Kia ora koutou,
I hope you and your families are all doing well. We have heard from our Prime Minister today that we will be moving to alert level 2 for retail, malls, playgrounds, cinemas and gyms on Thursday 14th May. For schools, we will move to level 2 on Monday 18th May. This is when we will open up fully for all students and staff to return back onsite. We are very excited and thankful that people will be able to begin returning back onsite, and we look forward to seeing you all again soon.
Under alert level 2 it is safe for all students to return to school. We will continue a strong focus on good hygiene practices - regular and thorough hand washing and use of sanitiser, regular cleaning of all surfaces, including particularly regular cleaning of high touch areas, and teaching and monitoring of safe coughing and sneezing practices. Teams will work with students to develop appropriate distancing practices, and we will keep hub teams separate, with no activities involving crossing and mixing students between hub teams. We will urge all staff and students who are feeling unwell to stay home, and we will send home anyone who is showing signs of sickness. We will also be keeping a record of all adults who come into school buildings.
As a school we recognise that life may continue to be disrupted for the foreseeable future. There is a chance that we may need to shift between alert levels if the situation with Covid-19 in New Zealand changes. We also understand that if there is a case of Covid-19 within the Amesbury School community, school will close for the first 72 hours afterwards, and may remain closed for up to two weeks. As such, we will continue to use our distance learning sites and weekly learning packs for at least the rest of this term. The content of the packs will evolve and adapt as more students come back to school, and it may not all look at is currently does once teachers are completing face to face teaching, but the learning that we will be doing will be housed on the distance learning sites. This will allow students who need to learn remotely to continue doing so, and will also allow all of us to easily move back to distance learning if the need arises.
An article will be sent out in the next couple of days outlining details about what Amesbury School will look like at level 2. In the meantime, we look forward to welcoming students back onsite next week. We recognise that there may be a small group of students who are unable to return onsite during level 2. If your child/ren will not be returning onsite next week, please fill out this form by the end of Wednesday 13th May, so that we can adequately prepare and plan for level 2 learning.
We originally had two teacher only days scheduled for this term: 15th May and 29th May. With the disruption of lockdown, and the fact that students are only just beginning to return to school, we will postpone both teacher only days until later in the year (terms 3 or 4). Those teacher only days will not be running this term.
We will not be completing school swimming at all this term, as originally planned. We are not yet sure if swimming will be able to be rescheduled for later in the year - we will explore this.
Student consultation: we currently have two sets of consultation open for students in Harakeke and Pōhutukawa team.
1) In learning pack 5 these teams received a consultation activity for students regarding the new hub build. This has been completed by a small number of students, and we are keen to hear from a much wider number of students. Please encourage your child/ren to look through the presentation about the new hub build and participate in sharing their ideas and opinions about various aspects of it. This task is housed on the ‘Other activities’ page of the learning site.
2) In learning pack 6 (going out on Tuesday evening) we will add a second consultation task for students in these two teams. It involves the fitness trail that will be built in the next couple of months at school. We ask students to look through choices of activities and colours in the trail, and share their ideas. Again, we’d love to hear from all students, so please encourage your child/ren to participate in this task.
We have not yet asked for feedback from our youngest students in Koru Hub. We are aware that parents already need to support much younger students to a significant degree with their learning, and we are reluctant to add further pressure to do so. These consultation tasks would require a lot of 1-1 support with very young students, and so we will not complete this feedback with Koru Hub students during our remote learning phase.
Due to the disruption caused by Covid-19, we needed to cancel our student conferences scheduled for the end of term 1. We are aware that parents have spent a number of weeks working closely with their child/ren to support them with their learning, and it would be of benefit to everyone for parents and teachers to now connect about this.
We will run these connection conferences in the middle of term 2, with a focus on parents talking about their child/ren during the lockdown - their wellbeing, levels of anxiety and social connection, their learning and behaviour. We know that parents will have a lot of valuable information to pass on to teachers about their child/ren that will help teachers to continue to support each child. We also feel that parents may now have some questions about their child/ren’s learning and/or behaviour that they would like to discuss with teachers.
In level 2 we are all looking to minimise prolonged contact (15 minutes or more) with people in confined spaces outside of our households. As such, we will hold these conferences online. The conference app we will use does not require parental logins or new accounts, it simply requires an internet connection and a device with a webcam. If this is an issue for any parents, we can offer a phone call option. These conferences will not be student led, like our usual conferences, but instead will focus on a conversation between parents and the teacher. We will send out an article later this week with further details about these connections and explaining how to book in for a conference.
We will be in touch with you through the week to explain more about what school will look like for us at level 2, and to give further information about connection conferences. I apologise in advance for the increased communication that will be coming your way - with change comes comms! We will endeavour to keep communications as clear and precise as possible, although I must admit that I am not known for my brevity in written communication!
Have a lovely week, and we very much look forward to seeing you all soon. And as our Prime Minister urged, horoia ō ringaringa - wash your hands!
Ngā mihi nui,