Important message regarding school closure

We hope this finds you and your family/whānau well. These are challenging times and we are all working to support each other’s health/wellbeing while maintaining the best possible continuation of teaching and learning for our students’.

We are providing you with as much detail as we can to this point, apologies for the length of this communication.

Term/Holiday date changes
Late yesterday the Secretary of Education provided some clarity around the next four weeks;
Tuesday 24 March until Friday 27 March – last week of Term 1 (learning from home)
Monday 30 March until Tuesday 14 April – school holidays
Wednesday 15 April Term 2 begins (learning from home).

The Government will provide ongoing information for post Wednesday 15 April as they analyse information and data relative to their COVID-19 Level 4 Alert status. We will provide regular updates as information becomes available

Learning ‘Beyond the School Gate’
We are implementing with urgency our plan to support your child’s learning from home. We appreciate this is a sudden and significant change and this will be heavily disruptive to many people in our community. It will be necessary for our students to have support from the school around their learning. The reasons for this are twofold:
To reduce potential learning gaps for students as much as possible
To provide normality and stability for our learners and community through these challenging times

We will be supporting all levels of student learning at home in the following ways:
*Online learning - teachers will be contacting students directly with the work that is required. This will be through school Gmail or google classroom. We suggest that students check their school email regularly.
*Access to devices - staff will contact students who indicated that they will need to borrow a Chromebook, to organise a time for them to pick them up on Wednesday.
*No internet - (Learning packs) staff will contact students who indicated that they do not have the internet at home, to organise a time for them to pick them up on Wednesday. *Checking in - Staff will endeavour to contact students to ensure they are accessing work and to check on their health/wellbeing.

Setting up a learning space at home
We encourage all learners to set themselves up with a daily structure and place of study in their homes to maintain a helpful routine and healthy balance between study time and downtime.

Students should consider:
*The structure of their day – it might be useful for students to structure their day based on their current timetable
*When they will check their emails/communications from school and peers?
*What space will they work in? Is it comfortable and free from distractions?
*When will they take a break, get fresh air and exercise?
*How will they ensure they drink plenty of water and eat well?
*How will students make space in their day for creativity and device-free time?
*Their own well-being, how will they stay connected and how can they access support if needed?
*How will the learning work?

All departments are planning a range of activities for learners, and have also discussed how teachers will connect with students directly. This planning will be updated by teachers as necessary, depending on how long the school is closed.

The main method of communication with students will be via the student’s school email address. It is essential that students check this email on a daily basis.
Please note that in some practical subjects, it will not be possible to complete practical tasks that require the use of school facilities. Alternative tasks will be offered. We will not be attempting to replicate the school day in terms of workload or tasks. Teachers will be aiming for clear, simple tasks with a balance of self-paced activities and conversations to help learners stay connected to us and each other.

Seeking help from teachers
Students will have access to their teachers through a number of mediums:
- Email
- Google platforms
- Telephone calls
However, it is important to remember we are all in this together and there may be contact limitations to teachers as they too may become unwell or have family members to attend to. Staff will endeavour to communicate with students as soon as possible, but this may not be instant. Our preference is that you contact staff between 8.30 am and 4 pm.

Senior Assessment and NCEA
If assessments are usually set and submitted through Google Classroom/Google docs then assignments submitted by students online will be marked as normal. In line with guidance from NZQA we are continuing to follow our NCEA assessment policy. We will work to ensure that assessments continue to be reliably and consistently managed.

To summarise advice from NZQA
1. Teachers will reappraise their programmes to ensure that students will have the opportunity to complete their qualifications this year. For example, this could mean changing the order of topics so assessments can be done via distance learning.
2. Teachers have been provided with guidelines that will allow them to gain credible evidence from students without necessarily having a single assessment, such as an end of topic test. This will support having time maximised for teaching and learning. By following these guidelines, the validity of the qualification will be protected.
3. Teachers will communicate how each assessment will occur, relative to the ongoing government response to COVID-19 and school operation.
4. There has been no decision on changing external examinations in November at present. Teachers will be collecting evidence from student work so that students will have an Unexpected Event Grade (Derived Grades) available should this be required.
5. It is important that students continue to participate conscientiously in the learning process. This allows them to produce evidence that teachers can assess and use for the awarding of grades.

Please be assured the NZQA is working to support students’ NCEA achievement being recognised and qualifications awarded.

Whānau support
Whānau can support their child’s learning by checking in with them and their work plan each day and by helping them stay connected to their teachers and their peers. Encourage your child to take breaks, seek fresh air and maintain a balance between online and offline time.

Further advice for learning at home

Student Support Services @ PHS
Our counsellors are available for support. To access this support email [email protected] or direct dial 3750022 or phone 3526119 ext 832 and leave a message detailing how you would like support from our Student Support Services. Someone will clear the messages regularly and put you in contact with our support services. If however, your matter is urgent, please contact the following:
- Free call or text 1737 support from a trained counsellor
- Child, Adolescent & Family (CAF) Emergency Team 0800 218 219 - press 2
- Crisis Resolution, Freephone 0800 920 092, (After hours), 7 days a week.
- Youthline – 0800 376 633 or free text 234
- Lifeline – 0800 543 354
- Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)

If it is an emergency, or you or someone you know is at immediate risk call 111

We have been asked to share the following by the Ministry of Education;
“If you need to have your child cared for by someone else you will need to identify that person or people as part of your self-isolated group. This will need to be done by midnight Wednesday and the group must remain the same for the whole 4 week period. The caregiver’s own group (eg, their partner and children), your child and your own group (eg, your parents and other children) become one group. This group needs to be limited to minimise any risk of spread and should be no more than 20 people.

Your child will be looking to you for guidance about this decision. Parents, caregivers, whānau and teachers will have a particularly important part to play in reassuring children at this time. If you haven’t already done so, you may wish to read the information put together by the Ministry of Education to support your conversations with your children – Talking to children about COVID-19. As noted by the Prime Minister these restrictions are our best chance to slow the virus in New Zealand and to save lives. We all have a clear role here to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

Wednesday 25th of March - Student supervision
We continue to supervise children of essential workers. They are to meet in Johns Block at 8.25 am. We ask that children who are not well to please not attend school.

We will continue to communicate with you over the coming days. Thank you for your ongoing support of our school staff and community.

He waka eke noa - We are all in this together"

Ngā mihi nui
Mr. Jeff Smith
Principal - Tumuaki