Principal’s Message Term 1, Week 8

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

Before you read my update, all school messages regarding COVID 19 will be shared via our school app, website page, Facebook, and Seesaw. As you are very aware the COVID-19 pandemic is developing rapidly.  Already a significant number of college activities and events have either been postponed, suspended or cancelled.

One of the possible scenarios we need to consider and plan for is school closure.  Exact details of what this might look like, if it were to happen will depend on the circumstances at the time.  One thing would be certain however – online learning programmes would need to be provided by teachers for their students who are at home.

As I shared last week, at this stage the school is open for instruction.  The only difference is for students that are high risk, and are self isolating at home, as advised by the Prime Minister (PM).  The teachers will share work with these students via our online platform, either Seesaw or Google Classroom.

I will share what working via our online platform might look like later this week.  It will be a programme that will vary depending on the class level.  To allow us to do this effectively, the Board and I wish to give teachers time to plan and organise a robust curriculum delivery programme.  To allow teachers a half a day to plan for possible school closure School will be finishing at 12:30 pm this Wednesday 25th March.

To answer questions regarding school closure, these are decisions made by the MOE, not the school.  MOE have created a decision tool which is  used to make this decision.  This information is available on our website/health and safety/COVID-19 updates, you can access it at Decision Tool for Early Learning and School Responses to COVID-19

Below is the latest update from the MOE

We really appreciate how you are all responding to what are very uncertain times.  Unfortunately the situation is going to remain uncertain for some time yet.  It is important to maintain contact with colleagues and help one another.  Everybody is facing tough decisions; talking those through with a colleague is a powerful act to help you, and you will be helping them too.  We will do our very best to help, and we know you will also help each other.

Staffing absences

We have had a number of inquiries seeking guidance for schools with a proportion of staff who are impacted by the COVID-19 Level 2 Alert announced yesterday – staff and students who are over 70 years of age and those with compromised immunity and certain existing medical conditions are asked to remain at home as much as they can from now on and avoid any non-essential travel.

If you are concerned your school won’t have enough teaching staff to safely deliver learning to all year levels, you will need to consider a range of options which could include:

  • Offer supervision of some classes using non-teaching staff (who have been safety checked) – use those teachers who can work from home to set learning for them and could potentially offer support online back to the class, undertake marking etc
  • Implement your distance learning/online learning plans for some classes or year levels – again teaching staff working from home can support their learning at home
  • Relief staffing could be an option depending on your pool of available teachers; we appreciate this might be difficult but where they are available they should be used
Vulnerable people

Information about who is considered vulnerable has been updated today on the COVID-19.govt.nz website and is as follows:

At risk people include:

  • Those over 70: Older people often have underlying health issues, including respiratory issues that make them more vulnerable to COVID-19.
  • People with medical conditions: Underlying medical conditions can make you more vulnerable to COVID-19. In particular, people with respiratory conditions such as COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), heart conditions, high blood pressure, kidney problems and diabetes.
  • People undergoing a treatment for cancer and blood conditions: As treatments for cancer and blood conditions affect people’s immune systems, this makes them more vulnerable to COVID-19.
  • Pregnant women: Health experts do not yet know if pregnant women are impacted by COVID-19 in the same way as other people. However, pregnant women experience changes in their bodies that may increase their risk from some infections. 
  • People without easy access to healthcare

End of MOE announcement.

Fairfield ERO Newsletter

As a community we should all be very proud of our school and achievements.  The ERO report highlights the wonderful learning environment we have in our school.  ERO has published its findings from their recent visit with us in November.

Below are a few of the highlights from the report.

  • The school is working purposefully toward equity and excellence for all its students. 
  • Achievement outcomes are often good, with many students achieving at or above expectations in reading, writing and mathematics. 
  • Wellbeing survey information for students in Years 4 to 6 indicates that most students are positive about school. 
  • The school provides a wide range of actions and initiatives to respond to Māori and other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration.
  • Individualised goals, for high needs learners, are developed in conjunction with parents, staff and external specialists to match the specific needs of students.
  • Transition in, through, and out of school is well managed to suit learners, families and whānau. 
  • Appropriate resourcing provision, including the allocation of additional personnel, impacts positively on the progress and achievement of English speakers of a second language (ESOL). 
  • Students’ skills, competencies and capabilities are well supported through their active participation in well-designed curriculum experiences.
  •  Learners pursue their interests and passions through a wide range of authentic learning opportunities.
  •  Aspirations for Māori learner success encompass the shared values of Ariki, Tohunga, Mangotoa and Aronui. Leaders effectively guide the school in their ongoing development of culturally responsive practices aligned to their vision for Māori learner success.
  •  Comprehensive teaching and learning guidelines inform practice expectations that support consistency in the classroom. Access to digital technologies assists student inquiry. 
  • Students are well supported by teachers to make decisions in relation to their learning needs. 
  • Students learn in a positive and inclusive environment. They articulate a sense of belonging and connection to their school, of feeling included and secure and where their culture, language and identity are valued and celebrated. 

These are just a few of the highlights, and the ERO team always provide us with commendations and recommendations.  As part of this process we are always seeking self improvement to continually move school forward on a positive trajectory.

The full ERO report is available on our website/school information/ERO, or open the following link ERO Report

School Calendar

To help you with school dates, whole school events the following calendar has been created.  The calendar is available on our school website/school calendar, or open the following link School Calendar

2020 School Term Dates
Term 1 Monday 3rd February Thursday 9th April 96 half days
Term 2 Tuesday 28th April Friday 3rd July 96 half days
Term 3 Monday 20th July Friday 25th September 100 half days
Term 4 Monday 12th October Tuesday 15th December 92 half days

Kind regards,

Screen Shot 2019-11-17 at 10.45.14 AM
Alasdair Maclean
Principal

 

COVID 19 School Update

Dear Parents / Caregivers,

Further to my announcements on the Principal’s Message each week I thought it was prudent to provide an update on what the school is doing to manage COVID-19.  It is important to know that we are open for instruction. As a school we are taking measures to ensure that we are protecting our students, community and staff. 

At this stage we know that there are no cases of COVID-19 in the Levin area.  I am taking advice on the situation from the Ministry of Education (MoE) which I have shared the majority of these updates with you via my Principal’s Message each week.  Of course, if you would like to know more, feel free to contact me. If there are any changes to the situation we will let you know as soon as possible via the school website, school app and facebook. 

In previous messages, I have shared advice from the MoE;

Awareness – know the symptoms and where to get good information.  The Ministry of Health website is the best source.

Vigilance – please stay away from school if you or your child is ill.

Good hygiene – hand washing and drying, sneezing and coughing etiquette and avoidance of touching public surfaces.

The Ministry of Education shared information yesterday about events based on this information, where we have had to make decisions about our school and events. 

Below is a copy of important information shared with NZ Principals by the MoE.

As you have been doing, please continue to focus on prevention of spread including through:

  • Washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds and drying thoroughly – before and after eating as well as after attending the toilet
  • Covering coughs and sneezes with clean tissues or with an elbow
  • Putting used tissues in the bin

Staff and students need to stay home if they are unwell in any way.

Physical Distancing

Yesterday we provided advice about considerations and possible approaches to school assemblies. Some people have asked why assemblies are different to classroom situations. The simple answer is that assemblies are not always core to providing education, and could be reduced or rearranged without impacting on learning.

Remember that personal hygiene, and reducing unnecessary physical contact (eg. hugs, handshakes, hongi) are still the most important things to do to stop the spread of any virus.

Please note that we are deliberately using the term “physical distancing” rather than “social distancing”.  Maintaining social connection is as important as ever to people’s wellbeing during this time, if not more so.  If you have students who are required to self-isolate, you could encourage their peers to maintain social contact with them through phone calls, email, pen-pal letters, class video calls, or age-appropriate social media.

Reminder – Who needs to self-isolate?

The Government’s announcement at the weekend requires anyone who has arrived from overseas after 1am on Monday 16 March to self-isolate for 14 days, and to register with Healthline (0800 358 5453). The exception is people arriving from specified Pacific countries (“Category 2” countries as listed here), who do not need to self-isolate if they are not unwell.

People who arrived from overseas before 1am on Monday 16 March are not required to self-isolate, unless they have travelled from South Korea or Iran. Travellers from those countries need to self-isolate for 14 days from the date of their departure and register with Healthline.

People living in the same house as travellers that are required to self-isolate, need to minimise contact with them (avoiding being closer than 2 metres apart for more than 15 minutes). However, they are not required to self-isolate themselves.

Encouraging student attendance

We know that some parents have concerns about their children attending school at the moment, some of which may be due to what they are seeing in the media about other countries.  There’s a simple rule here – if students are unwell (whether or not their illness relates to COVID-19) they should stay at home. Students who are not unwell should continue to attend school.

 It may be worth reminding your parent community that while we are seeing large-scale school shutdowns elsewhere in the world, in New Zealand we still have no community transmission. Consequently any decisions about school closures will be made on a case by case basis.  In the meantime, unless students are unwell themselves, then parents should keep sending them to schools and early learning centres as these environments continue to be safe and the best place for them to continue their learning.

Schools will continue to be provided with the latest information and guidance from the Ministries of Education and Health, so that Principals and Boards can make well-informed decisions based on their particular circumstances.

End of MoE announcement

In light of what is happening around the world the care and protection of our staff, students, and community is paramount.

At this stage we have postponed school assemblies, sports days, and other events that have groups of people grouped together. Water Polo, netball, and club Cricket have been cancelled. We will inform you in a timely manner of other changes to school events. Please keep checking our Facebook, web site, and messages on the school app to stay informed.

We have decided to postpone learning conferences until term 2, or a time that is safer for our community. In saying this, if you would like to know about your child’s progress I encourage you to reach out to your child’s teacher. 

These decisions are not taken lightly, but for the best interests of our community. 

As mentioned in my Principal’s Message on Monday, We have ensured the school has been through a thorough clean. Each classroom will also be provided with additional cleaning products, including hand sanitisers, antibacterial sprays etc for teachers and staff to use to ensure our classrooms are sanitised. Students bring their own drink bottles to school, as we will not be allowing students to drink from the drink fountains until further notice.  

I will keep in regular contact with you and will update you as soon as there is more to share. In the meantime, if you have further questions please do not hesitate to email me on amaclean@fairfieldlevin.school.nz.

Kind regards, 

 

Kelly Binning-Rangi (Board Chairperson)

Alasdair Maclean (Principal)

Principal’s Message, Term 1, Week 7

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

You may have seen that the World Health Organisation has now declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic.  As noted by the Minister of Health, this doesn’t change what New Zealand is doing to respond to coronavirus.  The Ministry of Health has been working through its pandemic plan since January.

You will also know the Government has already implemented a range of measures to minimise the impacts to New Zealand.  This includes border restrictions, a requirement to self-isolate on arrival in New Zealand from China, Iran, Italy and the Republic of Korea and immediate and detailed contact tracing of any confirmed cases.  It is important to note those four countries account for more than 90% of cases globally and China and the Republic of Korea have significantly declining numbers of new cases.

We have 8 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand and it is pleasing to know they are all doing well and are at home.  Their children, four students at Auckland schools, continue to be well and show no symptoms.  While we expect that more cases will arise, the Ministry of Health says that with continued vigilance the chance of widespread community outbreak is expected to remain low in New Zealand.

We all have a role to play in this.  For our school, our pandemic plan is also ready to be implemented if needed.  In the mean time we will continue to focus on good hygiene practices.  Hand washing and good cough etiquette are very important tools in preventing the spread of illness including colds, flu and COVID-19.With that, there is a good video clip from Nanogirl that will help your children to better understand the virus – YouTube clip – NanogirlYou may have also seen the Prime Minister sat down with Dr Michelle Dickinson (aka Nanogirl) and the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor, Juliet Gerrard, to talk about coronavirus:

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 my 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 flu’s 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.

Note: This letter was MOE and sent to all Principals near the end of last week. Some information may have changed since this was written.

The school will be ensuring a thorough clean of the classrooms will take place to protect our students and staff.  Each classroom will also be provided with additional cleaning products, including hand sanitisers, antibacterial sprays etc for teachers and staff to use to ensure our classrooms are sanitised.

I ask that students bring their own drink bottles to school, as we will not be allowing students to drink from the drink fountains until further notice.  

As always, we will continue to be diligent and keep you abreast of the situation.

Gala

I would like to say thank you to the Fairfield Community Group (FCG) for organising another outstanding gala.  Thank you to everyone who made one of the most successful events in our community.  This was my first gala. I must say how blown away I was with the turnout and the support. Well done to us!

I am excited to share that we have raised $20,000 (unofficially). Thank you everyone for making this possible.All of the proceeds will be allocated to purchase STEAM (Science, Technology, Education, Art, Mathematics) equipment, as well as other play-based learning items, making wonderful additions to our children’s learning in their classrooms.  Again, well done everyone and thank you for coming and supporting our children.
Below is a photo album for Gala. This is unedited. A more professional presentation will be shared in the near future. Please copy and paste the URL below into your browser https://photos.app.goo.gl/WTvgZj5qnNW2znNy8 
Athletic Sports

A huge congratulations to all the students that participated in the junior athletics day on Friday. It was wonderful to see so many parents coming to support the students. The event had a real community feel about it.

Learning Conferences

Learning Conferences are an important part of growing the home/school partnership, so we encourage you all to come along and learn about your child’s goals, aspirations, progress and achievement.

Learning Conferences are scheduled this Monday 23rd March (1:00pm – 5.15pm) and  Tuesday 24th March (3.15pm-5.30pm).  Please note, the school will close at 12.30pm on Monday 24th March to facilitate learning conferences.
To book a time slot for learning conferences, please go to www.schoolinterviews.co.nz and enter the event code wgzq4.  If you do not have access to the internet, please contact the office staff, who will be only too happy to book a time for you.
eTAP
We recently shared changes with you that will be happening with eTap, our school computer system.  In the next few weeks we will be changing how we send out school communication. A letter has been sent home to check that we have up-to-date contact information on file, including an email address.  If you have not returned this letter please do so urgently, to the school office to ensure you don’t miss out on important school information.
What’s happening this term:
March
18th Y 1, 2 and 3 Athletics, 9:00am – 10:45am
20th Y 7 and 8 Athletics
23rd
School finishes 12:30pm.
Learning Conferences 1;00pm – 5:15pm
24th Learning Conferences 3:15pm – 5:30pm
25th Y7/8 EPro 8, Levin Intermediate 5pm – 8pm
27th Y1/2 Welcome to Fairfield Concert, 1:45pm
April
3rd Inter school Athletics Y4-8
9th Thursday, Term 1 finishes 2:50pm
10th Good Friday
28th Tuesday, Term 2 starts 8:50am

2020 School Term Dates:

Term 1 Monday 3rd February Thursday 9th April 96 half days
Term 2 Tuesday 28th April Friday 3rd July 96 half days
Term 3 Monday 20th July Friday 25th September 100 half days
Term 4 Monday 12th October Tuesday 15th December 92 half days
Kind regards,
Screen Shot 2019-11-17 at 10.45.14 AM
Alasdair Maclean
Principal

 

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