Please find below updates regarding Covid-19 Coronavirus and/or School related information. New posts will appear at the top, so please keep checking back here. Last update 15 May.
15 MAY 2020
The Final Alert Level 2 Health and Safety Plan (pdf), emailed out to parents on 15 May, is attached.
8 MAY 2020
Kia ora koutou
Like me, I am sure you have followed with interest the announcements made by the Prime Minister yesterday.
It is reassuring to hear how well our country has done at minimising the impacts of COVID-19. Alert Levels 4 and 3 have been challenging and I thank you for your ongoing support for the work we are doing for your children and in preparation to get back to school.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister advised that in Alert Level 2 schools are safe environments for children, young people and staff and that additional public health control measures are in place to prevent the spread of disease and to support contact tracing.
The good news is that when we are able to, we will be ready to welcome all students and staff back to our school site.
The key Public Health approach is to minimise the risk that someone gets infected in the first place, and second to ensure we can identify and contact anyone who has been in close contact with a person, if someone in a school is infected.
You can be assured that in Alert Level 2 we will know who is at school, who our staff and students have been in close contact with and take appropriate measures to keep everyone safe.
Physical distancing is a good precaution to prevent the spread of disease. We do however know it is challenging in schools, so good hygiene practices and regular cleaning are even more important here. This includes staff and students coughing into their elbows, handwashing and drying and regular cleaning of commonly touched surfaces.
Under Alert Level 2, we advise any students and staff to stay at home if they are sick, and we will send anyone home immediately if they show any symptoms.
Our school has safe and sensible practices to maintain the health and safety of everyone on the school site. As described by Dr Payinda in his NZ Herald article, “Covid’s not measles or chickenpox, it doesn’t hang in the air for hours waiting to infect passers-by. It travels on invisible drops of spit. You don’t have to cross the street to avoid anyone. Just avoid getting
in their ‘moist breath’ zone”. We all just need to remember to have some breathing space at Alert Level 2!
It’s important however that not just at school but at home, safe hygiene habits are practised by everyone, as this is essential to minimise the risk that someone gets infected with Covid-19.
For more information about the public health measures at Alert Level 2, you can visit the covid19.govt.nz website.
The current advice we have is that if Alert Level 2 is announced on Monday 11 May school will be open for all children and staff on Monday 18 May. Should this be the case, next week we will be finalising health and safety plans and practices for the school. This will include further details on the health and safety plans for bus transportation. We will share this detail as soon as it is finalised. Teachers will continue to teach online during this period.
If you have any questions about our health and safety plan, or have a child who might be vulnerable to serious illness and would like to discuss a plan for them, please contact me.
We will be in touch again soon to update you on our plans.
26 APRIL 2020
Below is some information for parents from the Ministry of Education.
Information to support parents
The Ministry’s parent website has Alert Level 3 information here and a parents’ checklist here. You may wish to share these links with your parents and caregivers. The checklist reminds parents of what they need to do to assist you with your planning. It also includes information to assist parents prepare their child if they need to return to school.
Sparklers at Home wellbeing toolkit
Sparklers at Home, supported by the Ministry of Health, is to enable parents and caregivers to support the wellbeing of their tamariki while at home.
The Sparklers wellbeing toolkit was originally designed for classroom use but has been adapted so parents can use it at home. It’s free and contains 23 fun and easy to do wellbeing activities that parents and caregivers can do with their children in their living room or on their lawn. For more information visit the sparklers website.
Supporting student wellbeing while students are working from home
‘School closures and learning from home’ module, which focuses on support for student wellbeing while they are learning at home, is on the Ministry’s Learning from Home website.
It’s the second in a three- part series developed to help teachers support children and young people’s wellbeing while they are at home. The first module, ‘Hauora/wellbeing in uncertain times’ is already available. The third guide, which will focus on preparing for and returning to school, is still in development and we anticipate having this one available the week of 29 April.
I would like to reinforce again that we are very aware of the challenges now and the ongoing challenges ahead and ask that you do not hesitate to reach out for help should you need to. This could be for a donation of firewood, a phone call or for a more specific need or advice. We are a very special community and looking after our combined wellbeing is paramount. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com in confidence.
23 APRIL 2020
Kia Ora Parents
The Ministry of Education has asked us to remind parents about the important support they are offering for internet safety. See advisory below.
N4L Switch-on-Safety security filter campaign
We need to continually re-iterate to whānau and parents the importance of keeping all students safe online while they continue to learn from home. As part of an overall online safety plan, Network for Learning’s (N4L) Switch on Safety Service is available to support online learning on devices used to undertake school work.
The Service supports all learners across primary, intermediate and secondary education to learn in a safe online environment, regardless of their location or the network they are connected to. The web filter blocks websites that could be harmful to children.
In only seven days (from 14 March) 6,500 parents have applied the filter settings to their children’s device. In this time, the filter has blocked 244,000 attempts to access inappropriate content and blocked 74,000 threats.
These numbers further stress the importance of the Service.
Action: Please continue to direct whānau and parents to the information on the Learning from home website. Instructions for the specific device a child uses can be accessed directly at switchonsafety.co.nz.
It’s also important to remind whānau and parents that safety can’t be provided by technology alone – it requires a holistic approach. For tips and advice to support online safety conversations, please direct them to information at www.netsafe.org.nz.
15 APRIL 2020
Internet safety for children using devices for home-learning
Below is information related to Internet Safety which you may like to apply for your child if they are using a device. A reminder that no system is full proof and best practice is having your child working in a ‘public’ area with you taking a regular active interest in your child’s online learning.
All the very best.
Free internet safety filter for parents - Switch on Safety
While children are learning from home, they are away from the online safety and security services provided by Network for Learning (N4L) at school. So together with N4L and Netsafe, we have launched www.switchonsafety.co.nz - a free way to block the worst of the web for students and teachers.
Remember, no technical solution is a silver bullet. Please complement this filter with digital citizenship toolkits provided by Netsafe.
Netsafe provides comprehensive support and information to support everyone to stay safe as they work, learn and play online. Netsafe has new and updated resources for parents, whānau and students at https://www.netsafe.org.nz/advice/staying-safe/
The Connected Learning Advisory
Help desk support is available for teachers, kaiako, leaders, tumuaki, parents and whānau from early learning through to secondary in English medium and Māori medium settings. You can phone the Learning from Home helpdesk on 0800 700 401 and Ki Te Ao Marama on 0508 294 462 between 8 am and 5 pm on business days.
1 APRIL 2020
Information from the Ministry of Education
I hope you are all well and safe.
Some helpful information from the Ministry of Education below reinforcing some of the Internet safety and learning I have sent previously. Also, I have added the information highlighting that the school is out of bounds for everyone
Keeping online safe
You may want to encourage your parents, caregivers and whānau to discuss internet safety with their children - of all ages. They should agree with their children what they can do online including sites they can visit and appropriate behaviours including:
If we all work together to make sure children are safe online, we can make the internet a great tool for people of all ages.
There is a unique opportunity during the lockdown of families going out together, albeit it close to home, but if your child is going out on their own it’s still important to check where they are going.
Update on access to school sites
Alert Level 4 means New Zealanders not working in essential services must stay at home and stop all physical interactions with others outside of their household. Schools and early learning services are not considered essential services under Alert Level 4.
We have responded to a number of requests for access to school property. Now that the Secretary for Education has established the appropriate boundaries for acceptable decisions, she has delegated this to the regional Directors of Education. If you need emergency access to school property, please fill out the request form [Word Doc] and send to your local Director of Education who will make a decision and get back to you.
Because of the seriousness of Alert Level 4 it is essential that access to school property is very tightly managed. We are doing this both to encourage people to stay at home by placing school property off-limits, as well as ensure as much as possible that school property is secure.
A reminder that the only circumstances where the Directors will consider approving access are for:
Such access must be essential and cannot be precautionary. Requests for grounds and or pool maintenance, and school cleaning for example do not meet this criteria.
Other essential services
In addition to the specific approvals delegated to the Secretary for Education as noted above, there are already a number of essential services listed on the Covid19 website which may apply to those wanting to access school sites for other reasons (please read through the additional decisions and exemptions list which is updated regularly). For example under Public safety and national security, NZ Police and Fire and Emergency can access a school site without having to gain permission from the Secretary for Education. Further examples relevant to schools include:
Security - we have had questions about situations that need immediate attention. Security is considered an essential service, even if security services are being provided in relation to a premise for a non-essential service (i.e. a school). This includes night patrols or usually contracted security providers. An example of this would be an alarm that has been activated in the middle of the night.
We have clarified with MBIE the situation for schools which don’t have contracted security services to respond to alarms. If your alarm is activated, a principal or designated staff member can enter school grounds to shut off the alarm system. In doing so you must take the necessary health measures, comply with any region-specific travel measures and should not have to travel far to get to your school (i.e. travel locally).
Locksmiths - can undertake essential work on emergency call-outs and essential activity to maintain the security of premises/personal properties.
Travel to look after animals - is allowed, as long as you take the necessary health measures and comply with any region-specific travel measures.
Turf maintenance, on the other hand, is not considered an essential service and should not be undertaken at this time.
Only essential people to go on site
Remember in any situation only essential people should go onto the site. They must stick to the rules around physical distancing (ie 2m from anybody) and good hygiene and they must do so only when absolutely necessary.
For health and safety risks to do with construction that occur during the lockdown period, schools should contact their Property Advisor in the first instance for advice.
27 MARCH 2020
Kia ora koutou
We have started into a new phase of New Zealand’s response to COVID-19 and it is very different than anything most of us have ever experienced. I wanted to reassure you that our school staff and Board of Trustees will continue to be available to support your child’s learning and wellbeing in the next weeks.
You will understand the importance of routine for your family. If your routine has been shaken up, like you’re now working from home, it’s good to structure your time. Routines are reassuring, and promote health and physical wellbeing. The below timetable (targeted at children) could be something your household adapts to use over the next weeks. A school holiday version will likely look a little different, but some form of routine will still be important as we go through the lockdown period.
Eat breakfast, make your bed, get dressed, put any dirty clothes in the laundry
Family walk with the dog, bike ride,
Yoga if it’s raining
Learning at home
School-led learning or Sudoku, books, flash cards, study guide, journal etc
Legos, magnatiles, drawing, crafting, play music, cook or bake etc.
Helping at home
# wipe all kitchen tables and chairs
# wipe all door handles, light switches and desk tops
# wipe both bathrooms - sinks and toilets
Reading, puzzles, nap, radio NZ stories
Learning at home
School-led learning or iPad games, Prodigy, Educational show
Afternoon fresh air
Bikes, walk the dog, play outside
Free TV time
Kids shower time
All kids who follow the daily schedule & don’t fight
There are links below to more wellbeing information to support your family during the lockdown.
Some good news to support you either working at home and/or studying at home - Spark, Vodafone, Vocus/Slingshot, 2Degrees and Trustpower have all advised they have removed their data caps and the possibility of any extra charges based on usage.
For our Pacific families, if you are not aware the Ministry for Pacific Peoples’ has been working to ensure useful information is available to Pacific peoples. A one-hour special will be aired on Tagata Pasifika’s segment on Saturday at 9am; and on Sunday at 7.35am, Tagata Pasifika will share messages from community leaders. The Ministry is asking you to reach out to all your family members, community groups, friends and group chats to ensure our Pacific community groups are watching the programming on both days.
A big thank you to all of you for taking the lockdown so seriously. As the Prime Minister has noted staying at home will break the chain and save lives; breaking the rules could risk someone close to you and if the rules are not complied with, this could risk the lock down period being extended or could risk the virus being spread to thousands
Information and resources to support wellbeing and support learning at home
23 MARCH 2020
Kia Ora Parents/Caregiver
I am sharing with you sections of information sent to me from the Secretary of Education that is relevant to parents. Alongside this I have added extra notes in italics.
COVID-19 update Monday 23 March
This is an unprecedented event, and will continue to challenge us all.
I reiterate the words of the Prime Minister – be kind, keep safe, and look after each other.
We apologise sincerely for the delays in getting this information to you. We have been working with a range of agencies to be able to provide the following information.
Government announcement – moving to Alert Level 3 for 48 hours and then Level 4
The Prime Minister has today announced we are moving to Level 3 for the next 48 hours and then from Thursday 26 March we move to Level 4 in the COVID-19 Alert Level structure for a further period of 4 weeks where people are instructed to stay at home.
For Tuesday and Wednesday, the expectations are that teachers will come to work to teach the children of essential workers, including children of teachers, and to prepare online work.
My note - I have instructed teachers to be at school tomorrow apart from the two who are sick and one teacher who needs to be at home on medical advice for her son. We will use this time to sort out final communication systems and expectations. These will be communicated to you. I have told teachers that I want them at home on Wednesday to sort out their personal needs prior to alert level 4 however we will ensure we have enough personal on site for those children of parents who are identified as essential workers.
They will not be able to access the school site from midnight Wednesday and will work from home. Those staff already identified as over 70 and/or vulnerable to COVID-19 should remain at home but can work from home as needed.
Schools will be open for Tuesday and Wednesday this week for children of essential workers. Please ensure you continue to support good hygiene practices with these students and also undertake physical distancing.
All other children will be at home. You will need to provide them with learning opportunities there to the greatest extent practicable. This could be either as a pack of materials, or for those with online learning already in place, implement your online learning programme.
My note - We have provided sites and ideas for parents and we hope to have communicated to parents by the end of the day tomorrow what our communication schedule/routine will look like. I stress again this will not be teaching rather support, contact and encouragement for the children and a point of contact to support parents.
A list of essential businesses is attached.
School holidays brought forward
School holidays are being brought forward so that they are completed within the 4 week period. 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).
My note - I will not be expecting teachers to be communicating with parents during the newly designated holiday period however after this period they will be scheduling in contact with your child and at the same time planning for the new term.
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.
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.
Supporting learning from home
Today we have launched Learning from home and Ki te Ao Mārama, two new websites to support teachers, learners, parents and whānau so that learning for children and young people can continue.
The websites include resources for parents and whānau, teachers and leaders. Resources span the learning pathway from early learning through to senior secondary, and more resources will be added as they’re developed.
The information and resources are available at https://www.learningfromhome.govt.nz/ and https://www.kauwhatareo.govt.nz/ki-te-ao-marama/
More resources will be added as they’re developed. Hard copy packs are being prepared for learners and whānau who don’t have connectivity at home.
The website will help you to get through the next few days as we move to remote learning. This will help you and your staff to get ready, support you to be working from home, and maintain wellbeing.
Over the next two to three weeks we will be working on next steps to support distance learning where it is most needed and as part of contingency planning in case the 4 week period is further extended.
We are working to establish online learning and distance learning options to support all children’s ongoing learning. These will be made available by the end of the school holidays.
Children with special needs
Ministry staff will be available to ring and Skype with families who require assistance with children who have special needs.
All school buses and SESTA mobility services will run as normal on Tuesday 24 and Wednesday 25 March but only for students of parents working in to provide those workers with time to make arrangements for their children
After Wednesday, no school transport will operate as schools will be closed until further notice.
Below are sections of a letter which may be relevant to you
If you need to have your child cared for by someone else you will need to identify that person or people as part of your self-isolated group. This will need to be done by midnight Wednesday and the group must remain the same for the whole 4 week period. The caregiver’s own group (eg, their partner and children), your child and your own group (eg, your parents and other children) become one group. This group needs to be limited to minimise any risk of spread and should be no more than 20 people.
Your child will be looking to you for guidance about this decision. Parents, caregivers, whānau and teachers will have a particularly important part to play in reassuring children at this time. If you haven’t already done so, you may wish to read the information put together by the Ministry of Education to support your conversations with your children – Talking to children about COVID-19
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. Our regional staff will be in touch with you soon to determine how we can best support you.
23 MARCH 2020
There is no doubt this is an unprecedented moment in our lifetimes. We as a staff are committed to providing the best possible outcomes for your child and the Kaharoa School community.
We continue to follow advice from the Ministries of Health and Education. The school has maintained a calm and sensible approach regarding the Covid-19 pandemic. As a school, to reassure ourselves and subsequently our staff and community, we have followed up all known students and parents who may have required self-isolation. From the beginning of the year staff have maintained a regime of reinforcing the recommended hygiene protocols with the children. We will continue to do this. We are very proud of how the community has supported and worked with us to date.
As at 1.30pm today we have been advised that we are now at Alert Level 3 and will be moving to Alert Level 4 in 48 hours (All schools closed from midnight Wednesday). For the majority of our children Kaharoa school will be closed tomorrow and there will be no school buses running. However, Kaharoa School will remain open for 48 hours, tomorrow Tuesday 24 March and Wednesday 25 March for those families whose parents identify as being in essential services; police, medical - doctors, nurses etc. A list will be provided to us of essential services and we will forward this to you as soon as we receive it. Please let us know if your child(ren) therefore need to attend school by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Staff have been working to prepare for the eventuality of children being isolated at home outside school holidays. For that, the school has reviewed its contingency plans as to how teacher support and learning will continue. We have looked at various ways of online communication whereby teachers can communicate with children. To assist us and your child’s learning we will share a google form with you (hopefully today) to seek information that will assist this communication process.
Below, teachers have put together initial ideas and links to programmes of work for each class that children could engage with. A few important points to note should we be placed in a situation whereby we need to close.
1) The work below is not homeschooling. This is an unprecedented situation impacting everyone and at best is distance learning ‘on the hoof’ where we are going into uncharted territory.
2) As parents, you are, and always have been, your child’s primary educator. If you decide that your child isn’t going to engage with anything highlighted below and instead chooses to spend time playing in the dirt, or baking, or watching TV, that is your choice and this is nothing you should stress or feel guilty about.
3) We will be ‘finding our way’. We have received little notice, or preparation in what is a challenging time and will be trying to do the best we can for you and your child.
4) It is new territory attempting to facilitate distance learning with a primary aged child while working from home at the same time, however we will give this ‘our best shot’ should this be required.
5) Minimising stress is absolutely vital in a time like this for mental health. Don’t let this be something that stresses you. Only you can control that by accepting it is in your circle of control, you are the primary educator and any of the work below is your call.
6) Teachers will not be in a position to assess or monitor all of the work your child may do however we do hope we will be in a position to encourage and motivate through video or online links.
7) If children are restricted to home we will endeavour to set times where we will make ourselves available to answer/respond to parents email questions.
As you will appreciate this is new ground for all of us as we come to grips with this way of interacting with your child purely online. there may be glitches in the system and how we are learning to do this.
Please be patient with us and be assured we are doing our very best. Be safe, take care, ask for help if required. Kia kaha Kaharoa School and wider community. This is a time when our Cornerstone Values or Kindness and Compassion will come to the fore.
Warwick Moyle 0275425400
Deputy Principal email@example.com
[Please scroll to the bottom to find initial ideas & links to programmes of work for each class, attached as a pdf. This was also emailed to all parents as part of the above letter].
19 MARCH 2020
Covid 19 Update - Bus Transport
As mentioned by email yesterday we are continuing to remind the children about the importance of healthy practices at school which includes washing their hands as directed when entering and leaving class, after going to the toilet and prior to eating. High touchpoints are being cleaned regularly.
One area out of our direct control is the transport to and from school on the school bus. I have contacted the bus company to enquire about cleaning and have been advised that the drivers have been given disinfectant for wiping down surfaces. Unfortunately regular cleaning of the bus doesn’t alleviate the challenge of 50-60 children travelling together in close proximity.
Though there is no community transmission at this stage I thought it prudent to make parents aware of this. In the meantime buses will continue as normal however, should you choose to transport your child to and from school please ensure your child’s name is marked off the bus each day.
Thank you for your ongoing support during this time.
18 MARCH 2020
IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR PARENTS
We are receiving regular updates and communication from the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health regarding the Covid-19 virus. As you will appreciate we are keeping a very close eye on the directives as part of our duty of care for your children and our staff. As we have done from the start of the year we are reminding children regularly each day to wash their hands as directed when entering and leaving class, after going to the toilet and prior to eating. Please reinforce this at home. High touchpoints are being cleaned regularly.
The current advice from the Ministry of Education is to be prepared in the event the school needs to close. With this in mind, our teachers have been meeting and discussing what we could provide to support your child’s learning remotely. At this stage, the Ministry has no plans for mass school closures.
Rest assured we are following events closely, taking the changing events seriously and monitoring children to ensure we follow best practice while keeping things as normal as possible. We consider this to be very important particularly when families may be under other pressures related to this unprecedented situation.
We will be regularly updating our website in regards to Covid-19 and the related impacts this may have to school-related events and happenings.
Should we receive any urgent directives or any important changes to the current status we will contact you via email via the firstname.lastname@example.org email address.
The latest information received from the Ministry of Education this evening is below
Reminder – schools remain open
At this stage, we are not expecting widespread school closures. We are planning for temporary closures, like what is happening at Logan Park School but as the World Health Organisation has confirmed, the risk to children remains low and parents should continue to send their kids to schools and early learning centres.
While the website is being regularly updated with education-related content, the Ministry of Health is the Government agency leading the response to COVID-19
Consequently, any decisions about school closures will be made on a case by case basis. In the meantime, unless students are unwell themselves, then parents should keep sending them to schools and early learning centres as these environments continue to be safe and the best place for them to continue their learning.
Up-to-date information and advice
A reminder that information and advice for students, whānau and the education sector is available here.
12 MARCH 2020
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.
With that, there is a good video clip from Nanogirl that will help your children to better understand the virus - YouTube clip - Nanogirl
You may have also seen the Prime Minister sat down with Dr Michelle Dickinson (aka Nanogirl) and the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor, Juliet Gerrard, to talk about coronavirus:
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.
File Download: essential-services-list.pdf
File Download: Alert_Level_2_Plan.pdf
|05-06||World Vision 20 Hour Famine Fundraiser|
|10-06||HPV & Boostrix Vaccinations for year 7s & 8s|
|16-06||Rural Cross Country|
|19-06||Rural Cross Country Postponement Date|
|03-07||End of term 2|
|20-07||Start of term 3|
|30-07||International Day of Friendship|