COVID-19 advice to parents

23 March update.  

Dear School Community

Following the government’s announcement, our school will be closed as of tomorrow, 24 March 2020.
We understand that this will be a shock to many of you, however we all are hoping that this forced isolation will increase our ability to deal with the virus as a community.
The teachers have been putting together a plan to be able to continue with lessons for the children.
• Tomorrow (Tuesday) the children’s handwork projects , Main Lesson books and other resources will be available for pickup between 10.00am and 14:00pm. Teachers will be present at these times.
• Weekly plans will be available for each class via email, google docs; whatsapp and messenger depending on the class teacher. The first of these plans will be coming out this Wednesday evening.
• Subsequent plans will come out on Sunday evenings. These plans will include main lesson content, music, verses, numeracy, literacy, stories and crafts.
• There will be a follow up communication on Wednesdays and Fridays to gauge progress and to receive work to be marked.
This is obviously a work in progress and new to all of us and so we ask for your patience and understanding as we develop it.

Any queries can be directed to the Class teacher concerned.

Nga Mihi
Margot D’Hondt

 

 

19 March 2020

Dear School, Kindergarten,
Playgroup supporting community, 

As the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic
progresses, we are getting regular advice and updates from different Government
Departments. This email summarises that advice and sets out our response to the
pandemic so that you can make informed decisions to keep your whanau safe. It
also gives you our assessment of the associated risks to our organisation from
this pandemic so that you can make your decisions in the context of the potential
consequences for our community.

The focus of our decision making is to maintain the
health of your children and family, while continuing their education in as
normal a manner as possible.

Preventing the spread

We
have a role in preventing the spread of COVID-19 through: 

  • Awareness: ensuring everyone knows the symptoms and where to get good information: Call Healthline (for free) on a new dedicated 0800 number specifically for health-related calls about COVID-19 (0800 358 5453) at any time.
  • Vigilance: ensuring all students and staff stay away if feeling ill. Extra consideration needs to be given to those vulnerable to respiratory illness (please contact the Kindergarten or Lower School Offices if your child is vulnerable to respiratory illness).
  • Good hygiene: hand washing and drying, good cough and sneeze etiquette. Please support these measures at home too! 
  • Social distancing: limiting physical contact for adults and older children: no handshakes, hongi or hugging. Younger children will continue to receive the contact and reassurance they need.  
  • Self-isolating: for anyone unwell or anyone who has been advised by health authorities that they have been in close contact with someone confirmed as having COVID-19.
  • Limiting non-essential gatherings: including camps and parent education evenings. 
  • Cleaning our community spaces thoroughly: for the time being, we continue to rely on parents cleaning our Kindergarten and School. For the wellbeing of our whole community, please make sure you do your job well and clean all the surfaces listed on the cleaning instructions. We have adequate supplies of cleaning materials. Please see the Kindergarten and School office if you have specific concerns.

These measures will help us play our part in the
resolution of this public health crisis.

Student wellbeing

Teachers are working hard to ensure that all children
and students continue to have a healthy and safe physical and emotional
environment at school and Kindergarten.  

The
advice below, about supporting our children’s wellbeing during the pandemic, is
from the Early Childhood section of Steiner Education Aotearoa New Zealand
(SEANZ) so it is particularly relevant for younger children – but all of us can
find some wisdom here:

  • Find out what children know before answering questions. If your children don’t know about Covid 19 you may choose not to add unnecessary anxiety into their lives. If on the other hand they have somehow developed a distorted view it’s a good time to reframe it into something manageable and understandable.
  • The first step is to process your own anxiety. Please remember that Covid 19 is less infectious than measles, and usually has mild symptoms in children. Your inner attitude and calm will add to children’s wellbeing.
  • Turn off the TV and radio and keep adult conversations for later. The news and social media is inclined to add anxiety and distort current public health advice.
  • Make your information sharing is age-appropriate. Here’s an example. ‘It’s a new kind of flu.  It is making some people sick. People who are sick are being looked after. I am looking after you.
  • Extra hugs at home is an important antidote to social distancing.
  • Repeat rather than elaborate key messages. Children often repeat questions when they need reassurance. Keeping the messages consistent helps them to trust the communication.
  • Put extra focus on your family rhythms or start a new tradition. Rhythm is a security blanket for children.
  • Give young children plenty of time to play. Children process and digest their experiences through play.

Preparing for potential school/kindergarten closures 

We are following the Ministry of Education and
Ministry of Health advice, which to date has only directed temporary school
closures for schools where a student or staff member has tested positive for
COVID-19.

There is a middle path between closure, and business
as usual, which we are following. We have reduced school activities to the
minimum of classroom instruction only, with no large gatherings. This strategy
reduces the possibility of transmissions within the school itself. At this
stage, Playgroup, Kindergarten and School will continue to be open on this
minimal function basis and we will remain so until we receive either a
recommendation or a directive to close from the Ministry of Education or
another Government Department or Agency. 

In the event of the School, Kindergarten and Playgroup
closing, we will inform parents by email, a notice on our website, and where
possible, a phone call from the relevant office. 

We need up to date emergency contact details for each
child enrolled at school or Kindergarten. Please make it your responsibility to
ensure that the information recorded on your child’s enrolment is up to date
and correct. 

We are also exploring the possibility that Lower
School students could receive some lesson content remotely. There will be more
information on this at a later date.

International families/overseas international travel

  • Members of our community should voluntarily stay at
    home if they have travelled to a country or area of
    concern
    in recent weeks. 
  • As of Monday 16th March 2020, every person entering
    New Zealand from anywhere in the world apart from the Pacific will be required
    to self-isolate for 14 days and register with Healthline (0800 358 5453).
    Margot D’Hondt as the signatory to the Code of Practice has already anticipated
    and adopted these measures. She is responsible for ensuring all International
    Students visitors comply with this regulation. Please contact her if you have
    any specific concerns. 
  • These additional measures are temporary and will be
    reviewed on 31 March 2020. 

Funding

As
an organisation, our main cost is teachers’ salaries.  Our budgets are currently very stretched as we
build a new campus and transition to state-integration. 

  • In the Lower School, we will be able to pay staff
    salaries as long as student numbers are stable and families continue to pay
    fees.  Please contact Mauricio Lloreda if you have concerns about
    continuing your financial commitments to the School. 
  • At Kindergarten our revenue is based on the number of
    hours children attend. If a child is absent for more than three weeks, funding
    for that child ceases (that rule may be relaxed for families self-isolating on
    the advice from the Department of Health). The number of children currently
    enrolled in Kindergarten in Term 1 does not cover our staffing costs. We expect
    further enrolments in Term 2. We will be able to pay staff salaries as long as
    these enrolments occur and we do not lose funding for families who self-isolate
    for over 3 weeks. Please contact Lis McCracken if you have any concerns about
    your child’s attendance at Kindergarten. 
  • We are also exploring what Government emergency
    financial assistance we may be able to access if the need arises. 

A community response

In
this time of change and uncertainty we will:

  • Look after each other; 
  • Teach and reinforce preventive measures;
  • Communicate transparently about any COVID-19 infections
    that may occur in our community;
  • Follow up with parents of children and students that
    may be absent to check in about their health and welfare;
  • Reinforce messages about social support and inclusion;
  • Support people who contract the virus; and
  • Support people who are worried about friends or
    relatives. 

Where to find more information 

If you would like any more information about this
pandemic plan please contact Margot D’Hondt or Lis McCracken.  We will
continue to update our pandemic procedures as advice is received.

If you would like information about the financial
implications for the organisation, please contact Mauricio Lloreda.  

For more information please see:

The Ministry of Health: COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)

The Ministry of Education: COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) | Education in
New Zealand

Anyone concerned is advised to contact Healthline on 0800 358
5453, their GP, or refer to the Ministry of Education website – COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) | Education in
New Zealand

We wish to thank our wonderful community for their
support and understanding as we all navigate uncharted territory! 

Management Coordinators Group: Lis McCracken, Margot
D’Hondt, Maurico Lloreda and Peter Garlick.  

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