15 May 2020

Kia ora 

It is with welcome relief that we can reopen the school for staff and students on Monday May 18th. Alert Level 2 for schools is built on the Ministry of Health’s confidence that school is a safe environment for students and staff. This recognises our ability to encourage behaviours that respect personal hygiene and personal space, to keep our environment clean and to limit the spread of any infection by restricting access to our reformed school bubble. We are very much looking forward to welcoming everyone back.

This update (apologies about the length) is to provide you with as much current information as we have to support your child's return to school. It includes specific information provided by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education, plus our school’s processes and procedures. 

We are looking forward to having our students back on site and ready to learn. For Monday May 18th, all students will start with an extended form time, this includes Year 12 and 13 students who have a study period. This will allow us to welcome and share a consistent message with all of our students on how the school will operate during Alert Level 2. 

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the staff for all of their hard work during Alert Levels 3 and 4 and to thank you as parents and caregivers for your support and contribution to keeping our students learning. It is important to note that our return to school focuses on three key principles; wellbeing, assessing readiness to learn, and engaging in learning programmes. It is not about catching up, but rather to positively move forward.  

This has been a very difficult time for some of our students and families and we know some people are feeling a little anxious about returning to school.  The Ministry of Health has made it clear that we would not be returning to school if there was a high risk of community transmission.  We have been told all students can return to school unless a medical specialist is advising otherwise. For all other students we would like them to return.  As already mentioned we will be transitioning students back into school with an extended form time and an opportunity to ask all of the questions they may have about keeping safe at Alert Level 2.  

Ministry of Education

The Ministry Of Education has provided the following information; ‘Advice for parents and whānau about preparing for Alert Level 2’, which you may find helpful link below.

https://parents.education.govt.nz/essential-information/news-stories/covid-19-preparing-for-alert-level-2/  

This includes:

  • Videos parents may want to watch with their children

  • A ‘checklist’ for preparing for the return to on-site learning

  • Translated versions of the information in te reo Māori and 10 Pacific languages (Note: MOE will be adding other language versions in the coming days).

Public Health Requirements

Please remember we have strict public health measures that we have to follow to protect the community. We will be running through our health and safety rules during the extended form time on Monday. We will be very clear with our students that we expect them to follow these rules as they are Ministry of Health requirements. To meet these requirements we need your help to follow the principles of Alert Level 2 which are:


  • Stay home if you’re sick. Please do not send your child to school if they have cold or flu symptoms.  Runny nose, sore throat, coughing, sneezing, a temperature or diarrhea and vomiting. If students have any of these symptoms at school, parents will be called to come and collect them and take them to their doctor.  

  • Wash your hands. All classrooms will have a supply of hand sanitiser and students will be required to sanitise their hands on entry to each classroom. If you are able to send your students to school with their own hand sanitiser this will help our supplies last longer. Extra daily cleaning of hard surfaces, such as desks and equipment will take place in addition to our usual cleaning routines. 

  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow. Some coughs and sneezes are attributed to other factors and not necessarily illness. Good hygiene practices will help prevent the spread of all germs. 

  • Keep your distance from other people in public. Schools are not covered by the same rules as ‘mass gatherings’ but are classed as a managed environment so restrictions on numbers and distancing are different to those in the wider community. At school, students are told to keep at least a metre physical distance wherever possible. To manage the busy environment at school we have introduced floor markings (similar to those in supermarkets) and one-way systems on stairs and in corridors, so that students can move around the school safely and quickly. We will be dismissing Year 9 and 10 students at 2:25 pm each day to help manage student ‘traffic’ and alleviate bottlenecks. 

  • Remember where you’ve been and who you’ve seen.  Students will be required to complete contact tracing forms at school.  Our school timetable and attendance system provides contact tracing for the teaching portion of the school day.  Students will be asked to fill in a contact tracing form at the start of the day, and at the start of period 3 and period 5 (after interval and lunchtime).  This information is being gathered for the Ministry of Health and we will delete it when it is no longer required.  This form is online and will be able to be completed on a smartphone or chromebook.

Visiting the School

The Ministry of Health guidelines refer to all people who are not students or staff members as “visitors”. If you need to visit the school please make an appointment. Parents with appointments entering the school site are required to sign in at the main office. This is for contact tracing purposes. When on-site you are required to stay at least 2 metres from anyone else within the school community. If you can, contact the school by phone in the first instance. 


Monday 18 May

On Monday morning all students will go straight to their form rooms. This includes Year 12 and 13 students who have a study period during periods 1 or 2. Form rooms will be open from 8.15 am.  Form time will start at 8.30 am.  An important part of this form time is reconnecting with peers and teachers and getting used to being at school again. During this form time we will be outlining the health and safety requirements for Alert Level 2. Play it safe, be patient, be kind.  This health and safety briefing is an essential component of being at school during Alert Level 2.  Our scheduled lessons will begin at period 3 at the usual time. (10.45am)

Tuesday 19 May - Friday 22 May

For the remainder of the week we will be starting everyday with form time at 8.30 am until 8:55. This is to provide a health and safety check, advise of any new information, answer any questions, and connect with the students before they start the day. Following form time periods 1 to 6 will then continue as scheduled. Subject teachers will be working with students to re-establish learning routines and to move forward with teaching.

Year 12 and Year 13 students who have a study period at the start and end of the day are not required at school. They are only required to come to form time during their Monday 18 May P1 and P2 study periods.We will also be checking on student well-being and their readiness to return to learning.  Students are asked to bring their own equipment including pens, pencils, tissues, water bottles(Drinking fountains only available for bottle refill),  BYOD and if possible hand sanitiser.   The Canteen will be open for business from Monday.  

Year 13 students are not to go to the mall during study times, interval and lunchtime.  A range of study spaces will be provided for students who have study periods during the school day.

All other students are required to be at school from 8:30 am until 2:30 pm. During Alert Level 2 Year 9 and 10 students will be dismissed at 2:25 pm. 

Monday 25 May

From this date we plan to return to our usual timetable.  This means the day will start with period 1 and form time will be just before interval.  All of the public health requirements will still be in place.


Chromebooks and BYOD

Students must bring their own device to school. The use of chromebooks and laptops has been an essential part of schooling over the last seven weeks.  Over this period the school has loaned nearly 300 devices to students so they can continue their learning.  When we return to school next week we expect all students to be bringing their own laptop or chromebook to school.  If you have borrowed one from us then that is the device that you will continue to use.  We will not be providing any chromebooks at school for students to use.  

We realise that some families will have been sharing or using a PC at home for school work.  Please contact Louisa Clissold [email protected] or 3526119 xt 536 and we will arrange for a device to be issued to your child.  



NCEA update- changes to NCEA to address the impact of COVID-19

The Ministry of Education and the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) are making changes to NCEA this year in a two-step process designed to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19.

 The changes, effective immediately, are to:

  • delay external NCEA examinations and New Zealand Scholarship examinations so they start on 16 November instead of 6 November, allowing another week for teaching, learning and internal assessment in Term 4

  • extend the submission date for subjects that require students to submit a portfolio, such as Design and Visual Communication, from 28 October to 12 November 2020, giving students more time to prepare

  • waive the requirement for NZQA verification of Level 1 and 2 Visual Arts portfolios, allowing students more time to complete their portfolios and teachers more time for marking.

NCEA examinations will now finish on 9 December 2020. An amended examination timetable is available on NZQA’s website

We are now waiting on the second step of this plan, which hopefully will be released soon. It is envisaged that the second step will provide further support for students to manage the workload and address equity issues arising from the disruption. 


Co-Curricular Activities

We appreciate the support and patience we have received as we work through a plan to reintroduce the co-curricular programmes that we offer. The co-curricular programme will remain on hold for week 6 (we are currently in week 5).  As we return to school the focus will be on “checking & connecting” and we wish to ensure our students have time to do just that.  We are working through the expected health & safety requirements as quickly as practicable (which is inclusive of the regulations provided by a number of governing bodies) as we appreciate the positive physical and mental health benefits that our programmes provide to our young people.  We also appreciate that co-curricular provides students with a strong connection to the school, something we know to be important as they return to a sense of normality and therefore we hope to see several areas of our programme resume week 7.  

Uniform

Students are asked to return to school in full uniform.  We understand that access to our uniform suppliers has been limited during Alert Level 3 and ask that in instances where students will not be able to wear full uniform, that usual uniform processes are followed i.e. students are to bring an explanatory note to the Deans area before school or during form time so they can be provided with a pass.

Information regarding uniform regulations and purchasing items can be found on our website.

We are discussing with the PTA the opportunity to have a second hand uniform sale, as the previously advertised date was postponed.  Any date will be communicated as soon as it is confirmed.

Northlands Mall

Northlands mall has asked us to share some information with you regarding their responsibility to the Alert Level 2 Ministry of Health requirements. This means the mall is limited to the number of people that can be inside at one time.  Students are unable to use the mall to walk to and from the bus stop, this includes the shortcuts through the underground carpark.  After school, students should only enter the mall if they have a specific shopping purpose. They are not able to window shop or gather in groups for socialising.  

Buses 

Students need to take notice of the 4 digit code the buses are displaying for contact tracing purposes.  Students are advised to use the Langdons Road gate as their entry and exit from school if catching buses.  We are aware that there are limited capacities on buses and that some students may be late to school. For this legitimate reason please go straight to the student office area to sign in as usual.


Dropping off and Picking up Students

Please do not drive into school to drop off or pick up students.  Please use the 3 minute parking or organise a pre-arranged point to meet your child.  


Attendance

Please use the usual systems for letting us know if your child is absent or late.


We appreciate that this has been a lengthy communication but hopefully it has answered a number of questions you may have had in relation to school reopening.  Thank you for taking the time to prepare your child for school next week.  We look forward to seeing them on Monday 18 May.  


He waka eke noa, we are all in this together.  

Ngā mihi


Jeff Smith and the Senior Leadership Team.