Dear Parents and Students
I hope that you and your families are safe and well. The last 24 hours have been like none we have ever experienced.
For the remainder of this week we recommend your focus is on your family and making sense of this new reality. Our teachers are also making sense of this new reality and we thank you in advance for being understanding of this. We are not asking our staff to deliver online learning this week however if you would like your child to engage in some work you may like to look to our ‘home learning’ website.
Over the past few weeks our team have been preparing for online learning. We are not quite there yet. Our staff will continue working on this during the ‘holidays’ to ensure that we are ready to engage in Teaching and Learning with students when school in the new online model resumes on Wednesday 15th March.
During this time of uncertainty, it is really important to take care of our mental health. As we have seen at school over the last few weeks, children have responded to the Covid-19 information in many different ways. Some are very anxious, some are frightened and some are very curious. It is important that over the next few days and upcoming weeks we use this time to connect with family and friends in different ways. School will maintain connection, both with our teachers and our students in both a learning and pastoral sense.
It is also important that feelings are acknowledged and discussed. Reassure your children, answer questions factually. The Ministry of Education has some great advice about talking to children about COVID-19.
SchoolTV has just launched a Special Edition on preparing for learning at home. I recommend all parents watch this.
If you are worried about your child’s distress escalating, your GP is a good starting point. You can also talk to a trained counsellor for free, 24 hours, seven days a week by calling or texting 1737
Koreana Wilson, our experienced school counsellor, will also be monitoring online referrals with the possibility of either written or virtual communication with the young person.
The Deputy Principals will be checking emails from now until the 15th April so if you have queries or concerns please do not hesitate to contact us.
Year 7 Dean email@example.com
Year 8 Dean firstname.lastname@example.org
We will continue to communicate with parents on a regular basis as new information comes to hand.
Aroha nui ki a koutou
As you will know, the alert level for New Zealand has been raised to level 3. This will be in place for 48 hours, raising to level 4 at midnight on Wednesday.
MBIS is now closed until further notice. I am awaiting a list of essential parent occupations from the MoE. Children with parents whose occupation is on this list may attend school on Tuesday and Wednesday while parents make other arrangements for their care. I will communicate the list as soon as it becomes available and will ask parents to email ASAP to notify me if you are needing MBIS to provide care for your children.
As we receive further guidance and information from the Ministry of Education, I will communicate this information to you. My belief is that we will initially head into a holiday break to give teachers time to complete preparations for on-line learning.
I hope you have all had an enjoyable weekend in what is a rapidly changing world.
The Prime Minister's address to the nation on Saturday and the new Level 2 expectations means that we will be making some changes to the way we do things at school.
All trips and activities that take children off-site are cancelled for this coming week. That includes waterwise, MERC and EOTC.
All large group activities that happen at school but that involve the mixing of students across classes are cancelled this week. This includes production, Orchestra, Beginner Band, Concert Band, Choir, Jazz Band, Kapa Haka, Dance Sport, Hip Hop and Hand Bells.
With the exception of classroom activities we will be asking the following question: Would this activity require students to be closer than 1.5m for more than 15mins? If the answer is yes then the activity will be cancelled.
Rock band and private instrument lessons will continue as students are able to be more than 1.5m apart. These lessons may be in a different location and Mrs Holmes will contact students directly.
We have a few staff who will be working from home due to their personal circumstances and I thank you in advance for your patience and understanding as we work quickly to adapt our systems and programmes to cover.
Our curriculum team are working hard in the background to prepare for possible school closures and making sure we are as prepared as possible for distance learning. We aren't quite there yet! But we are working on it as quickly as possible.
Please be assured I will keep you up to date with any further developments as they come to hand.
Auckland Regional Public Health Letter - regarding North Harbour Basketball
Kia ora koutou
With so much information and misinformation swirling around about COVID-19, I wanted to share with you what will happen if we were to have a case in our school community. We have been planning for this and are in a position to respond quickly.
- As soon as a case is 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.
- If there was a case confirmed of someone in our school, we will likely be asked to close temporarily by the Medical Officer of Health. This will 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 temporarily, we have a plan in place to support student’s learning.
We know COVID-19 feels scary and of course people are concerned for the wellbeing of our children. Please be assured that with no case confirmed in our school, your children are safe here.
Good hygiene is 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.
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.
Thank you to those families who have responded to the request to voluntarily self-isolate because of travel in the past 14 days. We have had 100% support with this.
A number of families are in the situation where a parent has recently returned from travel but their child hasn’t travelled. They are asking us ‘should the child also self-isolate’.
The Ministry of Health has the following advice on this:
If you have recently returned from travel and are in a home where the others who live with you haven’t travelled or been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, you should minimise close contact with them by avoiding situations where you have face-to-face contact closer than 2 metres for more than 15 minutes.
You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, pillows or other items with other people in your home. After using these items, you should wash them thoroughly with soap and water, place them in the dishwasher for cleaning or wash them in your washing machine.
The other household residents do not need to self-isolate provided these precautions are followed.
My interpretation of this advice is:
If a member of your home has recently returned from travel and you have not followed the self-isolation advice above, you should take the precautionary measure to protect those around you – your family, friends, colleagues – from contracting COVID-19 by also self-isolating your child for 14 days.
Our teachers will continue to share work with those students who are self-isolating and we also have a team working in the background to prepare us for ‘distance learning’ in the future if this should be required.
I’d like to reiterate that the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 is:
As per Ministry of Health guidance, there are new recommendations for self-isolation.
The school will be contacting families in any instance where we know this recommendation is not being followed.
If your child arrived in New Zealand from any country (except the Pacific Island countries listed in Category 2 of the MoH website) prior to 1:00am on Monday 16 March you should self-isolate from the date of departure for 14 days. Voluntary registration is available at https://healthy.org.nz/register.
If you feel unwell please call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (+64 9 358 5453 for international SIMs).
If you have any difficulties accessing the online registration you can also register by phoning Healthline on 0800 358 5453.
If you arrived in New Zealand after 1:00 am on Monday 16 March from any country (except those listed on the countries and areas of concern under Category 2) you will need to self-isolate for 14 days.
If you have been in close contact with someone confirmed with COVID-19 you will need to self-isolate for 14 days from the date of contact.
The situation in regards to COVID-19 is rapidly evolving. MBIS continues to closely monitor and follow the advice provided by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education.
I will continue to send email updates and we are also updating our website. All current information will be found there. Moving forward this will be the most up to date source of information.
Here is what we know currently:
The Government announcement on the weekend requires all arrivals from overseas to self-isolate. It is important to note we continue to have no confirmed cases in schools or early learning services.
Schools are currently working with the Ministry of Education to plan for future scenarios.The most likely scenario is if a student or staff member is confirmed with COVID-19, the Department of Health may require a school to close for a day or two, to undertake tracking and tracing of close contacts.
At this point in time there is no expectation that schools will be closing. We are still open for instruction. A number of parents have made the decision to keep their students home as a preventative measure. Please note that at this time teachers are not being asked to provide additional learning programmes for these students. Our teachers are focused on the learners in their classroom. Teachers will however continue to share their planning and access to google classroom in the same way they currently do.
In preparation for possible closures in the future the MOE has asked our school to respond to a series of questions that explore our readiness and ability to deliver teaching and learning online. Our leadership team will be responding to these queries and making our own plans and preparations in the event that this becomes a reality in the future.
Following government advice teachers will be talking to students about limiting close contact. Students and staff will be actively discouraged from shaking hands and hugging etc. We will also continue to remind students about good hand washing practices and not touching their face.
Yesterday the Government advised that public events or mass gatherings where 500 or more people are together in one place, at one time should be cancelled. While this directive does not apply to schools we will be reviewing all our school operations and do not plan to hold any events that would be considered a ‘mass gathering’. This means events such as assemblies, concerts and large sporting events are likely to be cancelled.
Our school has a pandemic plan and Crisis Management Team in place. The team is keeping up to date with new information and responding accordingly. We will continue to communicate any new information as it becomes available.
One other action we can all take is to be vigilant about our own health and the health of our children. I will be encouraging staff to stay away from school if they are showing signs of illness such as coughs and colds. I ask that you please do the same with your children. Colds and flus are common in schools and by staying away, seeking medical attention and practicing good hygiene, we can all keep any spread of illness to a minimum.