Tēnā koutou kātoa
As we approach the beginning of Term 2, I am writing to update you about how our school is continuing to respond to COVID-19 under the Orange setting of the Covid Protection Framework.
The media continues to report a general decline in the number of cases as we progress beyond the peak of the outbreak. While we know that cases in school will rise and fall with that of the level in our community, our health experts tell us that children are much more likely to be exposed to COVID-19 in the community than at school. Statistics from the Ministry of Education indicate that nationally in mid-March no more than 4% of teachers in any seven-day period reported as testing positive and that figure at the beginning of April had dropped to 3.5%.
As you know, it’s great for any child’s wellbeing and learning to be at school with their friends, teachers and other school staff. You also know that we have very good systems in place to keep everyone as safe as possible. Although there are some changes under the Orange setting we still have many layers of protection in place.
We strongly recommend that students continue to wear masks indoors at school.
Our school values of aroha and whanaungatanga mean that we are a connected community who care about the wellbeing of others as well as ourselves. We recognise that some students who have already had COVID may feel that they no longer need to wear a mask. However, there are new variants emerging and we have students, staff and whānau of students and staff who are immunocompromised, ill or have other vulnerabilities, even when they are fully vaccinated, who could be more affected by COVID. Wearing a mask not only protects ourselves but offers protections to others too. We all need to play our part.
Considering these factors, I ask that students continue to wear their mask indoors at school, and appreciate your support with this. Masks are not required to be worn outside and we encourage students to continue to use outdoor spaces at morning tea and lunch to eat and socialise with friends - weather permitting.
Students will still be required to wear masks on public transport and on school buses.
Providing fresh air is one of the most important things we can do in our learning spaces to minimise risk of infection. We have CO2 monitors in Matairangi and in other classrooms which allow us to increase the levels of ventilation through the Building Management System when required. Other classrooms across the site are ventilated by the opening of windows and doors. We have also requested air purifiers from the Ministry of Education to continue to provide good air quality through the winter months.
The video in the following link clearly illustrates the benefits of mask use and good air flow.
We know that being fully vaccinated and boosted reduces the risk of severe illness due to COVID-19. We are encouraging all adults in our school who are working with students to be vaccinated including their booster.
We still need to keep doing the general hygiene practices that keep us well. Washing hands, getting lots of fresh air, covering any coughs and sneezes, cleaning surfaces regularly,
As we are heading into the winter months, please continue to monitor your whānau closely for symptoms. If unwell, please stay at home and test. You may still contract COVID or be a household contact. This means that from time to time some students will need to isolate at home. This is in line with Government advice. We will continue to offer the Hybrid Learning approach with all learning accessible to students via Google Classroom. It is helpful if you can let us know if your student will be learning from home.
For all absences please email email@example.com or ring 385 8514 ext 848.
If you have any concerns about sending your child to school, please get in touch – we are here to help. We want children to be at school and engaging in learning with their friends. We are looking forward to seeing students return on Monday.
Ngā mihi nui