REVISED COVID RESPONSE AT THE RED AND ORANGE TRAFFIC LIGHT SETTINGS
Implemented 5 April 2022
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. It can be found online at https://edition.cnn.com/videos/health/2020/03/27/how-to-wash-hands-gupta-vpx.cnn 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 the school grounds and 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.
- Try to 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.
- 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.
- At the RED and ORANGE traffic light settings, acceptable face masks are required 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. Masks must be at least 3-ply.
- Please note the school has no authority to provide exemptions for mask use. You should seek advice from your family GP or the Ministry of Health.
- 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 in Terms 1 and 4.
- We have low numbers of students per class. While social distancing is a challenge within schools, we will try to do so where practical.
- 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.
- Outdoor events may happen and these events will be carefully managed. Mask use will be optional but sanitising upon entry and before handling commonly used items between people is likely to be employed. Scanning in will be available but will be optional. Please follow the protocols on the day.
- Indoor events may start to happen but with some spacing between visiting families.
Arrivals and Visitors Onsite
- When students arrive 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. At RED level they will have their temperature taken to help check for illness. The same applies to visitors. Note high temperatures can infer general illness as well as the potential for Covid. If someone tests at or above 38o they will not be allowed to stay. At above 37.5o it is recommended they go home.
- At RED 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 and sanitise.
Drop Offs and Pick Ups
- To assist us in keeping students safe, and minimising the number of visitors we have onsite, at RED level 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. At ORANGE level we still recommend using the school drive thru but parents are welcome to enter into the school grounds but must sanitise, wear a face mask and maintain some space between people when talking to them.
- At RED level 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 and sanitise and work with your child’s teacher to achieve this.
- At ORANGE level you are more freely able to enter and help settle your child into school at the start of the day as per above but of course would prefer parents to drop off using the drive thru.
- At RED 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 while you are waiting. We will do our best to load children into cars as quickly as possible and appreciate families pulling up as far forward as possible to allow more cars in behind you.
- When at ORANGE once the new markings are placed in the carpark parents can use the drive thru or park and enter for either drop off and pick up. Staff will not be loading students in cars but will be supervising at the end of the day.
- 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 please.
- In 2021, the government mandated that all school staff and volunteers in New Zealand schools were required to be vaccinated. From April 2022 these mandates have been dropped.
- It is still our preference that all staff at MCS will be fully vaccinated but we recognise that this will be a personal choice.
- Volunteers in school will not be required to be vaccinated but will still require to be up to date with their 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.
Confirmed Case in School
- If a family or the Ministry of Health identifies a confirmed case within our school the principal will be informed and the following things will happen:
- The class of the child or adult who was working with the class will be informed if they were at school within the previous two days. This will happen by email and families will be advised to watch for symptoms and follow the given isolation protocols if testing positive.
- Online learning will be provided for students in isolation as long as staffing levels do not prevent this, ie; we do not have staff sick that would prevent this from happening.
- The intent of the Ministry is not to close schools. Schools will only be closed if the Ministry of Health deems this necessary.
In the event of the school being significantly impacted with Covid absences 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 main pathways to maintain open communication: the school newsletter for general information and updates and direct email for cases that may affect specific families.