Kia ora koutou

By now I am sure you will have heard the announcement by our Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, about moving to COVID-19 Alert Level 2.

It is reassuring to hear how well our country has done at minimising the impacts of COVID-19. Alert Levels 4 and 3 have not been easy and I thank you for your ongoing support for the work we are doing.

Today, the Prime Minister advised that in Alert Level 2 schools are safe environments for children, young people and staff and that additional public health control measures are in place to prevent the spread of disease and to support contact tracing.

For Mountainview High School, this means we will open for business on May 18th at 8.40am. A brief explanation of what reintegration will look like is included below.

  • Students will go to their Group class at 8.40am, Monday May 18th.
  • They will begin the day by spending time going over the health and safety protocols intended to keep us all safe.
  • We will focus on ensuring their reintegration is smooth and any anxiety or stress is minimised. Ako teachers will spend the rest of period 1 ensuring that students are in a good place to begin their back to school journey.
  • Period 2 will resume with regular timetabled schedule, although work will probably be centred around understanding the educational needs of their students.
  • Some classes have been moved into different rooms to help accommodate the physical spacing of students.
  • Certain areas of the school are off limits to provide a safe environment for our students.

The key Public Health approach is to minimise the risk that someone gets infected in the first place, and second to ensure we can identify and contact anyone who has been in close contact with a person, if someone in a school is infected.

As we have done in Alert Level 3, you can be assured that in Alert Level 2 we will know who is at school, who our staff and students have been in close contact with and take appropriate measures to keep everyone safe.

Physical distancing is a good precaution to prevent the spread of disease. We do however know it is challenging in schools, so good hygiene practices and regular cleaning are even more important here. This includes staff and students coughing into their elbows, handwashing and drying and regular cleaning of commonly touched surfaces.

Under Alert Level 2, we advise any students and staff to stay at home if they are sick, and we will send anyone home immediately if they show any symptoms.

Our school has safe and sensible practices to maintain the health and safety of everyone on the school site. As described by Dr Payinda in his NZ Herald article, “Covid’s not measles or chickenpox, it doesn’t hang in the air for hours waiting to infect passers-by. It travels on invisible drops of spit. You don’t have to cross the street to avoid anyone. Just avoid getting in their ‘moist breath’ zone”. We all just need to remember to have some breathing space at Alert Level 2!

It’s important however that not just at school but at home, safe hygiene habits are practised by everyone, as this is essential to minimise the risk that someone gets infected with Covid-19.

For more information about the public health measures at Alert Level 2, you can visit the covid19.govt.nz website: https://covid19.govt.nz/

If you have any questions about our health and safety plan, or have a child who might be vulnerable to serious illness and would like to discuss a plan for them, please contact me.

More details around our reintegration plan will be provided in the following days, as will a survey for parents to help us plan effectively for May 18th. Your support and understanding has been instrumental in our ability to provide quality learning for your children, and for that we thank you.

Ngā mihi
Kenny Diamond
Acting Principal