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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kelly Binning-Rangi (Board Chairperson)
Alasdair Maclean (Principal)