Firstly let me thank you for your patience during this time, we understand how frustrating it can be waiting for information. By now you will have no doubt heard the news that New Zealand will move into level 3 at 11:59pm on the 27th April. You will also be aware that schools will open for Year 9 and 10 students on the 29th April. The purpose of this letter is to clarify information that will help you understand what school will look like for students who choose to study from the physical school environment. If you have not already responded, could you please complete the Google form (link) that outlines your decision around attendance during stage 3.
What will school look like during Level 3?
- Students are to enter and exit the school via the bus bay each day. They must maintain safe social distancing at all times; this includes on their way to school and their way home.
- Students will be supervised in a specific room each day from 8.45am until 3pm. They will have 2 – 3 teachers for the entire time they at school, but only 1 teacher with them at any given time. This minimises the number of bubbles needed at school.
- Supervision groups will be a maximum of 10 students per group and they will work at the appropriate social distance level apart.
- Physical education and Drama, or any other activity that requires a close contact is prohibited.
- Learning areas will be regularly disinfected after each session and hand sanitiser will be available at all times.
- Each supervision group will be allocated a toilet block to use and they must ONLY use that particular block. These blocks will be disinfected during the day to minimise risk of infection.
- Students may choose to wear protective equipment if they wish, but these will need to be supplied by home.
- Depending on the number of supervision groups, breaks will be staggered so that the groups do not come into contact with each other. It should also go without saying that students need to maintain safe social distancing during breaks too.
- Students will be working on their remote learning programme, not a different teaching and learning programme. No students will be disadvantaged by learning from home or coming to school because their programme is one and the same.
- Students will place their lunch and drink bottle on their desk at the start of each day. This is to ensure that students have the necessary tools to last the day. No food is available for purchase as the canteen is closed.
- The school office is closed, if you need to enter the school grounds, you must ring ahead first and go directly to the front car park where someone will meet you.
Things you should know before making a decision:
- Although the school is open, if it is possible your child should remain at home and study via our remote learning programme. This is to minimise the spread of COVID-19 and keep your bubbles as secure as possible.
- The work they will complete is the same work they have been set online. Teachers will not be running multiple teaching and learning programmes. It is not practical, due to the health and safety protocols, for teachers to run separate physical and digital programmes.
- Students will not have the same teachers as they usually would have in their regular classes. Like you, our teaching community has a number of immunocompromised staff members. Because of this, and the need to keep our bubbles as small as possible, we will be operating on a skeletal staff. This means students who attend will be supervised, but not necessarily by their regular teachers.
- Students who are 14 are legally old enough to stay home unsupervised. If your son or daughter is 14 or older they should stay home, preserve your bubble, minimise the risk of infection.
- The school canteen and the drinking fountains are closed. These are clearly areas of high transmission, as such they are out of bounds. Your son or daughter MUST arrive with a drinking bottle and a packed lunch. Students WILL NOT be allowed to leave school grounds at any point to buy lunch. It is also worth noting that you WILL NOT be allowed to drop takeaway meals directly to them. Again, this is to protect everyone’s bubbles. Any violation of this will result in the child being sent home on health and safety grounds.
- Students will need to bring their device with them each day. If they have borrowed a school device, these will be collected from them and kept at school for the remainder of stage 3.
- Students are not to associate with anyone outside their class bubble. This includes before and/or after school. This is important for ensuring transmission risk is minimised.
- School buildings will not be opened until 8.45am, this includes the Library and common areas. Again this will ensure there is minimal risk of infection.
We understand that this seems quite restrictive and students may find the comforts of home more appealing. In truth, is seems quite restrictive because it is restrictive, but these are the measures we feel are necessary to minimise the risk of infection within our community. Schools are great vectors of transmission for a whole range of ailments, not just COVID-19. As we come into the flu season, it is important that we take all necessary steps to keep the entire community safe. Echoing the words of our Prime Minister, if your child can learn from home, they should learn from home. That being said, if you are an essential worker, I would like to personally thank you for the work you are doing to keep our country moving forward during these challenging times, and of course your children will be cared for at Mountainview High School.