Kia ora koutou,
Well, in a move that we suspected would happen soon, but didn’t anticipate happening quite so quickly, we are now all in self isolation for the next four weeks. I was at school on Tuesday when parents and caregivers of Harakeke and Pōhutukawa students were coming to collect their school Chromebooks, and I had the chance to talk with many of you about how you were feeling regarding the lockdown. It is good to know that overwhelmingly we are in favour of this move, and that we acknowledge that it is worth short term inconvenience for the long term health and safety of our country.
I have been so impressed with our whole community during the start this unprecedented action, and the way that people have pulled together to ensure everyone is okay. Everyone has been calm, kind and caring, which is exactly what we need in times like this. As Demelza and I left school on Tuesday, we were pleased to note that, apart from several people taking solitary exercise far away from each other, our school grounds, and particularly our playgrounds, were empty.
A particular vote of thanks goes out to our fabulous staff, who have worked tirelessly over the previous few days to ensure our school is clean and orderly, has systems set up to ensure it can run remotely, and that students are well set up with home with learning that they can all access. I have seen the tremendous dedication the staff has all shown, even though they may have been concerned and anxious about their own families and personal situations; I am really thankful to them.
You will have noticed that there are now notices on both playgrounds at school to show that they are closed. Our school grounds may be a good option for people taking some solitary exercise, as we have several fields, our courts and our bike track. There is enough space for small numbers of people to stay well spaced out. However, please remind your family to not use either of the playgrounds, as research shows that the COVID-19 virus can live for up to 72 hours on hard surfaces.
The school holidays start next week, from Monday 30th March - Tuesday 14th April inclusive, with the new school term starting back up on Wednesday 15th April. Teachers will be in touch with you by Wednesday 15th with another pack of home learning for your child/ren. In the meantime, please feel free to keep using the suggestions in this week’s home learning pack for activities your child/ren can keep doing.
From information we have received from parents and teachers supporting children with home learning in other countries, and parents who home school their children throughout the year, it is recommended that having some form of schedule, that maps out different sections of the day, can be very useful for families. It helps to keep a sense of routine and structure for all family members, and this can be especially useful for children in a situation when things seem out of the ordinary. That routine can be tailored to meet your family’s needs and your family culture.
Take care and stay at home with your family to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Be aware of any isolated neighbours who may not have people to check on them, and make safe contact to see if they need any help, such as local shopping. Thanks to you all for being kind and caring to each other at this time.
Me mahi tahi tātaou, mo te oranga o te katoa - we must work together for the wellbeing of all.
Ngā mihi nui,