As at 12.5.2020
Under Alert Level 2, it is safe for all schools to open and we are thrilled that all staff and students will be able to return to school full time again – hooray!
Safe and sensible practices for hygiene and contact tracing will be the norm, and all students will be able to return, so long as they remain well. Under Alert Level 2, there are still likely to be new cases which may be the result of household transmission or associated with cluster outbreaks that are contained. The disease remains in New Zealand, so we need to remain vigilant and take appropriate steps to avoid transmission. People are able to leave home but are asked to do so in a safe and conscientious way.
The key principles for Alert Level 2 are to:
- reduce the risk of someone getting infected in the first place
- ensure we can identify and contact anyone who becomes infected
- understand that Level 2 is not business as usual.
Help – Getting kids ready for school after Lockdown – Handout for Parents from the CDHB.
What will it look like at school – ‘Play it safe’!
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. Under Alert Level 2 it is extremely important that we continue to uphold strict good hygiene health and safety measures, the same as during Alert Level 3 and 4. Thorough and regular handwashing/sanitising, coughing into your elbow, keeping your distance where possible and sanitising hard surfaces are all still expected and will be enforced for all at school. So what will it look like…
Health measures remain unchanged – wash/sanitise hands, stay home if sick, sanitized surfaces
Illness – If any student or staff member displays any symptoms of being ill, they MUST stay home. If those symptoms are also recognised as possible symptoms of COVID-19 e.g. fever, sore throat, coughing then we would expect them to please be tested for COVID-19 before returning to school.
Social distancing – Extremely challenging at school but we will try to keep staff and students sensibly distanced where possible
Gatherings – Educational facilities, and school transport are not considered mass gatherings because they are managed environments for children and staff. However for events that we welcome parents and caregivers to, the guidelines read: Mass gatherings indoor = maximum of 100. Outdoor = maximum of 100. This means there will be no full school assemblies during Alert Level 2. It also means we can’t run our usual school wide events where we have parents, grandparents attending.
Classrooms – There is no bubble concept at Alert Level 2 so all students will return to their normal classroom with their regular teachers. There are also no restrictions on groups of students mixing with others on site.
Our playground will be open. Drinking Fountains will be closed – please bring a drink bottle.
Buses are running as per normal. Physical distancing isn’t practicable on school buses, however, it’s a controlled environment where contact tracing can take place if required.
If our school has a probable or confirmed case, the school will close for 72 hours to allow for contract tracing and cleaning, followed by remaining closed for up to 14 days if a case is confirmed.
Can parents come into the school grounds?
Technically the answer is yes however physical distancing of 2 metres would be required (to align with public health measures outside the school grounds). Parents and caregivers who come on-site would also need to be noted in the visitor register and a record of their name and their time in and out of the school, including any classrooms they entered, would need to be kept for contract tracing.
To simplify and try to reduce the requirements for this, we are asking that parents drop their children off at the green gate in the morning and pick them up from the same place in the afternoon please, therefore not coming on to school grounds. Mr R will be at the green gate during this time. We have put this procedure in place based on Ministry of Education guidance which will allow us to contact trace if required.
I know that this could be quite worrying for some parents and children, particularly those in Room 1 or being new to the school, especially after such a huge event like lockdown. Please make contact with the class teacher or myself so we can help you with this.
If you need to go to the office for any reason, you can but you must follow our health measures of sanitising your hands, keeping your distance from others and signing the contact tracing register, all on a table as you come into the office. We would strongly encourage you to try and email any requests through instead for this reason if you can to: email@example.com
Welcoming all staff and students back to school
When we return to school on Monday 18th May, our first priority will be making our students feel safe and checking on their wellbeing. Once this has happened, everyone will be ready to start focusing on learning.
The time it will take for children and some staff to reconnect and relax will be different for everyone. Well being needs to be addressed before learning will happen. There are a lot of resources to support us in reintegrating students and staff and we will make sure that we take our time to ensure our transition back into life at school is a successful and enjoyable time for all.
I know that our teachers have done their very best to support learning over the time students have been learning at home. Some children will have maintained their learning, while others need additional support in some areas of learning.
As students return back into the learning environments there is a range of learning activities we will implement to help students connect with teachers and their peers in the first instance and provide an opportunity for teachers to observe individual readiness for learning and next learning steps. We value your input as parents/guardians and so if you have any issues or concerns about your child/ren’s learning we encourage you to email the class teacher to share these, however, please give us some time also to adjust and identify what the greatest needs and issues may be post lockdown for our children. Our teachers will in effect be starting the year all over again and so it will take some time to observe and understand where each student is at regarding their learning and progress. Once they have had time to settle in to Alert Level 2 teaching, I will ask teachers to contact any parents/caregivers and make an appointment to meet if required to address any particular needs/issues. Of course, you can make contact with teachers as well.
There will be changes to what we had before we went into lockdown and some of those changes are outside our control. As a school we will ensure that school is the safest possible place for your children to be outside of your family bubbles.