Covid-19 Latest Information

For further updates please check out the Principal’s Messages page.

Decision tool for early learning and school responses to COVID-19

Risk Level

Situation/Trigger

Response

Level 1

When a child, young person, or staff member has no symptoms, but has had close contact with a confirmed case (eg. Within their household)

And there is no known community transmission.

Track and trace as a precaution

The Director of Education will be notified by the local Medical Officer of Health, and will talk to the Principal/ECE Service Provider and/or ECE Centre manager
Child/young person/staff member and family self-isolate
Testing of child/young person/staff member if recommended
If test is positive – Trace, track and test  process to identify close contacts
Provide information and resources to the parent community and enable opportunities to ask questions.

Level 2

When a child, young person, or staff member has symptoms, and has had close contact with a confirmed case (eg. Within their household)

And there is no known community transmission.

Close the school/ECE temporarily if there is a delay in test results to enable contact tracing and tracking

The Director of Education will be notified by the local Medical Officer of Health, and will talk to the Principal/ECE Service Provider and/or ECE Centre manager
Child/young person and family self-isolate
Child/young person tested
Track and trace, with close contacts going into self-isolation
Decision to close school/ECE is based on test results – close temporarily if there is a delay in getting test results
Maintain thorough cleaning practice in schools/ECE
Provide information and resources to the parent community and enable opportunities to ask questions.

 

When a staff member has symptoms in school/ECE

And when there is no known community transmission.

Close the school/ECE temporarily if there is a delay in test results to enable contact tracing and tracking

The Director of Education will be notified by the local Medical Officer of Health, and will talk to the Principal/ECE Service Provider and/or ECE Centre manager
Staff member self-isolates
Staff member is tested
Track and trace, with close contacts going into self-isolation
Decision to close school/ECE is based on test results – close temporarily if there is a delay in getting test results
Maintain thorough cleaning practice in schools/ECE
Provide information and resources to the parent community and enable opportunities to ask questions.

 

When a child, young person or staff member tests positive and has been at school or ECE

Close the school/centre for at least 72 hours to enable contact tracing, tracking testing and cleaning

The Director of Education will be notified by the local Medical Officer of Health, and will talk to the Principal/ECE Service Provider and/or ECE Centre manager
Close school / ECE immediately for at least 72 hours and up to a week. Based on number of contacts and timing of the weekend
Child, young person or staff member self-isolates
Child, young person or staff member is tested
Contact trace, track and test, with close contacts going into self-isolation
Cleaning and disinfecting according to Health specifications
Assess if other programmes can continue to operate (e.g. after school care)
Provide information and resources to the parent community and enable opportunities to ask questions.
 

When a case suspected or identified in a boarding hostel  (this situation could also occur at any of the risk levels 1-5)

Isolate boarding hostel or send students home if it can be done safely

All boarding hostels are required to have a pandemic plan
Keep all students in hostel until can confirm if case is positive, with physical distancing measures in place
Assess if students can be supported to self-isolate within the hostel or transported home to self-isolate. If neither option is viable for successful isolation of student, work with Ministry of Education and Public Health on alternative locations.

Risk Level

Situation/Trigger

Response

Level 3

When there is a small number of unrelated local cases in the community (not in ECE/school) in one geographical area

Possible (but not confirmed) community transmission.

Increase physical distancing and encourage those who are vulnerable to stay at home

Recommend anyone vulnerable to COVID 19 stays home (see Ministry of Health list). Online/remote learning options are provided
Limit assemblies, sports and events, and limit movement through buildings. Choose low contact curriculum options (possible more theory based for some subjects), consider moving to homeroom based teaching
Consider options to stagger learning opportunities (shifts, starting and finishing at different times)
Limit shared facilities (e.g. drinking fountains) and equipment (e.g. Chromebooks) or clean between use
Assess if other programmes can continue to operate (e.g. after school care)
Provide information and resources to the parent community and enable opportunities to ask questions.

 

When there are cases from multiple families in the same school.

Possible (but not confirmed) community transmission.

14 day closure to manage spread

Timeframe for closure most likely to be at least 14 days as staff will need to self-isolate, possible testing, possible contact tracing. All contact tracing needs to be completed in this time. If not, reassess – may need to close for longer.
Decision to reopen after 14 days would be made if there is confidence that multiple cases are contained based on public heath advice
Cleaning and disinfecting according to Health specifications
Online/remote learning options provided.
Supervision/support for children of essential workers such as health and emergency services workers.

Level 4

When there is confirmed community transmission in contained geographical location.

Close all schools and centres in a geographical location

Following advice from Public Health, close schools and centres in the location
Close initially for 14 days, continue to review every 14 days, until Public Health advises to reopen
Decision to reopen schools in a geographical location would be made when there is confidence that outbreaks/multi-clusters are contained based on public heath advice.
Remote learning options, project work, online learning for students.
Supervision/support for children of essential workers such as health and emergency services workers.

Level 5

When there is community transmission on a national level.

Close all schools and centres nationally

Following advice from Director-General, all schools and ECEs are closed
Close initially for 14 days, continue to review every 14 days, until Public Health advises to reopen
Decision to reopen schools nationally would be made when there is confidence that community transmission is under control based on public heath advice
Remote learning options, project work, online learning for students.
Supervision/support for children of essential workers such as health and emergency services workers.

For this decision tool a school that is ‘closed’ means that students’ are learning from home or some other location. Teachers and other staff are supporting remote learning and may be based at the school or other locations.

  

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

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 23rd 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.

 
  

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)