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Tēnā koutou katoa whānau, parents and caregivers

Christine O'Neill —

Today we are in the brave new world in Orange in the new Traffic Light Covid Protection Framework.

Until the end of this term, however, schools remain in their alert level setting. Hence we are running our junior year level prizegivings with students only, as explained in the last newsletter. The new Covid Protection Framework has significant implications for how we do things at school next year. Not a lot changes on site for our students and staff when undertaking curriculum related activities. As per the Public Health Order all our staff are vaccinated, as are all contractors who come on site and personnel from other agencies and organisations providing a service for us.

Students are not required to have vaccinations to access public education and parents coming in as part of the role of being a parent are also not required to be vaccinated (eg a teacher/parent meeting, a meeting with the counsellor or dean). Sign in and masks are required. Extra curricular activities and events which are not defined as curriculum have different guidelines. When we have a gathering (whether defined as curriculum or not) and bring other than students and staff on site we are required to operate under the Covid Protection Framework.

To that end in order to comply with the Framework we are implementing new processes at the start of next year around our start of year powhiri and our Year 9 parent orientation evening. Parents (and guests) at the powhiri and the orientation evening will be required to

  • Wear a mask
  • Sign in with the COVID app for contact tracing purposes
  • Present a vaccine pass for verification on the pass verifier

This does mean arriving earlier to the event to enable us to manage these processes and start on time. More detail will come early next year but we wanted parents to understand what these new protocols will look like particularly around the vaccine pass. Parents and whānau without a vaccine pass or medical exemption will not be able to attend these events.

In addition, the Board of School Sport NZ have confirmed that all School Sport NZ sanctioned events in Term 1 2022 (including the term 1 holidays) will be restricted to fully vaccinated participants, aged 12 and over, only. Where practicable, this mandate extends to spectators attending also. This decision will be reviewed post Summer Tournament Week 2022 and taking into account the latest Government advice.

In preparation for the changes to how sport will be delivered under the Framework, School Sport NZ consulted with member Principals and its Sport partners.

86% of Principals who responded agreed that School Sport NZ sanctioned events must be restricted to fully vaccinated participants only. Similarly, sport partner feedback was 81% in favour. We are actively working with our sport partners for term 1 events to ensure that compliance is manageable and that Health and Safety plans and guidance is updated to reflect the Covid Protection Framework.

Sport NZ has published its advice in accordance with the Covid Protection Framework. Quite simply, the events on the School Sport NZ Calendar will not be able to proceed if Covid Vaccination Certificates are not being checked. The gathering limits at Orange and Red in particular become too restrictive for viable sports events to take place. Many public venues and facilities where sanctioned events take place are requiring Covid Vaccine Passes for entry. National and Regional Sports Organisations are also considering their options. This mandate will provide clarity for all stakeholders to plan with confidence that events on the School Sport NZ Calendar will be able to continue.

Next week we head into our final week with juniors until farewell on Friday in the Christmas spirit. Our seniors are working their way through their NZQA examinations and still in study mode. I know all of us are looking forward to the summer break after a very long difficult year and I am sure Aucklanders are celebrating being out of lockdown today!

Ngā mihi

Christine O’Neill