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Important Alert Level 2 Information

posted 14 May 2020, 22:09 by Debbie Stevens   [ updated 14 May 2020, 22:26 ]

Kia ora koutou katoa

As we look forward to welcoming back our students and staff to school on Monday under Alert Level 2, we continue to receive regular bulletins from the Ministries of Education and Health. Given these unprecedented times, guidelines and how we respond to COVID-19 are subject to change. We must be guided by the medical expertise provided by our Government and act on and within the advice we are given.

We apologise for the length of this correspondence, but ask that you carefully read all school communication to ensure that you have the most up-to-date information.

We have sought further clarity and advice from the Ministry of Education around some areas of concerns which have been raised by whānau. These include questions around health and safety, whole school Chapels and Assemblies, distance learning, buses, NCEA, and parent/caregiver access to campus. Please read the information below. Any further questions should be sent to principal@wdsg.school.nz

Will distance learning continue to be provided for my daughter if she does not attend school at Alert Level 2?

The Government has indicated that it is safe for all staff and students to return to school at Alert Level 2, and the Ministry of Education, in conjunction with the Ministry of Health, has worked closely with schools to ensure that we are well-prepared for the full return of our learning community.

If, for some reason, your daughter is unable to attend school in person from Monday 18 May, she will continue to be supported with her learning using online/digital means, but this will not look the same as it did during Alert Levels 3 and 4. Teachers will be unable to teach classes remotely at the same time as they are delivering their programmes of learning to students physically in front of them. However, they will make the learning materials from their lessons available to students who are learning from home and will provide support where possible. To do this, they may use a combination of approaches, which might include:
  • Posting learning materials and instructions for every lesson on Google Classroom.
  • Sharing videos to supplement the learning, where possible.
  • Nominating a buddy in each of your daughter’s classes to share their notes from each lesson with your daughter. 
  • Posting physical materials/resources home to your daughter, if materials are unable to be shared online.
  • Responding to your daughter if she has any questions about the classwork, mainly via email.
  • Tailoring your daughter’s learning programme, where necessary, to meet her individual needs (e.g. withdrawing your daughter from certain achievement standards if she is unable to participate in some of the learning activities, especially linked to practical assessments).
If you have any questions regarding your daughter’s learning, please make contact with the following people:
  • Your daughter’s teachers - for subject-specific queries.
  • Your daughter’s year level Dean - for overall pastoral care queries and tracking of student progress.
  • Julie Bain - Deputy Principal (Leader of Learning) - for broader queries about the provision of distance learning options.

Can parents and caregivers come on to campus?

The Martin Street Gate will remain open for drop-offs and pick-ups. However, Parents MUST remain in their vehicles. To help minimise congestion, please encourage your daughter to access the school via the Clarkin Road pedestrian gate (rear of field) or River Road walkway (bottom of hill). The Martin Street gate will be locked between 9.00 am and 2.00 pm and again after 4.00 pm (outside drop-off and pick-up times).

At Level 2 we are restricting visitors to our school site. The moment anyone leaves their vehicle or enters the site, we have to contact trace. This would be very complicated and we ask that parents do not come on site unless in case of emergency, or for pre arranged meetings. Parent visits to school should be kept as short as possible. Please also ensure you maintain physical distancing of two metres, and follow the necessary hygiene protocols around hand washing and use of hand sanitiser. We will have staff monitoring drop-offs and pick-ups and ask for your full support in this matter.

Please note: The River Rd entrance will be closed to parents/caregivers/visitors.

Parents/caregivers collecting their daughters from the Wellness Centre will be given specific instructions regarding pick-up.


Where possible, we want to avoid people congregating together at the start and end of the school day. We ask that parents/caregivers who drop off their daughters do so as close to the 8.30 am start time as possible and collect them promptly at the end of the school day. The Library offers a warm and safe environment for students to catch up on school work until 4.30 pm Monday through Thursday and to 3.30 pm on Friday. 

What are the key messages around health and safety?

The key Public Health approach is to minimise the risk that someone gets infected in the first place, and second to ensure we can identify and contact anyone who has been in close contact with a person, if someone in a school is infected.

As we have done in Alert Level 3, you can be assured that in Alert Level 2 we will know who is at school, who our staff and students have been in close contact with and take appropriate measures to keep everyone safe.

Physical distance is a good precaution to prevent the spread of disease. However, we acknowledge that this is challenging in schools. Good hygiene practices and regular cleaning are paramount. This includes :
  • Staff and students coughing into their elbows, handwashing and drying and regular cleaning of commonly touched surfaces.
  • Increasing our hygiene stations, safety signage
  • Working with our students to ensure that they remain vigilant about our hygiene practices.
  • All surfaces/high touch areas cleaned and sanitised regularly. Hand sanitiser stations are in place for students entering class rooms, and antibacterial surface spray and paper towels will be available in every shared space.
  • Students and staff bringing their own personal water bottles (named).
  • Safe hygiene habits are practised by everyone, not just at school, but at home.
Under Alert Level 2, we advise any students and staff to stay at home if they are sick, and we will send anyone home immediately if they show any symptoms.

For more information about the public health measures at Alert Level 2, you can visit the Government Covid 19 website here.

Do I need to notify the school if my daughter is going to be absent or will be late?

It is incredibly important that we are notified of all absences or lateness, even if you completed the survey sent home last week, as information has to be accurate and up-to-date. Please contact absent@wdsg.school.nz or phone 07 855 2038 extn 1 before 8.00 am. Thank you for your support in this matter.

Will Dio have whole school Chapels and Assemblies at Level 2?

Educational facilities, and school transport are not considered mass gatherings because they are managed environments. This means there are no restrictions on numbers of people indoors or outside at schools and early learning services other than what other public health or health and safety measures require.

After feedback from whānau regarding our decision to continue full school Chapels, Assemblies, and Special C practices we have decided to keep these online for the next two weeks, or until the Government reviews the Level 2 guidelines. Chapels, Assemblies, and Special C will continue to be delivered online via live Google Meets or Google slides in form classes. 

How will extra-curricular (sports, arts, cultural) activities work at Level 2?

For the sake of our students’ physical, mental, social and spiritual health, we believe it is important that they continue to remain active but do so in a responsible way.

Extra-Curricular Sports

We are pleased that a modified winter sports season has been confirmed for the next few months. It will give students a chance to get outside and enjoy exercising on the roads, hills, turf, courts, fields, climbing walls, swimming pools and tumbling tracks.

Covid-19 has certainly changed the way sport will be played this winter but we hope that all our students will continue to work towards living our Sports Vision - Preparing confident, resourceful, resilient young women to lead healthier and active lifestyles.

We would like to reassure our community that we will ‘proceed with care’ and ‘play if safe’ - following the Government, Ministry of Education and Sport NZ Level 2 guidelines:
  • Every coach will have a copy of the Sport NZ Guidelines along with a contact tracing form and the necessary hygiene products. 
  • Each practice will start with a health & safety briefing, and team coaches and managers will be in constant communication with the sports managers on how your daughter's general well being is tracking.
  • We ask that parents/caregivers do NOT attend practices or meetings. 
  • Please wait in your car to collect your daughter at the end of her practice or meeting.
We continue to take our lead from the Waikato Secondary School Sport Association and their Principal Executive group, along with School Sport NZ. They have determined that there will be a suspension of all Waikato Secondary School Sports Association weekly inter-school leagues/competitions and one-day events until Monday 22 June.

Here at Dio we feel that it is important that the girls settle back into school life and we will not commence our winter sports training programmes until 2 June. This date has been determined after advice from the Sport NZ guidelines. The ‘DioFit’ fitness centre will reopen on Monday 25 May with appropriate health and safety measures in place.

To view Waikato Secondary School Sports Guidelines for Gatherings Click here

If you have questions specific to extra-curricular sports, please contact our Director of Sport, Mark Cornaga.

Extra-Curricular Arts

Thank you to all our students who have been participating in the online meetings and rehearsals for the extra-curricular performance groups. It has been wonderful to still come together virtually.

When we meet again in person, all extra-curricular arts students/staff/coaches/tutors/directors will follow the Ministry of Health Guidelines for ‘Prevention for Protection of Yourselves and Others’:
  • Accurate attendance records for contact tracing will be taken by one person for each of our group rehearsals or meetings, and we ask that parents/caregivers do NOT attend these rehearsals or meetings. Please wait in your car to collect your daughter at the end of her rehearsal or meeting. 
  • For all our singing/instrument/performance groups, students will stand/sit at least one metre apart. Some groups will be in a bigger rehearsal space. 
  • Rehearsals/practices will be no longer than two hours.
  • If students are feeling unwell, please do not come to practices or rehearsals and let the teacher in charge know ASAP.
  • If a student or anyone is feeling unwell shortly after attending a practice or rehearsal, please let the teacher in charge know ASAP, and continue to follow the normal school processes. 
  • Shared surfaces (pianos etc) will be cleaned prior to and on commencement of the rehearsal/practice. 
  • Mouthpieces will not be able to be shared. If your instrument produces condensation, please bring your own clean hand towel to collect this condensation and ensure this is washed and cleaned after every rehearsal, and your hands are washed/sanitised after cleaning your instrument. 
  • Communication around practices and meetings will be communicated via the groups’ Google Classroom and/or email.
Click here to view the most up-to-date information regarding rehearsals and competitions at the time of this notification.

If you have questions specific to extra-curricular arts, please contact Arts Administrator, Georgina Hewitt.

How safe is travel on buses and public transport?

Physical distancing isn’t practicable on school buses. However, it’s a controlled environment where contact tracing can take place if required. Government advice is to try and limit taking public transport. If you have alternative transport options available to you, please use them.

Bus companies will do their absolute best to get students to school, but due to physical distancing restrictions the number of available seats on each bus is only around 40% of normal at Level 2. Busit is being upfront about this to manage the expectations of students, parents/caregivers and schools.

Routes and timetables

In Hamilton, most buses will continue to operate to a weekend timetable, with some extra trips put on to help people get to school and work as listed on https://busit.co.nz/bus-alerts/level2

Services travelling from Huntly, Cambridge, Te Awamutu, Morrinsville and Raglan will operate their normal weekday service, including the school assist buses.

Bus capacity

On-board capacity is only 40% at Level 2.

Stickers on the exterior of the buses show the maximum number of passengers on each bus.

Physical distancing
  • All window seats are available.
  • All aisle seats are unavailable UNLESS you know the person in the window seat (e.g. a sibling, classmate, friend, in the same sports team etc.).
  • Follow the mantra --- “If you know them, you can sit next to them”
Green seats = available
Blue seats = not available, unless you know the person in the green seat

Contact tracing
Other Information
  • Please do not travel on the bus if you are unwell.
  • Bus travel will continue to be free until further notice to avoid direct contact between drivers and passengers.
  • Bus entry will be by the rear doors where possible, which excludes at the Hamilton Transport Centre and where passengers – such as wheelchair users – require the ramp for boarding.
  • Enhanced cleaning of buses continues, including:
    • Daily disinfection to all touch points on board including bell pushers, poles and seat back handles
    • Daily fogging/misting disinfectant treatment of all buses
    • Extensive cleaning and disinfecting of the air conditioning filters
    • Enhanced cleaning of the Transport Centre seats and shelters is also taking place.
For more information, visit https://busit.co.nz/bus-alerts/level2

Who is responsible for maintaining up-to-date passenger lists for contact tracing?

It is the school’s responsibility to maintain these lists and provide them to their transport provider. The Ministry of Health will contact us if there are any cases requiring contact tracing. Where a bus services more than one school, the ‘head school’ will hold the master list.

The Ministry of Health requires schools to have accurate records on how EVERY student travels to/from school. This is for COVID-19 contact tracing purposes. There are still a number of families who have not provided this information. Please complete THIS SURVEY for EACH daughter you have at Dio, ASAP. Thank you again to all those who have completed and submitted this information.

How is the Government mitigating the COVID-19 impact on NCEA?

The Ministry of Education and the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) are making changes to NCEA this year in a two-step process designed to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19.

The changes, effective immediately, are to:
  • delay external NCEA examinations and New Zealand Scholarship examinations so they start on 16 November instead of 6 November, allowing another week for teaching, learning and internal assessment in Term 4
  • extend the submission date for subjects that require students to submit a portfolio, such as Design and Visual Communication, from 28 October to 12 November 2020, giving students more time to prepare
  • waive the requirement for NZQA verification of Level 1 and 2 Visual Arts portfolios, allowing students more time to complete their portfolios and teachers more time for marking.
  • NCEA examinations will now finish on 9 December 2020. An amended examination timetable is available on NZQA’s website
You can read more about changes to NCEA and what the Ministry of Education is doing to support students in Education Minister Chris Hipkins announcement from 13 May.

How are we supporting Dio families who have been impacted financially?

The Covid-19 pandemic continues to cause huge social and economic disruption for many New Zealanders. The Dio community has not been spared. Everyone is in a different position as the economic consequences of what we are facing start to bite. At this time we ask you for openness in the event the payment of fees and donations will place real hardship on you.

For families able to meet their normal payment commitments, we ask that you do so by the due date. This will support Dio’s capacity to help other families who are more impacted financially.

Please don't hesitate to contact our Commercial Manager, Delwyn Guilford to confidentially discuss your personal circumstance or phone 07 855 2038 extn 2715.

Please view our Draft Alert Level 2 - Implementation and Notes for WDSG document. If you have any questions about this, have a daughter who might be vulnerable to serious illness and would like to discuss a plan for them, please contact principal@wdsg.school.nz

It is important that as a school community we continue to show strength and resilience, and attack any issues we will face with generosity and understanding. We are all part of a much broader picture.

These are unprecedented times and we thank you all for your good grace as we together navigate the weeks and months ahead.

Blessings

Mary Curran / Principal


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