Principal’s Message Term 2, Week 1

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

This week begins our remote learning.  The school holiday officially finishes today (Tuesday 14th April) and school re-opens tomorrow, albeit a little differently from what we have experienced in the past.

I have previously shared what each team will be having the children complete during lockdown.  If you have not read about this, please go to the home page of our website and click on the tab labelled “learning from home“.  There is a brief overview of what each team will be doing.  If you are unsure, please contact your child’s classroom teacher.  The teachers will be online during the school hours to support you and your child.

Many parents are justifiably concerned at the moment, worried about their family’s health, worried about financial matters, having to work from home and all the while trying to keep everybody calm and sane in very stressful circumstances.  I know that parents may feel overwhelmed at the moment by work being sent home from schools and how to access this information…. Seesaw… Google classroom…. times have changed a lot since we were students.  Please do not feel guilty or inadequate, We are all on a steep learning curve but I would like to make a couple of points.

1.  Please treat the lockdown learning as a MENU of options.  Some days you may decide to have four courses, other days you might decide to just have a main course, and some days you might even choose not to look at the menu, this is all fine.  We know that every family has different circumstances and we are here to support you and your family.
 
2.  As parents, you decide what is obtainable, based on your family situation.  Remember your children are in primary school, please don’t worry about your child falling behind as they will cover this work again in school many times.  As teachers, it is our job to support their learning and we will help any child who is struggling when we return to school as best we can.
The Government has advised that the earliest date that schools will open is Wednesday 29 April.  More direction will be provided by the Government on Monday 20 April when they make a public announcement.

Below I have shared some information from Netsafe on how to keep ourselves safe while working from home online, as these are difficult unprecedented times for all of us.  Child Protection and OCEANZ groups have been working with Netsafe to produce safety advice around preventing child exploitation and online child sexual abuse during the lockdown.

Increase in Child Exploitation Material and Online Child Sexual Abuse during Lockdown

Overseas law enforcement have indicated a dramatic increase of the amount of online child exploitation and child sexual abuse during the lockdown period.  Due to New Zealand being at level 4 with most Kiwis being confined to their homes, everyone will have an increased online presence, including children.  Many Kiwis are also working from home while level 4 is in place and may not feel they have as much time as normal to monitor their children’s internet use.  Unfortunately, online offenders are also at home with an increased online presence.

To get ahead of the overseas trend and prevent sexual predation, sexting, cyber bullying and other types of cyber crime occurring, please refer to the link and information provided by Netsafe:

https://www.netsafe.org.nz/online-safety-for-parents/

https://www.netsafe.org.nz/the-best-online-safety-tips-for-lockdown/

While the internet is a great place for learning and education and during this time a great tool for delivering distance education, there are some dangers and things that parents and caregivers should remember to be aware of.   Try and prevent children and young persons from becoming victims and exploited online.  Discuss internet safety with children of all ages and agree with them on what they can do online including sites to visit and appropriate behaviours

  • Review and approve games and apps before they are downloaded
  • Review privacy settings of sites and applications
  • Check your children’s profiles and what they are posing online and be aware that anything that is posted online with be permanently on the internet
  • Take the time to understand what sites they are visiting and who they are talking with and check in regularly
  • Some social media sites have age restrictions to join, check these before letting your child use them or join
  • Monitor your child’s use of the internet and consider having them use it in an open, common area of the house
  • Make sure your children know to report any activity they don’t feel comfortable with to you straight away.

Remember if your children were going out, you would go with them or depending on their age check where they are going.  If your children are online you should be with them or check what sites they are visiting.  If you think your child or a child in your care is the victim of online exploitation or abuse, please do not hesitate to report it.  If we all work together to make sure children are safe online, we can make the internet a great tool for people of all ages.

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 Wednesday 25th March 72 half days
Term 2 Wednesday 15th April Friday 3rd July 106 half days
Term 3 Monday 20th July Friday 25th September 100 half days
Term 4 Monday 12th October Tuesday 15th December 92 half days
I wish you all the best as you remain safe at home, and we all look forward to seeing your children back at school in the near future.
Kind regards,
Screen Shot 2019-11-17 at 10.45.14 AM
Alasdair Maclean
Principal

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,

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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)

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