Kia ora koutou katoa
You will know that the World Health Organisation has now declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic.
The Ministry of Health has been working through its pandemic plan since January. You will also know the Government has already implemented a range of measures to minimise the impacts to New Zealand. This includes border restrictions, a requirement to self-isolate on arrival in New Zealand and detailed contact tracing of any confirmed cases. Yesterday large gatherings of 500 or more people were banned.
We have 8 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand and it is pleasing to know they are all doing well and are at home. None of them are school aged children. While we expect that more cases will arise, the Ministry of Health says that with continued vigilance the chance of widespread community outbreak is expected to remain low in New Zealand. We all have a role to play.
For our school, our pandemic plan is also ready to be implemented if needed. We take our instructions from the Ministry of Education who are updating us daily. We have not been asked to close our school. However, the Ministry of Education is exploring with us our ability to provide learning at home for our students if we were required to close. We will be ready for closure if this happens.
As a school of 230 students even when we are all together, we are not considered a mass gathering. However, our leadership team will be looking at ways we can decrease the number of contacts students have during the day.
In the meantime we will continue to focus on good hygiene practices. Hand washing and good cough etiquette are very important tools in preventing the spread of illness including colds, flu and COVID-19. Soap or sanitiser is available to students and staff in class and around the school.
One other action we can all take is to be vigilant about our own health and the health of our children. I will be encouraging my staff to stay away from school if they are showing signs of illness such as coughs and colds. I ask that you please do the same with your children. Colds and flus are common in schools and by staying away, seeking medical attention and practicing good hygiene, we can all keep any spread of illness to a minimum.
We will continue to update you as we get more information from the Ministry of Education.
Take care of yourselves and each other.