Email Friday 15 May – Sent 408pm

Nau mai, haere mai

Nga mihi nui kia koutou katoa

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

It’s the weekend!!  Learning at Home and Bubble School are done! Now we look forward to Monday with a full school re-open.

All our Alert Level 2 information regarding protocols is on our school website click here.  A couple of key messages for Monday are:-

  • 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. I will be at the green gate during this time.  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.  I have put this procedure in place based on Ministry of Education guidance which will allow us to contact trace if required.
  • 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 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:  felicity@dunsandel.school.nz
  • 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.

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.

I have attached to this email a handout from the Christchurch District Health Board called Getting Kids Ready for School after Lockdown.  It has some useful tips that may be of use to you.

Finally, in my last email I thanked staff for their work over the Learning at Home time – today I want to say a BIG thank you to all of you…thank you for being part of the Learning at Home programme, for being with your children and helping them with learning at home, for communicating with our teachers, for sending in photos of what was happening in your learning bubble, and for running with something new…something unprecedented.  It will be something we will look back on as time goes by as something very unique (I hope).

We look forward to seeing everyone back at school on Monday.  We are ready and we can’t wait!!  The next time I will be in touch will be through the school newsletter on Monday – remember this will be emailed to you as well as your eldest child bringing home a copy. Have an awesome weekend.

Nga mihi nui

Dave Robinson

Principal

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Email Wednesday 13 May – Sent 647pm

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Nga mihi nui kia koutou katoa

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

Five more sleeps until we re-open for everyone under Alert Level 2. I know, from talking to staff, that they are really looking forward to having all our children back at school. I’m excited as well…schools come alive when we have our children here.  So, roll on Monday!

There is now a page on our website called Alert Level 2 at Dunsandel School that has all the information on it about our protocols etc.  Under Alert Level 2 school will have different protocols and routines and we will be doing our best to make school as safe as we possibly can for all children and staff.  I am aware that this is an ever-changing environment so this page will be updated as new information and guidance comes to hand that applies to the way we are operating.  Of course, you will be emailed with any changes and our school newsletter will resume each Monday.  As well as a paper copy coming home with your eldest child, I will be emailing the school newsletter to you each Monday for the rest of the term.  It will also be able to be accessed on our website as per normal.

If your child is not returning to school under Alert Level 2, please click on this link to let me know by Friday 15th May so I am able to note this on our attendance register and inform the teachers.  Please note we are suspending our Learning at Home programme next week as we direct our energy into starting on site school life in Alert Level 2. 

I do want to acknowledge and sincerely thank my teachers for all their work with the Learning at Home programme during Alert Levels 3 and 4 and the Bubble classroom we have had operating in Alert Level 3 – it has been all new for them too and I think they have done a fantastic job with this.

I’ll touch base with you again on Friday.  In the meantime, enjoy the rest of the week.  If things are changing for you tomorrow in Alert Level 2 good luck and take care.

Kia Kaha

Nga mihi nui

Dave Robinson

Principal

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Email Monday 11 May 2020 – Sent 530pm

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Nga mihi nui kia koutou katoa

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

All you need to know about Alert Level 2 at Dunsandel School

Today the Government decided that as a country, we will move into Alert Level 2 on Thursday 14th May but that schools will open under Alert Level 2 from MONDAY 18th MAY.

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 fulltime 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.

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.
  • 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.  I will be at the green gate during this time. 

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:  felicity@dunsandel.school.nz

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. Wellbeing 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.

Supporting learning

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.

We do have Parent Teacher Interviews scheduled for Week 2 Term 3 at this stage.

So what next?

  1. During this week Mon 11-Fri 15th May, we are still working under Alert Level 3 conditions at school for the full week.
  2. Keep supporting your child/ren with learning from home during the remainder of Alert Level 3.
  3. Once we have further confirmation from the Ministry of Education, I will let parents know what the expectations will be in regards to mid-year reporting.

I know there is lots to read and think about as we make our move to Alert Level 2 schooling and day to day life.  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.

And finally, I know that my staff and I can’t wait to have the best children in the world back at Dunsandel School…. schools are for children and I can say without a doubt we have missed having all our children here

Thanks to everyone for their positive messages and support as we start to think about the new world of Alert Level 2.  I’ll be in touch again on Wednesday evening.

Take care.

Nga mihi nui

Dave Robinson

Principal

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Email Thursday 7 May  – Sent 623pm

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Nga mihi nui kia koutou katoa

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

I trust everyone is all good in their bubble still as we come to the end of this week.

Like me, I am sure you have followed with interest the announcements made by the Prime Minister.  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 we are doing. Today, the Prime Minister advised that in Alert Level 2 schools are safe environments for children 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, we will be ready to welcome all our children and staff back to our school site. All through Alert Levels 3 and 4 schools receive guidance and direction on how to manage the current situation and this will be no different for Alert Level 2 – this advice and guidance allows us to organise and set up our school to be as safe as we can possibly make it for your children and our staff.

I have attached to this email a Government factsheet for your information.  It has details regarding welfare support available, tips on looking after your mental wellbeing and information and contacts on how to access support.

Happy Mother’s Day on Sunday to all our Mum’s out there.  I hope you have a super day.

So, let’s hold tight until Monday afternoon…fingers crossed for a move to Alert Level 2 so we can open again.  The next time I will be in touch with you will be Monday evening.

Nga mihi nui

Dave Robinson

Principal

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Email Tuesday 5 May – Sent 630pm

Tuesday 5 May 2020

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Nga mihi nui kia koutou katoa

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

I hope the last two days have been good ones for you, your family and your bubble.  There certainly was a hint of winter in the air today…woolly hats may need to be dug out of drawers and cupboards!!

While we wait for announcements on what is going to happen next in terms of Alert Levels, I am aware the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health are working this week to draw up guidance and direction for schools under Alert Level 2.  As we continue under Alert Level 3, I know there are challenges across the board for families, children and staff with Learning at Home, and with everything else in your current daily life.  So, I do thank you for all your hard work and support for your child/ren while they have been Learning at Home – these will be times your child/ren will remember when they are older.  I do encourage you to celebrate the successes with your child/ren, share these with others in your bubble and with your child’s teacher.  I know everyone is doing their best to make it all work.  I have included a link to an article called Tips and Strategies for navigating learning at home – click here.  It does show that everyone faces the same challenges (hopefully not for too much longer) and that you are not alone in this.

I’ll back in touch on Thursday evening.  Enjoy the next couple of days.  Keep smiling.

Nga mihi nui

Dave Robinson

Principal

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Email Sunday 3 May 2020 – Sent 623pm

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Nga mihi nui kia koutou katoa

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

Well the weekend is almost over and we are about to enter another week at Alert Level 3.  I hope everyone enjoyed the weekend…I see some cooler weather is on the way!  We managed to get to Taumutu beach for a dog walk on Saturday…it was a change from 37 days of paddock walking!  I have snuck in a couple of darts practices without Charlie knowing as I want to be ready for our next match sometime this week!! I’ll let you know how I get on!

I mentioned on Thursday that the Christchurch School Music Festival has been cancelled for 2020.  Unfortunately, the organisers of the Strum Strike Blow event (Term 3) that Rooms 5 and 6 were scheduled to take part in has been also been cancelled for 2020.  Celia Stewart one of the organisers did say in her email that “we are very sad to have to do this as we both love this event and look forward to it every year but the situation, we find ourselves in is unprecedented and hopefully unique”. They are looking at trying to hold an on line event if they can.   Also, if we were in a normal school week, we would be having our School Cross Country at the Domain this Friday.  I do encourage you to take time to talk to your children, particularly if these are events that they were looking forward to, that these things are out of everyone’s control and that it is important that we continue to keep everyone as safe as we possibly can at this time.  I know there will be disappointment as potentially more events and possibly seasons get cancelled or postponed however it is the reality all around the world that organisers are facing at the moment.

Remember to keep in touch with your child/rens teacher/s with what you are doing with the Learning at Home Programme.  Teachers, while at school for Bubble Class in Alert Level 3, continue to monitor emails during the day.

Enjoy the rest of the evening and for all the Star Wars fans out there – May the 4th be with you tomorrow.  My next email to you will be on Tuesday evening.  Until then take care out there.

Nga mihi nui

Dave Robinson

Principal

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Email Thursday 30 April – Sent 534pm

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Nga mihi nui kia koutou katoa

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

Wow! Another beautiful day outside today – I hope you managed to enjoy some of the sun.  If you or someone in your family has been at work over Alert Level 4 or has started again in Alert Level 3 I hope that things are going well for you.  Like us at school I’m sure you have noticed some differences in your everyday work life.

One of the things that groups and clubs will be considering as we, hopefully, move down through the Alert Levels will be whether they can hold an event or season as they normally have in the past.  While looking at making these decisions there will be a whole raft of considerations, and in some cases the information won’t be available to help make a decision…no one really knows what the landscape is going to look like in a month, 6 months or even a year in New Zealand.  I have included part of an email we received today from the Christchurch Schools’ Music Festival Exec who have decided for the first time since World War 2 to not hold the Music Festival.  I know this will be disappointing to those Year 5 and 6 children who would have been looking forward to being part of our choir in 2020 but unfortunately this is part of the situation we are currently living in.

Announcement regarding 2020 Music Festival

Due to COVID-19 and the restrictions that it has brought to both schools and the wider community, the Christchurch Schools’ Music Festival will not be held in 2020.

This is the first year since WW2 that the iconic Music festival has not been part of the Christchurch music scene and it will be sorely missed by all the 4000 children who would have participated in the festival, and by their families.

The Musical Director of the Festival, Rachel Wilford, said, “I am particularly disappointed that we are not able to hold the festival this year: it was shaping up to be one of the best in terms of participation, programme and performance standards. Like the whole community, I am looking forward to 2021 when Covid-19 will be behind us and when the Music Festival will return better than ever.”

The 2020 Music Festival would have been the 81st year of the long-running event, and the first under the directorship of Rachel.

Sharyn Hay, the President of the Christchurch Schools’ Music Festival Association, which organises the festival, said that the decision was a very difficult one, but the right one in the circumstances.  “We have to consider all risks, both health and financial; on both counts, the Executive felt that the only prudent action was to cancel the 2020 Music Festival and turn the attention of the Executive to ensuring that the 2021 Music Festival will more than make up for the year we have lost.”

Thank you for your ongoing support of your children, their teachers and our school.  I hope everyone has a fantastic Friday and enjoys the weekend.  I will be in touch on Sunday evening.

Nga mihi nui

Dave Robinson

Principal

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Email Wednesday 29 April – Sent 551pm

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Nga mihi nui kia koutou katoa

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

Today we opened for Alert Level 3 children which is another whole new experience for us – as staff and for the children who attended.  There is a whole new set of protocols to follow to keep everyone as safe as we can in our school bubble so it isn’t school as we once knew it.  But as with any new protocols, no matter how long they are in place for, they soon become part of our “normal” routine.

Our teachers and I will continue to do all we can to support our children and families as we are now in Alert Level 3.  Please remember we don’t want Learning at Home to be overwhelming for anyone…I know the teachers appreciate hearing from you so I do encourage you to keep the levels of communication up.  I know I certainly enjoy hearing from them about what has been happening with the learning they have set.  It makes me proud of the way our staff and families have thrown themselves into these new routines and programmes.  Well done to everyone out there!!  We are all navigating and working our way through this together!!

Thank-you to those Room 1 and 2 parents who collected the packs Tracey and Anna organised.

I have been asked 5 or 6 times over the past day or so if my darts playing has got back on track with any wins over Charlie.  It is fair to say my silence on the matter may give you a fair indication of how things are going.  I will report my next win!!

I’ll be in touch with you tomorrow.  Have an awesome Thursday.

Take care

Nga mihi

Dave Robinson

Principal

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Email Tuesday 28 April – Sent 651pm

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Nga mihi nui kia koutou katoa

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

Well…Alert Level 3 is underway.  I hope you all had a good ANZAC weekend – it was certainly different to what normally happens at this time of the year but is was still a time to remember those who sacrificed so much in times of conflict.  And I enjoyed seeing what some of you did at home with baking ANZAC biscuits and making ANZAC lanterns and poppies.  It certainly made for a very different ANZAC day.

Teachers in Rooms 3-6 will email you between 830am and 900am tomorrow morning with their Learning at Home plan for Wednesday. The children in rooms 1 and 2 should have received an email from their teachers earlier this afternoon regarding a change to home learning in the Junior School. You will be aware that we have opened for those children who have parents that are working during Alert Level 3.  Today I have spent time with the teachers that will be on site during this time – as you will appreciate there are a number of health and safety protocols, we have to have in place for us to reopen as safely as we can.  Teachers that are on site will be working with the children in our school bubble as well as running their Learning at Home programme for those still at home.

A reminder that during Alert Level 3 our grounds are still closed apart for the Alert Level 3 enrolled children and staff.  Our playground also remains closed at this time.

I have added some help links on our Parent Help 2020 page that may be of use to some of you.  We are being given a lot of information during this time so I do encourage you to work through what’s important for you and your family.

I’ll be in touch with you tomorrow.  Enjoy the rest of your evening.

Kia Kaha

Nga mihi

Dave Robinson

Principal

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Email Thursday 23 April – Sent 741pm

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Nga mihi nui kia koutou katoa

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

Saturday 25 April is Anzac Day – it is one of New Zealand’s most important national occasions. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.  With lockdown still in place there are no ANZAC services taking place as normal but I do encourage you to take time to remember those who gave so much in times of war and conflict.  Also, as ANZAC Day falls in a weekend Monday 27 April is recognised as a holiday.

Today I have been working with teachers and the Ministry of Education as we formulate a plan for Dunsandel School Alert Level 3.  Thank you to everyone who let us know what is happening with your child/ren during Alert Level 3.  For those who have indicated their child/ren will be at school I will be in touch with you via email on Monday evening to sort through the logistics.

Teachers will email you tomorrow morning as usual with their Learning at Home programme.  There will be no Learning at Home programme on Monday 27 April as we observe ANZAC day.  Also, there will be no Learning at Home Programme emailed home on Tuesday 28 April as staff are involved in a Teacher Only Day in preparation for Dunsandel School Alert Level 3 – this day has been granted by the Ministry of Education.  So after tomorrow the next Learning at Home email from teachers will be on Wednesday 29 April.

For those of you following my darts career Charlie turned the tables on me this evening to reclaim the Darts Champion title in our bubble!!

I hope your Friday is a great one.  Enjoy the long weekend and I will be back in touch on Tuesday evening.

Nga mihi

Dave Robinson

Principal.

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Email Wednesday 22 April – Sent 709pm

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Nga mihi nui kia koutou katoa

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

I hope everyone has had a good Wednesday.  I think we have been fortunate that the weather hasn’t been awful through our lockdown time.

Thank you to everyone for their prompt reply to yesterday’s email regarding moving into Alert Level 3 – I appreciate you doing this.  There still are a few families that haven’t responded to this and I sent these families a text message late this afternoon.  I ask that you do the short survey asap so I can finalise our staffing, our bubbles and school plan for Alert Level 3.  As you can appreciate bubbles and staffing will need to be well sorted prior to school reopening and as a result we can’t have children turning up to school unannounced.

I understand families are now receiving their hard packs of resources from the Ministry of Education in the post which is great.  Please let your teacher know when you have received these – as  they may wish to build into their programme some of this.  The Ministry of Education have requested again the addresses of those who said they didn’t have internet access – I have provided the addresses of those of you who responded to my request last month so if you have a telco contact you from next week that will be the reason why.  For those that requested tech devices I haven’t had any further correspondence in regard to these.

I have just spent some time looking at some of the photos and work you have been sending through to your child’s teacher – it has been great to see all the awesome things going on in our homes.  Thanks for making that happen for our Dunsandel School children.

And lastly there was a darts breakthrough in our family before tea today as I managed to beat my son Charlie 4-3 – its only taken 28 days!!  Enjoy the rest of your evening.  Take care and I’ll be in touch tomorrow.

Kia Kaha

Dave Robinson

Principal.

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Email Tuesday 21 April – Sent 155pm

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Nga mihi nui kia koutou katoa

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

Our first steps towards moving to Alert Level 3 at Dunsandel School

I hope that Term 2 and our learning at home programme has been a success for you so far. I know there will have been any number of challenges for you to deal with but my teachers and I have been getting some great feedback about the learning that is happening.  On behalf of our teachers I want to thank you for all your support.

Yesterday the Government decided that we will move into Alert Level 3 from Monday 27th April at 11.59pm for two weeks. That means we will be open to receive students from the Wednesday 29 April. I am working with our staff to prepare our site for this start date.

Health and Safety Measures

The key message for you is that if you can, you should keep your child at home. You should only physically send your child to school if you need to. If your child has a health condition that means they are at a greater risk of a severe illness you must keep them at home. If your child is sick please also ensure you keep them at home.

In order to ensure the safety of those children and our staff who do come to school, we will be operating with strict enforcement of health and safety measures.  The reason for the approach, as outlined by the Prime Minister is to find a balance between having schools available for those who need it while minimising the numbers of students attending for public health reasons. I am sure there will be a lot of debate about the approach; we are however still in a state of emergency and the Government takes decisions in the national interest, not necessarily just what would suit our individual communities best. Every school and community is different and what will work in one place will be different elsewhere. Health and safety is at the forefront of our planning and the health of all in New Zealand is at the forefront of decisions that are being taken to respond to COVID-19.

The Alert level 3 approach in an ECE or school environment is designed to limit the number of people that children have contact with based on these principles. And because all the evidence points to children having a lower risk of getting infected and being affected by COVID-19, and it is possible to ensure that children are within the same group each day with no mixing between rooms, it is safe from a public health perspective to have a group of children learning together in a room or physical space (but to keep that group small).

Parents can have confidence that the proposed approach is designed to keep children and their families safe, to keep staff safe and to support the country’s overall response to COVID-19 to ‘keep it out and stamp it out’.

Parents and caregivers also have a role here, to fully support this approach by doing their bit – making sure that they inform their school as to whether they need to have their children at school, keeping children home if they are unwell and seeking medical advice about whether a child may need to be tested; strictly maintaining their family ‘bubble’ outside the school environment; and ensuring great hygiene practices at all times.

The overriding principle for Alert Level 3 is therefore stay at home, other than for essential personal movement and going to work and school. For education, the key public health measures announced for Alert Level 3 are:

  • Parents and caregivers keep their children at home and maintain distance learning where that is possible, parents and caregivers can send children to school if they need to
  • Schools open for both onsite and distance learning for years 1 – 10
  • Year 11 – 13 students to remain at home and undertake distance learning
  • People at higher-risk of severe illness from COVID-19 (e.g. those with underlying medical conditions, especially if not well-controlled, and the elderly) are encouraged to take additional precautions when leaving home. They may work, if they agree with their employer that they can do so safely.
  • Physical distancing – 2 metres outside and 1 metre inside
  • A need to regularly disinfect surfaces
  • Wash and dry hands, cough into elbow, don’t touch your face
  • Stay home if you’re sick, report flu-like symptoms
  • Travel restricted to essential, including going to work and to school
  • The Director-General of Health has recommended that we start with student bubbles of 10 and over time move to 20.

For those that have to attend school due to not having an adult at home to look after them because they are working outside the home bubble, at this stage Dunsandel School will be set out in the following way to minimise risk for everyone involved and to adhere to Ministry of Education advice and guidance and Health and Safety Regulations. There could be additions etc to these rules and guidelines as time goes on based on information I receive from the Ministry of Education daily.  These guidelines etc will be confirmed closer to our re open date for Alert Level 3.

  • No parents/other bubble members to enter school buildings to limit the amount of human contact. Mr R or teacher will collect children from the green gate in the morning and will deliver children to the green gate at the end of the day.
  • At this stage there has been no word on whether buses can run during Alert Level 3.
  • Depending on the number of children who NEED to attend school, start times may be staggered to allow social distancing and limit contact.
  • Children will remain in one room that is their allocated bubble room for the whole duration of the school day.
  • Children will be in sibling bubbles.
  • Children will be allocated a space to sit that is 2.5m away from anyone else.
  • Children will have their own resources to use during the day.
  • Children will complete the Learning at Home programme at school.
  • School playgrounds remain closed.
  • No toys or school resources eg sports gear will be played with.
  • Children will have break times different to other children to allow for social distancing.
  • Children/staff will be washing/sanitising their hands regularly.
  • Staff will be sanitising areas that have been used by children/adults in their bubble hourly.
  • No food will be provided for children.
  • Children are to bring their own named water bottle – water fountains will be closed.
  • Children will stay in the same bubble at school for the whole time they attend during Alert Level 3.
  • Any child that has any illness and is meant to be attending school is NOT to attend school.

Children who do not have an adult at home during level 3 to look after them can attend school. We will be needing to know children who will be attending school so that bubbles for school can be organised with children and staff. This information will be sorted out after I find out who is needing to attend school

Please fill in the form below to inform me if your child/ren WILL or WILL NOT be attending school in Alert Level 3 so we know everyone’s needs. A reminder all children are asked to stay at home if they can complete the Learning at Home programme at home.

So what next?

  1. Please complete this very short and easy online survey below sharing your intentions about whether your child/ren will need to return to school when we open on Wednesday 29th April:

Link to Alert Level 3 Online Survey

  1. Keep supporting your child/ren with learning from home.
  2. Teachers will continue to email you between 830am and 900am each school day morning with the Learning from Home for their class – all this information can also be found on our website. As you have been doing, please keep connecting with your teachers. I will email you each evening before a school day as I have been doing to keep you informed on where we are at (and if I beat any of my children at darts!).

Take care.

Nga mihi

Dave Robinson

Principal

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Email Monday 20 April – Sent 539pm

Nau mai, haere mai

Nga mihi nui kia koutou katoa

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

This afternoon the Prime Minister announced that NZ would move from level 4 to level 3 at 1159pm on Monday 27 April 2020.  In making this announcement the Government has decided that schools will open from, if they can, Wednesday 29 April.

As I write this to you schools have yet to receive direction or guidance from the Ministry of Education in regard to what opening our school will look like –we do, as a school, have a plan organised for Alert Level 3 and will add advice and guidance from the Ministry to finalise our plan and schedule.  As you will be aware this will involve a whole myriad of things to ensure we have the safest possible environment for staff and children who will attend.  The Government is encouraging parents and caregivers to keep their children home and learning by distance if possible – for your information we will be continuing our Learning at Home programme during Alert Level 3.

I will be contact with you as we move forward towards an Alert Level 3 school –one thing I will be doing tomorrow is emailing you so you can let me know if your child/ren will be attending school under Alert Level 3.  I thank you in advance for your understanding and patience as we work through this.

I hope everyone has had a good day Learning at Home with their bubble.  Teachers will be in contact with you again between 830am and 900am tomorrow.

Kia Kaha

Nga mihi

Dave Robinson

Principal

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Email Sunday 19 April – Sent 537pm

Nau mai, haere mai

Nga mihi nui kia koutou katoa

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

Sunday evening rolls around pretty quickly…I hope everyone has enjoyed a good weekend in their bubble.  Since I last emailed you I have ventured out to do the groceries at Rolleston (there was no line to wait in so I was happy about that!), have been thrashed at darts by both my son and daughter and I have been for a number of walks listening to some podcasts in the sun.  I did listen to an excellent one with Nigel Latta on the Parent Squad – its well worth a listen as he talks about keeping your bubble calm and he has some good advice around screen time (search The Parent Squad from a Podcast provider).

Tomorrow the Prime Minister will announce whether we will move from Level 4 to Level 3.  I believe this announcement will be made at 400pm.  This will be a big decision and will make some changes to the landscape we have been living under.  When the decision to move is made (if it’s this week or in the future) I know we all will have questions about what the changes at Level 3 will mean for us.  In regards to schools, and I know there has been a lot of debate on social media and news sites, the Ministry of Education will provide schools with good guidance and direction that we will use to finalise our plans for Level 3 re-opening.  Once those plans have been finalised I will be in touch with our school families to outline what that looks like for Dunsandel School.  As you will be aware it is a complex situation and it wont be a case of just opening our doors again – things at school under Level 3 will be very different to what we are used to.

Teachers will be emailing you tomorrow morning with some Learning at Home work for Monday.  When I spoke to them all on Friday afternoon it was nice to hear them talking about the feedback and photos you give them.  So thank you for making the time to have your child or yourself check in and share with our teachers…I know they appreciate it.

Enjoy the rest of your evening.  I’ll be in touch again tomorrow.

Nga mihi,

Dave Robinson

Principal.

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Email Thursday 16 April – Sent 619pm

Nau mai, haere mai

Nga mihi nui kia koutou katoa

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

I hope everyone had an awesome day of Learning at Home today – based on the contact I’ve had with teachers today there has been lots happening.  So, I would like to commend all those Parent Teachers out there doing an awesome job with their children – however I do know all my staff are missing their normal days which is being with the best children in the world!  I’m also pleased to report I haven’t heard of any Learning and Home expulsions or suspensions so that’s a good thing!!

We have a few more photos of our PRIDE at home put up on our website – the teachers and I love seeing these photos so keep them coming.  Its exciting to see what is going on.  Thank you for sending these to your teachers.

Today the Prime Minister outlined the high level descriptions of COVID-19 alert levels, with a focus on Alert Level 3.  Currently we are still at Alert Level 4.  There is a lot of detail to work through to operationalise the re-opening of schools and early learning services when that decision is taken.  The Government’s announcement has been made taking full account of Public Health advice.  The Ministry of Education will be working with peak bodies in the next couple of days and then will outline the process for the opening of schools.  These are difficult and unprecedented times but I know the Ministry of Education will provide us with the right guidance and direction for us to open safely as per the requirements outlined by the Prime Minister today.  More information on Level 3 can be found if you click here

Thank you for your ongoing support of your children, their teachers and our school.  I trust you and your bubble have a good home Learning Friday.  Enjoy the weekend and I’ll will be in touch on Sunday evening.

Nga mihi nui

Dave Robinson

Principal

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Email Wednesday 15 April 2020 – Sent 631pm

Wednesday 15 April 2020

Dear Parents and Caregivers

Well Day One of Term 2 is done and dusted…well I hope it is in your household.  I have been in constant contact with our teachers during today and can I thank you, on behalf of my teachers, for your support as we move into, hopefully a short lived, new normal.  I hope everything went well for you and your bubble people today.

A reminder that class teachers will email you between 830am and 900am each school day and these messages will also be up on the class pages on our school website.  I have also added another page to our website – Our PRIDE at Home.  It has photos from our children sent to our teachers – it is just a way of allowing children to have some school friend connections at this time.  Click here to have a look.

Free internet safety filter for parents

While children are learning from home, they are away from the online safety and security services provided by Network for Learning (N4L) at school. So together with N4L and Netsafe, the Ministry of Education have launched www.switchonsafety.co.nz  – a free way to block the worst of the web for students and teachers.  If you go to this website you can follow the instructions to set up any device your child is using for safer connectivity while they learn from home.  However please remember, no technical solution is a silver bullet.  You can complement this with digital citizenship toolkits provided by Netsafe who provide comprehensive support and information to support everyone to stay safe as they work, learn and play online. Netsafe has new and updated resources for parents, whānau and students at https://www.netsafe.org.nz/advice/staying-safe/

Wellbeing for all

Alongside priorities for learning, the wellbeing of our children and families is paramount at this time. The Ministry of Education have plenty of information also focused on supporting a child’s learning at home for parents, caregivers and families.  The resource link below adds to the information they have previously provided supporting conversations with children about COVID-19.  It’s well worth a look.  http://education.govt.nz/school/health-safety-and-wellbeing/pastoral-care-and-wellbeing/talking-to-children-about-covid-19-coronavirus/

Enjoy the rest of your evening. I’ll be in touch again tomorrow.

Kia Kaha

Nga mihi

Dave Robinson

Principal

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Email Tuesday 14 April 2020 – Sent 443pm 

Nau mai, haere mai

Nga mihi nui kia koutou katoa

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

Well we are just about to enter a new chapter in education – this is a learning curve that our children, families and staff will be navigating together.  It’s definitely an unprecedented time we are living through.  I hope you and your family are well and are making the most of the ‘bubble’ time together.  For those of you who are working with the public in essential services, we cannot thank you enough.  I would guess by now you will have developed a daily ‘bubble rhythm’ – we have done plenty of dog walks although I think our dogs are a bit over these and would rather go back to their normal routine of sleeping in the sun while we are away at school.  Working from home brings its own challenges and benefits!

As a staff we have been in contact working through our Learning at Home programme.  I will email you each evening before a school day and your child’s class teacher will email you between 830am and 900am each school day.  Their emails will include their Learning at Home tasks for their class which will also be on our school website on the class pages.  Please feel free to email teachers along the way to give feedback and ask questions.  We are all learning and we will be adjusting things as we go to make the best of this. We are aware that living rurally does pose issues with internet connectivity and data caps – this is something the Ministry of Education have been made aware of.

Other Communication from us

With any urgent messages I will text you through our School Links Programme as I have done previously.

All relevant school information will be on our school website.  Please remember to check our Parent Help 2020 page as well for information that may help you as we move towards the end of this lockdown period.  While we have all been in lockdown together as a community and as a nation, every family or bubble will have a different story to tell.  On this page I will put help tips and places to get help if you feel you need it.

Learning at Home

Children will not come to any harm if they have a break from formal learning for a while.  I am sure many of the experiences they are having at home with you at this time will be creating special bonds and memories for life – for me trying to beat my son at darts is proving a challenge but a good time for us to enjoy.  Please do not feel any guilt over unfinished tasks.

There are some amazing on line learning opportunities that I’m sure teachers will share with you and that I will as well.  Try some out; I am sure these links and others you have found will engage your children in many rich learning activities.  The Ministry of Education are adding to their bank of online resources so do try some of these www.learningathome.govt.nz/home

Ministry of Education Resources

I have requested from the Ministry of Education that all our children receive a hard copy pack of resources that the Minister of Education announced last week.  These are being sent directly to you – however I am unsure where we sit in the distribution chain.  I will keep you informed of any developments with these and this will be the same for those families that requested devices.

The Minister also announced that a Learning at Home tv channel will air from tomorrow.  There may be times where your teacher may use this resource based on what is being aired.  This channel will have programming from 900am until 300pm each school day on Freeview TVNZ2+1 and Sky channel 502. Some lessons will also be available on TVNZ On Demand.  Initial feedback from the sector has been good regarding this initiative.

School re-opening

Many of you will have seen differing reports in the media about when and how schools will reopen once we move down from Alert Level 4. There is a lot of misinformation out there so I thought it best that you hear it from the horse’s mouth (with the Ministry of Education being the horse!).

The five main points are:

  1. 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 and how we are going in stamping it out. It is unlikely that a decision will be made before 20 April.
  2. The very earliest schools would open would be 29 April. And this would likely only be for SOME students, not all.
  3. The Ministry (and us) are preparing for several possible scenarios – opening only for staff, opening for essential workers’ children, a combination of distance and on-site learning, staggered opening, not opening for a number of weeks etc. We want to be prepared for whatever the decision is once the data becomes clear.
  4. There will be ample notice before schools open. We will not be closed one day and open the next. We will be given ample time to ensure that the school has a deep-clean, that our planning for the term is completed and that we put in place any H&S regulations.
  5. The Ministry has been very clear that we will not be moving out of Alert Level 4 early.

The Minister of Education is, this week, working on guidelines for what Alert Level 3 could look like for schools. We look forward to his guidance and direction on this matter.

This is a whole new experience for us all and we don’t want it to be overwhelming for anyone.  So please remember your family and well-being comes first, then learning. Take care and I’ll be in touch tomorrow evening.  Please look out for your child’s teacher email in the morning.

Nga mihi nui

Dave Robinson

Principal

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Friday 27 March 2020

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

We have started into a new phase of New Zealand’s response to COVID-19 and it is very different than anything most of us have ever experienced.  I wanted to reassure you that our school staff and Board of Trustees will continue to be available to support your child’s learning and wellbeing in the next weeks.

You will understand the importance of routine for your family. If your routine has been shaken up, like you’re now working from home, it’s good to structure your time. Routines are reassuring, and promote health and physical wellbeing. The below timetable (targeted at children) could be something your household adapts to use over the next weeks. A school holiday version will likely look a little different, but some form of routine will still be important as we go through the lockdown period.

Possible Daily Schedule – you adapt etc to what suits you and your family.  

Before 9:00am Wake up Eat breakfast, make your bed, get dressed, put any dirty clothes in the laundry
9:00-10:00 Morning walk Family walk with the dog, bike ride,
If it’s raining – Try Go Noodle.  TVNZ from 30 March (900am and 300pm and On Demand) will offer workouts ranging from high intensity training to stretching and meditation.  They will also offer workouts designed specifically for young children and teenagers.
10:00-11:00 Learning at home School-led learning or Sudoku, books, flash cards, study guide, journal etc
11:00-12:00 Creative time Drawing, crafting, play music, cook or bake etc.
12:00 pm Lunch 🙂
12:30 Helping at home # wipe all kitchen tables and chairs
# wipe all door handles, light switches and desk tops
# wipe both bathrooms – sinks and toilets
1:00-2:30 Quiet time Reading, puzzles, nap, radio NZ stories, Amazon stories, Story of the Day on our Home Learning page
2:30-4:00 Learning at home School-led learning or iPad games, Educational show
4:00-5:00 Afternoon fresh air Bikes, walk the dog, play outside
5:00-6:00 Dinner 🙂
6:00-8:00 Free TV time Kids shower time
8:00 Bedtime All kids
9:00pm Bedtime All kids who follow the daily schedule & don’t fight

*Adapted from a resource developed by Jessica McHale Photography

There are links below to more wellbeing information to support your family during the lockdown.

Some good news to support you either working at home and/or studying at home – The Ministry of Education have advised Spark, Vodafone, Vocus/Slingshot, 2Degrees and Trustpower  have removed their data caps and the possibility of any extra charges based on usage.  Although my understanding is this doesn’t apply to Rural Broadband from some providers.

For our Pacific families, if you are not aware the Ministry for Pacific Peoples’ has been working to ensure useful information is available to Pacific peoples. A one-hour special will be aired on Tagata Pasifika’s segment on Saturday at 9am; and on Sunday at 7.35am, Tagata Pasifika will share messages from community leaders. The Ministry is asking you to reach out to all your family members, community groups, friends and group chats to ensure our Pacific community groups are watching the programming on both days.

A big thank you to all of you for taking the lockdown so seriously. As the Prime Minister has noted staying at home will break the chain and save lives; breaking the rules could risk someone close to you and if the rules are not complied with, this could risk the lock down period being extended or could risk the virus being spread to thousands

Ngā mihi

Dave Robinson

Principal

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Thursday 26 March 2020

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

The first day of the official lockdown – a surreal day that we all have woken up to.  I just wanted to touch base with you which I will do regularly.  For some children, last night and the next few days will be a time they are unwinding from the term and embracing being at home.  For other children it has been a time of anxious worry which may come out in different behaviours.  We all live in different homes and our ‘Bubble’ which we are isolated in are all different.

The biggest positive for your child is being with you.  While it won’t be an easy time, your children will sulk, get upset about not going to friends houses or just be frustrated because they are at home.  That is ok. We will get through this.

We have this window of opportunity in the fight against COVID-19.  Stay in your ‘bubble’ – it will be worth it when we are on the other side of this and you bring your children back to us at school – I know my staff and I are looking forward to that day already.

Take care and be safe.

Nga mihi,

Dave Robinson

Principal

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Tuesday 24 March 2020 1130am

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

I trust everyone received yesterday’s messages that were emailed to you and are on our website.  As I mentioned teachers have been working to put together our Learning at Home web page.  This can be accessed by opening our Dunsandel School Home page and clicking on the link.  The opening page has generic ideas and activities and each class has their own page – click on the links provided.

I have asked teachers to email you today and a copy of this will be on their class page as well.

This is all new for us as well as you. We are aware that there could be issues for some families with data caps and availability of devices in your household but because teachers can’t be at school(Ministry of Health directive) this is the best way we can get work, ideas etc to you. Just do what you can and what is manageable for you as a family.  Please ensure you keep checking our website etc for any updates relevant to our school.

A reminder school holidays are now scheduled from the end of this week through to 14 April.

I will leave you with the following…..

You might be inclined to create a minute by minute schedule for your kids. You have high hopes of hours of learning, including online activities, science experiments, and book reports. You’ll limit technology until everything is done! But here’s the thing…

What kids need right now is to feel comforted and loved. To feel like it’s all going to be ok. And that might mean that you tear up your perfect schedule and love on your kids a bit more eg Play outside and go on walks. Do some baking and paint pictures. Play board games and watch movies. Do a science experiment together or find virtual field trips of the zoo. Start a book and read together as a family. 

If I can leave you with one thing, it’s this: at the end of all of this, your kids’ mental health will be more important than their academic skills. And how they felt during this time will stay with them long after the memory of what they did during those weeks is long gone. So I do ask you to keep that in mind…..

Take care, be safe and look after yourselves.

Nga mihi,

Dave Robinson

Principal

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Monday 23 March 2020 630pm

Dear Parents and Caregivers of Dunsandel School Children

The Prime Minister has today announced we are moving to Level 3 for the next 48 hours and then from Thursday 26 March we move to Level 4 in the COVID-19 Alert Level structure for a further period of 4 weeks where people are instructed to stay at home.

For children of essential workers, we will be open tomorrow and Wednesday,  You may wish to check if you are considered an essential worker – https://covid19.govt.nz/government-actions/covid-19-alert-system/  however those roles include doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers and police.  As I mentioned in my email earlier to today can you please contact me as soon as you can via email principal@dunsandel.school.nz if you are employed in essential services and therefore need your child to attend school on Tuesday and Wednesday this week.  This helps me sort staffing as you will appreciate I have staff also working through their own personal circumstances as well.  We continue to ask that children who are not well, do not attend school. 

Buses will not be running for our school on Tuesday and Wednesday. 

We will be in touch with you tomorrow regarding learning for the rest of the week.  We have plans in place that we will be finalising tomorrow morning.

School holidays are being brought forward so that they are completed within the 4 week period. Holidays will now begin from Monday 30 March to Tuesday 14 April inclusive (a reminder that the Tuesday after Easter Monday is always a closed day for schools). At the end of the school holidays, schools will be open for distance learning but not physically open for staff to work at the schools.  Please note the instruction to stay home (Alert Level 4) will continue beyond the new school holiday period but schools will be technically open for distance instruction. Teachers and other staff will be working offsite – the Government has declared teachers will not be able to access the school site from midnight Wednesday and will work from home.

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.

I know there is a lot happening at the moment but we will continue to communicate with you over the coming days. Thank you for your ongoing support of our school staff and school community.

Ngā mihi

Dave Robinson

Principal

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Monday 23 March 2020 400pm.

In line with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s announcement this afternoon, Dunsandel School will be closed from 3pm today to all students other than those who have parents identified in essential services due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please contact Dave via email principal@dunsandel.school.nz if you are employed in essential services and therefore need your child to attend school on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. We are awaiting a list from the Government outlining who falls under the essential service category, so we will send that out and any further information as it comes to hand. We also awaiting further information from the Ministry of Education before we send out another email outlining what the Prime Ministers annoucement means for us all.

School buses will not be running on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Teachers will also be in contact with you regarding home learning etc.

Take care, keep well, and enjoy some special family time.  While everything is uncertain and disruptive in many ways these measures are put in place to keep us healthy and safe.

Nga mihi

Dave Robinson

Principal

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Sunday 22 March

Dear Dunsandel School Parents and Caregivers,

You will be aware of the announcements made by the Prime Minister yesterday – the key points of the announcements were:-

  • New Zealand has moved to Alert Level 2 – Reduce Contact for COVID-19
  • People over 70 years of age and those with compromised immunity and certain existing medical conditions are asked to remain at home as much as they can from now on and avoid any non-essential travel.

The message from the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Education is Schools are to remain open.

The messaging remains clear – that if your child is feeling unwell please have your them stay at home.  Also, I encourage you to keep your children at home at this time if they fall into the high risk category listed below. 

Stay home if you are sick

IF you have any of these symptoms:

  • a fever
  • cough
  • shortness of breath
  • sneezing or a runny nose

THEN call your GP, before you visit.

If you do not have a GP call Healthline (for free) on 0800 358 5453.

These symptoms do not necessarily mean you have COVID-19. The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as colds and flu.

High risk individuals

While the majority of people who are confirmed with COVID-19 will experience mild to moderate symptoms, some individuals are at risk of more severe symptoms.

Older people, particularly those with pre-existing health problems are more likely to get severe illness and are therefore considered at risk. High risk individuals also include people with underlying medical conditions, such as:

  • a compromised immune system
  • liver disease
  • cancer
  • kidney disease
  • heart disease
  • diabetes mellitus

COVID-19 Advice – Vulnerable People click here

If you are keeping your child/children at home please make contact with me regarding the provision of school work. 

Everyone should follow standard guidelines to prevent the virus spreading by:

  • covering coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or elbow
  • washing hands for at least 20 seconds with water and soap and drying them thoroughly:
    • before eating or handling food
    • after using the toilet
    • after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose
    • after caring for sick people.

The advice below is to help with any conversations you might be having with your children about COVID-19.

Guidance for parents, caregivers, whānau and teachers. 

  • Help children cope with anxiety by providing accurate information.
  • Children look to adults for guidance on how to react to stressful events such as COVID-19. Parents, caregivers, whānau and teachers will have a particularly important part to play in reassuring children at this time.
  • Children will react to and follow your verbal and non-verbal cues. If you are able to stay informed and realistic, it will be easier for you to reassure children effectively as well.
  • Children need factual, age-appropriate information about COVID-19 so that they can also feel informed and in control. They need to know how they can play a part in avoiding infection and the spread of virus.
  • They also need to feel that any fears that they may have can be talked about and addressed.

Reassure your children 

  • If no one in your family has COVID-19 nor has had close contact with anyone with COVID-19, emphasise to your children that they and your family are fine.
  • Remind them that the right people are working hard to keep New Zealanders safe, including the adults at the children’s school or early learning service.
  • Let your children talk about their feelings, and help reframe their concerns into the appropriate perspective.
  • You know your children best. If they have a lot of questions, consider how much extra information would or wouldn’t be helpful for them to know before replying.
  • Dr Michelle Dickinson (Nanogirl) has great information for kids about COVID-19.​

I know there is a lot information being released and the landscape is forever changing with this pandemic.  I encourage you to do your best to keep yourself, your children and your family healthy and by doing that it helps keep others healthy as well. 

As always take care out there.

Nga mihi

Dave Robinson

Principal

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Wednesday 18 March 2020

Paper copy sent home 18.3.2020

Dear Parents/Caregivers,

The media attention COVID-19 is receiving has ramped up to another level and while I am cautious about not wanting to add to the hype, I am just as cautious about not wanting to take this too lightly.  As a school, we are the hub of the community and have a responsibility in ensuring the safety and welfare of our students and staff.  There is no denying that we are in uncharted waters and the rate of change and information coming out is rapid and so our response needs to be calm, considered and responsive to advice we receive and national priorities.

As I write this all schools are open and – given the extremely low rate of infection in New Zealand – are a safe place to be. Should the situation change, then schools will be informed and will act quickly in the interests of their students, staff and community.

The school will continue to follow the advice and guidance provided by the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education.  Based on the current advice we have around school assemblies and class/school trips, I am postponing the next 3 Friday Assemblies (20 March, 27 March and 3 April) and the Junior Swim Trip to Ashburton which was scheduled for 25 March.  The Canterbury Primary Schools Duathlon, which we had 8 students qualify for, has been called off with the hope of it taking place in Term 4 if possible.  In regards to any impact on other school events, I will keep you informed.

So, you are aware, decisions around schools closing due to the evolving Covid-19 situation rests with the local Public Health Officer.

The Government has moved quickly to set in place stringent measures to stop the virus spreading.  The Ministry of Education, I believe has done an excellent job keeping schools informed with the latest advice.

As I wrote in our school newsletter on Monday it is important to be vigilant about our own health and the health of our children. I will be encouraging my staff to stay away from school if they are showing signs of illness such as coughs and colds. I ask that you please do the same with your children. Colds and flus are common in schools and by staying away, seeking medical attention and practicing good hygiene, we can all keep any spread of illness to a minimum.

Preventing Risk

You can avoid close contact with people with cold or flu-like illnesses.

  • Cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing.
  • Wash hands for at least 20 seconds with water and soap and dry them thoroughly:
  • before eating or handling food
  • after using the toilet
  • after coughing, sneezing, blowing your nose or wiping children’s noses
  • after caring for sick people.

Information relating to COVID-19 and our school can be found on our website – click on the Parent help page 2020 on the home page.

Dave Robinson

Principal

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Wednesday 18 March 2020

  • All Friday School Assemblies postponed for the rest of term one.
  • Canterbury Primary Schools Swimming 31.3.2020 has been postponed by Primary Sport Canterbury.  Alternative date is being sought.
  • Canterbury Primary Schools Duathlon (23.3.2020) postponed by Primary Sport Canterbury.
  • Ellesmere Zone Padder tennis scheduled for 31.3.2020 has been postponed
  • The Leeston Fete for 2020 has been cancelled.

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Friday 13 March 2020

COVID-19

You may have seen that the World Health Organisation has now declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic. As noted by the Minister of Health, this doesn’t change what New Zealand is doing to respond to coronavirus.
The Ministry of Health has been working through its pandemic plan since January. You will also know the Government has already implemented a range of measures to minimise the impacts to New Zealand. This includes border restrictions, a requirement to self-isolate on arrival in New Zealand from China, Iran, Italy and the Republic of Korea and immediate and detailed contact tracing of any confirmed cases. It is important to note those four countries account for more than 90% of cases globally and China and the Republic of Korea have significantly declining numbers of new cases.
We have 5 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand and it is pleasing to know they are all doing well and are at home.  While we expect that more cases will arise, the Ministry of Health says that with continued vigilance the chance of widespread community outbreak is expected to remain low in New Zealand. We all have a role to play in this.
For our school, our pandemic plan is also ready to be implemented if needed. In the mean time we will continue to focus on good hygiene practices. Hand washing and good cough etiquette are very important tools in preventing the spread of illness including colds, flu and COVID-19.

With that, there is a good video clip from Nanogirl that will help your children to better understand the virus – YouTube clip – Nanogirl

One other action we can all take is to be vigilant about our own health and the health of our children. I will be encouraging my staff to stay away from school if they are showing signs of illness such as coughs and colds. I ask that you please do the same with your children. Colds and flus are common in schools and by staying away, seeking medical attention and practicing good hygiene, we can all keep any spread of illness to a minimum.

Guidance-for-parents-to-talk-with-their-children-re-COVID-19

D Robinson; Principal

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Thursday 5 March 2020

COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). Update from the Ministry of Education.

The Ministries of Education and Health have been providing excellent communications to schools on this issue.

You will be aware that there is some uncertainty around the development and spread of coronavirus COVID-19. In New Zealand, COVID-19 is a notifiable disease. While the Ministry of Health has confirmed a second case in New Zealand, they maintain that the chance of a widespread community outbreak is expected to remain low.

We are following the advice and guidance of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education who are closely monitoring the situation and providing regular updates and information to schools.

Here is the current advice to us all:

Everybody should follow the following basic principles to reduce the risk of getting an acute respiratory infection or passing it on to others.

Hand washing to prevent the spread

All schools and early learning services are still in the Keep it Out phase of a pandemic plan. The preventative measures Health is encouraging schools and early learning services to practice are those of good hygiene, which include:

  • Washing hands with soap and water before and after eating as well as after attending the toilet (for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap and dry thoroughly)
  • Covering coughs and sneezes with clean tissues or with an elbow
  • Putting used tissues in the bin
  • Encouraging staff and students to stay home if they are unwell
  • Avoiding close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms.
  • If you feel unwell you should avoid public gatherings and events.

You will be aware that advice from Health asks everyone to wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, making sure you dry them thoroughly. Singing Happy Birthday twice, slowly should take about 20 seconds. To assist with this messaging, there are a couple of useful videos from the National Health Service (UK) that might help teach good hand washing techniques:

Please continue to refer to the Ministry of Health website and the Ministry of Education website, for further information. Here are two links for those who wish to read more.

Ministry of Education
http://www.education.govt.nz/…/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov/…

Ministry of Health
https://www.health.govt.nz/…/dis…/covid-19-novel-coronavirus

Remember the advice at this stage is to not panic, keep informed, be prepared and maintain good practices to keep yourself healthy.  As always with any illness, if your child is not feeling well for any reason, keep them at home and call in their absence so we are aware of them being sick. It is important to look after yourself, your family and most importantly, help look after the more vulnerable members of our community by ensuring any illness is contained and the risk of spreading the infection is minimised.

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.

We will keep you updated as new information comes to hand.  The Ministry of Health website also has some useful information.

COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) – Ministry of Health