COVID – Level 2
Overview for Parents, Students, Staff and Families
Waiau Area School (WAS) will return to Level 2 educational practice as of the 15th of February 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 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.
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.
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 are at teacher discretion. Many classes will have spray bottles and staff will be encouraging students to be washing their hands regularly.
Physical Education Classes
Our PE department has put in place a series of protocols (based on best evidence), under these protocols, PE classes will continue. 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.
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).
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 – 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.
Teacher Aides will be continuing on as per usual with their pre-Covid work roles.
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).
Assemblies (junior and senior) are scheduled to occur on a Friday, therefore, decisions regarding the ability to manage these safely will be revisited following the Prime Minister’s scheduled press conference on Wednesday the 17th of February.
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. However, it is Winter, and it is getting colder. 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.
Parent – student – teacher interviews/conference
Will continue on as per normal this week.
Family BBQ this Thursday
Will carry on as per scheduled. We will ensure we meet the required regulations.
Western Swimming this Friday
At this stage it’s still on. We will review this on Thursday and let those families know either way of our decision to attend or not.
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.