We have been here before and we can do it again.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that Auckland will move from Alert Level 1 to Alert Level 3, and the rest of New Zealand from Alert Level 1 to Alert Level 2, from midday today, Wednesday 12 August. At Level 2 the virus is contained but the risk of community transmission remains. The initial moves are until midnight on Friday 14 August, at which point they will be reviewed.
As Dr Ashley Bloomfield, Director General of Health, stated “it was inevitable that community transmission emerged again … this is a tricky virus”.
We are thinking of our fellow New Zealanders in Auckland, and particularly those in school communities, who are facing this sudden change in daily routines.
For us at Burnside High School, moving to Alert Level 2 means increased vigilance of hygiene practices, safe distancing, and no gatherings of more than 100 people.
School is a safe environment
The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health have a clear and consistent message that it is safe for all students and staff to be at school in Alert Level 2. Schools are safe because hygiene habits are strong. Schools have practices in place that support a safe environment for our students and staff.
Our expectations of students
A separate message has already been sent to the students. It contained these messages, which we know you will reinforce:
- Students should regularly wash and dry hands, cough and sneeze into their elbow, and avoid touching their faces.
- There will be hand sanitiser on entry to each class. We are asking that students have their own small bottle of sanitiser if possible. Students should sanitise hands as they enter the classroom, or have washed their hands before each class.
Students should not be at school if sick
- If a sick child comes to school they will be sent home.
- If students are sick, they should remain at home and contact their GP or the Healthline.
- If students are offered a Covid test, we urge them to get it done.
Guidelines for activity during the school day
- Physical Distancing: Students should be far enough away from each other so that they are not breathing on, or touching, each other. We call this the ‘daylight rule’. Staff should be able to see ‘daylight’ between students.
- A ‘keep left’ rule will apply in corridors, entrance ways, and stairs to assist with the efficient flow of people around the campus.
- Students will need to bring their own food and their own water. There will be no drinking fountains operating. The canteen will remain closed for the time being.
- We are required to keep track of people that enter our school. We have our attendance records, our timetables, our visitor register. We ask that students also keep a record of their interactions.
- Hand sanitiser will be available in classrooms.
- Everyone should practice safe hand hygiene and cough etiquette
- NO cars are permitted on the school grounds unless they are school staff or contractors working for school. Students must walk onto the school site. Please drop them off near the school, but please also consider congestion. If you drop them well away from the school entrances, this will help everyone. Please do not park on yellow lines as this puts everyone at risk.
Suggested drop off and pick up points are:
- Memorial Avenue – students enter through the pedestrian gate
- Greers Road by Jellie Park
- Guildford Street – the school gate will be open
- Grahams Road Walkway
- There will be no Assemblies in the Aurora Centre. Instead, on a Division’s regular assembly day, students go to their form rooms.
End of the day variation for juniors
To minimise congestion, Year 9 and 10 students will again be released at 2.30 pm each day except Wednesdays, when they will be released at 2.20 pm. This allows a smoother transition from the school site at the end of the day. Seniors continue with the normal end of the school day, that is, 2.40 pm all days except Wednesdays at 2.30 pm.
Public Health Measures
We have a number of health measures in place, including an increased cleaning regime, increased availability of cleaning products for all staff, and a long-lasting antimicrobial product Zoono has been applied to all hard surfaces.
Masks are not required at schools at Alert Levels 2 and 3. However, if you prefer that your child wears a face mask, then please provide them with one.
We remind all students that we need to help each other in the team effort of reduction of infection. We look to our BHS Values:
Manaakitanga - Be respectful of each other’s personal boundaries in the classroom and around the school.
Mana - Have pride in yourself, your school and your community: follow good hygiene practices.
Rangatiratanga - Strive to excel by making the most of your time in class.
Alert Level 2 is a call to Play It Safe. We each have a responsibility to follow this instruction for ourselves and for the sake of others. We must behave sensibly and make good decisions.
Please be assured that we have health and safety plans in place; and that our school is a safe environment to be in. Thank you for your continued support in reinforcing these important messages with your children.
We will keep you informed as more information is received.
Kia kaha kia mau tonu – stay strong; keep on course
Ngā mihi nui