Kia ora koutou

Yesterday, the Prime Minister announced that New Zealand will move into Alert Level 2 from Thursday 14 May. The Government will be reviewing this decision in two weeks time. In light of this announcement, our school will be reopening for all students from Monday 18 May and we will be making preparations for the return of students over the coming days. The key messages from the Prime Minister in relation to schools reopening at level 2 are below.

“Schools … are safe environments for children, young people and staff. Additional public health control measures are in place to prevent the spread of disease and to support contact tracing.”

“If a school has a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19, they must close on an individual or group basis for 72 hours, to allow contact tracing, and then potentially for a further 14 days.”

“The two key public health principles we’re talking to the sector about are one: to reduce the risk of someone getting infected in the first place and two: to ensure we can identify and contact anyone who becomes infected.”

“So keeping kids at home if they’re sick, and good hygiene such as hand washing are so important.”

“In schools, physical distancing means children, young people and staff maintaining enough distance so that they are not breathing on or touching each other. And maintaining good hygiene practices, and regular cleaning. As is regular cleaning of equipment.”

Returning to school

If your student is in years 9 & 10, we will be expecting them to return to school at 8.45am on Monday 18 May when they will immediately go to their rōpū class. If your student is in years 11, 12 & 13, we will be expecting them at 9.30am on Monday 18 May when they will also immediately go to their rōpū class. In both cases, this will be an opportunity for students to reconnect with their peers, be briefed on health and safety procedures for level 2 and set up contact tracing registers for each student.

As we have been doing at Alert Level 3, we will continue to focus on:

  • enabling good hygiene practices – regular washing and drying of hands and good cough and sneeze etiquette remain fundamental to preventing spread of illness such as colds, flu and COVID-19,
  • ensuring people with COVID-19 symptoms stay away from school,
  • maintaining physical distancing where practicable – in schools at Alert Level 2 this means young people and staff maintaining a physical distance so that they are not breathing on or touching each other,
  • keeping track of people who enter our school.

Additionally, at level 2, we will ask students to:

  • Use hand sanitiser upon entering class and clean surfaces at the end of each class,
  • Keep a contact register for break times and study periods,
  • Bring a bottle from home for water, as water fountains have been disabled except filling taps,
  • Not share class equipment eg books, pens, pencils, etc, at this time.

In light of the return to school, I have asked staff not to set any new work over the next 3 days – Wednesday to Friday. This will give students a bit of a breather or catch up time before returning to school full-time next week. Note that teachers will still be available in lesson times on Wednesday and Thursday. No staff will be available on Friday as they will be preparing on site for the return of students on Monday.

Timetable changes

As you know, we have been struggling with space and overcrowding in more recent times. To mitigate against this we have decided to put junior students (years 9-10) and senior students (years 11-13) on different timetables for breaks during the school day. The altered timings are attached and will be in place for level 2 and be reviewed at the end of this period.

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday Wednesday
Junior timetable (9-10) Senior timetable (11-13) Junior timetable (9-10) Senior timetable (11-13)
8.45 – Period 1 8.45 – Period 1 Staff PD Staff PD
9.40 – Rōpū 9.40 – Interval 9.30 – Period 1
10.00 – Period 2 10.00 – Period 2 10.20 – Period 2 No period 1
11.00 – Interval 11.00 – Rōpū 11.10 – Interval 10.40 – Period 2
11.20 – Period 3 11.20 – Period 3 11.30 – Period 3 11.30 – Period 3
12.20 – Period 4 12.20 – Lunch 12.20 – Period 4 12.20 – Lunch
1.20 – Lunch 1.20 – Period 4 1.20 – Lunch 1.20 – Period 4
2.20 – Period 5 2.20 – Period 5 2.20 – Period 5 2.20 – Period 5

School Learning Plans

Our remote learning plans during the level 4 and level 3 lockdowns have provided a level of flexibility that we would like to be able to maintain in our normal school routines. At level 2 we will continue with our remote plan, but teachers will obviously not be available for online meetings, as they will be physically in class. If a student needs to be at home, they will be able to follow the work using their google classroom as they have done over the past 5-7 weeks.

Our priority at this point is to look after all of our students and help them through the next period of transition. There will be students who are anxious about assessment and qualifications and we are currently working through planning to ensure there is no ‘tsunami’ of assessment upon their return. If you are concerned about the wellbeing of your student, do not hesitate to get in touch and use your student’s rōpū teacher as the first point of contact. 

Your support

In addition, although students are coming to a safe place, this isn’t business as usual and it is important that we continue to stress the need for good hygiene practices. To this end, could you help us by making sure your student brings the following from home:

  • Bottled water – these can be refilled at school but drinking taps have been disabled,
  • Equipment for classes – pens, pencils, books, devices – so there is no need to share others’ equipment.

In addition, if your student is using public transport with a snapper card, getting the snapper registered will help with contact tracing, in the event of any further outbreak of COVID-19 in the wider community.

Cafeteria

The cafeteria at school will be available for students. They are currently working on plans for what the delivery of their service looks like under alert level 2. I will forward you more advice on this in coming days.

School transport survey

Please complete the accompanying survey so that we are able to help with any contact tracing, should it be required in the event of a further outbreak of COVID-19. The survey can be accessed at: https://forms.gle/kjY4WiGJ1GTnYsNX6

We are really looking forward to welcoming all of our students back to school. I know that these have been challenging circumstances for all of our community and I thank you for your efforts in supporting and guiding your young person through the particular challenges of remote learning and these quite surreal times.

Mauri ora!

Dominic Killalea, Principal