a special time. Whatever you decide do it with love. Hugs, kisses and kind deeds are must dos on Sunday.
Repeat Reminder-Further School Support: Living under national emergency conditions has had a disruptive effect on everyone’s daily lives. I am aware that many of you have faced job losses, income reduction and future uncertainty. If there is any way that we are able to support you through this period, please do not hesitate to contact us. Requests for support will be treated confidentially. You can contact me directly via email or text the following number 021 179 0821 and I will call you back. If you are more comfortable communicating through another staff member or friend, that is fine. This can be for financial, social or emotional reasons. Several families have already reached out to us and we have been able to support them in a variety of ways.
Covid Update 14: As we begin another week at Alert Level 3 I would like to thank you again for the level of support you are showing the school as we navigate the various challenges. Our distance learning seems to be working well in general terms. While it will certainly have challenges for you at home balancing work and care for your children, we are getting a lot of great feedback too. It is interesting to see the innovation that has been happening and some great examples of learning being shared.
Today’s news that we had no new cases of Covid is promising and gives us all hope that there may be light at the end of what has become a long tunnel! Having said that I don’t anticipate the dates to change, meaning that we will be operating like this until at least the early part of next week. My latest communication from the Ministry of Education indicates that this is the current thinking. As before, they preface this with the need to respond to health data and advice. This means that whilst planning is now taking place to move schools to Alert Level 2, no date has been confirmed.
We also just wanted to provide some reassurance that our school is a safe place for your child to be and safe for our staff too.
We have closely followed the public health measures that have been put in place for Alert Level 3. These were set by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education to minimise spread in the unlikely event that someone in our community is confirmed with COVID-19.
This means our small school bubbles are in place, our staff and students are staying 1 metre apart inside and 2 metres outside, our cleaning programme fully aligns with Health guidance, only essential visitors are coming into school and we have systems in place similar to supermarkets and dairies, to prevent those people from congregating.
We have hand sanitiser in classrooms and lots of reminders to students and staff to undertake good hygiene practices such as good cough and sneeze etiquette, and washing hands frequently. Most importantly, the children on site are settling into their class bubbles and have adapted well. Having said that I look forward to the time when everyone is back and the playgrounds are full of fun and noise!
Further School Support (reminder): Living under national emergency conditions has had a disruptive effect on everyone’s daily lives. I am aware that many of you have faced job losses, income reduction and future uncertainty. If there is any way that we are able to support you through this period, please do not hesitate to contact us. Requests for support will be treated confidentially. You can contact me directly via email or text the following number 021 179 0821 and I will call you back. If you are more comfortable communicating through another staff member or friend, that is fine. This can be for financial, social or emotional reasons. Several families have already reached out to us and we have been able to support them in a variety of ways.
Have a great week and I look forward to giving you some positive information in the near future.
Covid 13: I trust that your week has gone well. I have received many comments about the positive aspects of the virtual learning programmes and how well you are all adapting. This is a testament to our individual teams who are working hard behind the scenes to maintain a sense of normality. I want to use this opportunity to publicly acknowledge and thank them for their efforts. Additionally, please continue to pace yourself and children. Work around your own schedules. It will not matter if your child misses the odd Zoom meeting.
Organisation for Level 3: As you are aware the country moves to Alert Level 3 at 11.59pm on Monday. Schools have been asked to have a Teacher Only Day on Tuesday and some students will be attending school from Wednesday. A separate communication will be sent to those families on Tuesday providing full details of the arrival process, bubble organisation and other relevant issues. Please note, if your circumstances change and you need to start sending your child/ren to school, this is not a problem. We have created bubbles with this in mind and have the flexibility to add to existing bubbles, or create additional ones. Children can attend part or fulltime. Our aim at this time is to fully support our families, so if you have questions about this, please email me directly email@example.com and I will call you.
As the school will be fully operational from Wednesday 29th April there will need to be some restriction to the use of the school’s open spaces whilst we are open. This is to ensure that we conform to strict public health guidelines and do not compromise the safety of our students, staff and wider community. Signage will be posted at our three main entrances explaining this and providing clear guidelines. Tuesday will be spent preparing the school for reopening. A specialist contractor will be onsite to sanitize the external areas of the school. Internal cleaning and sanitisation is currently underway.
Having said that, we are aware that there are people in our wider community who transit through our school grounds as part of their daily exercise. Rather than close those routes we are going to create safe walking routes around the perimeters. This ensures that anyone who does enter the school during our operational hours, can transit without compromising the safe areas, as well as maintain their daily routines. We will monitor this on a daily basis but feel it easier and a more realistic way to manage the risk.
Further School Support: Living under national emergency conditions has had a disruptive effect on everyone’s daily lives. I am aware that many of you have faced job losses, income reduction and future uncertainty. If there is any way that we are able to support you through this period, please do not hesitate to contact us. Requests for support will be treated confidentially. You can contact me directly via email or text the following number 021 179 0821 and I will call you back. If you are more comfortable communicating through another staff member or friend, that is fine. This can be for financial, social or emotional reasons. Several families have already reached out to us and we have been able to support them in a variety of ways.
ANZAC Day Commemoration: Unfortunately we will not be able to commemorate this annual occasion as a school community. However, I have set up a memorial site at the entrance to our school on our behalf. This is an important day in New Zealand, and I feel it appropriate to mark the occasion in some way. Further details are below about how you can participate or contribute to the Returned Services Association.
YOUR VIRTUAL ANZAC DAY
· The official dawn service, at 6am, will be broadcast on Radio NZ National. The service includes the Last Post, National Anthems, and an address by Ron Mark, Minister of Defence and Veterans.
· A special Anzac Day programme will be shown at 11am on TVNZ 1 or TVNZ On Demand.
· Royal New Zealand Ballet will perform Anzac Salute: Live in your Living Room, via its Facebook page at 10.30am, 1.30pm and 7.30pm. The two works, Dear Horizon and Passchendaele, were commissioned for their Salute programme in 2015 and performed live with the New Zealand Army Band, to commemorate the centenary of the Gallipoli landings.
SUPPORT THE RSA
As well as Anzac Day Services, the RSA's Poppy Day fundraiser has also been put on hold this year. People who still wish to donate can do so via The Let's not Forget page on Givealittle, or by donating direct to the RSA.
Covid 12: Thank you for responding to our survey regarding students returning to school under Level 3 Covid Alert State. Below is an outline of our school’s response with specific respect towards class organization and health & safety under Covid guidelines.
Sanitisation: Whole school cleaning begins from Tuesday 22nd April and includes inside and out. Specialist cleaning products and personnel will be accessed as part of this.
Class Organisation: Students will be organised within bubbles according to MOH guidelines. We will advise you of exactly which bubble your child is in once we have our final numbers.
Bubbles at school will include adults and children. These will include mixed year levels and children from the same family will be in the same bubble. Where possible, children from the same geographic area will be placed together. Each bubble will have their own allocated room, bathroom and outside play area.
On the first day back each individual bubble will establish strict protocols to stay safe. This will include the areas they can learn, the toilet space that they will share and play space.
● After School Care will not be available
● Prior to returning, please remind your child/ren about the importance of not touching school staff or other students while at school. We know students will be excited to see the staff and their friends but they will need to refrain from hugging, high fiving or making any contact with them. It is expected that they will maintain social distancing while at school. You may also like to discuss why some staff may wear gloves and masks
● The school day will begin at 9am each day. Children should make their way directly to their bubble space
● The school day finishes at 3pm. We would like all students off site by 3.15pm so that we can begin our daily clean. Any late pick-ups can be from the bubble area, but please avoid entering the classroom or making physical contact with hard surfaces
● All three school access ways can be used. The main gate will be pulled across at 9.30am each day and reopened later because we aim to use the driveway as a play space
● If you are dropping by car, please drive up the driveway and drop. Unfortunately, you are unable to accompany your child to their bubble space
● If your child is expected at school and you keep them home for sickness or tiredness of any kind they must not return for 3 days
● The students at school will be working on the same learning as those at home under the supervision of a teacher - they will not be in their normal class with their normal teacher
● The Office will not be physically open to parents or the community. This measure is in place to reduce the number of people on site
● The teacher in your child’s school bubble will administer any basic first aid required. The only time another staff member will intervene is in a serious medical case. You will be called to collect your child in the event that they become unwell. In the event of serious injury an ambulance will be called
● Once a student is on the physical returning roll they will be expected to arrive each day. Please email your regular class teacher if they are going to be absent
● Breaks will be carried out in such a way to avoid crossing over of bubbles. Each bubble has its own set of toilets
● Eating will take place in the classroom to ensure the integrity of the bubbles formed at school
● Children can bring scooters and bikes if you feel this appropriate. This will form part of their daily exercise. Children will need protective gear and will not be able to share
● Students must bring lunch and a drink bottle each day and water fountains are closed
● If your child attends school during Alert Level 3, they will be in contact with people outside your family bubble, we would ask that you maintain a contact journal at home so should the need to contact trace occur, you are able to provide the information to the MOH
Thank you for taking the time to read through these conditions. Please know that we have put these guidelines in place to ensure we can offer our students and staff the safest environment possible in the current circumstances.
17th April Update
Covid 11: As you will now be aware the government will be making a decision on Monday 20th April about if, when, and how the country will move to level 3. Part of that announcement signalled the possibility of school through to year 10 reopening for students as part of the level 3 scenario.
It is important to understand that yesterday’s announcement does not indicate that this will definitely happen and there has been no timeline indication; everything is dependent on Ministry of Health data.
As a result of that information, I would like to update you on our school’s response and preparation.
In the first instance please continue as normal with the lessons and other off site learning programmes developed by your class teachers. Retain the daily school structure that you have established within your individual household context.
Continue to maintain a strong link with the school. If you need more support in any way contact us. As of today we have established a communication link with every family.
If the country moves to level 3 and attendance becomes voluntary, schools will be required to run dual teaching models. This will be problematic but one that we had considered prior to lockdown.
The Prime Minister’s briefing yesterday indicated that where practical, people should continue to work from home and also keep their children off school as well. This is a precautionary measure to reduce the chance of increasing community infection.
Therefore, to help the school develop the appropriate structure to cater for both models of learning, we will send out a survey on Monday. This survey is intended to give a realistic indication of numbers returning and help us structure teaching & learning.
I appreciate at this time you do not know if your occupation is likely to be allowed back to work. However, over the weekend please consider the likelihood of that occurring, and use that as the basis to complete the form. We would rather anticipate more students than less.
Following Monday’s decision, we will communicate our actual response and more details.
15th April Update.
Covid 10: As we begin back at school in the offsite learning model I am anticipating a less than smooth start. Whilst we had prepared for this, now that we are executing the plan, reality will kick in. I signalled this to you all last week and true to form we have had some (technical) challenges today.
More importantly though, I have feedback from team leaders that there have been more successes than failures.
Our most important task over these first three days is to ensure that every family is in contact with their classroom teacher, and whole school communications are getting through to you. To facilitate this in the most expedient way we are using our team organisations to communicate most of the information that your children need to keep on learning.
Teachers were asked today to make contact with all families. For the most part, this has already happened by way of email. For those who have not responded we are following up with phone calls. I will visit any family addresses during Friday, who we have not heard from by Thursday night.
To help us establish this offline learning model please help us by following this communication protocol:
· For all questions or queries about classroom learning programmes, including technical issues, email your class teacher, and CC the Team Leader
· For family support in any way, email me. I apologise that I am unable to help with classroom programme questions, but I simply do not have those answers; teams do
· For technical or other resources at home that may be required, email me, bearing in mind that we are limited. Our first priority is to ensure that each family has at least one communication device
· Please allow time for us to establish routine and structure before criticizing teachers’ response time. This is new to all of us, and it’s easy to answer questions in a classroom but not easy to respond to multiple emails. These are the issues that we need to work through over the next few weeks
Finally, please remember that we are in this for the foreseeable future and this is a different situation. It may feel today as if you have been overloaded with resources, expectations and technical nightmares. There is no school bell. Take time to establish your own routines around your own household context. Work together. Enjoy the time together as a family. Before we know it, we will be back to our own busy and separated daily routines!
Covid 9: As we head into the Easter I would like to check in with you all and pass on some information about beginning back at school next week in our remote learning capacity.
School restarts on Wednesday 15th April. Teaching teams have been meeting online to prepare a range of activities and resources. Given that this is untested ground, and we are working with young children, please bear with us as we develop some sort of structure. We felt that we were well prepared for this eventuality, however, now that we move into the practical execution of the plan, there will need to be regular adjustments. Please remember that we expect children to remain engaged with school, but we don’t expect the school day to be replicated. Modify the structure you will be provided as you see fit to work in with home dynamics.
In terms of our legal obligations we are required to maintain our records of attendance. Whilst the school is physically closed, students are required to “attend” via the offsite learning conventions which schools have established. Therefore, for all intents and purposes, please use the following communication methods:
· To report an absence: If your child (who is learning from home) is sick during the school week, meaning that they are unable to participate in any of the school activities, please email your teacher.
· Office, Accounts & General Enquiries: The following email addresses can be used to contact the school during our normal school days of operations:
o General school enquiries – firstname.lastname@example.org
o Accounts related enquiries – email@example.com
o School operational matters – firstname.lastname@example.org
· Security Issues: Matrix security 09 579 1567
· Our School Website is updated regularly
One of the key aspects I feel important to maintain is the relationship between your child and their teacher. I have asked teachers to maintain some form of contact, including phoning their families. I don’t want this to be intrusive so they will arrange this by email in the first instance. Once school resumes on Wednesday you can email classroom teachers between 9am & 3pm for support.
We are still planning to hold parent & teacher interviews using an online format. We also think this might be a good opportunity to include your child. Mr. Ashcroft is currently putting a format together and we will get that information out to you next week.
Following my message, I have included my latest bulletin from The Ministry of Education. This provides further information which you may find relevant.
Finally, I would like to thank you all for the positive and encouraging way that you have responded to this situation. Each family has different experiences and things to cope with, but the common thread is one of support and kindness. Our staff have all been receiving positive comments about their work to date and I know this means a lot. If you need any other type of support over the coming weeks, please do not hesitate to contact me. More than ever, the school needs to be available for its community.
Have a great long weekend and go easy on the chocolate!
Detailed package of supports for schools and kura announced
This afternoon, the Minister announced details of the package of supports and resources for supporting state and state integrated schools and kura to deliver learning at a distance when Term 2 begins on 15 April. You can see the Minister’s press release and Q&As on the Beehive website.
It’s important to state up front that the Government is still working to a timeframe of a four-week lockdown, lifting on 22 April, but we’re planning for every scenario so that we have a resilient system and are taking this opportunity to invest in closing the digital divide.
That means, in education, developing robust distance learning infrastructure so that learners and ākonga don’t miss out in any scenario, such as alert levels moving up and down or schools, kura and ECEs or kōhanga and puna reo having to stay closed for longer.
This week we have begun the dispatch of devices and hard copy resources. The first devices and modems are being dispatched this week, and the first tranche of hard copy deliveries will make their way to homes on Thursday and will continue on Tuesday next week.
Thank you all for the work you have done to complete the survey, which will enable to delivery of devices or hard packs to homes. Just a reminder that if you do not have this information and are asking parents to provide it, it is important that you’re explicit about why the information is being collected and used – that we are collecting this information to better support students’ needs for distance learning and will be using it to:
help identify what support may be needed
distribute hard copy learning resources to learners
report at an aggregate level on its COVID-19 response and for research and statistical purposes.
Starting this week, the Ministry is rolling out an extensive, four-channel package to provide at least one distance-learning option for all families by 15 April.
As we advised last week, the package includes:
increasing the number of students and ākonga who have access to connectivity and devices by an estimated 2000 this week (limited by the number of modems available)
supporting where we can with hard copy materials for different year levels
a range of NCEA subject-specific hard-copy resources for delivery to years 11-13 students and ākonga
providing insurance cover for devices your schools and kura send to student homes
PLD to support teachers and kaiako, tumuaki and leaders to work remotely with their students, ākonga and whānau
TV channels in English and te reo Māori offering learning prgrammes for learners from early learning to year 10
Extending access to the Virtual Learning Network.
We are also fast-tracking ways to connect Learning Support Coordinators with families and whānau remotely.
Parents are not expected to replace their child’s teacher. You and your staff are the experts in the practice of teaching and learning, and these supports are intended to supplement and enable the learning programmes you are delivering to your students and ākonga.
Home learning television
We want to ensure that every learner and ākonga has at least one channel for accessing educational content from 15 April – either through this package or through their school or kura.
So, we have been working with teachers and leaders, alongside staff from ERO and Te Kura to develop Home Learning TV | Papa Kāinga TV, on TVNZ, which will run from 9am to 3pm on school days on TVNZ2+1 and Sky channel 502. Some lessons will also be available on TVNZ On Demand.
There will be content for parents and whānau with preschool children and tamariki, and lessons for those aged 5 to 15 years of age will cover a broad curriculum that includes movement, music, physical education, wellbeing, numeracy, literacy and science through an integrated approach to curriculum. There’s already a lot of good education video content available, and the Ministry will be working with experts and educators to refine and further develop it.
Thank you to those of you who have agreed to release your teachers and kaiako to deliver these lessons – we know that for most of them live television will be unlike anything they have done before, and we’re very grateful for their willingness to be part of this initiative to broadcast learning into the homes of children and young people across the country.
We have also been working with Māori Television to make distance learning accessible for all ākonga and whānau. The programmes on Māori Television are for reo Māori learners of all ages, with a focus on those who are aged 0-18, covering ākonga in kōhungahunga (early learning), kura tuatahi (primary) and wharekura (secondary).
Programming will be tailored to specific age groups of reo Māori learners throughout the day from 9am to 3pm. It will be aligned to Te Marautanga o Aotearoa and contain age appropriate content that tamariki can do on their own, with their siblings or together as a whānau. Content will focus on building skills in speaking te reo Māori, and ensure that te reo Māori is being spoken and heard in the home.
We will be putting information about the programme scheduling on the Learning from Home website early next week this will help teachers be able to connect with learners who are accessing these programmes.
We have had a lot of requests for learning material hard packs for learners and there are limits on what we can provide immediately. The first tranche of deliveries will make their way to homes on Thursday and will continue on Tuesday next week. You will receive a confirmation email of who has been sent a pack. Content of the packs is on the Learning from Home Website, this is to help teachers interact with students with their learning activities.
Access to devices and connectivity
In our email to schools and kura last week, we indicated how we will prioritise the rollout of devices and hard copy materials. We will reach students and ākonga and households in waves, with an initial focus on connecting students and ākonga in senior secondary school working towards NCEA – to minimise disruption for those working towards a qualification – and on those with greatest need due to disadvantage. The first devices and modems are being dispatched this week.
Where we are unable to immediately connect a household with the internet or get a device to a student, we will be working with schools and kura to provide hard-copy learning materials direct to homes where possible. The first of these will leave the warehouse this week.
Extending access to the Virtual Learning Network Community (VLNC)
We are funding more places for students to receive direct teaching from experienced e-teachers though the VLNC during term 2.
This means that students, and especially those from rural, remote or small schools can take part in classes or programmes that their own schools are not able to offer.
The Learning from Home website will provide links to enable schools to enrol students in either primary or secondary provision.
The VLNC will also offer support to teachers who are setting up their own online learning classes.
School holidays brought forward
School holidays have been brought forward. Holidays will now begin from Monday 30 March to Tuesday 14 April inclusive (a reminder that the Tuesday after Easter Monday is always a closed day for schools).
At the end of the school holidays, schools will be open for distance learning but not physically open for staff to work at the schools.
Coronavirus (Covid-19) Update 6pm 23rd March
With today’s announcement by Government, we are implementing with urgency our plan to support your child’s learning from home. We appreciate this is a sudden and significant change, and will be heavily disruptive to many people in our community.
We will be supporting their learning from your home in the following ways:
· online learning
· provision of a learning packs
· the ability to email questions to teachers
Please note the instruction to stay home (Alert Level 4) will continue beyond the new school holiday period but schools will be technically open for distance instruction. Teachers will be working offsite.
As noted by the Prime Minister these restrictions are our best chance to slow the virus in New Zealand and to save lives. We all have a clear role here to slow the spread of COVID-19.
We will continue to communicate with you over the coming days. Thank you for your ongoing support of our school staff and school community.
Please contact me via email in the first instance if you have any questions or concerns, as this is the most effective method available.