Start of Year Newsletter, 2022
Kia ora koutou
Our primary focus at the moment is doing everything we can to keep our staff safe and healthy so that school can stay open for your children. We need to maintain high staffing levels on site to be able to deliver the best teaching and learning experiences that we can. If and when it is needed, we will re-instate our online learning website, however we do expect all children to be attending school unless they are sick or self-isolating.
We are being deliberate about taking a conservative approach to the guidelines that we are getting from the Ministry of Education and erring on the side of caution to mitigate potential risk where possible.
You can help us with this by:
- attending your child's online learning conference (with your child there too, please!)
- providing your child with a mask every day
- getting your child vaccinated
- contacting your child's teacher via email if you want to communicate with them (and asking them to call you if needed)
- staying off the school site unless you need to come into the office for something, when you will need to wear a mask and scan in using the COVID Tracer QR code or sign in manually.
- keeping your child at home if they have ANY symptoms that are COVID symptoms, and getting them tested.
Learning Conferences - now online - Tuesday 1st and Wednesday 2nd February
Due to the changing Omicron situation, we have made the decision today to hold our Learning Conferences next week as online rather than face-to-face meetings. No change will be needed to your existing bookings, and new bookings can still be made!
On Monday, your child's home-group teacher will be sending you an email with a link to the online meeting. This will be a ZOOM link. (To access this link, you may need to to download Zoom onto your phone /tablet/computer.) If you would prefer a Google Meet link (gmail address required for this), please let your teacher know. The link will be sent to the email of the caregiver who has made the booking. You are able to share that link with another caregiver if they wish to join from another device/place.
Remember that your child needs to be part of the conference too!
Please think about what you would like to share with the teacher about your child, and use these questions as prompts.
Getting ready for your start of year Learning Conference:
- Talk with your child about what they enjoy learning at school – what they feel they are good at:
- Are there any barriers/challenges that get in the way of them learning?
- What would they like to get better at?
- What kinds of things help them to learn best? (e.g. where they sit, people they do/don’t work with, need for breaks/food/exercise, etc.)
- Is there anything about your culture, religion, family dynamic that would be helpful for us to know to be able to support your child?
- Have there been any changes in your family situation that would be helpful for the teacher to know about in order to support your child?
- Any wonderings, questions?
As mentioned in the earlier email today, the new government requirement is that all children from Year 4, and all staff wear masks inside at school.
This is slightly trickier for us with a Year 3/4 team. We are going to be taking a pragmatic approach at Year 3/4 and encouraging all of the Year 3/4 children to wear a mask, but not being insistent on that.
In Koru (New Entrants) and Kahikatea (Year 1/2) children are not required to wear a mask, and they are most welcome to if you/they would prefer that they do.
Our staff from NE through to Year 4 are being encouraged to wear masks, and may choose, from time to time not to if the mask is a significant barrier to communication.
Please provide your child with a clean, named mask every day, with a spare named mask in their bag if possible.
Any meetings at school will be held with masks on and caregivers will be expected to comply with this request for the wellbeing of all.
Pick up and Drop Off
To minimise risk for everyone, we are going to continue with the drop-off and pick up at the gate system that we had running successfully last year.
Drop-off in the mornings:
- When you bring your child to school in the morning, you will need to bring them to one of the entrances and say goodbye to them there.
- For everyone’s safety, and to manage contact tracing, we cannot have lots of parents coming onto our site each day.
- In the morning, from 8:30am - 9am, we will have staff at the front entrance of the school, and at the 3 min drop off zone on Sandwich Road.
- If you want to handover your child to a staff member, you can do that at the flagpole, or from your car at the 3min drop-off zone.
- If your child is more independent, you can ‘kiss and drop’ your child at any entrance to the school.
- Children coming to school on their own can use any entrance to the school.
- If there is a very particular reason that you need to come onto the school site, such as going to the office to hand in medication, you will need to scan your QR code and ONLY go to the office.
- As you will appreciate, we cannot manage large numbers of caregivers going through this process in the morning, and still manage physical distancing without congestion.
- Caregivers are asked not to go into learning spaces at Red level.
- If you can prepare your child with a positive message about how the handover at the gate will work, it will set them up for success.
Pickup at the end of the day:
- Our New Entrants and Kahikatea (Year 1&2) children will finish school at 2:45pm each day, and their teachers will walk them to the Sandwich Road entrance by the flagpole and hand them over to their caregivers. HOWEVER, if they have an older brother or sister, they will wait in their hub with a teacher, and they will be walked out to the Sandwich Road entrance at 3pm.
- If children are going to BOSCO, they will wait until 3pm in their hub and then they will be collected by the BOSCO staff.
- All Year 3-8 children will finish at 3pm each day as usual.
Please look at the attached pdf with diagrams that show how this system will works.
Please make sure that your child comes to school next Thursday with their stationery so that they are ready to start the new school year straight away. Please name all exercise books.
All students from Years 5-8 are encouraged to have their own Chromebook to bring to school each day. Whilst this is not a requirement, with the increased likelihood that there may be periods of time during this year that individuals or groups may have to self-isolate, we are strongly recommending this if you are able to manage it.
You can find out more about our BYOD programme here
. If you have specific questions about BYOD and your child, please email their teacher.
Sunhats & Drink Bottles
As always, please ensure that you send your child to school next week with a named red or black sunhat (bucket or wide-brimmed) and a named drink bottle.
Changes of Address, phone, email and family living situations
If you have changed your address, telephone number, email and/or family living situation (e.g. parents are now living in separate households) PLEASE email Jacky at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible with this information.
As always, and especially at this time, please keep children at home if they are unwell.
Anyone with any cold or flu symptoms that could be Covid-19 is asked to get a test and isolate at home until a negative result is returned.
The most common early symptoms of the Omicron variant are a sore or scratchy throat, and a runny nose – if you or your child have these symptoms, get tested.
If children present at school with any of the above symptoms, we will be isolating them and calling you to come and collect them.
Individual Medication for children
If your child requires medication to be kept at school, and/or administered through the school day or because of a medical event, please bring the medication (clearly named) to the school office. You will also be required to complete a Medicine Authority Form, which provides the school with information on how the medicine is to be administered, when and how much.
Individual Health Action Plan
If your child has an Individual Health Action Plan, e.g. Action Plan for Anaphylaxis, that has been updated, please bring that to the school office for a copy to be made.
EOTC (Education Outside the Classroom)
Whilst we are at this Red Traffic Light setting and heading into the start of the Omicron outbreak, we have made the decision to keep our students at school and not engage in any non-essential 'out-of-school' activities. We are being encouraged by the Ministry of Education to not engage in activities that mix students from different schools. We know that contact tracing will be easier if we haven't done this, and we are going to review this on a term-by-term basis. This means that inter-school sports activities will not be happening this term, nor will there be camps, trips or visits that increase risks of transmission.
At this stage, our Year 7/8 students will continue to bus to Christchurch South Intermediate each Tuesday morning for Technology. They do not mix with the students at South whilst they are there.
Itinerant Music Lessons and CSM Outreach Strings and Band
There will still be the opportunity for individual music lessons at school this year, however teaching space is going to be at a premium so numbers may be limited. We have itinerant teachers who offer lessons in piano, guitar and ukulele.
Christchurch School of Music (CSM) run an Outreach Strings programme (Violin, viola and cello), and a Band programme (flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, bass guitar, tuned percussion and percussion.)
To find out more about theses opportunities click here
Assemblies and Activities within the school
Following the Ministry of Education guidelines, we will be organising the school so that each team operates independently of other teams. At break times, when children will all be outside at the same time, we will be asking them to play with other children in their team, rather than mixing across teams.
During class time, we will not be engaging in activities that require children to mix across teams. This means that we will not be having whole school assemblies until further notice.
BOSCO will continue to run as long as they are able to manage staffing at a safe level. All of their staff are wearing masks when working with the children. BOSCO will try to organise the children into separate groups at BOSCO - NE - Year 4 and Year 5-8. Again, this is to minimise the risk of infection crossing between groups, to support contact tracing.
If you have booked your child into BOSCO for Learning Conference days and now need to change that booking, please contact Juanita as soon as possible by emailing: email@example.com
We are all excited to be back and getting ready to start the new school year! Our teachers are looking forward to seeing you at the online learning conferences next week, and to seeing all of the children back at school on Thursday!
Ngā mihi nui
Principal - Tumuaki