Kia ora whānau,
I hope this pānui finds you and your whānau safe and well.
We are delighted to be able to welcome more students back onsite under Alert Level 3 from Monday 22 November. We will be staggering the start dates:
- All Year 8 students are able to return to school from Monday 22 November.
- All Year 7 students are able to return to school from Tuesday 23 November.
We know learning kanohi ki te kanohi is the best option for children and young people. It’s important for them to connect with their friends and teachers and it helps their social, physical and emotional wellbeing. Screenmeadows will come offline at the end of the day on Friday 19 November to enable teachers to focus their attention on teaching the students who return onsite. It would be unreasonable to expect teachers to teach both online and at physical school at the same time.
Senior Leaders are currently in the process of preparing a detailed proposal for the Board of Trustees that will include the ways in which we will be ensuring students can return in a safe way. This will be presented to the Board for approval at their meeting on Monday 15 November.
Even with the Delta variant, the risk of COVID-19 transmission in schools is low because of all the public health measures we will have in place. What this will look like:
- Class bubbles will be limited to 20 students (which is the current limit for bubble school).
- Class bubbles will be kept separate from each other.
- We’ll ensure our classrooms are well ventilated
- We’ll continue to practice physical distancing where possible.
- We'll all be using safe hygiene practices.
- We will be asking that students do not arrive before 8.15a.m. We will be staggering the finish times to avoid congestion. Year 7 will finish between 2.30p.m. and 2.40p.m., Year 8 will finish between 2.45p.m. and 2.55p.m. Bus students will finish at 3.00p.m. as normal.
As announced by the Minister of Education today, in addition to the above, all staff and children will be required to wear face coverings indoors (unless they have an exemption).
All of our staff will have had a negative COVID test before returning to school and they will also be either fully vaccinated or will have had at least one dose of the vaccine and return a negative weekly test.
We know that many of our students who are eligible are already vaccinated as well. This really does reduce the risk even further; research shows that those who are vaccinated are less likely to catch COVID 19 and are also less likely to pass it on to someone else. We do encourage everyone in our community who is eligible to get vaccinated. The fact that more than 90% of the eligible people in Counties Manukau have now received the first dose of the vaccine is why schools are now able to reopen with greater confidence.
While we are talking about vaccines - the school is now required to maintain a register of those students who are aged 12 and older who have received the COVID 19 vaccination. I will be sending out a pānui requesting information about this next week. It would be great if parents could support me by providing the information the school is required to keep.
I hope this panui helps to answer the most pressing questions you have at the moment. We would encourage you to talk to your child about what our plans are and why this is happening. I will be sending out more detailed information next week so please keep an eye out for this email. In the meantime if you have any questions at all, do not hesitate to contact me directly.