Kia ora koutou
As you will have heard, New Zealand is moving intoshortly and schools will be reopening on Wednesday 29th April. We are delighted with the prospect this brings one step closer. We are missing the children and can’t wait to get them back to school! However, at this stage there are strict guidelines around who can attend school and even stricter rules around what children will be permitted to do at school.
Your child may return to school only if you need to go to work (ie cannot work from home) and there is no one else available to take care of your child. Any child with any condition that makes them vulnerable, may not return to school. If any child is sick, they may not attend school. The expectation is that the vast majority of children will be kept home and continue to learn from there. Teachers will continue to offer an online programme similar to the current one. The same programme will be used in school with the children who do attend.
For children who return to school, there will be strictly enforced physical distancing of 1m inside and 2m outside. This physical distancing will include the adults too. Children will be grouped in small bubbles and, as well as physical distancing in their bubble, there will be no mixing between bubbles. For this reason, we will be introducing staggered morning tea times, lunchtimes and drop off and pick-up times for whanau so school will not be running for the usual hours for everyone. Children will need to arrive at school and be collected at the agreed time with no waiting around in the playground before or after school. There will be no before or after school care available.
Children will not be able to handle school equipment which could be touched by others so sports, playgrounds and toys will be off limits. For this reason, we will be asking children to bring a small selection of toys or activities from home, which they can play with by themselves. This will obviously have to be a solitary activity as children will not be allowed to touch what another child has played with.
Children’s learning at school will be very similar to the online learning which will continue at home. Each bubble will be supervised by staff members but this is unlikely to be your child’s class teacher as school will be running with reduced staffing. Some staff will continue to work from home to produce the online learning which will be available at home and at school. If your child is returning to school and has a school device at home, this will need to be returned to school.
As you can appreciate, these rules will make school a very different place to usual. School staff will do their very best to ensure children feel settled and secure but, there is no getting away from it, it will be a very odd experience. If any of the adults in your whanau are continuing to work from home, then children should remain at home. If all adults in your family must leave your home for work and there is no one else to care for your child, perhaps you will be considering extending your family bubble, within the guidelines for. If this is the case, there may be an adult in your new, extended bubble who would be able to take care of your children. This would be a good solution for many families.
You will shortly be receiving an email from your child’s class teacher to which you reply simply by typing ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in the subject line. For those who intend to send their child/ren to school, I will be in touch shortly to collect more detailed information, from which we will put together a contact tracing list for the health authorities to use should a case of Covid-19 be associated with our school.
Kia haumaru ai koutou! Keep safe!