Like me, I am sure you have followed with interest the announcements made by the Prime Minister and Dr Ashley Bloomfield this afternoon. Ms Ardern has confirmed that on Wednesday the 13th of May at 11:59 pm we will officially enter Alert Level 2. In order for us to action our St Michael's School "Level 2 Action Plan" parents are asked to CONFIRM their child's attendance for when the school officially opens on the 18th of May, 2020 by completing the enrollment form HERE. Our Government has reassured the public that our schools are safe places for our students. I understand that some families may be experiencing some anxiety about their child coming back to school. This is a completely normal response given the high degree of certainty and change we have all had to navigate over this time. Over the next '7 Sleeps' I will send a bulletin each evening as we countdown to a safer sense of normal. My aim is to provide you with as much information and transparency you need in order for you to feel confident in our systems, our processes and our staff. The information you will receive each day will be up to date accounts that detail "HOW" we are implementing the rules and guidelines provided to us from the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health. As we proceed, your family may have specific queries or concerns that you would like to get clarity around. I have provided a space for you to list your questions in the enrollment survey. Or, alternatively. Please feel free to contact me directly at principal@stmichaelsrotorua.
All queries will be responded to in one of the following ways:
1) Your family will receive an individual phone call from a St Michael's staff member
2) Your question and answer will be included in one of the Principal's Bulletins
Home Learning Community Survey findings
It is reassuring to hear how well our country has done at minimizing the impacts of COVID-19. Alert Levels 4 and 3 have not been easy and I thank you for your ongoing support for the work we have been doing. Very recently we asked for you to share your experience of Home Learning. We were curious to learn about how supported you felt during Level 4 and invited you to give us any other feedback to support our constant quest for improvement and high level or personal care. We had 58 our of 99 of our St Michael's families reply. The staff and I had rich and valuable discussions this morning. From the information you provided we felt encouraged and valued as a collective that the vast majority of respondents were happy, engaged and felt supported. We accepted that a small minority of whanau would encounter problems. Thank you for sharing honestly with our team. As you know, everyone has worked tremendously hard. I am grateful how parents have balanced their feedback by looking through both a positive and constructive lens.
The complete results of this survey are available for you to view HERE
Lines of communication
Your parent voice highlighted some key themes that we feel is very important to "get right" as we move into Level 2 and beyond. The majority of families who responded indicated that private email, Seesaw and telephone calls were the top three preferred lines of communication when receiving information from the school.
Private Email is used for:
School wide community notices such as the Principal's bulletins, newsletters, sports news, accounting purposes, notifying senior management of any concerns that have not first been able to be resolved by way of the classroom teacher.
Seesaw is used for:
Class specific newsletters from your child's teacher, activities and examples of your child's learning in action. It is an anthology of your child's learning journey. 2020 marks the very first year where 99% of our families are now signed up. We apologise that over the unplanned break there was frustration over the different platforms i.e. parent platform VS children's platform. We took on your feedback that you receive many emails that do not pertain specifically to your child. We are currently looking into how we can tweak this issue for you.
Telephone - and the School App
Only Teaching staff, Senior Management and administration have the authority to contact student's parents and have access to their personal information on the student management database. Teacher Aides and other support staff are not permitted to play "go between" unless it falls in line with the scope and responsibilities of their role. I have shared this professional boundary with all of the support staff going forward.
Health and Safety - It's not just about the physical
At St Michael's School. We will be using the following words (kupu) to discuss and describe our time apart. You might like to discuss these words with your children before their return.
Rāhui - is a term that describes a time when certain activities are restricted and that in time, activities will return to ‘normal’ or even better.
We are committed to maintaining the relationship we have developed with our students and whanau. Whanaungatanga provides tamariki (& whānau) with a sense of security & reduces anxiety of the unknown. Helps to alleviate anxiety of students and whānau around health practices within the school when their tamariki are there. Gives them something positive to think of, feel they can contribute and reconnect with others and their space.
Makes them feel safe about coming back to school – because you care for them.
Preparing tamariki for the return to school will aid in reducing their anxiety.
Visualising, planning and even practicing for the return to school helps build confidence and takes the mystery out of what is happening for them
The kupu we use can elicit strong emotions. Both rāhui & lockdown have different connotations and rāhui might evoke feelings of protection whereas the lock down might promote feelings of anxiety.
To assist parents with the transition back to school, we’ll have updated information and tips available and send this out via bulletin by the end of the week.
We know many students will be excited about getting back to see friends and to their regular studies, while some may be anxious or detached from their learning. Our refreshed well-being guidance will include practical tips on what to look out for and how to help.
The Ministry of Education are working on a series of online ‘webinars’ hosted via https://www.facebook.com/
They will include education and health experts, teachers and parents and respond to questions from participants. Our first, on Friday this week, will be Professor Stuart McNaughton talking about well being – we’ll provide the time in an upcoming Principal Bulletin. We’ll keep you informed on future presenters through the Bulletin.
In regards to the physical safety of children. The key Public Health approach is to minimize 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 distancing is a good precaution to prevent the spread of disease. We do however know it is challenging in schools, so good hygiene practices and regular cleaning are even more important here. This includes staff and students coughing into their elbows, hand washing and drying and regular cleaning of commonly touched surfaces.
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.
Our school has safe and sensible practices to maintain the health and safety of everyone on the school site. As described by Dr Payinda in his NZ Herald article, “Covid's not measles or chickenpox, it doesn't hang in the air for hours waiting to infect passers-by. It travels on invisible drops of spit. You don't have to cross the street to avoid anyone. Just avoid getting in their 'moist breath' zone”. We all just need to remember to have some breathing space at Alert Level 2!
It’s important however that not just at school but at home, safe hygiene habits are practised by everyone, as this is essential to minimise the risk that someone gets infected with Covid-19.
If you have any questions about our health and safety plan, or have a child who might be vulnerable to serious illness and would like to discuss a plan for them, please contact the Deputy Principal who is our Special Education Coordinator.
Mrs Rachael McLanachan - firstname.lastname@example.org
Please find a short timeline of events for your information. Please do note the teacher only day we have scheduled.
Monday, 11th May
Tuesday, 12th May
All staff have access to site to begin preparing for school re-opening
Principal email parents with update - Hygiene protocols / drop off and pickups / when a child is sick/lunch ordering system
Cleaners onsite / playground clean confirmed
Teams to confirm the time that parents will be invited to a Zoom hui for Q&A. This will be added to the school calendar
Thursday, 14 May
Health and safety audit - DP and Principal receive report on H&S protocols from team leaders
Track and tracing protocol checked and any wrinkles ironed out
Principal email parents with update - (Track and tracing protocol explained / communication lines reminders / Responses to community queries /Zoom session Q & A offered for families)
Principals Zoom session Q&A time for families
Friday, 15 May
Teacher Only Day - NO LEVEL 3 STUDENTS ONSITE ONLY INDEPENDENT HOME LEARNING AVAILABLE -
Team leaders offer a Zoom session Q&A for families with children in their space
Principals update - results of Zoom session - Frequently asked questions / Day 1 plan confirmed and communicated with St Michael's families
School Transport confirmed / duty schedule distributed to staff / bus/Oscar lists revised
Classroom Newsletters sent via Seesaw
Teachers and teacher aides setting the classrooms up for return of students
Spotlight focus on students with additional learning and behavioural needs - MOE advisor and kahui ako support coordinator involvement
Monday, 18 May
Students back on site for Level 2
Pause! BREATHE! Smile!!!!
Posted: Tue 12 May 2020