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Covid response at the RED traffic light setting

Health & Safety Requirements

Contents

Health & Safety

  • Stay at home if you are sick
  • Hand washing and Hygiene
  • Cleaning
  • Masks
  • Ventilation
  • Social Distancing
  • Visitors on Site
  • Drop Offs and Pick Ups

Vaccination
Confirmed Case in School

Stay at Home if Sick

  • Stay home if sick and let the school office know. You know your children best and will realise first when they are showing signs of illness. If such signs show, please keep them home. If they show signs at school, you will be rung to collect them.
  • If students are required to be off school for long periods of time the school will be aiming to have online learning available. Due to demands on staffing this will only be for students who need to be off for more than a week (normal homework will still be available for those away for shorter periods of time). If sick or isolating for longer periods of time the school will try to provide a device for families who need it.

Hand Washing and Hygiene

  • Wash hands using good hand washing techniques and dry thoroughly. We recommend watching and promoting CNN’s one minute YouTube video by Dr Sanjay Gupta on hand washing or by doing an online search for ‘washing hands + CNN’.
  • Use an alcohol-based sanitiser.
  • Students will be expected to hand sanitise whenever they enter or exit the classroom.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or cover your mouth and nose with tissues. Put them in a bin immediately.
  • Avoid touching your face, including your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Please send your child with a named drink bottle of water each day. These can be refilled at school but we are keeping school drinking fountains closed for hygiene reasons.

Cleaning

  • A regular cleaning and disinfection routine is in place at school.
  • Frequently touched surfaces such as door handles and table tops are cleaned each breaktime throughout the school day.

Masks

  • At the RED traffic light setting, acceptable face masks are mandated indoors or when in close contact with others, at all times, for all students Year 4 and up, staff and visitors at school, unless they have a formal medical exemption, (for example; an exemption card). If a medical exemption is granted, please send a copy to the school office.
  • Families are expected to supply face masks for their children. The disposable surgical masks (3 ply blue faced masks) or better are advised as they have superior filtration to cloth or single ply masks. We recommend families have at least five for each child, one for each day of the week. Some doctors recommend using two per day and changing these at lunchtime which would then mean you would want 10 for your child at school per week.
  • It has been promoted that the 3-ply masks can be washed up to 10 times each. Based on this if each child has one or two for each day of the week each mask could be expected to have a lifespan of up to 10 weeks before needing replacing. We would advise that you regularly check these for undue wear though and replace earlier as necessary.
  • Please write your child’s name on the edge of the face mask to reduce risk of loss or sharing.
  • To wash a face mask you should never put these in a washing machine, nor use bleach, soap or detergent. Instead either wash under a warm tap massaging it for 10 minutes and then hang to dry, or alternatively, soak masks in boiled water for five minutes and then hang to dry.
  • Face masks are required on all public transport, including school buses for students aged 12 and over. At this stage children from Year 4 and up are being asked to wear them too. In the future the Ministry of Health may make this a requirement.
  • Note that bandanas, scarves etc are not considered acceptable to be used as masks.
  • Please note the school has no authority to provide exemptions for mask use. You will need to inquire as to the process from your family GP or the Ministry of Health.

Ventilation

  • Open or well ventilated spaces reduce the risk of Covid transmission. Classroom windows and doors will be open and fans used when necessary during the school day as weather permits.
  • During elevated times of Covid transmission we are aware that being outdoors is better. We are recommending that teachers plan to use school outdoor spaces and our environment regularly as an extension of the classroom. While we will be trying to stay within shaded areas students will also need to wear their school sunhats.

Social Distancing

  • We have low numbers of students per class. While social distancing is a challenge within schools, we will actively encourage students to maintain social distancing between other class groups in the playground.
  • It is not a requirement to wear masks while playing in the playground.
  • School assemblies may be held virtually.
  • Singing may only be held outside with distancing of two metres per person.

Visitors Onsite

  • On arrival at school (preferably between 8:20AM and 8:50AM after the teacher’s prayer meeting when direct supervision can be available), students are asked to sanitise at the school gate upon entry. Where possible visitors to school that are non-urgent are asked to ring rather than come into the school. Those that do need office assistance are still welcome but must wear face masks, sanitise and scan in.

Drop Offs and Pick Ups

  • To assist us in keeping students safe, and minimising the number of visitors we have onsite, we ask that parents/caregivers drop off and collect their children using the drive thru approach in the school carpark established over the last two years.
  • The school staff will not at this stage be stationed on the carpark in the morning but a hand sanitising station will be in place for students to use.
  • If you have a child that specifically needs your help to settle into school at the start of the day we will be trying to accommodate this. When entering the school grounds please have a face mask, sanitise, scan in and work with your child’s teacher to achieve this.
  • School staff will be loading students into cars at the end of the school day between 2:50PM and 3:10PM. If your child is not available on time for pick-up, (for example; you are waiting for senior students to come back from Tech Arts), we will ask you to park off to the side while you are waiting. We will do our best to load children into cars as quickly as possible and appreciate you pulling up as far forward as possible to allow more cars in behind you.
  • If you are coming in to collect a sick child, please report straight to the main office.
  • If you need to pick your child up early, please ring ahead to the school office and we will try and have your child ready. We will still need you to report into the school office and sign your child out.

Vaccination

In 2021, the government mandated that all school staff and volunteers in New Zealand schools were required to be vaccinated. Following this mandate, all staff at MCS are vaccinated and we require anyone working on site to also provide evidence of their vaccination status.  This extends to any whānau volunteers providing supervision on camps and out of school experiences. If you are intending to volunteer during the year please also note that in addition to vaccination evidence you must also have an up to date Police vet check. The school is happy to pay for this and applications can be made through the school office. Note that these checks can often take as long as six weeks to be processed.

The school is not requiring students to be vaccinated and the government is not mandating this. We believe that this is a choice parents must make for their children.    

Because this is a choice there may be some out of school excursions that may be affected by these decisions. We know there are already some venues that are requiring participants to be vaccinated if they are aged over 12 years 3 months. We will be trying to use venues that can accommodate all participants to mitigate this but that may not always be possible. We will keep parents informed around each specific event as it arises if it may impact any families.    

Confirmed Case in School
If the Ministry of Health identifies a confirmed case within our school the principal will be informed and the following things will happen:

  • Our school community will be informed and close and casual contacts will be identified.   At this point the principal will provide you with detailed information of next steps moving forward.
  • The intent of the Ministry is not to close schools.  Schools will only be closed if the Ministry of Health deems this necessary.

Staffing Structure

In the event of the school being significantly impacted with Covid absences as a result of confirmed cases/close contacts, we may be required to change the structure of our school day.  This may include the use of relievers (where possible) and classes being restructured to allow for an online learning platform for some students who may need to be offsite. Throughout the whole process communication will be regularly provided.  Please ensure the office has your correct email and contact details.  

Covid-19 Communications and Updates

As new information becomes available, Matamata Christian School will use the following three pathways to maintain open communication: the school Facebook page, email and Skool Loop messages.

 

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