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Working together to keep the JPII community safe and healthy

Renee Hutchinson —

Kia ora koutou katoa

As a school, we are all too aware of the anxiety surrounding keeping safes for many staff and students and whānau. As a leadership team, we are well-prepared to respond in a timely manner to ensure that wellbeing and learning remain the priority. 

This afternoon we had the opportunity to meet with house groups to share our Covid-19 response plan for the time when Omicron enters the community. To prepare, we have attended video calls with the Ministry of Education, Canterbury and Top of the South Principals, and have been following the responses from schools already affected by Omicron. We are guided by both the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health, and we have complete confidence in our staff and students to get through this together. 

 I would like to thank all our staff and students who have worn masks to keep each other safe, and have been physically distancing even though this can be hard at times.

In the event of a confirmed Covid-19 case at JPII, you can expect:

  • Prompt communication from the leadership team via text and email notifying you that there is a confirmed case. Do not panic!
  • Contact tracing will take place, and those deemed a close contact will be notified via a phone call. If we can’t get hold of you, you will receive a text message. Close contacts may include teachers, class members, close friends / staff members, extracurricular activities at school, bus students.
  • These people will need to isolate at home and seek a Covid-19 test. Isolation is for a period of 7 days if the day 5 test returns negative. They may return to school on day 8.

To prepare as a school, we remind everyone to continue to follow sensible health guidelines:

  • Mask up covering both nose and mouth. Masks are still the best form of preventing the spread of Covid-19 inside the classroom and other closed spaces
  • Wash hands regularly and/or use hand sanitiser, especially before eating and drinking
  • Open classroom windows and doors if possible– good ventilation and fresh air is a good way to slow the spread of Omicron
  • Put your rubbish in the bin so other people don’t have to pick up discarded cutlery, drink bottles, apple cores, etc. Be a tidy kiwi and do your bit to keep your mates safe
  • If you’re feeling unwell or have the sniffles, please stay home!

At the end of last year’s lockdown, we received over 100 responses to our survey about our online learning programme during the lockdown period. We will carry forward the best of what we learnt from your feedback, while adopting a hybrid learning model moving forward. Hybrid learning means where in-person and remote forms of teaching and learning happen at the same time. This will help ensure any staff or students who do need to isolate because they have become close contacts and are otherwise completely healthy, get to continue with teaching and learning. 

We will be sending out a short survey to students and whānau to help us understand the connectivity and device requirements at home should learning need to take place entirely remotely. This is essential to us being able to respond equitably to our students’ needs.

In this newsletter, you will find information on sport at school and what this looks like in the Covid environment. We are doing our very best to help all students have the opportunity to get involved in sports, and house activities on a Friday is a great way to be involved.

I wish you all a safe and restful weekend.

Ngā mihi nui

Renée Hutchinson