Covid-19 Community update 18 March

By March 18, 2020 No Comments

As a kura the health and wellbeing of our community is important in all of our decisions. We believe that there will be three areas of concern for you over the coming weeks, and so we have created three short guides with some advice for you.

These will be emailled, posted and sent via School App today as separate posts to reduce the length of each one and make for easier reading. 

We suspect that like us you will be concerned for your child’s learning, and also for NCEA assessment, over the coming weeks, particularly if you are required to self isolate. We would like to stress the Ministry of Education advice: “unless students are unwell themselves, then parents should keep sending them to schools and early learning centres as these environments continue to be safe and the best place for them to continue their learning.”

Continuing our learning and assessment:

  • For students who need to self-isolate, or in the case that we are directed to close, staff are prepared for learning to continue remotely as a result of our development with The Manaiakalani Programme. Students would access class/teacher sites through an internet connection. Please let us know if this presents a potential difficulty for you.

  • If staff are self-isolating they will be able to work remotely, should they be well enough to do so.

  • If NCEA assessment is impacted because a student has had to stay at home, we ask that on the first day back at school students report to Mr Goodfellow, Principal’s Nominee, with a written note from parents explaining the reason for the absence because the usual requirement of getting a medical certificate, when missing assessment, may not be practicable. The kura will follow the guidance coming from NZQA in regards to assessments.

  • Any member of our kura community who has been overseas or in close contact with someone confirmed with Covid-19 must follow Ministry of Health guidance about self-isolation

We are taking the following steps to protect the health of our kura community and to do our part to reduce the threat of transmission of COVID-19. Some of this information comes from the latest Ministry of Education advice.

Part 2:

We know that some parents have concerns about their children attending school at the moment, some of which may be due to what they are seeing in the media about other countries.

There’s a simple rule here – if students are unwell (whether or not their illness relates to COVID-19) they should stay at home. Students who are not unwell should continue to attend school.

“Please remember that while we are seeing large-scale school shutdowns elsewhere in the world, in New Zealand we still have no community transmission. Consequently any decisions about school closures will be made on a case by case basis. In the meantime, unless students are unwell themselves, then parents should keep sending them to schools and early learning centres as these environments continue to be safe and the best place for them to continue their learning.”

Prevention of spread:


Health authorities have been very clear in their advice – while we wait for further developments, there is no reason that children should not be going to school.

As you have been doing, please continue to focus on prevention of spread including through:

  • Washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds and drying thoroughly – before and after eating as well as after attending the toilet.

  • Covering coughs and sneezes with clean tissues or with an elbow.

  • Putting used tissues in the bin.

  • Staff and students need to stay home if they are unwell in any way.

  • We have supplies of antiseptic handwash readily available. Hand-shaking, hongi, high-fiving, and hugging, are not to happen, as a practical way to limit close contact.

Physical Distancing and Wellbeing

  • Remember that personal hygiene, and reducing unnecessary physical contact (eg. hugs, handshakes, hongi) are still the most important things to do to stop the spread of any virus.

  • Please note that we are deliberately using the term “physical distancing” rather than “social distancing”. Maintaining social connection is as important as ever to people’s wellbeing during this time, if not more so. If you have tamariki who are required to self-isolate, you could encourage their peers to maintain social contact with them through phone calls, email, pen-pal letters, class video calls, or age-appropriate social media.

  • “Any member of our community who is unwell should not be at school. Even when you know it is a common cold, and not Covid-19, we ask students and staff to stay home, so as to not spread the virus in the community. Anyone with Covid-19 symptoms must ring Healthline on 0800 358 5453, or contact their GP”

Part 3:

In this the third of our messages, here are some general comments on what you might expect from here.

Ongoing communication

  • Communication will be through the kura Facebook page, our school app, our website, and by email.

  • Please check your contact details on the parent portal and contact us if your own contact details change.

Looking ahead:

  • As the situation evolves, additional physical distancing strategies such as restricting kura events and extra-curricular activities may be required. We are making decisions on a case by case basis.

  • If a student was identified as symptomatic while at school, parents will be contacted and asked to collect their child.

  • Should any cases of Covid-19 be identified in our kura community, the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education take control. They make the decisions on whether to close our kura or not, for how long etc. They also support us in notifying everyone and ensuring that the necessary next steps are taken.

  • Flu vaccination for kura staff has been arranged (as it is every year) to help prevent the transmission of ‘flu across our community.

Hornby High School will continue to follow the advice provided by the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education. To access the latest information on Covid-19 from the Ministry of Health website: https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus

By Andrea Cosgrove