Waiau Area School (WAS) will return to Level 2 educational practice as of Thursday 09th September 2021. During this time, we will be operating under Level 2 guidelines and restrictions. Many of these restrictions and guidelines are mandated by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education, others are in place to ensure that the unique nature of WAS is maintained during these trying times. We will try our best to keep things as per normal. If there is a covid case down in the deep south or we’ve had visitors affected by covid then we’ll act accordingly.

Please make sure you read this outline so that you are aware of the measures that are in place, your role and your child’s role in maintaining them. We’re in this together.

Please also refer to the other two booklets where necessary – Our Education and Action Plan for Schooling under L2 and Managing health and safety in schools at L2 manuals.

Student Attendance
The Ministry of Education backed by the Ministry of Health have recommended that all students attend school during Level 2 restrictions. Therefore, all students will be required to attend regular lessons and full days.

Any families intending on re-establishing their lockdown bubbles during Level 2 and keeping their children at home will need to inform the school and work with your child’s teacher directly to manage distance learning. School work is being provided onsite. We will endeavour to support all students in isolation; however, our teachers will be focused on teaching in-class lessons and will not be able to manage distance and on-site education simultaneously during Level 2. Any students placed into isolation due to contact with Covid 19 will be fully supported with learning material throughout their isolation period.

Arrival and departure at school
We all need to have an accurate contact tracing system. Therefore, we must keep an extremely accurate register of all people entering and leaving the school site. Therefore, we ask that all students be dropped off and picked up outside the school grounds. If any member of the public enters the school grounds (passes the gates) they must sign in at the office. There are also QR codes around the school too which will ease office traffic.

School uniform and protocol
It is expected that all students will be in full school uniform whilst at school. This enables us to quickly recognise those that should be at school and those that should not be onsite. It also helps us to limit contaminants that enter the school on clothing.

Classes and Timetable
All classes will occur in their regularly timetabled slots. Rooms 1-3 will be in their own rooms for Thursday and Friday. Next week, starting Monday, specialist teachers’ involvement / normal timetable will occur. Room 4 upwards, normal timetable starts straight away.

Social Distancing in Classrooms
There is no requirement for physical distancing in classrooms amongst students, however, the recommendation is that students are spaced far enough to avoid breathing on each other. This means that students can be grouped but should avoid physical contact for prolonged periods whilst inside. Teacher discretion will be used here.

Sharing of Equipment
There is no restriction on the sharing of classroom equipment, therefore, the use of school laptops, art supplies, PE gear and library books can continue as per normal. Any decision to disinfect equipment between uses is at teacher discretion. Many classes will have spray bottles and staff will be encouraging students to be washing their hands regularly and wipe down their table tops.

Physical Education Classes
Mr Bennett and staff will continue to have physical activity and PE lessons. Due to the need to minimize the spread of contaminants it is therefore vital that students remember to bring their PE gear to school on days where they have PE classes.

Student Break Times (Activities and Locations)
During break times we will not be preventing students from interacting in activities that can operate within our usual expectations (playing sports and games can continue). We have been assured that there is an extremely low chance of transmission between students. Students can therefore use the gym, the fields, and the courts as they would in normal operation. This will be monitored closely.

Free Lunches in Schools (FLIS) will be operational, and the lines (when collecting the food) will not require distancing protocols (again this is a directive from the MOH). Classroom monitors will also collect food and distribute accordingly.

The Library will be open for use (Mon-Weds), however, numbers will be monitored.

The use of the gym during break times will be at the discretion of the PE teacher as per usual – Mr Bennett.

Students are allowed to use their classrooms during breaks on wet/cold days. There are staff and some senior students on duty and they will monitor social distancing.

Use of PPE
There is no expectation that any PPE will be used or supplied, however, students choosing to wear gloves or masks will be allowed to do so. The
current MoH mandate is that they are supportive of the use of personal PPE, however, they are seen as optional protective items. Therefore, 12+ year olds are recommended to wear face coverings/masks on buses and at school, however this is not mandatory.

Teacher Aides
Teacher Aides will be continuing on as per usual with their pre-Covid work roles.

Office Staff
The Offices will be staffed; however, we ask that you maintain social distancing while in the staffed areas. This will be maintained in these areas as they are visited by a wider public group than the remainder of the school is. Please sign in at the main office before visiting any other space in the school. You will be briefed regarding expectations and processes at the office.

Visitors to the School Site
Any person that enters the school grounds (crosses the gates) will be required to sign in at the office (to ensure we maintain contact tracing requirements). This means any parent that enters the grounds to pick up their child or any delivery driver dropping equipment to the school will have to sign in at the Office.

Any planned camps and trips will need to be reassessed. At present, no camps will be able to occur during Level 2 restrictions. All camps will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and will go ahead if Level 2 expectations and protocols can be managed throughout (including the ability to bring the camp students and staff back to Tuatapere quickly if the nation moves up the Level Alert system can be guaranteed). To date, quite a few sporting and cultural events have been postponed or cancelled. There will be no ski trips this year.

There will be no whole school assemblies this term. Syndicate assemblies may occur in a room that is big enough to enable some form of physical distancing. Assemblies (junior and senior) will be assessed by the senior leadership team (SLT).

Student sickness
We will need to be vigilant regarding students in our classes with flu-symptoms. If a student presents with symptoms, we will ask them to go to the sick bay where they will be assessed. It is expected that our students will show up to school with runny noses etc. simply from exposure to the cold on their way to school, we will ask students to use good hygiene practices in these cases.

Students who are assessed by the admin staff or teachers as having flu-symptoms will need to be collected from school as quickly as possible and will need to stay away from school until they are symptom free. We understand that this will put stress on parents who need to be at work, however, under Level 2, we will need to be extremely vigilant about limiting the spread of airborne contagions. If your child is sick, they must stay at home.

Staffroom and Meetings
Staff will carry on as per normal, however, will be mindful of keeping social distancing. There will be no whole school staff meetings for the remainder of Term Three.

Parent – Student – Teacher Interviews/Conference
We managed to have one day (Tuesday) completed! If you are wanting to check in with your child’s teacher, then please make contact with them directly.

Western Speeches, Junior school production and any other events which are happening
We’ll let you know through our FB page and newsletters.

Other matters that have been noted by the MOE:

  • Parents wearing masks on school sites – strongly encouraged but not mandated.
  • Drop off and pick ups by parents and caregivers – to ensure appropriate distancing and rules for gatherings. Suggestions: using different entrances, staggered start times, drop off at gate without getting out of the car.
  • School assemblies – can have, but noted distancing if possible and should be in well-ventilated areas of outdoors. Gathering rules apply if bringing parents or other visitors into the school.
  • Singing – one metre distancing and good ventilation or a large space.
  • Playgrounds can be used but ensure that sports equipment is regularly cleaned.
  • Attendance codes – if parents do not want their children to attend school at Level 2 you can continue to provide online learning, if practical and, if the student engages in this, continue to use ‘F’. Can ask for a medical certificate as per school policy, otherwise absent.
  • Camp venues – Board needs to ensure they have a robust risk management process in place and that the venue is following appropriate health guidelines, including numbers for gatherings.
  • Learning Support Coordinators – can work across schools following health guidelines.
  • Additional NCEA credits – our region will not meet the criteria to be at Level 3 or 4 for 20 days or more. If further alert level changes this year, this may change.
  • After School Care – children from other schools can attend, 1m distancing if practical and health guidelines.
  • Cleaning – no additional ‘deep cleaning’ requirements.
  • Technology – students from other schools can attend but must have physical distancing of at least one metre.
  • School Transport – will operate as normal. Accurate lists are required. Face coverings are not required on school transport as schools have systems to identify potential close contacts.
  • Life Education/ Religious Instruction – visitors to school need to ensure that they scan in and record details on school’s records. Need to follow heath guidelines.
  • Visitor register – important to ensure that a record is kept of all visitors who enter the school, including parents, as well as requirement to scan QR code.

As a nation and as a community. We have been through this before. Our job is to ensure we move through the current phase of this pandemic together. We will do everything we can to ensure that your child is able to enjoy a supportive and cohesive learning environment. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Again, please refer to the Ministry of Health webpage and social media for more Delta/Covid information.

Letter to Parents:

Level 2 – Covid/Delta – 08th September 2021

Kia ora WAS Whanau,
You’ll be aware that all of New Zealand (with the exception of Auckland) is currently in Alert Level 2. Our thoughts and positive wishes are with everyone
in Tāmaki Makaurau | Auckland.

Extensive wastewater testing and the numbers of people getting tested across the country has given the Government confidence that it is safe to allow a shift down to Alert Level 2 across most of New Zealand. We are really looking forward to welcoming everyone back onsite on Thursday morning.

At Alert Level 2 there is low risk of community transmission and it provides us with a lot more opportunities to engage and connect with others. However, there are still a number of public health requirements we all need to follow. Please continue to monitor your health and do not send your children to school if they are not well (and please seek advice about getting a COVID test).

For us, all the required safety precautions for Alert Level 2 will be in place which include following all the recommendations from the public health
experts. This means we will regularly clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces, encourage everyone to frequently wash their hands and cough and sneeze
into their elbow. While physical distancing is not a requirement in schools, we will be doing our best to keep students from congregating in very large numbers and keeping spaces well-ventilated.

Face coverings are not required to be worn in school. The Director General of Health has recommended that children 12 years+ wear a face covering at
school – just as older children are required to wear face coverings in some other places. The decision to wear a face covering is up to you and your whānau, whatever your decision it will be respected.

If you are not sure what all the rules are for alert level 2 when you are out and about, then the following information may be useful to you:

     ● COVID-19 Alert Levels summary table
     ● COVID-19 Alert Levels detailed table

Please keep checking out our FB page and website for updates and newsletters.

Please don’t hesitate to contact your child’s kaiako or me if there is something you need assistance with. See you Thursday!

Ngā mihi