COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)

Update  – 12 MAY 2020

Alert Level 2 at St Albans School 

Kia ora whānau, 

Thank you all for your patience in waiting for information regarding the school’s plan to return to school under Alert Level 2. 

Yesterday Jacinda Ardern announced that New Zealand will be moving into Alert Level 2 and schools will open on Monday 18th May for all students. This is great news for our students, staff and families.

Many thanks to all those families who completed the recent survey. It was heartening to see all the students who are excited to be coming back to school. This information has really assisted us with our planning. We do not need to hear from you if you have changed your mind about your child/children returning to school, as we will return to recording daily attendance.

Schooling under Alert Level 2 is not business as usual. While it is safe for students to be back onsite, we still have to take practical steps, aligned with public health measures, to ensure that we are doing everything we can to reduce the risk of any infection occurring in our school. 

Learning Spaces

There is no bubble concept at Alert Level 2 so there are no restrictions on groups of students mixing with others on site. However, physical distancing is a good precaution to prevent the spread of disease. Students and staff should be far enough away from each other so that they are not breathing on or touching each other. There does not need to be a specific measurement.

To ensure we can provide extra space for students and staff Kererū 13 and Kererū 14 will be relocating to the hall. Kererū South will then make use of the entire central learning space.

We are also going to limit the number of visitors in the School Office to ‘one in and one out’. A staff member will meet you at the door to assist with your query and grant access if required.

Pick Up and Drop Off

Students will not be allowed to enter the grounds before 8:30am. 

Some schools are asking whānau not to come on site. We have thought long and hard about this and we understand that reconnecting is not just about students and teachers, it is also about whānau. Our solution for this is:

  • If your child is feeling confident and comfortable… please ‘drop and go’ at one of the entry points.(see below)
  • If your child requires support to come back on site please have one adult per family to complete the drop off and pick up. 

During Alert Level 2 there will be no parent or visitor access to the learning spaces and we ask that you remain outside. An exception to this will be our students starting at St Albans School for the first time. Contact tracing information will be recorded separately for this group.

Access to Site

Students will not be allowed to enter the grounds before 8:30am. 

Some schools are asking whānau not to come on site. We have thought long and hard about this and we understand that reconnecting is not just about children and teachers, it is also about whānau. Our solution for this is:

DROP OFF

  • If your child is feeling confident and comfortable… please ‘drop and go’ at one of the entry points.
  • If your child requires support to come back on site please have one person accompany them. There will be no access to the learning spaces and we ask that you remain outside. Staff will meet children outside spaces and record who has dropped them off (this is a Ministry requirement).
  • An exception to this will be our new entrant students starting school for the first time. Contact tracing information will be recorded separately for this group.
  • Students can bring their own scooters and bikes. 

PICK UP

  • If your child is feeling confident and comfortable… please confirm which of the entry points you will meet them at.
  • If you come onsite to pick up your child please stay outside the learning area and staff will bring the children out, once again recording that you have been on site.

ENTRY POINTS TO SCHOOL

We will be creating three points of entry, all other gates will remain locked.

1. Sheppard Place entry next to the office

2. Gates next to the two-storied block

3. Westminster Street entrance

We will have staff at these entry points before and after school. Anyone entering the site must sanitise their hands.

If you are on-site please maintain distance from any other children or adults while on the school grounds. Please do not gather on the school site during this time, move off-site for social catch-ups.

Contact Tracing

Under Alert Level 2 a register of all people on site is required for contact tracing. In schools our contact tracing is a combination of our attendance register, visitor register and record of parents/whānau who come to site. 

Sick Children

Over the coming months we are going to need your support in keeping all sick children away from school. The Ministry of Health guidelines are very clear: Parents are asked to keep any sick children at home. If a sick child comes to school, we have been instructed to send them home. Students and staff who become unwell with symptoms of Covid 19 virus during the school day will be sent home and a Covid-19 swab and result will be required before they return to school (this is in line with National Guidelines). 

Hygiene Practices, Additional Cleaning and Touch Reduction Strategies

We will continue to model good hygiene practices (coughing into your elbow, handwashing and drying) and regular cleaning of commonly touched surfaces. 

  • Hand sanitiser at all door entries and entrance ways to toilets; students and staff will use this hand sanitiser each time they enter the space.
  • Students will wash their hands before leaving the space and when eating food. Younger students will be supervised by staff.
  • Gates and doors will be open at the beginning and end of the day to avoid touching handles.
  • Hand cleaning reminders will be placed on each entry door.
  • Soap and towel supplies maintained in all toilets.
  • Each hub has a cleaning kit that allows them to sanitise spaces throughout the school day as required. 
  • Parents are asked to provide their children with a pencil case with named pens, pencils, an eraser etc, and where possible a device.
  • Office counter and eftpos machine will be cleaned and sanitised regularly.
  • Cleaners will complete daily cleans in line with the Ministry of Health guidelines.
  • PPE not required or recommended as necessary in any educational facility by the Public Health Service.

Returning Devices and Device Use

Children who return at Level 2 must bring their loaned device back with them (if they were given one). Return stations will be set up next to the open entry points. School devices will be allocated to student pairs or small groups for those without a personal device. If a shared device is to be used, hand washing is required. Devices will be cleaned at the end of each day.

In the Playground

  • Physical education classes and break time activities can include access to sports equipment including playgrounds but hygiene practice should be observed before and after playing with equipment. 
  • Drinking fountains will remain turned off. Students will need a named drink bottle at school. 

Movement In and Out of School

Although there are no health restrictions in gathering the school together, for the time being we have made the decision not to hold full school or large hub assemblies for the remainder of Term 2. We have also postponed or cancelled all trips off-site.

Reporting to Parents in Term 2

When students return to school in Alert Level 2 their wellbeing will be our number one priority before any academic learning and assessment takes place. Reports and parent-teacher interviews will be scheduled in Term 3. Teachers will use Term 2 to gather up to date information and evidence to help them make informed decisions of their learners’ next steps and identify individual learning goals. Parents are welcome to make an appointment with teachers, should they have a need.

On-Site and Remote Learning Programmes

Our goal for the start of Level 2 is to ‘Reset and Reconnect’ with a strong focus on wellbeing. The remote learning programme will be our ‘School from Home’ programme on the school’s website. There will be no Zoom check-ins or daily templates.

Road Closures 

Westminster Street will be closed at both sides of Cranford Street intersection from Monday 4 May for approximately 4 weeks at all times of the day and night. Detours will be in place.

Oakleaf Cafe

This will be closed to the community under Alert Level 2.

School Uniform

Either summer or winter uniform is acceptable.

What if you are needing to go back to work prior to Monday 18th May?

Under Alert Level 3, we have had a small number of students who have needed to be supervised at school because their parents have had to physically return to work. This week our school will be operating under Alert Level 3 all week, despite the level drop scheduled for Thursday and Friday. If you are needing to return to work, and can’t find an alternative arrangement, please contact me directly and we can discuss your needs. We are unable to accept students onsite without prior discussion/arrangement. This is a Ministry of Health requirement.

Staff Preparation – Friday 15 May
Most of our staff have been working from home during this period and will be back onsite this Friday 15 May for a Staff Only Day. This is a day to prepare for returning to school on Monday 18th May. Distance Learning will continue on this day, but there will be no contact by teachers. The ‘Alert Level 3 Student Bubbles’ will also continue as normal on this day.

Key Action Points for Whānau:

  • Only enter the site if necessary and complete the contact tracing register 
  • Named water bottle
  • Pencil case
  • Personal device (if available)
  • Return the loaned school device (fully charged)

We are really looking forward to seeing all the students on Monday. If we all do our bit to keep everyone safe, we will get through this. I really appreciate all your continued support and patience. 

Ngā mihi,

Ginnie Warren

Principal – Tumuaki

Update 29 April COVID-19 Information for Whānau

Kia ora Whānau,

Tomorrow we have twenty-eight children returning to a very different, highly distanced and sanitised version of ‘school’. We have prepared our spaces to fulfil the many requirements outlined in documentation from both the Ministries of Health and Education, as we have parents who are essential workers or are in jobs where they have had return to their workplace’s physical site to fulfil their responsibilities. 

We have had overwhelming support from our school community during both Alert Level 4 and Alert Level 3 and I wanted to say thank you to you all. I understand that for many of you keeping your children at home during Level 3 is not an as easy task as you have multiple responsibilities to juggle. Our staff will continue to support you through their delivery of our ‘School from Home Remote Learning Programme’.

Please note – the school site continues to be closed to members of the public during Alert Level 3. Gates have been locked and new signage installed. 

Stay safe and we will hopefully see a return some greater normality soon.

Ngā mihi,
Ginnie Warren

Update 21 April COVID-19 Information for Whānau

Kia ora koutou,

We hope that Term 2 and our distance learning programme has been a success for you so far. We know there will have been any number of challenges for you to deal with but we have been getting some great feedback about the learning that is happening and thank you for all your support.

Yesterday the Government decided that we will move into Alert Level 3 on 28 April. That means we will be open to receive students from Wednesday 29 April but only for those families who genuinely cannot keep children at home.

Whilst the initial messaging from the Government was a little ambiguous in nature, the follow-up communications from the Government, Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education have been very clear: 

If you are in a position to keep your child(ren) at home then you must keep them at home. 

During Alert Level 3, parents should continue to work at home if they can, and; should continue, where they can, to keep their children at home, and continue to minimise travel and contacts. This is the safest measure – maintain your ‘bubble’.  At Alert Level 3, it is also possible to slightly expand your ‘bubble’ by bringing in another adult family member or caregiver to allow children to be cared for at home. Teachers will continue to provide home-school learning programmes. 

For children whose parents, caregivers, and other adults in their family bubble, ALL have to work away from home and are unable to make alternative arrangements for their care – supervision at school will be available.

This directive is simply to ensure that we are maintaining appropriate levels of health and safety whilst supporting families who need supervision for their children to enable them to physically return to their workplaces under Alert Level 3. We have been given some very specific public health measures that we need to adhere to within our partial re-opening in order to keep our families, children and staff safe. 

To help us prepare for the school to partially reopen we need to get an accurate figure of the number of children that will be returning under Alert Level 3. To help us do this, please complete the brief online survey by 9.00 am tomorrow (Wednesday 22 April). 

Survey Link 

We are asking that all families complete this survey please even if you do not fall into the Alert Level 3 return to work bracket. This will ensure that we have not missed any students and have enough staff members onsite to supervise bubbles. 

As soon as we have an accurate figure of the number of children who will be attending school we will be sharing more details about how the school logistically will operate under Alert Level 3. 

This week we are able to re-enter the school site and start making preparations for use. This will involve cleaning, security, maintenance, safety checks, equipment checks, staff briefings and planning for Level 3 protocols.

To reiterate:
• Parents/whānau who can keep their children at home should keep them at home
• School will only be open for some children
• Children who are unwell must stay at home
• This will not be normal schooling

Together we will get through this challenging period. Further information will be communicated as soon as it becomes available.

Thank you for your support.

Ngā mihi,
The St Albans School Board of Trustees

Update 17 April COVID-19 Information for Whānau


Kia ora whānau, 

Thank you for all you are doing and will continue to do, while we remain at Alert Level 4. We understand it’s not always easy when many of you are also juggling pre-schoolers, secondary school learners, work commitments and other day to day pressures. 

Yesterday the Government made an announcement regarding the principles of what would occur should New Zealand move to Alert Level 3.  The Education sector is seeking clarification on what ‘voluntary attendance’ means. 

Planning for what a return to school could look like commenced some time ago and we expect government announcements to be made on Monday; this will be followed by guidance from the Ministry of Education. 

Following that, we will need more information from you. To assist in our planning, we will be sending you a short survey next week. This data will help us to plan for the correct ratios of teachers at school, and teachers who will continue to support distance learning. Both programmes will be the same, whether your child is attending school or learning from home.

We will be working hard to ensure all practicable steps are in place before school re-opens. Once we have all the information, we will be in touch with you regarding what learning will look like at Alert Level 3 and how we will support the return to school. 

Ngā mihi,

The St Albans School Board of Trustees

Update 3 April 2020

Kia ora whānau,

Today’s communication focuses on safety!

A reminder that no one should access our school site
Alert Level 4 means New Zealanders not working in essential services must stay at home and stop all physical interactions with others outside of their household. This means no one may access our St Albans School site to make use of the playground field or astroturf areas, basketball hoops and hockey goals.

Keeping children safe online
As children are making greater use of online activities, we encourage you to discuss internet safety with your children – of all ages. Having a shared agreement with your children in regards to what they can do online, including sites they can visit and appropriate behaviours including:

• reviewing and approving games and apps before they are downloaded
• reviewing privacy settings of sites and applications
• checking children’s profiles and what they are posting online
• check the sites your child is accessing
• reminding children that anything that is posted online will be permanently on the internet
• taking the time to understand what sites they are visiting and who they are talking with and check in regularly
• some social media sites have age restrictions to join, check these before letting your child use them or join them
• monitoring a child’s use of the internet and consider having them use it in an open, common area of the house
• making sure your children know to report any activity they don’t feel comfortable with to parents and caregivers straight away.

Netsafe continues to be our community with support for online safety. They have information for parents and caregivers and have pulled together their top tips for online safety during the lockdown.

To report an incident to Netsafe – https://www.netsafe.org.nz/reportanincident/

If you think a child in your care is the victim of online exploitation or abuse, report it to Police – if you or a child are in danger or a crime is being committed, call 111 or visit your nearest Police Station immediately.

If we all work together to make sure children are safe online, we can make the internet a great tool for people of all ages.

Stay safe in your bubble!

Ngā mihi,

Ginnie

Update 1 April 2020

Kia ora whānau,

I thought this information from the Ministry of Health regarding Flutracking would be of interest.

Flutracking is an online survey which asks if you have had a fever or cough in the last week and which can help us track COVID-19.  Registering online will help our surveillance efforts by providing early detection of community spread of the flu and also of COVID-19 symptoms.

The Ministry of Health encourages people to register online at https://info.flutracking.net/

This is a practical thing everyone can do to help us monitor flu and COVID-19 symptoms throughout NZ.

Stay safe,

Ginnie

Update 27 March 2020

Kia ora whānau,

I hope you are all well. I imagine this nation-wide period of isolation is taking a while to adjust to; it certainly is for me. As you know, we developed our ‘School from Home’ site to support you during this time. Many of you are accessing this, and many of you are also thinking of a myriad of creative ways to support learning. 

I want to share these clips from Nathan Wallis, New Zealand’s renowned neuroscience educator. Nathan gives an insight into what to focus on in these early days.

Next week is the start of the two weeks of NZ school holidays, as they have been brought forward. Therefore there will be no school/home learning coming out from us. Teachers will be having a break from teaching while catching up on their other tasks such as lesson planning, assessments, comments and goals on STAr, resource making etc., as they usually do in the school holiday breaks. This is also a time when they can look after their own families and focus on their personal wellbeing.

After today, until Wednesday 15th April (after the Easter break), please do not email teachers unless it is urgent. On the 15th, they will be back on board with providing school/home learning material, ideas and communications.

If you do need help or support in the meantime, please email me, and I will help if I can.

Finally, here are some reminders we have been asked to share:

  • If the virus is left unchecked it will have an unacceptable toll on New Zealanders
  • Staying at home will break the chain and save lives
  • Breaking the rules could risk someone close to you
  • If the rules are not complied with, this could risk the lock down period being extended or could risk the virus being spread to thousands
  • Success will not be instant. The benefit of actions taken today will not be felt for many days to come. People need to expect the numbers to continue rising, because they will. Modelling indicates that New Zealand could have several thousand cases before today’s measures have an impact. However, if everyone sticks to the rules there will be change over time.
  • Act like you have COVID-19. Every move you make could be a risk to someone else. That is how New Zealanders must collectively think now.
  • All New Zealanders are urged to be calm, be kind, stay at home
  • If people have no explanation of why they are outside the Police will remind them of their obligations and can take enforcement actions if they feel it is necessary
  • New Zealanders will want to do the right thing. The Government is being as clear as they can on the guidance and Police will be working with people to help them understand.
  • Government’s goal is to keep people connected to their employer through the wage subsidy, and if that was not happening then they have the backup mechanism of the welfare system.
  • In regard to those overseas – even under the most difficult of circumstances – New Zealand is their home.

Kia kaha everyone, we can do this.

Ngā mihi

Ginnie Warren

Update 24 March 2020

Kia ora whānau

School Holidays Brought Forward

The Ministry of Education has informed us that the school holidays are being brought forward so that they are completed within the 4 week isolation period. Holidays will now begin from Monday 30 March to Tuesday 14 April inclusive (a reminder that the Tuesday after Easter Monday is always a closed day for schools). 

This change means we have two weeks to rest and adjust to this situation before we deliver daily home learning. Rest assured that we do have a plan and will communicate that out to you as/when we have more information confirmed.

At the end of the school holidays, schools will be open for distance learning but not physically open for staff to work at the schools.

Please note the instruction to stay home (Alert Level 4) will continue beyond the new school holiday period but schools will be technically open for distance instruction. Teachers will be working offsite.

For the remainder of this week we encourage you to adjust to this new situation and to make use of our School from Home learning site which is on the St Albans School website.

Changes to Term One Reporting

In response to the holiday period being brought forward, we have moved our term one reporting and STAr will now go live on Friday 24th April.

In the meantime, please stay safe and follow the government’s guidelines to help us enter a recovery phase as quickly as possible.

Ngā mihi, Ginnie Warren

Update 23 March 2020

Communication for Whānau

You may have heard the breaking news from our Prime Minister. We have moved to Alert Level 3 and will move to Alert Level 4 by midnight Wednesday. (Learn more here about the Alert System)

Schools will close from tomorrow except for children of people who work in identified front line services (Police, Doctors, Nurses). If you are a front line service worker please notify your child’s home base teacher if you require supervision tomorrow.

Key Messages from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern 

  • Community transmission is a possibility in New Zealand now. She said, “staying at home is essential”.
  • All non-essential businesses must close in 48 hours. This includes bars, restaurants, cinemas, playgrounds. Essential services will remain open.
  • All indoor and outdoor events are banned.
  • All of these measures will remain in place for about four weeks. The government will have zero tolerance for people ignoring these restrictions, and police will be used to enforce them if required.

Don’t worry about home learning tomorrow, take time to be with your family and allay fears. We will make contact soon with further information.

Take care of one another and let kindness lead the way.

Kia kaha,

Ginnie and the team

Update 18 March 2020

Dear Whānau,

The Government has today issued a request that travellers who arrived or returned back into New Zealand from overseas in the last two weeks self-isolate for 14 days from the date of their arrival in New Zealand, even if they arrived before it became a requirement. 

Previously the Government had introduced a requirement that anyone entering New Zealand after 1am Monday 16 March (other than those travelling from the Pacific Islands) has to undergo a mandatory 14-day self-isolation period.   The Government is now asking that people who came into New Zealand since March 4 put themselves in voluntary self-isolation. 

The Board of Trustees is strongly urging any whānau who fall into this category – that is, anyone who has arrived back from overseas travel since 4 March – to stay at home until 14 days after their return date.  If this affects you, please contact the school (via the St Albans School app or by phoning the office on 355 9132) to let us know the reason for your child’s absence from school.

As always, if any children are displaying any signs of illness, we ask that they be kept away from school to avoid spreading illness to other children and staff.

Thank you for your understanding and co-operation.

Ngā mihi,

The St Albans School Board of Trustees

Update 16 March 2020

Kia ora whānau,

Our government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has ramped up over the weekend with the Prime Minister giving the country a clear direction… ‘we must go hard, and we must go early’.

This morning meetings have been held with the Board of Trustees Chairperson and key health and safety representatives. We have developed additional preventative measures for our school. Some of these actions may feel ‘over the top’, but we take your children’s safety very seriously and believe that it’s easier to peel the layers back than add them under pressure.

New measures:

  • Self-isolation for all travellers is a must for 14 days. Please contact the school and let us know that you are in self-isolation.
  • If you choose to self-isolate as a precautionary measure, please inform the school.
  • From tomorrow we will turn off our water fountains. We ask that you send a NAMED water bottle to school with your child from tomorrow and every day until further notice. 
  • We will not have whole school assemblies until further notice, and we will also be limiting our hub assemblies to staff and students only. No visitors, please. Staff will photograph children getting certificates and add these to blogs (for those with media permissions).
  • Reinforce the importance of effective hand washing – here’s Nanogirl’s video that uses science to teach children why they need soap to wash their hands. https://youtu.be/2eqhw6yZk-cAll school trips will proceed this week. We will look at this every day as more information comes to light. 
  • From tomorrow and until further notice morning tea will return to eat first, allowing children to wash their hands before and after food. Timing will be 10.30 eat, then play at 10.35 (those children who require longer to eat can stay seated and continue eating).
  • If school closes, we will initiate ‘School from Home’ providing you with both online and offline options learning activities. We recommend to families to have a kit at home in case school closed: stationery, art supplies, dice, whiteboard and markers.
  • Our school swimming pool will close tomorrow instead of Sunday.
  • New signage will go up on our gates reminding whānau to keep children at home if they are unwell.
  • The Prime Minister has stated that we should try not to handshake, hug or hongi – we will all do our best here.

Ngā mihi,

Ginnie

12 March 2020

This morning we awoke to the news that the coronavirus ‘outbreak’ has been officially declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation.

Over the past few days we have been working on a pandemic plan to ensure we are prepared should this become a reality for Christchurch. We are waiting for further information and recommendations from the Ministry of Education and anticipate receiving this soon. 

Effective communication relies upon us having your up-to-date contact details. Please take this opportunity to update your mobile number with the school if it has changed since the beginning of the year. You can do this via the website by clicking on ‘Update Details’.  This will send an email to the administration team.

Preventative Measures

  • We continue to promote handwashing and drying, use of hand sanitiser and coughing into the crook of the arm.
  • We have shared with you a special message around regular preventative health measures, such as the washing of hands and the avoidance of touching faces, together with the possible requirement for self-isolation following overseas travel.
  • We have increased our cleaning programme, which now involves the daily disinfection of high use areas, e.g., door handles and taps
  • We have hand sanitiser available in every classroom and other key areas.
  • Rubbish bins are being emptied twice daily.
  • We have an isolation area set up should it be required and have developed protocols for handling unwell students, staff or whānau. 
  • We are setting up additional cleaning kits for all hubs.
  • We encourage students to use their own water bottles and have discussed the safe use of water taps with the children.

It is important that whānau:

  • Keep children at home if they are unwell.
  • Pick children up promptly if we make contact with you.

Family Travel

  • If a member of your whānau comes home from overseas travel and is required to self-isolate, please avoid contact with your family as much as possible.
  • Within the next week, we will be setting up an online form which parents/caregivers must use to register any overseas family travel. Decisions will be made by the school at the point of return regarding the requirement for self-isolation for a 14-day period, depending on the countries visited and transited through.

Closure of the School

A decision to close schools, if it became necessary, would be made by the Ministry of Health and would be communicated immediately to all whānau. Should we have to close the school the following methods of communication will be used:

  • A message on the homepage of the website (www.stalbans.school.nz ) advising of this status
  • School App alert
  • Email and text via STAr
  • These radio stations will be contacted by the school:
  • More FM (frequency 92.1)
  • Newstalk ZB (frequency 100.1)

Keeping Children Occupied – ‘School at Home’

Hub blogs and curriculum blogs offer a range of learning activities and can be accessed via our website.

Let’s continue to work together to stay safe!

1 March 2020

COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) update for St Albans Whānau

Kia ora whānau,

During the weekend there has been much media coverage on this topic.

You may be wondering what St Albans School is doing to plan and prepare for an event like this.

The Ministries of Education and Health have been providing excellent communications to school principals on this issue for the last few weeks.

If you have checked our Pandemic Planning Policy on-line you will have seen that school-specific content is no longer there. Instead, we will follow the daily updates from the Ministry of Education and Health.

Attached are several key messages we would appreciate you reading carefully.

Here are two links for those who wish to read more.

Let’s come together as a community and keep one another safe.

Ngā mihi
Ginnie

Please read these ‘Key Messages

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