Under Alert Level 2, Wellington High School remains OPEN with good hygiene and distancing practices in place, as we have done before. The information below has been sent to all families and whānau this morning.
Students with cold/flu symptoms should stay at home and call the Absence line [Wednesday 12 – Friday 14 August].
Kia ora koutou
I know that none of you would have welcomed the news overnight of a return to alert level 3 in Greater Auckland and alert level 2 in the rest of the country. At this stage the government has told us that these alert levels will be in place for at least 3 days. The key considerations for alert level 2 in an educational context are the following:
- It is safe for all students, children and staff to attend school. We have been at this level before and we will be taking the same precautions that we have previously taken under alert level 2.
- Children and staff who are at higher-risk of severe illness are encouraged to take additional precautions when leaving home. Anyone displaying flu or COVID-like symptoms should not be attending school and should seek further advice from their doctor or Healthline.
- If students present to school as unwell, we will be asking parents and caregivers to come and pick their student up.
- We all need to continue to send strong messaging about good hand hygiene and appropriate cough and sneeze etiquette.
- While at school, students and staff should be far enough away from each other so that they are not breathing on or touching each other. There does not need to be a specific measurement but where practicable and reasonable 1 metre can be used as a guide, particularly between adults.
- Physical distancing of 2 metres is recommended for parents and caregivers, from people they don’t know (to align with public health measures outside the school grounds).
- If there was a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19 in our school, our school would close immediately for 72 hours, to allow contact tracing, and then potentially for a further 14 days.
There is uncertainty about how long we may be at alert level 2 and so it is difficult to make decisions on some areas of school life that may only be for a few days. Below I have outlined additional practices that we have undertaken at alert level 2 previously and that we will continue to follow in the near future. I apologise in advance for the amount of information contained below. It is very similar to information we have previously published.
Extra hygiene practices
- All classrooms have good stocks of hand sanitiser and cleaning products. We will continue to encourage students to make use of these to ensure everyone’s health and wellbeing.
- At alert level 2 the only specific requirement is to clean and disinfect surfaces once each day but we will do this on multiple occasions during the day and our cleaning contract will take into account treatment of high touch surfaces.
- Our toilets have warm water and soap, hand dryers and paper towels. We will encourage our students to keep an eye on stocks and notify student services if they are diminishing.
- Students should bring a water bottle from home and this should not be shared with anyone else. Water bottles can be refilled at the water stations around the school. The fountains at these stations have not yet been disabled but they will be if we are to continue at alert level 2 for a prolonged period of time.
- Students should not be sharing class equipment eg books, pens, pencils, devices etc, at this time.
- Attendance in class is sufficient for lesson times for contact tracing purposes.
- Senior students who leave the premises at lunch will be encouraged to use the NZ COVID Tracer App.
- We will open additional spaces at lunchtime to allow students to observe physical distancing at these times.
- Lunchtime activities can occur but we will keep contact registers for these and an adult will be in a supervisory capacity at all times.
- Visitors to the school should be using the QR code posters for the NZ COVID Tracer App and they will be required to provide contact details for contact tracing purposes.
Remote learning plans
- We will not institute remote learning plans yet but we will be ready to do so from Monday next week if we are to continue at alert level 2.
- We will not be running school assemblies under alert level 2.
- The cafeteria will operate as a takeaway outlet as it did previously under level 2.
- Students enter the cafeteria by the carpark entrance and leave by the foyer door.
- Cashless payments will be the only method of payment.
Reception & Student services
- Reception will remain where it is as we await further information.
- Visitor sign in procedures will remain the same until further notice.
- All payments to student services will need to be cashless.
I expect there will be announcements about sport very soon but previously under level 2 guidelines, the gatherings of over 10 persons applied and most sports were not possible. I will update you as soon as I know more.
Our community education is a vital part of our school community and at this stage, classes will continue where possible, taking into account the same considerations that we make in our day classes. Our staff will be carefully monitoring this situation and more information will be provided depending on the length of the alert level 2 status.
Recently we have instituted a breakfast club – this will be cancelled under level 2.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
At this stage, face masks are not required at schools at alert levels 2 and 3. The Prime Minister has advised today that the use of masks is encouraged for areas where social distancing may be difficult but they are not mandatory. If students wish to wear masks to school, we support them to do so.
Careers expo and Future Focus evening – Monday 17 August
We will await further information before we make a call on these two events. We will let you know by Friday this week.
We all have a role to play in providing reassurance to our young people that if we look after ourselves and each other, then we will eliminate the virus, which at this stage is the best strategy. This means ensuring we have good hygiene practices in place at home and at school. It is worth remembering that we have been here before and we made it work. You may not realise that our best attended day of the year so far was the first day back at school under alert level 2 on Monday 18 May. I am confident that if we continue to work together and follow the excellent practices we have previously put into place, we will be able to continue to provide a safe place for our young people.
Dominic Killalea, Principal