20 March, 2020
Tēnā koutou e te whānau,
As our response to the coronavirus pandemic continues, I thought it timely to provide some clarity around some of the key questions we all have as a kura community. Please note that our response as a kura continues to evolve and we will be rostering different year levels of students home beginning next Wednesday (25 March).
Rostering Home Students
The reason for this is that we are no longer using external relief teachers to cover classes in the event that a kaiako is not at kura. This means that our kaiako are picking up additional classes to ensure we can continue to operate and remain open for instruction. From my perspective it is a health and safety issue for all. Therefore, we will implement the following as part of our response to the coronavirus pandemic from next Wednesday (25 March):
Year 13 rostered home: Wednesdays
Year 12 rostered home: Thursdays
Year 11 rostered home: Fridays
Year 10 rostered home: Mondays
Year 9 rostered home: Tuesdays
Rules on gatherings do not apply to schools
You may have seen yesterday that the Government announced that indoor gatherings of more than 100 people are to be cancelled. This does not apply to schools, early learning services, tertiary providers, workplaces, supermarkets or public transport. We will continue to provide you with guidance around events and gatherings that could be relevant to us. .
Why a school would close?
There is a lot of discussion about school closures in the media with many varying opinions being expressed and some misinformation being deliberately spread. Medical Officers of Health – will direct schools to close if needed Medical Officers of Health have the authority to close a school. They would only do so if there was a medical reason for this, or, after a confirmed case in the school they need to close it for a short period of time while they determine if there is any risk to others (which means staff and students stay away while they undertake contact tracing). We will continue to follow the advice of the Ministry of Health in relation to this kaupapa.
Definition of ‘Close and Casual’ Contacts
Regarding queries about whether students should be kept at home, the information from the Ministry of Health website makes it quite clear that only those identified as a close contact of someone confirmed with COVID19 need to self-isolate, while casual contacts do not. The exception might be children of close contacts where it is likely to be challenging for families to manage the conditions required for self-isolation.
A close contact is anyone who has been close to someone with COVID-19. This can mean living in the same house or spending more than 15 minutes close to someone with COVID-19 such as on a flight, bus or train or in your workplace.
A casual contact is someone who has had contact with a case but doesn’t meet the criteria for a close contact. This could mean someone travelling on the same aeroplane who was seated away from the case. For example, they were only close to the person with COVID-19 for less than 15 minutes or were at the same place but not near them.
Teacher Only Days
A reminder that Monday (23 March) and Tuesday (24 March) are Teacher Only Days and students will need to stay at home on these days. Kaiako will be using this time to prepare learning packages to be distributed in the event that our kura has to close.
If you have any questions about any of the information in this letter do not hesitate to contact me.
Ngā manaakitanga e te iwi,