Principal’s Message Term 1, Week 5

Dear Parents/Caregivers,

Our family picnic last Thursday was a great success!  Thank you to all the families that supported the school and made this such a wonderful evening.
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 for Monday 23rd March (1:00pm – 5.15pm), 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.
Education Review Office (ERO) 
We have received our ERO report  from their visit in November last year.  The ERO report has given us excellent feedback and puts our school in a good position to keep moving forward.  I will share this report with you on our website and provide a summary later this week.
Adult Tutor Reading Programme
Fairfield School runs an adult tutor reading programme where parents/grandparents or wider whānau members volunteer their time to read with our students, individually.  This support provides invaluable reading time for our students as they receive one on one reading time with tutors.  We would be incredibly grateful if you have a free hour, once a week, to support our students.  If you are interested please contact Yvonne Nicholson ph 368 5513, email ynicholson@fairfieldlevin.school.nz
School Gala – the countdown is on!

Just over a week to go!  Keep those helper forms coming in as we need helpers for the food and activity stalls.  If you can help for 1 hour or even 2, we need to hear from you.  Thank you to those who have already volunteered, and to those who are working behind the scenes.  We can’t have a successful gala without your help.  On Saturday 7th March we will be having a working bee to get everything ready, if you are available anytime between 10am – 1pm come and join us.

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.

Coronavirus Update

Please note there is a new update on the virus, please refer to the Ministry of Health’s  website: https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov

From the Ministry of Education:

Coronavirus Update Friday 28 February

Help us to keep you and everyone else safe
The Prime Minister has announced the first case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in New Zealand (see the full media release at the end of this article). The Ministry of Health has noted that although we have our first case of COVID-19, the chances of community outbreak remain low.  This case was identified because the person affected and their family did the right thing and got in touch with health authorities.This is a good wake up call.  New Zealand has been free of the virus to date, but we knew that would not last. For now this doesn’t affect what you already are doing and the plans you and health authorities have in place. Continue to reinforce messages about hygiene practices. Practising good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene is the best defence:

  • wash your hands often with soap and water before and after eating as well as after attending the toilet
  • cover coughs and sneezes with clean tissues or your elbow
  • put used tissues in the bin.

Encourage staff and students to stay home if unwell.

We are still focused on keeping it out, and now stomping it out through track, trace and contain. It’s important we all continue to be alert but not alarmed.

Updated information from Health
As announced this week by the Ministry of Health, there are now two categories for travellers arriving in New Zealand:

  • Category 1 – People who have travelled from or transited through countries in category one in the last 14 days are required to self-isolate for 14 days and contact Healthline after they have left the countries. Mainland China and Iran are the two countries included in this category (with Iran added to this category on Friday 28 February).
  • Category 2 – People who have travelled from or via countries lists in category two who develop symptoms of fever, cough or shortness of breath should seek medical advice by first phoning Healthline’s dedicated COVID-19 number 0800 358 5453 or contacting their GP including phoning ahead of their visit.

As at Friday 28 February countries in this category are Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Singapore and Thailand.

Anyone who has travelled from or transited through any of the countries listed in both categories with clinically compatible symptoms should be considered a suspect of COVID-19 case and testing performed.

What you need to do
For you, this new information from Health should not change significantly how you are currently supporting the health and wellbeing in your school or early learning service community.

For any children, students or staff who have recently returned from Iran or China, they will need to go into a stay away period of 14 days (from when they left Iran or China).

Please continue to encourage anyone who is not well, to not attend your school or early learning service and to seek medical advice.

If you are concerned that someone is showing symptoms of fever, cough or shortness of breath, encourage them to first ring Healthline (0800 358 5453) or contact their GP by phoning ahead of their visit to explain symptoms and travel history.

If you have any concerns about the possibility that someone does have a communicable disease, your first step is to contact your local district health board for advice and support. Contact details for specific DHBs can be found here. If the individual with a suspected case is still in your school or service, isolate them from others, until you have received medical advice.

We encourage you to keep updated about the status of COVID-19 on the Ministry of Health website.

What to do if someone is confirmed with a case of the virus
We have had some questions on what schools should do if anyone in their school is diagnosed with the novel coronavirus.

COVID-19 is a notifiable disease. As with other notifiable diseases, should a case be confirmed in your school your local Medical Officer of Health will take the lead. You will be notified about this by the Ministry of Health through your local district health board/public health unit.

If a case is confirmed in your school, you may be asked to:

  • work with Health to undertake contact tracing (for those that may have been in close contact with the confirmed case)
  • support Health to send communications out to your community or to those who may have been in close contact
  • undertake a clean of the spaces the person has occupied – our cleaning guidance will assist with you this process
  • follow any other directions by Health, which may include school closure for a period of time.

You may also like to consider:

  • how you support any student or staff member that has been confirmed with the virus, and any that are self-isolating by keeping in contact and if possible supporting any student with learning from home
  • providing clear messaging to your community that you have implemented your pandemic plan/or other protocol and are following advice from Health
  • thinking about any staff or students who are susceptible to illness and put your management plans in place
  • reinforcing messages about hygiene practices. Practising good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene is the best defence:
    • wash your hands often with soap and water before and after eating as well as after attending the toilet
    • cover coughs and sneezes with clean tissues or your elbow
    • put used tissues in the bin
    • encourage staff and students to stay home if unwell.

Pandemic Planning
This is a good opportunity to continue to sharpen and refine your pandemic planning. Please refer to our website for more information on this

If you are unsure where to start with reviewing your pandemic plan:

  • have a read through the quick guide to pandemic planning (on our website and also available as a Factsheet)
  • more detail to support your planning can be found in the full Pandemic Planning Guide. While the guide is primarily focused on influenza, there is some commonality with the coronavirus and therefore is an appropriate resource
  • there is also a pandemic template in the Emergency Management Plan that you can use if needed.

Exemptions for tertiary international students
On the advice of health officials, the government has announced it will not at this stage be implementing an exemption from travel restrictions for students in China who had intended to study in New Zealand. You will appreciate the health and wellbeing of people in New Zealand and the Pacific is paramount in making any decisions related to the virus.

Summary of key information
We are aware there has been lots of information provided over the last month to support you in managing your response to the coronavirus. Our main page to support you with information can be found here. The following summary will also assist you with quick links to navigate this more easily:

Recently added to the website

Planning for a pandemic

Managing your response

Supporting international students

Other key websites for information relating to COVID-19 include:

What’s happening this term:

March
7th Gala Working Bee 10am
11th Gala 5pm – 7pm
17th Y 4, 5 and 6 Athletics
18th Y 1, 2 and 3 Athletics, 9am – 10:45am
20th Y 7 and 8 Athletics
23rd School finishes 12:30pm. Learning Conferences 1pm – 5:15pm
24th Learning Conferences 3:15pm – 5:30pm
25th27th Y7/8 EPro 8, Levin Intermediate 5pm – 8pmY1/2 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,
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Alasdair Maclean
Principal