COVID Community Update – Returning to School

Kia ora koutou,

I hope this email finds you and your whānau safe and well. 

We are delighted to be able to welcome more tamariki back to Matangi School under Alert Level 3 from next Wednesday 17 November.

We know learning at school is the best option for our Matangi School children. It’s important for them to connect with their friends and teachers; it helps their social, physical and emotional wellbeing.

And so we look forward to starting to bring our children back on site.  We are currently establishing routines and procedures to ensure our children are supported and safe during this time. 

Even with the Delta variant, the risk of COVID-19 transmission in schools is low because of all the public health measures we will have in place.

What will these look like?

Public Health Measures:

  • we will keep those onsite in separate groups. Our children will stay in ‘zones.’ We will have our junior and senior students playing in certain areas of the school. Our students will stay with their class and cohort. We won’t be having Buddy Reading and we will hold any events that require the children to group, outside where we can spread out a bit further.
  • we’ll ensure our classrooms are well ventilated and kept at a cool temperature. In this regard, if it is a bit of a cooler day or inclement weather, please send your tamariki with a sweatshirt or jacket.
  • we’ll continue to promote physical distancing where possible – this is 1m indoors and 2m outdoors.

In addition to this, all staff and children in Years 4 and above are required to wear face coverings indoors (unless they have an exemption from the Ministry of Health), and we’ll ensure all staff (and any external essential contractors) who are on site are either fully vaccinated or will have had had at least one dose of the vaccine and return a negative weekly test.

What you can do to help:

  • continue to stay at home if you or your child is sick
  • avoid catching up with other parents, children and whaanau at the gates. We will really need your help with this one to make it work
  • wear a face covering and maintain a two-metre distance from people not in your household bubble
  • we ask that you let your child/ren know what gate you will be picking them up from (front gate or Reserve gate) and keep this consistent
  • remain outside the gate or fence, we will send your child/ren to you, when we see you
  • get advice from your doctor if you or your child has complex medical needs (and please get in touch so that we can support your child to return onsite, wherever possible)
  • avoid having playdates inside with children from other families at Alert Level 3 (ensure compliance with the alert levels are being maintained)
  • if you need to come on site, you MUST always enter via the front of the school, scan the QR code and sign in using the iPad on the front desk or the sign in register. 

What will next week look like?

We are encouraging ALL children on site as from Wednesday 17 November. Our roll size and size of our school grounds allows us to create areas where our tamariki will be able to learn and play safely and with comfort.

We would like to provide all of our school community with the assurance that we will follow the guidelines put out by the ministry with consistency and thoroughness.

Our teachers are wanting to begin the week with settling our tamariki back, providing the wrap-around support that we know they will need. We know our tamariki will want to also have times where they can catch up with their friends – this is important. We believe the best place for our tamariki is to be at school. We have only a few weeks left of this term/year and we want to make this time a special time for our tamariki. School will operate within the usual hours: 8:50am – 2:50pm. Students can arrive on site from 8:30am.

Online or Distance Learning

Please note, we’ll continue to support learning from home for those tamariki who will not be attending onsite. We will provide Seesaw activities, but not to the capacity to what we have been doing over the past 4 weeks. If you choose to keep your child/ren home, there will be tasks for them to do on the Seesaw platform. These might not be marked or assessed by the teacher. We will continue to monitor what students are engaging online. We will provide work for students who need that extra support, whilst they remain at home.

We would encourage you to talk to your child about what our plans are and why this is happening.

Before School and After School Care

Please note that we have been accepting bookings for Before School and After School Care from 17 November. We have since learnt that there will be NO Before School and After School Care at Level 3 – this is in response to updated directives given to us by the Ministry. We will have to cancel all bookings, if we were to stay at Level 3 next week sorry. We encourage you to make alternative arrangements.

Finally, we just want to acknowledge the past 4 weeks have not been the easiest of times for most of us. We want to reach out to you all, know that our community is very supportive and understanding, and unite together as a strong and positive community that I know we are.

The time has come for us to get ‘back on track’ and finish this year off in the Matangi Fashion with: kaha (strength), whakakake (pride), and kotahitanga (unity).

If you have questions or concerns, you can contact me or your child’s teacher by email.

Please have a wonderful weekend. We look forward to seeing you back at school next week.

Ngā mihi, 

Helena Kirkham

(Acting Principal)