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

PTA Bubble Fun Run/Walk

Compassion and Covid-19

The George Street Normal School PTA Bubble Fun Run/Walk

The George Street Normal School PTA Bubble Fun Run/Walk aims to raise funds for those in our community who have been adversely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.  Compassion is the value of the term at George Street Normal School, and as a way to demonstrate compassion for those in need, we encourage George Street Normal pupils and their bubbles  to participate in our bubble fun run/walk.

How it works:

Choose one of the following distances to run/walk: 3km, 5km or 10km.   Then anytime from 3pm Friday 15 May until 6pm Sunday 17 May you and your child/children (and any others in your bubble) run/walk this distance. In the event of adverse weather conditions the run/walk can be completed the following weekend.

After the run/walk:

We would love you to share photos from your run/walk and tell us a bit about it, such as where you went, what you saw, and what you enjoyed about it.  You could even tell us how long it took you. It would be great to hear your ideas on other ways we might be able to demonstrate compassion.   You can enter your information via the following link


We ask that you make a donation which will go towards Family Works Otago for their foodbank. We encourage you to invite other family and friends to sponsor you by also giving a donation.   All donations can be made via the George Street Normal PTA Bank account. 


Reference Fun Run/Walk

Enter here:


For any further inquiries email

Covid-19 latest information from Principal- 20 April

20 April 2020

Dear Parents/Caregivers

My thoughts are with you as we continue down roads not travelled before, including all the obstacles that may or may not be presenting themselves.  Once again I would like to take this opportunity to publicly acknowledge the work that the staff are doing at this time in their preparation and delivery of distance learning, and in doing so the support that they are offering you and your families. Thank you also to parents/caregivers who have continued to support their children’s education in whatever way they can over this time and in the days ahead.

As you will be aware we have now been instructed that we will move into ‘Level 3’ as of Monday, April 27 at 11:59pm. For George Street Normal School, as for all primary schools, this means that if you are an essential worker or you are needing to return to work, and there is no other way for your child to be looked after, then they can come to school. School will start on Wednesday 29 April.  (Tuesday the 28th will be a Teacher Only Day).  As the Prime Minister has reiterated, If you can keep your children at home, you should do so.  

You will appreciate that school on site, will not be school on site as we have known it.  If your child is returning, please help prepare them for changes such as;

  • Increased vigilance around good hygiene habits - including coughing into arm, hand washing, 1 m distancing in class and 2 m distancing outside.  We will not hesitate to send anyone home who is unwell in any way. 

  • Possible change in classroom and teacher under Level 3.  NB: Initially there will only be 10 children per class/bubble.

  • Playtimes, arrival at school and departure from school that are at different times to the rest of the school.

  • Playtimes that look different, ie. no use of the adventure playground, no sharing of sports equipment, no sitting near each other.

  • Only using equipment such as pencils, laptops that are theirs/have been assigned to them.  If your child has their pencil case/own pencils at home they will need to bring these to school. Please make sure they are clearly named.

  • That should a case of COVID-19 be confirmed or linked to the school, school will close for 72 hours to allow contact tracing and cleaning, and then remain closed for potentially for a further 14 days.

In order to plan going ahead, we require you to email Mrs Stanton to inform her that your child will be attending school on a daily basis when school for children resumes on Wednesday 29 April.   Could you also provide comments on how flexible you could be around drop off and pick up times (ie. a time span). It would be good if you could let us know if your child/children will be attending before this Thursday 23 April, so that we can continue our planning with this specific knowledge.

Please note that our before school and after school care ‘Georgies’ is not permitted to happen during ‘Level 3’.

If you do want to come onsite at any time, for example, to drop a child off/pick them up within the school grounds, please adhere to waiting in a queue by the office door, standing 2 metres apart and recording your details on our contact tracing register.   We will have people entering through the main office door and leaving through the middle main school exit to ensure appropriate distancing is maintained as much as possible.  

We will continue to adhere to the advice of the Ministry of Education and Health and keep you informed as we move forward. 

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to be in contact.

Kind regards

Leanne Stanton

Acting Principal

George Street Normal School

021 262 9919

Term 2 and Covid-19

13 April 2020

Dear Parents/Caregivers/Children

I hope this letter finds you in good health and making the most of the situation we find ourselves in.

Welcome to Term 2 which begins on Wednesday 15 April.  The staff have been working hard over the holidays to consider how we can best support our learners at this time.  While we have tried to allow you some downtime over the holidays, I would like to thank our staff who have prioritised wellbeing and connected with families/given opportunities for children to connect with their classmates over this time.

We recognise that due to differences in circumstances, the systems put in place for delivery of programmes will vary and children's learning will not be disadvantaged because of this.

In this regard;

  • Please know that if you have any questions/feedback about the work set or updates about how it is all going for you, our staff are all too happy to be emailed. 

  • We realise many of you have time constraints.  Your child should be able to independently follow the programme.  During school hours they will be able to post questions to their teacher if they are having any difficulties.

  • We would hope to ‘check in’ with our learners on a daily basis, be it via Seesaw, Google Meet, Zoom or e-mail.

  • The school day in your bubble doesn’t need to be as long or at the same time as a normal school day, however establishing a routine is recommended.

  • While we have done our best to ensure connectivity by way of device distribution (the Ministry is working through this situation), please be aware that distance learning isn’t just about online learning. The activities that staff will post will require a mixture of digital technology and hands-on learning.  

  • With regard to digital technology, teachers will be issuing some guidelines over the next few days.

  • If you would like to take advantage of the Home Learning | Papa Kāinga TV and Māori Television, on TVNZ channel 2+1 and on TVNZ on Demand, as well as on Sky Channel 502. Programmes will be broadcast for early learners and students (Years 1–10) from 9am on Wednesday 15 April.

  • Don’t feel you have to be the teacher, however lots of support and encouragement is beneficial for your child. 

  • If you require wellbeing support in any way, please refer to our school website news section where we have listed a range of supports available.

I continue to be proud of the way that our school community is facing the challenges in front of us.  Yes, learning is going to be different but let’s continue to actively be positive, resilient, creative and adaptable as we prepare to face the new ‘normal’. 

Kind regards

Leanne Stanton

Acting Principal

George Street Normal School

COVID-19 update 26 March

School will be closed for the next 4 weeks and then the situation will be reassessed. We will keep you posted on updates from the Ministry of Education.

School holidays will start early, from 30th March to the 14th of April inclusive. During the ‘holiday break’, we will be refining and tweaking our e-learning options for Term 2.  Online Learning platforms will run until Friday the 27th of March to finish the current school term, then will start again in Term Two on the 15th of April. We will provide you with more details in future updates.

Please refer to emails from The Principal and your child’s teacher to give you information on our learning at home program and any important messages that you may need. You will also get updates via Skoolbag, GSNS facebook and the school website.

Best wishes and stay safe.

COVID-19 update 23 March 6 pm

Message from the Principal

Kia ora koutou

As you will have heard today, the Prime Minister has announced that all schools will be closed tomorrow (Tuesday), except for the children who cannot be looked after by those classed as essential workers.  We have yet to receive direct communication from the Ministry of Education and when we do so, will send this information out to you.

In the meantime, if you are an essential worker and you do have a child that needs to be at school as per normal school hours on either Tuesday and/or Wednesday, please also email me, preferably by the end of today, so that I can ensure adequate cover.  

Georgies is now closed until further notice.  If you are an essential worker and have children that required Georgies on Tuesday or Wednesday, please email me directly. 

With regard to all children, your child's class teacher will be in contact with you soon regarding online learning opportunities over the next few weeks.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to be in contact.

Stay safe.

Ngā mihi

Leanne Stanton

Acting Principal

George Street Normal School

COVID-19 update 22 March

22 March 2020

Kia ora koutou

As I write this letter on Sunday afternoon, schools are still open for instruction.

Thank you for your ongoing support in these uncertain times.

We are endeavouring to keep you informed with as much up to date information as possible.   Be assured we are getting the most up to date advice and guidance so that we can confidently make informed decisions about the safety and wellbeing of our school community.  We have been planning for developments and are in a position to respond quickly.

There are no cases confirmed in our school.

If a case was confirmed in our immediate school community (eg. a student, staff member, or member of their household), the Medical Officer of Health and Ministry of Education will inform me about this, and we will work together to get quick and clear messaging out to you.  We would be asked to close temporarily by the Medical Officer of Health. This would allow time for close contacts to be traced, appropriate testing to be undertaken, and a careful clean of the school to be undertaken.

If our school does need to close, we have a plan in place to support student’s learning. To enhance this planning we have sent out a survey to all parents.  If you didn’t get the email, please contact the school office.

Good hygiene continues to be a priority at our school and we are reinforcing this regularly with all students and staff. We know that practicing good hygiene is still the best thing we can all do to prevent illness. You could help us by practising hand washing at home and encouraging children to cough or sneeze into a tissue or their elbow.

While school looks different with less children and physical/social distancing practices, for example, we endeavour to keep school routines functioning as normal as possible in this present climate.

Thank you for letting us know your child will be absent and why/for how long.  As you will appreciate, knowing the whereabouts of children at any time, and especially now, is of high importance.  To ensure our office staff can work through this process as quickly as possible each morning, the most efficient way is for you to send a SkoolBag app message or to use our ring-in system.

Finally at this time, if you or your family are in any need of support in any way, please don’t hesitate to call or email.  We want to support one another in these times.

Ngā mihi

Leanne Stanton

Acting Principal

George Street Normal School