Kia ora koutouI hope that you have all managed to get some time to rest and relax with your family during these school holidays. We are all looking forward to welcoming our tamariki back to school on Monday, with a special welcome for a number of new students who will be starting.
This newsletter is to keep you up to date on our ongoing Health & Safety guidelines in this ever-changing COVID-19 environment. We face the new term still at Alert Level 2, and understand that it is increasingly likely that Delta will soon appear in our community. During the two weeks of the school holidays, the COVID situation has continued to be challenging in the North Island, and, as a result, there continue to be changes mandated around the way we all need to behave and operate, so as to keep everyone in our community as safe and healthy as we possibly can. A significant announcement this week has been the new mandate for all school staff to be fully vaccinated.
The information in italics below has come directly from a Ministry of Education bulletin this week. We are receiving daily updates and clarifications on procedures and expectations to help us understand our responsibilities going into Term 4.
Applying the mandatory vaccination and testing requirements
On Monday 11 October 2021 the Government advised that all staff and workers who may have contact with children and students in schools and kura throughout the country (regardless of COVID-19 Alert Level) will be required to have a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by 15 November and be fully vaccinated by 1 January 2022.
From 1 January 2022, education services must only allow those that are fully vaccinated to provide onsite services during opening hours.
This means vaccinations are mandatory for all those working onsite including teachers, relief teachers, casual staff, administration staff, caretakers, cleaners, OSCAR providers and hostel staff – whether direct employees or employees of a contractor. It also applies to unpaid workers, such as volunteers (including parent volunteers) and any members of the community who are on site at the school kura, as they are likely to come into contact with students.
The vaccination requirement does not apply to parents or whānau undertaking student pick-ups and drop-offs, but these should be conducted in an outdoor environment where face coverings must be worn, and physical distancing measures retained.
We will be working through the process of gathering vaccination information from our staff next week.
As you can see from the information above, we will also need to begin gathering vaccination information from any adults who come onto the school site as workers or as volunteers, whānau included. Our understanding is that this will be compulsory from the beginning of next year. Please do not be offended if you are volunteering and we request this information from you this year; we do not want to have a big job at the start of the school year if we can make a start on it now. Being unvaccinated will not preclude you from volunteering this year, however, it will from the start of next year.
Wearing of masks:
Adults and Masks: There has also been a change in the guidelines to schools on the wearing of masks. Staff at school still do not have to wear masks, but may choose to do so at any time. When any other adults come onto the school site, face coverings MUST now be worn and physical distancing measures maintained, unless this gets in the way of the delivery of the curriculum.
This means that caregivers and whānau will always need to wear a mask when you come onto the school site, and that staff will also wear masks if we are meeting with you.
Students and Masks: Students are not required to wear masks at school. If any student wishes to wear a mask, they are absolutely able to do that.
There has been a change to the requirements around bus transport, particularly for our Year 7/8 students going to technology each Tuesday on the bus.
Students who are aged 12 and over are now required to wear a mask on both school and public bus services, under all alert levels. Students under 12 are encouraged to wear a mask on school transport.
As we have increasing numbers of students in our Year 7/8 area are 12 and 13 years old, we have decided to take an inclusive and pragmatic approach and request that ALL Year 7/8 students bring and wear a mask on the technology bus each Tuesday, and on any other bus trips that the Year 7/8 students may make.
As we start Term 4, please ensure that your child has a named red or black school sunhat at school every day.
Drink Bottles (no water fountains at Alert Level 2)
While we continue to be at Alert Leve 2, our drinking fountains are not available to be used. This means that all children need to bring a named water bottle to school every day. Please check that this comes home each day for cleaning and refilling.
Staying connected to your child's home group teacher
We appreciate that it is much more challenging at the moment to stay connected to your child's learning and school life when all of the above restrictions are in place. Please email your child's teacher if you want to make a time to pop in after school (wearing a mask) to have a quick catch-up, or to see inside your child's learning space (especially if you are new to the school).
Reports and Learning Conferences
This year has been a different one in terms of our reporting schedule, as we tranistion across to HERO. We expect to have progress and achievement reports to you at the end of Week 5, with Learning Conferences in Week 6 (23rd and 25th November). More information about these will come out next week.
See you all next week!
Ngā mihi mahana