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Covid-19 update April 20 2020

Dear Parents and Whānau

You will be aware that this afternoon the government announced its intention to lower our current Alert Level status from 4 to 3 applicable from next Tuesday the 28th. This is good news to a lot of people but I want to take this opportunity to outline what this means from the aspect of schooling:

  • Schools are only open to those who need them. Primarily this means for those students where because of a return to work there will be no suitable adults left to look after them at home. Initially the government said a return to school would be voluntary for parents but this has since changed to those who need them to go back. There is still a clear risk of COVID-19 and as a community we need to reduce the risk as much as possible by staying home where possible while still allowing the economy to begin to safely start up again. To achieve this, as many people as possible need to remain at home. Online schooling will still be our key way of delivering education for all.
  • For those returning to school we are only able to have 10 students in a classroom to begin with. Some (but not all) of the precautions we will be taking will include:
  • students will enter the school grounds through the carpark field gates and go directly to class in the mornings
  • they will leave at the end of the day via a route through the normal front entrance gates
  • in order to reduce numbers on the school grounds whānau will not be able to enter the grounds. When picking up children we will get you to text the school phone and we will send your child out to the carpark
  • to reduce mixing bubbles students from the same family will be grouped together in the same classroom
  • classroom doors will be kept ajar to minimise unnecessary handling of door handles and surfaces
  • hand sanitizer will be available and required to be used in classrooms and bathrooms
  • we are required to keep all students 1 metre apart in class and 2 metres apart in the playground. Students will be given their own equipment to play with that cannot be shared. The playground will not be available in accordance with standard rules for playgrounds at Level 3
  • cleaning of all surfaces, sports equipment and iPads will occur daily. Where possible children will be assigned an iPad to use but the school only has a small number left that haven’t already been assigned out to families. If your child is a child that needs to return to school they will need to bring back any school device. If they have a home device and families are willing to let them use these at school we would appreciate discussing this with you. Because teachers will have most students still at home doing online learning this will still be the key learning approach, even at school
  • staff will be kept to a minimum onsite so as to reduce risk. All teachers will still be involved in online learning
  • school drinking fountains will be closed and students will need to bring their own drink bottles that they do not share
  • no after school clubs are allowed to run at Level 3 including the Starfish programme
  • school buses may not be running immediately. Many of our local drivers are aged over 70 and need to stay isolated. When buses are running all students are required to sit 1 metre apart. Our recommendation will be that students get dropped off as much as possible during Level 3

This week our school site is being prepared for opening next week. This includes cleaning, maintenance and checking over aspects of the school. Online schooling will still take place throughout the remainder of at least Level 3 and 4. This weekend is a long weekend to celebrate ANZAC Day so Monday is a public holiday. Schools have then been given Tuesday as a Teacher Only Day. Schools will open on Wednesday the 30th of April. Please note the long weekend and Teacher Only Day means there will be no online schooling given on these two days.

Before we went into lockdown a month ago a survey went out to all parents asking which families were in a position to have their children at home and isolated and which could not make that happen because of work commitments or other circumstances. Only three families told us they could not have their children at home but I am aware that this may have changed for some. We want to help those who need it while keeping all our families and staff safe. Please click here, complete and send the feedback form as soon as you can with your response so we can plan what we need to do:

We appreciate your prompt reply. If your circumstances change over the next days please get back to me as soon as possible. A considerable amount of planning and preparation is going into this to make it work and we need to consider all information in as timely manner as possible.

Continue to read Psalm 91 and claim this over our country. While this has been a tragic event to go through for a lot of families and our economy I am always reminded that God can turn things intended for bad into good. I am hoping that for New Zealand this will turn into an opportunity that we are all able to seize.

Finally, thank you for all the positive feedback you have been giving our    teachers for all the work they have been putting in. This is a very different way of teaching for them but they are giving this their all and I am proud of them for their efforts. Please continue to let them know any ideas you may have that could help you or your children.

Stay safe.

Yours in Christ

Alistair Paterson


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