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Photo by Urs Cunningham

Mask and Covid-19 update for Term 3

Urs Cunningham —

This article is an update on the cases of Covid in our school currently, and our approach to Covid precautions heading into Term 3.

Useful information

Masks at school in Term 3

Our original approach to mask wearing in Term 3 was to strongly encourage all year 4-6 ākonga and all staff to wear masks indoors. However, late last week the Ministry of Health recommended that all schools require mask wearing for students in year 4 upwards. The Ministry of Education has asked all schools to require year 4+ ākonga and all staff to wear masks indoors for the first four weeks of Term 3.

As such, we will continue with our previous approach in Terms 1 and 2: we ask all year 4-6 ākonga (students) and all staff to wear a mask indoors. Mask wearing outdoors is not required, but distancing from others while outdoors is recommended. At this point, this requirement will be in place until the end of week 4 this term - Friday 19th August. We will provide all staff with adult surgical masks, and we will also provide all ākonga with child surgical masks. Students and staff are also welcome to bring their own mask if they prefer to do so.

For visitors onsite at school, we will follow the same requirement of wearing a mask indoors. Masks will be readily available for anyone who needs one.

In order to stay healthy through the remainder of the winter months, please remember that free flu vaccinations are available for all tamariki aged 3 - 12 from July 1st. Please use the link at the top of this article to find out more about this. The Amesbury School Board offered free flu shots to all staff in Term 1 this year, and we encourage everyone to get vaccinated against flu and Covid-19 in order to stay well.

Covid cases in our school community

We are continuing with a fairly steady number of Covid cases across the school community. In Term 1 we had a total of 66 cases of Covid across the school. We had 17 cases in Koru Hub, (10 cases in our main group, and 7 cases in our Kōwhai area),17 cases in Harakeke Hub, 24 cases in Pōhutukawa, and 8 staff cases. 

In Term 2 we ended the term with a total of 76 confirmed cases of Covid across the school. We had 16 cases in the Koru main group, with 0 cases in our smaller Kōwhai group, 29 cases of Covid in Harakeke, 22 cases in Pōhutukawa, and 9 staff cases of Covid. 

Over the holiday break we are aware of a small number of students and staff who have tested positive for Covid: 1 ākonga in Koru Hub, 3 ākonga in Harakeke, and 3 students in Pōhutukawa. We also have 2 staff members who tested positive over the holiday break. If your child has had Covid over the break, please let Rachel in the office know, as we are keeping note of all Covid cases in our community. 

Isolation and testing requirements

- If you have tested positive for Covid-19, the day you test positive or begin to show symptoms is your day zero. You must then isolate for 7 days after your day zero. You can return to school or work on day eight, providing you show no symptoms of sickness. 

- If a person in your household tests positive for Covid, all other household members must also isolate for seven days, unless you have had Covid-19 in last 90 days. If you have had Covid in the past 90 days and you currently show no symptoms of sickness, you do not need to isolate. Also, if you have been through an isolation period within the previous 10 days, you do not need to isolate again. 

- Further information about household contacts can be found here

- If you have had Covid 29 days+ previously, and you begin to show signs of sickness, you must test again, and isolate if you test positive. 

- If you have had Covid within the past 28 days, and you show signs of sickness, you do not need to test for Covid and isolate for 7 days again. However, you do still need to stay home until you show no signs of sickness. 

Gatherings at school

We currently remain at Orange level in our Covid Protection Framework. This means that parents and whānau are most welcome to come onsite and into learning spaces. We do ask that people wear a mask when indoors, and are mindful of their own wellness, Please stay at home if you are showing signs of sickness. 

We will continue to run events at school in Term 3 that mix ākonga across the school. However, we will remain cautious around larger gatherings - we will not run an event that has all students and a larger group of parents gathering in one indoor space, such as the hall, because this does not allow for the distancing required at Orange level. This means we will look to structure events differently so that people can be spread out amongst different spaces. For events that need to be run in one place, such as a our Mihi Whakatau or our Amesbury Awesomeness celebration, we will not open the event to all parents and whānau.

On a final note, please remember that we continue to have a supply of rapid antigen tests at school for any families who may need them. If you find that you are struggling to access tests, or you suddenly run low, please contact the school office and we will get some to you.

We will continue to update our community if further changes happen in our Covid-19 approach. 

Nga mihi, 

Urs Cunningham