IMPORTANT UPDATE COVID-19 and School Closure

Tuesday 24 March

Kia ora all students, parents, caregivers and whānau

The purpose of this email is to let you know how things look from this point in terms of teaching and learning, this week, holidays and beyond.

48 hour window (Tuesday/Wednesday)

These two days are where we ask you allow our staff to take a breath, get their families sorted and take some time to prepare for the Learning at Home Trial at the end of this week.

Learning from Home Trial (Thursday/Friday)

We are going to continue with our Learning from home trial and extend it for Friday. We will run the timetable as follows:

· Thursday (all year levels) Period 2-5
· Friday (seniors) Period 1-4
· Friday (juniors) Period 2-5

This allows all lines to have at least one teaching class, with the only exception being one junior line.

In terms of expectations for Thursday & Friday, please check your student and parent emails. By Thursday morning you should have an email from the classroom teachers indicating what work will look like for Thursday and Friday. Teachers will be trying to touch base with you online, so your timetable will follow the times and pattern of the normal school timetable for Thursday and Friday. Please be online and good to go for the lessons as described by your teachers.

We will seek feedback on how the trial went after the end of Friday.

Holidays

Holidays have been brought forward and start next Monday 30th March and go through until Tuesday 14th April (Tuesday after Easter is a holiday).

Online learning and teaching

Online teaching and learning will commence after this period. We are working towards establishing a centralised online launching platform. This means we can send a link to ALL students and parents about online learning and this can be the go to start place. From there teachers will be able to write a description of what online learning looks like in their course and set up links to their specific online areas. It will just save a raft of emails going out saying what is happening across all subjects and provide a cohesive framework, with flexible options from it.

I will continue to keep updates going as we progress through this truly unique and somewhat surreal situation. I wish you and your families all the very best over this lockdown. We will absolutely work hard to ensure quality teaching and learning takes place and that assessments still take place, though likely with very different timeframes and conditions, to ensure students continue on their NCEA pathways. The first priority though is to be safe, get sorted for lockdown, and take care.

Arohanui

Craig Steed

Monday 23 March 

This is a very brief email to follow up from the Prime Ministers announcement today. We have now gone to alert level 3, with 48 hours until alert level 4.

What this means is Paraparaumu College will be closed to all students, other than children of those working in essential services, effectively immediately. If any essential services staff need supervision for their children between 9.10 – 1.35 (our planned school days this week) please reply to this email tonight.

We ask all other students to remain home.

Along with the closure of the College, all Gateway placements, Trade Academy courses, STAR courses and holiday programmes are all postponed until further notice.

We request a 48 hour window of our community to enable staff to prepare the resources they need to offer the online teaching and learning we wish to undertake. This was a significant decision today and we ask for your patience as we respond to what needs to happen. I will send more communication about teaching and learning tomorrow but ask at the moment that you please allow us this opportunity to use the next 48 hours to get ready for what school now looks like.

Thank you for your support of the school over this challenging time. I ask you all to take care. Look after yourselves and look after others.

 

Sunday 22 March 

Today SLT have been meeting to discuss the week ahead. We have made a range of significant decisions today and I would like to communicate these to you.

Yesterday the Government announced that people over 70 or with under-lying health issues remain at home. I emailed all staff yesterday requesting information from anyone affected through this and we have gathered a picture across the full staff as far as we currently know. We will have a number of staff not being able to teach from tomorrow due to this directive. The number of staff and relievers in this category also makes it very difficult to fully staff a normal school day. Therefore, we are making changes to the school day as follows:

Shortened Day

We are going to run a shortened day. No form time. Teaching will be the normal timetable for Periods 1 – 4, with interval after Period 2. Students will need to leave school after Period 4 (there will be no lunch time). Times will run standard times and follow the timetable as it is currently. It will operate for the foreseeable future. Therefore, the school day will be:

9.10 – 10.10 Period 1
10.10 – 11.10 Period 2
Interval
11.35 – 12.35 Period 3
12.35 – 1.35 Period 4
Home

Buses have been contacted and we are hopeful we will be able to get a rescheduled service time at some stage this week. However, bus times remain the same as usual until we can confirm otherwise. We will also be discussing with the bus companies about physical distancing considerations. Bus students will be able to use the library when waiting for the buses as we try to adjust their schedules but you may wish to consider alternative transport to and from school. We will update you more on buses earlier in the week.

Physical distancing

We ask students to think about the physical distancing around the school. We have asked teachers to look at their classrooms and arrange seating to maximise physical distancing. Students also need to do their part in this around the school.

With reduced staff in the Canteen and difficulty managing physical distancing the decision has been made to close the Canteen from tomorrow. Please ensure you bring your own food for interval.

The Common room/Student Centre will be closed. Hygiene practices in this area are far from adequate in the current climate. Students may use the library to do their study.

Recent cricket game

No doubt many of you will have heard that a recent cricket game played between two local club teams (not school cricket) which had a person from the Wairarapa present who has since tested positive for COVID-19. In the wider community there have been a number of people contacted by the Ministry of Health for testing. These people are currently self-isolating. I have been made aware that some of the people requested to remain at home and isolate are in our school community. No one is showing any symptoms and risk of infection is low but appropriate actions are being taken by them remaining away from the college. If you have received a notification from the Ministry of Health and have yet to contact me, please do so. The school is following protocols and guidance from the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education and are able to continue with the school as usual, with the increased cleaning and hygiene practices that have already been in place for some time since the outbreak hit New Zealand.

Please also note that The Ball, set for early Term 2, has been postponed. A new date has been booked for 29th August.

We know things are changing rapidly but we continue to be committed to providing ongoing education for our young people at the college. We appreciate that with the recent Government announcement a number of families will need to keep their children home. Please contact teachers via email to get guidance around work to be continuing.

I also ask you to be thoughtful towards staff that are having to stay home. It is important that anyone with compromised health follow these guidelines and that we rally around to support them and keep them safe.

I look forward to seeing many of our students returning to college tomorrow with this new timetable for the week, and yes, we will be continuing with our trial Learning at Home day on Thursday.

Ngā mihi nui
Craig Steed