Kia ora whānau
Here are a few relevant updates for you regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. I will not repeat anything that is already in the media but instead clarify the impact, if any, on RSS at this stage.
- Our fully updated pandemic action plan is already being implemented as required and as per Ministry of Education advice.
- We continue to focus on good hygiene practices. Hand washing and good cough and sneeze etiquette continue to be very important tools in preventing the spread of illness including colds, flu and COVID-19.
- School camp guidelines have been provided by the Ministry. As our Year 5/6 school camp is some time away yet, no decision has been made if it will be cancelled. This decision will be made with advice from the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education alongside guidance from our and Camp Makahika’s pandemic action plans.
- School assemblies and hui are on hold for the time being. This is inline with current advice from the Ministry.
- At this stage, we will still plan on holding our learning conferences in week 11. We will let you know asap if this changes.
- If the school closes we will immediately put notifications out on SchoolStream, Seesaw and our school website.
- Continuation of learning – if RSS needs to close there are strong indications that the Ministry will expect us to continue learning online with your children. We are exploring exactly what that may look like and will let you know our plans as they evolve.
- This is also a great time to ensure we have your up-to-date contact details. If you have changed your home phone, mobile or email recently, we need to know. Please contact Ag or Rachelle in the office to update and/or check what we have on record.
- Social distancing is another effective strategy to use to prevent the spread of disease and illness. The Ministry of Eduction acknowledge that it is hard to implement in primary schools. However, we would appreciate you discussing and explaining this approach at home with your children to compliment what we are reinforcing at school. More info below re this strategy.
- Early Easter school holidays?? This approach has not featured in any communications to the school from either the Ministry of Education or the Ministry of Health. If this is a strategy the Government employs, I will let you know asap to assist with your planning (and ours!).
Finally, we can all be vigilant about our own health and the health of our children. I will be encouraging my staff to stay away from school if they are showing signs of illness such as coughs and colds.
I ask that you please do the same with your children. Colds and flus are common in schools and by staying away, seeking medical attention and practicing good hygiene, we can all keep any spread of illness to a minimum.
Ngā mihi, Nick
In primary schools social distancing may be difficult to achieve, but any raising of awareness or any level of compliance will be useful.
Social distancing is a strategy to protect staff and students during a pandemic by minimising their contact with others. Events involving large gatherings should be avoided, whether inside or outside. A distance of at least one metre should be maintained between people wherever practical. The Ministry of Health has the following suggestions for minimising contact, but you will need to decide which of these measures are practicable:
- Where possible avoid meeting people face-to-face – use the telephone, video conferencing and the internet to conduct business as much as possible – even when participants are in the same building.
- Avoid any unnecessary travel and cancel or postpone non-essential meetings, gatherings, workshops or training sessions.
- Avoid public transport: walk, cycle, drive a car or go early or late to avoid rush hour crowding on public transport.
- Bring lunch and eat away from others (avoid the staffroom and crowded cafes). Introduce staggered lunchtimes and morning teas to reduce numbers in the staffroom. Consider how the school cafeteria or tuck shop should be managed.
- Do not congregate in staffrooms or other areas where people socialise. Do what needs to be done and then leave the area.
- If a face-to-face meeting with people is unavoidable, minimise the meeting time, choose a large meeting room and sit at least one metre away from each other if possible. Avoid shaking hands or hugging. Consider holding meetings via conference call or outside.
- Set up systems where families and staff can request information via phone, email or fax and have information ready for fast pick-up or delivery.
- Encourage students and staff to avoid recreational or other leisure classes or meetings where they might come into contact with infectious people.