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Burnside High School

A message from the Principal and Board of Trustees Chairperson 14 April 2020

Burnside High School —

Tēnā koutou katoa Students, Staff, Whānau Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari kē he toa takitini: Any success should not be attributed to me alone; it was the work of us all.

We are part of a team effort. We are not alone in our endeavours.

We trust that after three weeks in lockdown you and your whānau are all well, safe and still smiling. We hope you have enjoyed the opportunities for family time, activities, or a new exercise regime among the restrictions of life in our bubbles.

The autumn weather certainly provided the right conditions for some of those home projects on our to-do lists. It’s astonishing how many little jobs there are to do - some we didn’t know needed doing, some we just didn’t want to do! We hope you got a few of them completed.

The lockdown also provided us with both the need, and the time, to discover ways of connecting with people and to develop skills in video conferencing. Learning how to use virtual meeting spaces such as Zoom and Google Hangouts has been fun and satisfying! Still, it seems strange that we are not on site at school.

As we prepare for Term 2, starting 15 April, thank you for what you are all about to do!

Helping our Students to Learn from home:

The key message we wish to share with students and families is the need to connect with the school every day. Please use the new website: www.burnside.school.nz as your first port of call.

We are all learning together. As educators, we know that new learning can bring unexpected benefits. However, we are acutely aware that this new way will bring challenges. We recognise that every family situation is different and we have to manage ourselves carefully through this time. Be realistic and have reasonable expectations of yourselves.

We are confident that we have high-quality, committed teachers with good systems in place. They will provide learning via Schoology and email; but they, and you, know that not everything will go smoothly all of the time. There will be frustrations and tensions, so we ask that, as always, you are patient, calm and respectful.

Relying on technology brings challenges. The Ministry of Education has announced a significant support package to help distance learning. Please contact your dean if you need help or support with a device and/or an internet connection. It is critical that all of our students are able to access the learning opportunities available, and the government’s support packages provided for this.

Planning for Changing COVID-19 Alert Levels

Although we start Term 2 on 15 April, with students learning from home until at least 22 April, we have to prepare ourselves for the Alert Level 4 Lockdown period to be extended.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins has said:

“My message to parents is: We do need to prepare for all sorts of scenarios, and one of those scenarios, is that a significant number of young people may be at home for longer, even after Level 4 [Lockdown] has finished.
Some schools may be able to reopen from April 29. This date, a week after New Zealand may emerge from Lockdown, would give teachers time to prepare for some students to return to school. But not all children will be returning to school on that date, and they may have to split their time between attending school and learning from home.
It may be, in the first instance, [teachers] are able to come back into the classrooms and continue to deliver remote learning from the school environment.”

Minister Hipkins said the key measure in deciding when schools would reopen will be advice from the Ministry of Health.

Looking after yourself

Please continue to look after yourselves in the coming weeks. Your health and wellbeing is critical. This is an unusual and difficult time - we can expect to be tired.

* Stress is a normal reaction to this type of situation.

* When stress moves to distress, it's important to get help.

* Everyone else is also feeling stressed. We need to be gentle with each other.

Kia kaha, kia manawanui kotahi: Be strong, be kind.

It is imperative that we all continue to follow the government’s clear instructions. We are members of a strong community and a proud nation. We will get through this together.

Ngā mihi nui

Phil Holstein Charles Breurkes

Principal Chairperson, Board of Trustees