An important message from the principal as we head into term 3.
I hope that all of our students have had a well deserved break and are returning fresh for a very busy term 3.
Over the past few days I have received updated advice from the Ministry of Education, which is detailed below.
Use of face masks
In previous years we have found there is an increase in winter illnesses at the start of Term 3 as students bring back infections after travelling and socialising during the holidays. This year cases of COVID-19 are increasing in most parts of the country, and we are also seeing high numbers of other winter illnesses.
For the start of Term 3, 2022, the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health have strongly recommended that all schools and kura amend their mask policy for the first four weeks of term to require mask wearing in all indoor settings (where it will not have a significant impact on teaching and learning) for all of our students while in class and on school buses.
We will be following this advice in the following ways:
- We want and will ask everyone who is able to wear a mask to wear a mask.
- There will be some situations where mask wearing compromises the learning activity and they will not need to be worn
- There will be some students unable to wear a mask, for example those who have had previously had a mask exemption
This is not a significant change from our previous advice. However, we do expect that unless a student has a genuine reason to not wear a mask, that these are now worn indoors.
This recommendation does not include any situation where mask wearing might not be practicable, such as while eating and drinking, playing certain musical instruments, indoor sport, where it will have a significant impact on teaching and learning (for example, students with particular learning needs), certain activities such as singing or drama performance on stage, and PE. In these situations we will ventilate rooms as much as possible.
The Ministry of Health advises that wearing masks can reduce new cases of the virus by as much as 53%. It works alongside other measures including vaccination, good ventilation, staying home when sick, and hand washing and other hygiene measures, to protect our students and staff.
The following links may be useful:
We know that that some of our students are exempt from wearing a mask. If they have an exemption card or a letter from their health provider, or we have agreed that mask wearing is not practicable for them, we will support them to not wear a mask. If you have not informed us previously, can you please email the school to confirm that your child has an exemption.
Please make sure that students come to school ready to wear masks. Students should bring masks from home. If students cannot bring masks from home will be able to get one from the Business Centre, Student Centre or Reception when they arrive at school.
Changes and reminders to isolation settings
There have also been some changes to timelines for managing COVID isolation and reinfection periods. If you test positive for COVID you need to isolate for 7 days.
- Household contacts also need to isolate for 7 days.
- If someone else in the household tests positive during those 7 days the clock does not restart for everyone else unless there is a gap of 10 days between one person in the household testing positive and a second person testing positive. After 10 days the clock does re-start and household contacts would need to isolate for another 7 days (except those who had already had COVID and recovered).
- There is a window of 29 days where catching COVID twice would be unlikely and even though you have recovered and be back at school you may still be testing positive. If you test positive 29 days after your first infection of COVID it would be considered a new infection and require a further round of isolation.
- More information (and it is updated frequently) can be found at https://www.health.govt.nz/
As always, our drive is to keep the school open and keep classes functioning as much as possible. Please make sure that your child knows how to access online learning and has what they need at home if they are unable to be at school.
Thank you for your support in protecting our school community.
By Daniel Wilson