Newsletter for WPS Community - 4 Feb 2022
(Please read before starting school on Tuesday, 8th of February)
Kia ora koutou whanau / parents and caregivers
Whangarei Primary School staff and I are really looking forward to welcoming you back to school next Tuesday 8 February after the Waitangi weekend. I hope you have managed to enjoy some valuable whanau time over the summer, and that the tamariki are energised and ready to learn.
This newsletter aims to clarify the situation around Covid 19, and what the outbreak of Omicron will mean to us at school and how we operate. I would like to assure you all that the best possible measures have been put in place to keep you and your child(ren) safe whilst at school.
The Ministry of Education has been sending regular updates and information to us to support us to set up the school as safely as possible. We have put these recommendations in place, where appropriate for our kura, so please read the following information carefully and support us in our endeavour to keep us all safe.
The Ministry of Education has stated that it is a legal requirement that children in Years 4-6 wear a mask indoors. Because we have Year 3 and 4 composite classrooms we are recommending that Year 3 and 4 children do not need to wear a facemask. So, it is only our Years 5 and 6 students and staff that will be required to wear a face mask whilst inside their classrooms. However, any child in the school may wear a mask if they choose.
If your child has a disability or health condition that makes mask wearing unsuitable you can apply for an exemption by applying to one of the agencies listed below. The Ministry of Health website states that you must have a legitimate reason for seeking an exemption.
Disabled Persons Assembly NZ by contacting them on 04 801 9100 or emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org — for disabled people or if you have a health condition
Blind Citizens NZ on 0800 222 694 or emailing them at email@example.com — for blind, deafblind, low vision, and vision-impaired people Deaf Aotearoa by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org — for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing.
If your child has an exemption then please give a copy of this to the office.
It is important that we all support mask wearing to ensure the safety of our children and that of others.
Being such a large roll number in such a small, confined space, it has been difficult to segregate our school population. However, we have managed to ensure that our junior students (Years 0-2) will be separated from the rest of the school during learning times and at break times. I have also advised all my teachers that each classroom needs to act as a separate bubble during learning time, so there will be no classes joining together or large groups of students. Assemblies, syndicate hui and powhiri have been postponed until further notice.
Parents / Visitors on the school premises:
This cannot be reiterated enough:
Please do NOT come onto the school site unless it is absolutely essential.
Exceptions to this rule may include New entrant children being joined for a brief time by a parent or a highly anxious child needing support. If you are one of these exceptions, please in the first instance, phone the office (09 438 3186) for more information. If you do need to come on site, you must wear a face mask, scan the Covid Tracer App or sign in at the office, and limit the time you spend on site to a minimum. You will see these instructions clearly published on posters on each of the three gates (See poster at the end of this newsletter for information).
Research has shown that adults spread Covid-19 faster than children, so it stands to reason that in order to protect our tamariki we need to minimise the number of adults on our school site.
School Opening and Closing Times:
Although school will continue to open at the normal time of 8.00 a.m. we are encouraging you to drop your children off at school at 8.15 a.m. or later to minimise exposure with others in the playground. The school closes at 3.00 p.m. and again, we do not want children left at school unsupervised on the playgrounds, so please ensure your child(ren) is picked up on time. It goes without saying really, but children need to be dropped off and picked up outside our three gates, Cross Street, Bank Street and Apirana Avenue. I know this causes more congestion so please be patient and kind during this time.
It is the responsibility of all whanau / parents and caregivers to ensure that if there is a case of Covid -19 in the family, Whangarei Primary School is informed immediately. Please also check the locations of interest page on the Covid website and follow their advice if you have been present at any of these locations.
It is also the responsibility of all whanau / parents and caregivers to ensure that children stay at home if they are feeling unwell. The initial symptoms of the Omicon variant of Covid-19 are a sore throat and runny nose. If your child presents with these symptoms, you must take them to get a test. Only when a negative result is received can your child return to school.
In the Event of Covid at Whangarei Primary School:
From what we have all heard about Omicron, it is a question of when this will happen and not if it will happen. There really is no stigma attached to this disease - it will happen and we must all ensure we act in a kind, supportive manner throughout this pandemic. Speed of information is vital. When we receive news of a covid case, we will immediately contact the Ministry of Education for support, and then our contract tracing system will come into play. We will endeavour to localise the close contacts, and ensure they self isolate at home. School will stay open unless it is unsafe to do so.
Teachers who are requested to self isolate will continue to teach online, if they feel well enough to do so. If they don’t feel well enough, then learning tasks will be put online by teachers at school for those students learning from home.
Finally, as you will be aware, things change daily, and as cases of Omicron increase significantly in the community, we will be changing our practices to adapt accordingly to the situation. Therefore make sure you continue to read newsletters and updates on the school facebook page, school app or via your emails. These changes will likely come without much notice, and we would appreciate your cooperation, support and consideration during these difficult times.
If you have any further concerns, then please contact the school and speak to Danny Clarkson, Ange Vette or myself.
See you all next week,
Nga mihi nui