Kia ora koutou whanau
Welcome back after what we hope has been a wonderful summer for your whānau.
The Whangarei Primary School staff is feeling refreshed and ready to go for the 2022 year and can’t wait to welcome everyone back onsite. This coming week, teachers are sharing Mathematics PLD with Ngunguru School staff on Tuesday, followed by two more days of preparation and planning at Matapouri on Wednesday and at back at school on Thursday. Students are returning to Whangarei Primary School after Waitangi Day on Tuesday 8 February.
In regard toCOVID-19 we have moved fully into the new traffic light framework for all our school and kura activities and events this year. You will be familiar with all the health measures we will have in place and it is good to know that at Red setting, we are able to support everyone learning onsite.
Events and activities
Large hui and gatherings especially when indoors continue to be one of the riskier activities we can undertake. We have therefore reviewed all our events and activities for the upcoming term to ensure we meet the health guidance for Red. There will be no whole school assemblies, school powhiri or syndicate hui.
We have used the Ministry of Education self-assessment tool to review all our ventilation in readiness for the start of the year. Providing good old fashioned fresh air remains the most important thing we can do in our learning spaces to minimise risk for ākonga and kaiako. We will also be receiving a CO2 monitor in the coming weeks to further support our ventilation plan.
The Ministry of Education has informed me that staff and children in Years 4 – 13 must wear face coverings when inside at school when we are at Red. However, we have also been advised that where Year 3 students are mixed with Year 4 students (composite classes), the school can make the decision about face coverings.
Therefore, the decision that we have made is that only students and staff in Years 5/6 will need to wear a face covering.
This is probably the biggest change that we will experience under the Red light system, and I will be encouraging my Year 5/6 teachers to vary their programmes to incorporate more outdoor education (P.E. / swimming, bikes, reading outside).This way students will not be needing to wear a face covering for long periods of time.
If students in Years 5/6 come to school without a face covering we will have spares to offer them. This is new for all of us and we want to make this as easy a transition as possible.
Finally, any child or teacher is welcome to wear a face covering whilst at school, and staff will ensure that no child is made to feel uncomfortable doing this.
Managing cases in our school
We have a good contact tracing system in place so that if there is a confirmed case who has been at school while infectious, we can quickly identify who was a close contact of that person. We will then quickly advise those contacts of what they need to do.
Only if the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Education advises to do so, would we consider closing a physical onsite school and moving to distance learning for everyone. At Red we will keep everyone learning onsite for as long as we can.
Please make sure your contact details we have on file are up to date, so we can get in touch with you if needed.
Returning to School protocols
One thing we have learned from Covid times is that we need to take each day one at a time. Things can change daily as we receive updates from the government and so please ensure you check all Newsletters and updates for the latest information. I will communicate with you regularly via the school Facebook page, email and school app. Please make sure we have all your correct contact information, including email addresses, as this will ensure you receive the latest information efficiently.
All the normal protocols under Covid will continue to apply to ensure the safest environment for your tamariki:
· Regularly cleaned environments
· Health and hygiene practices – washing hands regularly
· No non-essential visitors to come onsite at school (only parents of anxious children or new entrant students may come onsite for a short while)
· Those parents who do come onsite MUST wear a face covering
· Students to stay at home if feeling unwell and to get tested
· School to be advised immediately if a child or any member of the family is tested positive for Covid
Together we will continue to get through this, remembering the School values of Respect (Manaakitanga), Responsibility (Akonga Tutika), Care (Ngakau Pono) and Courage (Akonga Toa) and living our lives through these uara.
While this might all feel a little overwhelming at times, we know that all these measures will help our children return to school, reconnect with whānau and friends and do what they enjoy.
We are also here to help. Please get in touch if you have any concerns or need help in anyway.
Nga mihi ra