Principal's letter to Parents 11 May

11 May 2020

Kia ora Koutou

Like me, I am sure you have followed with interest the announcements made by the Prime Minister. It is reassuring to hear how well our country has done at minimising the impacts of COVID-19.  Alert Levels 4 and 3 have not been easy and I thank you for your ongoing support for the work we are doing.

Today the Prime Minister advised that we are moving to Level 2.  Under Level 2 we have been told that our school environments are safe for children and staff and that additional public health control measures are in place to prevent the spread of disease and to support contact tracing.   

In accordance with the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education guidelines, on Monday 18 May, we will be ready to welcome all students and staff back to our school site.    

The overriding principles for Alert Level 2 are:

  • To minimise the risk that someone gets infected in the first place.

  • To ensure we can identify and contact anyone who has been in close contact with a person, if someone in school becomes infected.

  • Understand that Level 2 is not business as usual.

 

The following messages/measures are being reinforced with our school community;

  • Keep washing and drying your hands - regular verbal reminders, daily routines and posters will be used to reinforce this message.  

  • Cough safely - everyone will be reminded about how to cough into their elbow.

  • Keep surfaces clean - additional procedures and supplies are in place/have been accessed.

  • Keep at home if you are sick.  Under alert Level 2 we are advising any students and staff to stay at home if they are sick, even with a sore throat or runny nose, and we will send anyone home immediately if they show any symptoms.   If you have changed your contact details since the beginning of the year, please ensure the office has your correct phone number/email.  

  • Physical distancing - in a school setting this means maintaining a physical distance so that people are not breathing on or touching each other, where practical 1m distancing is being used as a guide.  Where physical distancing is hard to reinforce, such as some sporting activities and playtimes, an extra emphasis on handwashing and drying, before and after activities, staff and students coughing into their elbows and regular cleaning of equipment will become even more important.

  • Mass gatherings - educational facilities are not considered mass gatherings because they are managed environments.  This means there are no restrictions on numbers of people indoors or outside at school.   However we will not be holding our regular school assembly until further notice. We will continue to look at measures we can take to reduce children’s contact with a wide range of peers. 

  • Contact Tracing - As we have done in Alert Level 3, in Alert Level 2 we will know who is at school, who our staff and students have been in close contact with and take appropriate measures to keep everyone safe.  All visitors (including parents) will need to enter their details into a contact tracing register when they are on school grounds.  Access to the school for all visitors will be through the main office area.  If you have queries that can be dealt with via a phone call or email, please do so.  

Note that under level 2 our before school and after school care ‘Georgies’ is allowed to open.   They will be adhering to the same messages/measures as listed above.

Distance learning is available for those unable to attend school, for example who are self isolating. 

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

Things that you can be doing prior to children’s attendance at school; (click on link for helpful information)

  1. Ensure your child has their own named drink bottle, a container for their healthy snack and their own pencils.

  2. If your child is going to be absent, notify us ahead of time.   This can be done in one of three ways:  a) communication with your child’s class teacher, b) use of the skoolbag app, c) use of our school ring-in system.  NB:  It is important for us to know the whereabouts of all children as quickly as possible at the beginning of a school day.  You may find it hard to get through on the ring-in system, so having the skoolbag app loaded on your phone, ahead of time will be helpful. Information on how to do this is on our school website - ‘Parents’- ‘Download our school app’.

  3. Remind children to pack in their bags carefully any digital device or school resource that has been lent to them over Level 3/4.   These will be collected from the children by their class teacher when they arrive at school so we can clean them.

  4. We are aware that children will have had a range of experiences in lockdown and that the transition back to school will differ from child to child.  Please see the attached information ‘Getting Kids Ready for School after Lockdown’ which may have ideas to help you with this transition process.

As an aside, please be aware that the 40km per hour school zone may be operating when you return to school.  This is in the process of being installed.  

Communication between home and school will be of key importance in ensuring a good transition back to school.  If you have any questions about our health and safety measures, or have a child who might be vulnerable to serious illness and would like to discuss a plan for them, please don’t hesitate to be in contact with your child’s class teacher or myself.

As we continue to prepare for Level 2 and as new information is shared with us, we will continue to update you on our plans.

Ngā mihi     

 

Leanne Stanton

Acting Principal

George Street Normal School

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