As you are aware the Novel-Coronavirus (COVID-19) has now been declared an international pandemic. This communication is to give families an update on how Nayland College is following Ministry of Education and Health guidelines.
What is Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) & What are the Symptoms?
COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a type of coronavirus. There are simple steps you can take to protect yourself and others.
The symptoms of COVID-19 are:
- a cough
- a high temperature (at least 38°C)
- shortness of breath.
These symptoms do not necessarily mean you have COVID-19. If you have not recently travelled from overseas and have not had close contact with someone showing the above symptoms, you are unlikely to have the virus. There are currently only eight known cases in New Zealand and no community transmission. We are seeing a degree of anxiety around this new virus, however in the vast majority of cases students are more likely to have the common cold or influenza. You can read more information here from the Ministry of Health.
Below are some of the ways that Nayland College is following health guidelines. Most guidelines are designed to avoid large gatherings. If we had an infected student, the Ministry of Health would assist us to isolate close contacts, which would be impossible if we were still holding assemblies.
Nayland College is receiving regular updates from the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health regarding COVID-19 and we are following their advice closely. We have a Nayland College Pandemic Plan in place.
Managing Student Safety
- If students are unwell, then the best advice is to keep them at home.
- Students that are in class and who appear to be displaying symptoms of being unwell will be referred to our School Nurse for an assessment.
- Tutor Teachers are continuing to discuss and reinforce good hygiene.
- Ministry of Health posters are displayed around the school.
- Students experiencing high levels of anxiety will be referred to the counsellors as necessary.
- We will be contacting the families of those students that have underlying health conditions that might be more susceptible to contracting the virus and advising additional safety precautions.
The international team is working closely with partner international agents and schools regarding current students and students who have enrolled but have not yet arrived.
We are advising that trips outside of the immediate area will not be able to proceed. This will be reviewed at the start of term 2. All national sporting fixtures have been cancelled. Local Outdoor Education camps will have additional safety practices to follow, including a full review of accommodation risks.
Mass Events/Social Distancing
The Senior Leadership Team are undertaking a risk assessment for key events and will manage decisions about these on a case-by-case basis. We have made the decision not to hold school assemblies at present. A tutor time will be substituted:
8:50am Period One
9:50am Tutor Group
10:05am Period Two
We are investigating ways of having electronic ‘assemblies’.
To minimise the spread of viruses:
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow or by covering your mouth and nose with tissues.
- Put used tissues in the bin or a bag immediately.
- Wash your hands with soap and water often (for at least 20 seconds).
- Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
- Avoid personal contact, such as kissing, sharing cups or food with people who may be ill.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects, such as doorknobs.
- Stay home if you feel unwell.
- Call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 if you have any symptoms and have been to any countries or territories of concern or have been in close contact with someone confirmed with COVID-19.
We are intensifying our cleaning routine to ensure that high use areas are regularly treated with disinfectant.
Although the Ministry of Health Advice is that hand-washing is the best prevention for spreading infection, hand- sanitiser can also be effective and is available in heavy traffic areas as well as in each classroom.
Kahui Ako and Region-Wide Co-ordination
Nayland College is working closely with the other schools on our campus to ensure consistency of information and practice. Top-of-the-South Secondary Principals are also meeting regularly to discuss and co-ordinate our response where possible.
With possible increased absences it is important that we have work available for students to be able to continue learning from home if necessary. There are several things that staff are doing right now to start preparing for this eventuality, including demonstrating to students how remote learning could work.
Ongoing Safety focus
We are continuing to monitor the Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 situation closely and will provide updates as they come to hand.
By Daniel Wilson