You’ll be aware that all of New Zealand (with the exception of Auckland) is moving to Alert Level 2 from midnight tonight. Our thoughts and positive wishes are with everyone in Tāmaki Makaurau | Auckland.

Extensive wastewater testing and the numbers of people getting tested across the country has given the Government confidence that it is safe to allow a shift down to Alert Level 2 across most of New Zealand.

We are really looking forward to welcoming everyone back onsite this week. The expectation is, that with the exception of some students who are sick, all students will be attending school at Alert Level 2. In order to get a clear picture of who will/will not be attending I will send out a short google survey for you to complete.

Level 2 is not “business as usual” and as such there are some health and hygiene practices that we need to implement across the community.

To ensure that we have the time to spend with students to go over these practices and to transition students effectively back into the school environment, the BOT have supported a staggered start over Thursday and Friday of this week. 

Wednesday 8 September -Teacher Only Day

There will be no Live Time. Students continue working on their online learning. This will allow staff to prepare for student return on Thursday.

Thursday 9 September  - Yr 9 and 10 students return to site

8.45 - 9.45am students in Ako classes 

9.45 - 3.20pm - Regular timetabled classes

Friday 10 September - Yr 11-13 students return to site

8.45 - 9.35am students in Ako

9.35-3.20pm - Regular timetabled classes

Any Year 9 and 10 students who cannot be supervised at home can be supervised on site, and should report to the Library.

Monday 13 September

8.45am - 3.20pm - Regular timetabled classes

Ako sessions will be focusing on transitioning back into the school environment, the health and safety practices required under Level 2, connecting with one another and identifying what each student needs to do to consolidate their learning from lockdown.

Regular timetabled classes will allow students to continue with consolidating online learning whilst having 1:1 time with teachers to identify a learning plan for each student to be ready to progress. There will be no new learning this week. 

Health & Safety and What to Bring to School

At Alert Level 2 there is low risk of community transmission and it provides us with a lot more opportunities to engage and connect with others. However, there are still a number of public health requirements we all need to follow. Please do continue to monitor your health and do not send your children to school if they are not well (and please seek advice about getting a COVID test).

For us, all the required safety precautions for Alert Level 2 will be in place which include following all the recommendations from the public health experts. This means we will regularly clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces, encourage everyone to frequently wash their hands and cough and sneeze into their elbow.

Face coverings are not required to be worn in school. The Director General of Health has recommended that children 12 years+ wear a face covering at school – just as older children are required to wear face coverings in some other places.  The decision to wear a face covering is up to you and your whānau, whatever your decision it will be respected.

There are some key messages and practices to share with you to ensure the safety of students, staff, parents and visitors as we move out of our bubbles, and into a more communal school environment

  • Students should not be dropped off or picked up on school grounds. Surrounding streets such as Ellice Street provide safer options and avoid unnecessary congestion.
  • During Level 2 we are requesting that where possible parents do not come into school, and meetings are held online. If attendance at school is needed then all visitors will need to sign in at Main Reception, scan the QR code for contact tracing purposes and maintain a distance of 2m from other adults.  Visitors to the school should wear a mask.
  • Although there is no requirement for physical distancing within schools, students are advised to keep outside of each other's “moist breath zone”. I know that students will be pleased to see one another but ask that they refrain from hugging each other and that they do not share any of their personal equipment or belongings.
  • We are also asking that for the next week students bring their own water bottle and food. The cafe will be open but it will be a reduced service and pre-order only to avoid congestion. 
  • Yr 13 students will be unable to go off-site during the school day. A study space will be provided for them in the Hall.
  • There will be a significant online component to learning over the next weeks so students must bring their devices to school, each day, fully charged. Students who had devices allocated to them through the lockdown must bring them to school to use in classes. There will be no loan devices available. Any surplus devices or modems should be returned to Cyclone, our IT support, in the Link Building.
  • Students may wish to bring their own hand sanitiser/wipes to school. However, the best way to prevent contraction or transmission of infectious diseases is through:
  • Regularly washing hands (for at least 20 seconds) with warm water and soap and drying thoroughly. You should do this before and after eating as well as after using the toilet
  • Covering your coughs and sneezes with clean tissues or your elbow
  • Putting used tissues in the bin
  • Avoid touching your face with your hands
  • Avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms
  • If you feel unwell or display any cold or flu-like symptoms you must stay at home. If staff observe that students are unwell they will be taken to Hauora, and parents contacted to collect their child and take them home.
  • Metlink who operate our school bus service have advised that normal services will be operating. However, they have changed the timetables for the bus services which will be operational from Thursday 9 September. Please review these changes here. They are still to inform us of the social distancing practices they will be implementing. I will update you with this information as soon as it becomes available.

Student Wellbeing

We are now experiencing another time of transition and change which can be unsettling for families and young people. It is perfectly normal to feel uncertain as we move out of our bubbles and back into school. 

Here are some things to consider when supporting your child to return to school:

  • The most important thing is to get to school on the first day you have been told you are able to return and it will get much easier from there.
  • Try to get back into your normal routine gradually before school starts. Work towards going to bed and getting up at your usual time if your sleep/wake routine has been disrupted. Get back into eating regular meals and drinking plenty of water at times that you would when at school.
  • Connect with what’s important to you. If you haven't been connecting with your school friends try having some contact with them online before school starts back. Schedule in times to do things you enjoy and start planning what activities you might want to do once lockdown ends
  • Exercise and getting outside can be helpful. Try to do exercise that you enjoy for at least 30 minutes a day.

There are many resources available. Here are a couple that you may find useful:

Tips for Transitioning Students Back to School

Mental Health Foundation - wellbeing for parents and whānau

Please remember that students are still able to access counselling through our Hauora team. 

Thank you for all the support you have given us through these unusual circumstances. I am really looking forward to connecting with students and their whānau face to face in the very near future. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if there is something you need assistance with. 

Ngā mihi nui

Gael Ashworth