Kia ora koutou
Following the Government’s decision to extend Alert Level 4 across New Zealand through until Friday evening, we will be continuing with remote learning for the remainder of the week. Because of the uncertainty with the emerging situation and the lockdown length, it is important that students connect with their teachers and try to continue with their studies as best they can. It is important to remember that we have been in this situation before and we can make it work. This week teachers will be available online to meet with their classes until Thursday. On Friday, there will be work in students’ respective google classrooms but I am asking teachers to use that day to check in with all students in their rōpū in relation to their work and their wellbeing.
Students choosing courses for 2022 (students in year 10-12 this year)
The date for initial choices to be made is this Friday 27 August. This will give the timetabling team a chance to look at the choices that have been made and make any necessary adjustments to the lines, if needed. The timetabling team have made some minor changes to the lines at year 12 as there were some combinations that weren’t working on lines 3 and 4 – students will be choosing from the updated lines on the portal. In addition Digital Media at year 11 and 12 was omitted from the initial lines. The updated course choice booklet and lines are also on the student login hub.
Derived grade examinations
In a previous communication, I flagged the movement of these from this week to week 7 (starting Monday 6 September). At the moment, we are sticking to this plan but this may have been a little optimistic given the growing situation and we are considering other options at the moment. There are a number of factors to consider such as weighing up a week of exams against a week of teaching face-to-face when we return from lockdowns, and an awareness that year 11 students have not previously done any external examinations and will need the practice. We will consider our options and issue something more definitive when we have greater certainty around the situation.
There is a lot we can all do to protect our whānau and community from COVID-19 including:
- Everyone must continue to stay home in their bubble
- Do not mix with other household bubbles – if they have COVID-19, it can easily spread to your household, and every other household they and you are connecting with
- As new cases are identified, new locations of interest are added to the Ministry of Health website – please keep checking this. You can search by your location and they are sorted by date, so you only need to check the locations which have been added when you last checked
- Wash your hands regularly, especially when you have been out in public
- Stay home if you are feeling unwell and seek advice about whether you need to get a test
- Wear a face covering when out and about, and you MUST wear a face covering in any businesses or services which are open at Alert Level 4 (unless you have specifically been exempted from doing so, which includes anyone aged under 12)
- Keep a two-metre distance from people outside your household bubble
- Check in using the NZ COVID Tracer App wherever you go or keep a manual record (a reminder the App only stores information on your own phone – no one else will know who it is that checked in, or when)
We can also make sure we are passing on good information. There is a very helpful article by Dr Siouxsie Wiles and Toby Morris in The Spinoff regarding misinformation and disinformation.
Their red flags for how to spot bad information are particularly well-summarised. Bad information will:
- downplay COVID-19 and the pandemic
- focus on survival rate
- ignore long COVID
- emphasise individual freedom
- try to sell you something
- push simple cures/treatments
- make you feel fearful or angry.
“Good information put out to help you make an informed choice won’t make you feel scared or angry. It’ll make you feel empowered.”
We know some families in our community may be finding it difficult to access food and essential items such as medicine. This information about how to access to food or essential items summarises the supports that are available, including financial help to buy food.
I hope you are able to balance managing your own jobs and looking after your young person(s). The initial part of the lockdown felt like a welcome break but we are now realising that we may have to get used to a prolonged period of time working in this way again. As I went walking a couple of days ago it occurred to me that dogs probably really enjoy lockdowns and can’t believe how many walks they are getting in with different family members. It also occurred to me that lockdowns aren’t always great situations for some families and a prolonged situation will have more profound effects on employment. I am encouraged by the data in relation to COVID testing and vaccinations and the way we have responded, again, to this situation. These factors provide a lot more hope than at the same time last year, even though we are dealing with a more aggressive variant.
Please do take care and let us know how we can best support you and your whānau.