Kia ora koutou,
Minister Hipkins has confirmed that all our students in Years 11 to 13 are able to return onsite from Tuesday 26 October.
This is very good news as we know how important face-to-face support and engagement will be for our senior students so that they can complete their studies and continue to the next level.
Although more students will be onsite, our region remains at Alert Level 3 and we know there are active cases in our region.
Therefore, we will be following all the public health measures that are required so that we can keep everyone onsite (and their whānau) as safe as possible.
From the start of this outbreak vaccination rates have been climbing steadily and Aucklanders are doing a wonderful job to get vaccinated. As of 18 October, 89% of eligible Aucklanders have received one dose of the vaccine, and 71% their second dose. At the start of the current outbreak those numbers were 42% and 25% respectively.
Higher vaccine rates, including in those aged 12-19 are one reason why we are able to bring our senior students onsite now.
Public Health has also advised that they consider that with the other public health measures that are being put in place, including the requirement to wear face coverings for Years 9-13, the risk of infection is low at school.
The greater risk for transmission will come from travel to and from school, including from any behaviours such as students congregating outside school on their way to and from home, and by any ignoring of the health measures we all need to follow in our region.
Public health experts at the Ministry of Health have reviewed our existing health requirements needed to operate at Alert Level 3 (for those small numbers of students we already have on-site). These include:
· children who are unwell must stay at home and get tested for COVID-19
· children at higher risk of severe illness remain home, where possible
· mandatory mask wearing on site at all times for staff and students in Years 9-13 (indoors and outdoors)
· only essential visitors will be permitted onsite – visitors are asked to wear a face covering when onsite
· parents are not permitted on site unless they are collecting a child from the sickbay
· good hand hygiene and cough and sneeze etiquette
· classrooms to be well ventilated
· high touch surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected each day
· physical distancing will be adhered to wherever practicable, particularly between adults
· physical distancing of two metres will be in place from people we don’t know
· QR code posters for the COVID app will be displayed
· a contact tracing register in place for everyone coming onsite including students and staff, through the attendance register, timetable and visitor register.
Our staff will be reiterating practices that are in place to ensure the safety of our school community with students in their P1 class on Tuesday.
To support the return of our senior students, the additional measures that have been agreed by Cabinet to apply at Alert Level 3, based on public health advice are:
· face coverings will be required on school transport for people aged 12 and over
· time outdoors for students and staff will be maximised, including breaks, lunchtime, before and after school (unless the weather does not allow), and rooms will be aired during breaks
· exercising will take place outdoors
You can be confident that this approach is designed to keep children, teachers and our community as safe as possible. It is important everybody continues to play their part. Please follow all the Alert Level 3 requirements – stay at home if you are unwell, get tested if you have any symptoms, even mild ones, maintain your bubble, and keep track of where you have been. Please do support everyone you know who is eligible to get vaccinated.
School timetable from Tuesday, 26 October – Day 5
9 am P1
10 am P2
11 am Break
Please note that the school cafeteria will be closed and students must bring their own food and drink to school. Food is not to be shared.
Students not returning to school
We understand that there will be some students who are unable to return to school on-site due to health/personal reasons and will need to continue with their learning online. Please contact your year level dean to advise whether your child will not be returning on Tuesday:
Next week, we will be in contact to confirm how you can update us on the vaccination status of your students.
It has been a long and interesting week, but we look forward to a fresh start on Tuesday. Have an enjoyable and safe long weekend.