Wednesday 13 May Covid 19 Update
School for All – Monday 18th May
Kia ora Whanau,
On Monday 11 May, our Prime Minister announced that schools will be fully open on Monday 18th May. The aim of this newsletter is to outline what Te Horo School will look like at Alert Level 2.
Under Alert Level 2 any students and staff who are unwell must stay at home. We will be minimising the risks that someone could get infected, with hand washing and some distancing continuing (see below). We will also continue to collect contact information from visitors and anyone on school grounds, in case of future Covid 19 infection.
At Alert Level 2, students and staff return to class as normal and ‘bubble isolation’ ends. There are no restrictions on the movement of students and staff between classrooms or at break times. Children will be about to use our playground and school sports equipment.
Parents are asked not to enter school wherever possible and to instead email or phone the school office if you have business to discuss with staff. Buses will be running as normal with the addition of hand sanitizer being available for students on entering the bus.
Following Public Health advice for schools, no set distance between students will be maintained in classrooms, however they will be seated to avoid being physically too close and thereby avoid the ‘moist breath’ zone. Unlike measles or chickenpox, the Coronavirus does not hang in the air but instead relies on microscopic spit particles landing on surfaces to spread. Students will be encouraged to cough or sneeze into their elbow, avoid touching their face and will frequently wash and dry their hands.
Students cannot share their lunch and will need to bring their own water bottle as the school fountain will be out of use. Surfaces in classrooms, toilets and around school will be cleaned and sanitized several times during the day. If you have any questions about Alert Level 2 health and safety at Te Horo School, please contact us.
Students who were issued with a school i-pad are asked to return it to school next week. Please also return all readers and reading material that were sent home. We will not be preparing and serving breakfast for tamariki next week, and will notify whanau when our breakfast programme does start.
We look forward to seeing all our tamariki return to school on Monday 18 May. School will start at 8:30am and finish each day at 2:30 p.m.
Enjoy the rest of your week.
Nga mihi mahana
Friday 8 May – Heading to Alert Level 2
Kia ora Whanau
Like me, I am sure you have followed with interest the announcements made by the Prime Minister over the last day or so.
It is reassuring to hear how well our country has done at minimising the impacts of COVID-19. Alert Levels 4 and 3 have not been easy and I thank you for your ongoing support for the work that is being done nationwide. I especially want to acknowledge and thank the essential workers in our Te Horo community who remained on the front lines, working to keep our country safe.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister advised that in Alert Level 2 schools are safe environments for children, young people and staff and that additional public health control measures are in place to prevent the spread of disease and to support contact tracing.
The good news is that when we are able to, at Alert Level 2, we will be ready to welcome all students and staff back to our school site. Unfortunately, this will not be next week, even if Alert Level 2 is announced. School would start at the beginning of the following week. School buses too will be operational.
The key Public Health approach is to minimise the risk that someone gets infected in the first place, and second to ensure we can identify and contact anyone who has been in close contact with a person, if someone in a school is infected.
As we have done in Alert Level 3, you can be assured that in Alert Level 2 we will know who is at school, who our staff and students have been in close contact with and take appropriate measures to keep everyone safe.
Physical distancing is a good precaution to prevent the spread of disease. We do however know it is challenging in schools, so good hygiene practices and regular cleaning are even more important here. This includes staff and students coughing into their elbows, handwashing and drying and regular cleaning of commonly touched surfaces. Under Alert Level 2, we advise any students and staff to stay at home if they are sick, and we will send anyone home immediately if they show any symptoms.
Our school has safe and sensible practices to maintain the health and safety of everyone on the school site. As described by Dr Payinda in his NZ Herald article, “Covid’s not measles or chickenpox, it doesn’t hang in the air for hours waiting to infect passers-by. It travels on invisible drops of spit. You don’t have to cross the street to avoid anyone. Just avoid getting in their ‘moist breath’ zone”. We all just need to remember to have some breathing space at Alert Level 2!
It’s important however that not just at school but at home, safe hygiene habits are practised by everyone, as this is essential to minimise the risk that someone gets infected with Covid-19. For more information about the public health measures at Alert Level 2, you can visit the covid19.govt.nz website: https://covid19.govt.nz/
If you have any questions about our health and safety plan, or have a child who might be vulnerable to serious illness and would like to discuss a plan for them, please contact me by phoning the school 4386453 or my mobile (after 5pm) 021-0687961. When a start date has been announced by our Prime Minister, we will be in touch again to let you know our plans.
A huge thank you to families who are working so hard to provide our school tamariki with home learning experiences and mahi. Our wonderful whaea, Heeni Black has been working alongside her whanau tamariki, enriching their learning with te reo Maori. I also want to acknowledge Robyn Easterbrook, our fantastic Resource Teacher of Learning and Behaviour (RTLB) who has supplied stationery (books and pencils), printouts and helpful resources. These have been included in the packs that have gone home. Thank you to Margaret and Liz for delivering these. Those wanting more mahi for their children are asked to phone me (see above) or email me: email@example.com.
Although a couple of weeks late, I was contacted by our local Ministry of Education office yesterday, to let me know that Learning Packs are still being delivered to Te Horo School students who have not received one yet. Hopefully these will reach the homes of children still waiting, by the weekend.
Finally, I want to wish all our lovely school mothers, grandmothers and whaea, a wonderful Mother’s Day this Sunday. I hope you will be able to enjoy breakfast in bed and a delicious family lunch or dinner prepared by your whanau.
Ngā mihi mahana
Friday 1 May – Alert Level 3 Update
Kia ora Whanau
I hope this message finds you safe and well in your family bubbles. Our school opened on Wednesday 29 April with three students. School will remain open over the next couple of weeks while we are at Alert Level 3. We also have a reduced staff working.
I want to thank our school’s whanau for their home learning efforts, and the wonderful activities that are taking place within bubbles. These will be valuable experiences that children will remember for a lifetime. I have received positive feedback from parents, regarding the school-generated home learning packs. I am also told that the Ministry produced resources that families received for their tamariki were also useful.
If you have not received a pack or require more learning activities for your children, please make contact with me. You can phone the school (09)4386453, between 9am and 2pm. Alternatively, please phone or txt me, 021-0687961 from 5 – 8pm. A txt message to me would be great as well. We will have resources delivered to your home within a day or two of receiving your message.
Any visitors to school are asked to be familiar with the Ministry of Education’s Covid 19 safety information. Posters containing this information have been put up at our school gates, and will remain up during school hours. Visitors will need to fill in a sign-in register and remain physical distancing where possible.
As Alert Level 3 is likely to continue for at least the next couple of weeks, we encourage you to follow the Ministry of Education’s advice for families. This is regarding all children and young people. If they are able to stay at home, they should stay at home.
With parents and whanau returning to work this week, we wish you safe travels and hope that you are able to take extra care and stay well.
Nga mihi mahana
Friday 24th April – Alert Level 3
School Opening on 29 April 2020
Kia ora Whanau
It has been wonderful catching up with you over the last two days. I am pleased to hear that our students are engaged in meaningful learning experiences while in Lockdown. It’s also great to hear that school work packs have proved useful for whanau. Thank you very much to Margaret for delivering these. Hopefully the Ministry of Education packs will arrive soon, if your child / children haven’t yet received theirs. Remember that there are educational programmes scheduled between 9am and 3pm Monday to Friday on Freeview television.
School will be open on Wednesday 29 April. School is only for Te Horo students whose parents / caregivers are essential workers, or who are starting work on Tuesday. Students coming to school will be doing so because there is no adult at home to care for them during school hours. All other students should remain at home and are expected to engage in distance learning and work on activities contained in learning packs. These will be updated on Friday 1 May.
I want to assure parents and carers who are sending their children to school, that strict health and safety measures will be followed.
- ensure that all children and staff stay home if they are sick
- ensure that physical distancing with 1m distance between children, young people and staff at all times (including desks or group tables, school transport, staggered breaks, and staggered starts and finishes), 2m distance outside, and cancellation of any school events and assemblies.
- Implement processes to support contact tracing with all children and young people sitting in the same place everyday
- Implement hygiene measures such as frequent hand washing, making hand sanitiser available in classrooms and bathrooms, and daily cleaning of all surfaces.
Specific public health control measures that will be taken at Te Horo School include:
- Parents being asked to keep any sick children at home. If a sick child comes to school, we will send them home.
- Hand sanitizer at entry to classrooms and in bathrooms.
- Staggered entry times into classes to minimize gatherings of children.
- Breaks staggered with the bubble not mixing during breaks.
- To support contact tracing, students will sit in the same place each day, with 1m physical distance between all children, young people and staff. Must maintain 2 metre physical distance outside and 1m inside, during breaks, and on school transport.
- Limiting the number of children in each bubble to 10, but this could be increased to up to 20 children once schools have all their processes running smoothly.
- Physical education classes and break time activities not including sports with less than 2m physical distance or where the same equipment is touched by different students (balls, ropes, sticks, etc).
- Disinfect and clean all surfaces daily.
- Contact tracing registers being set up to identify which children are in each teaching space, record when and who they have contact with during the day if that changes.
I hope you are safe and well in your whanau bubbles.
Nga mihi mahana
Tuesday 21st April – School at Alert Level 3
Kia ora Whanau
Following the COVID Alert Level changes and timelines announced by the Prime Minister on the 20th April, I want to let you know what Alert Level 3 will look like at Te Horo School. I also want to know which children will be returning to school on Wednesday 29th April, which is when school opens for children of essential workers or parents who are returning to work.
I would like to make it very clear that if you choose to keep your children at home, then they must learn from home for the entire duration of Alert Level 3. It would be impossible to organise safe and effective practices for changing numbers of students at school.
The key message from the Ministry of Health is that we are still in a state of emergency. The best course of action for parents and caregivers is to keep their children at home and engage in distance learning where possible. Students with underlying medical conditions or who are sick should remain home. Sick children arriving at school will be sent home immediately.
Students and staff returning to school run a small risk of Covid19 transmission, which we will seek to reduce. This will be done through two classroom bubbles, physical distancing, handwashing and surface cleaning. Each bubble with a maximum of 10 students will be created. Physical segregation of the two bubbles plus staggered start, break, lunch and end of day times will be used to reduce interaction between student groups.
Under Ministry of Education requirements, no playground equipment or PE equipment will be available to students during breaks as they constitute a transmission risk. Students will be asked to maintain a 2 metre safe distance from each other at break times and maintain a 1 metre distance in classrooms. Learning experiences of students that do attend school during Alert Level 3 will be on the whole a continuation of existing hard materials distance lessons and activities.
At this stage, we have received no indications that school buses will be operating. Due to staggered class start and finish times (which we will notify you of as soon as possible), parents are advised to arrange their own transport to and from school independent of bus services.
Any communication with the school should be via phone or email as we want to avoid any physical contact or meetings with staff, unless it is urgent.
I will be phoning every home today and tomorrow to confirm whether your child/ children will be attending school while we are at Alert Level 3. This will help us to make staffing decisions, arrange classrooms to ensure social distancing and keep transmission risks to a minimum. Te Horo School students may not just arrive at school without prior arrangement being made with us. Although I will try to make contact, the onus is on parents/caregivers to let us know that their child/children are attending school during Alert Level 3.
Our teachers and support staff are keen to return to ‘normal’ schooling for your child when it is safe to do so. The change from Alert Level 4 to Level 3 means we still have to exercise a high degree of caution before ‘normal’ schooling resumes.
I hope you are safe and well in your whanau bubbles.
Nga mihi mahana
15 April 2020
TERM 2 NEWSLETTER – COVID19 UPDATE
Dear Parents / Caregivers
I hope this newsletter finds you and your whanau safe and well within your Lockdown bubbles.
Returning Back to School
Some of you may have seen different media reports about when schools will open. Please note the following:
- No decision has been made yet about when schools will reopen. This decision will be made based on data about the spread of Covid-19. It is unlikely that a decision will be made before 20 April.
- The earliest schools would open would be 29 April. This may only be for SOME students, not all.
- The Ministry of Education are preparing for several possible scenarios – opening only for staff,opening in shifts so that children can stay 2m apart, a combination of distance and on-site learningetc. We will respond accordingly to the Ministry of Education.
- There will be ample notice before schools open. This will enable us to give the school a deep-clean,ensure planning for the term is done and that Health & Safety regulations are followed.
- Chris Hipkins (Minister of Education) is working on guidelines for what Alert Level 3 will look like and what this means for our school and our students.
The Ministry of Education has collected data from each school and knows which students require what provision by way of digital device, internet, hard materials etc. For Te Horo School students who do not have devices or internet connection, the Ministry is working on resolving this. Unfortunately, priority will be given to secondary school students doing NCEA and so arrangements may or may not happen for Te Horo before the end of Lockdown.
The Ministry and I are considering ways to get students online as soon as possible. To this end, we will be distributing our school devices to homes and these should be received by families with internet, before the end of this week. Those without home internet will have to wait until this is sorted between the Ministry of Education and the Tai Tokerau Education Trust. Once internet has been connected, devices will be delivered to the Te Horo School students in these homes. Hopefully this will be soon.
All our students will be given hard material Learning Packs containing school work that should engage them over the next two weeks. Students will need to work at their own pace and be supported by the adults in their home. Should the Lockdown continue, another pack of hard material resources will be sent home on the 28 April.
Senior students with internet connection will be assigned work via Google classroom. Unfortunately, due to staff digital technology constraints (internet accessibility /digital knowledge), our teachers will not be engaged in frequent contact with our students, as other schools are. The Ministry of Education is developing a very good website to support learning from home. It is aptly named https://www.learningfromhome.govt.nz/
Parents are urged to be extra vigilant about internet safety and what websites your children are visiting. The following links are very helpful.
If you are not able to actively monitor how your child uses his/her digital device and technology, we advise the child/children to refrain from using it.
- 15 April Term 2 begins (through distance learning)
- 17 April – School devices sent to homes. Learning packs sent to homes.
- 23-24 April – School cleaned (to be confirmed by Ministry of Education)
- 27 April – Public holiday ANZAC Day observed
- 28 Teacher & Staff Only Day
- 29 April – First day back for students (to be confirmed by Ministry of Education).The best way to communicate with the school at this time is by email – firstname.lastname@example.org Messages will be checked and forwarded to the most appropriate staff member. Remember, the government’s website is the best place to go for up to the minute advice and facts: Covid19.govt.nzAt the risk of ‘information overload’, I would like to offer the following advice to parents:
- Look for the positives in the time spent with your whānau in your ‘bubble’. It’s a great chance to dostuff together – but allow sufficient ‘time out’.
- Especially during term time, please help your children maintain a routine (meal times, chores, etc.).Deal with school work and other obligations early in the day.
- Keep the basics of good diet, plenty of exercise and decent sleep going.
- Be a role model in your responses to the stress and uncertainty of the current lock-down. Ourchildren need calm adults in their lives (although it’s OK to express emotions). Your children arewatching you for cues on how an adult respond to challenging situations.
- Use this time to create memories of fun, togetherness and family.
- Encourage reading!School UpdatesI will be sending updates on education developments (that relate to Te Horo School) over the next two weeks. These updates can be found on our school website: www.tehoro.school.nz and on our new school Facebook page: www.facebook.com/tehoroschoolpipiwaiThank you, again, for your support of our school at this difficult time. I look forward to normal service resuming. Keep well and stay safe.Nga mihi mahanaSandra Toapuho Principal