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Kia ora koutou katoa

Renee Hutchinson —

When we woke up this morning, we found ourselves in Phase 3 of the Red-Light framework. Covid infections are ramping up nationally and there are now a number of confirmed cases on the West Coast, including in a local school.

This is a scary time for many, and especially for parents with children at Otago University, and those with immune compromised family members. I would like to acknowledge all those who are doing their bit to help keep themselves and others safe by masking up and practising good hygiene. I am meeting regularly with the Ministry of Education and other principals to ensure our response to the pandemic follows best practice. The key information for all of us to be aware of today is:

  • School remains open for business and usual.
  • Masks and good hygiene, along with vaccines remain the best forms of defence.
  • If anyone is sick or presents with symptoms, STAY HOME, and seek a test!
  • Only people who live in the same house are now considered close contacts.
  • If you share a vape, drink bottle, lip balm, kiss, etc., with someone who has tested positive or is symptomatic, then you are likely to get covid-19.
  • Families are now responsible for their own contact tracing. If your child or a member of your family tests positive, stay home and let the school know ASAP.

Omicron symptoms are like those for other variants and include:

We are well-placed to begin a hybrid model of teaching and learning. What this looks like depends on how infections play out across the year levels and numbers attending school in person. All students are now in Google Classrooms or Microsoft Teams. Students who need to self-isolate at home will be able to work from home (if they are well enough to do so!) through their online classrooms. Students will also be supported through a number of online learning tools like Education Perfect to support their progress. Deputy Principal, Madeline Campbell, has further information about hybrid learning for you in this newsletter.

Finally, I would like to say a big thank you to everyone – whānau, Deans, teachers and support staff, for getting our students and the wider school off to a smooth start. In the immortal words of Bruce Lee “real living is living for others”. I thank you for your service to others and your kindness.

Ngā mihi nui

Renée Hutchinson