Novel Coronavirus - Provision for Distance Learning

Update 12:  25 March 2020

 

With yesterday’s announcement by Government, we are implementing a plan to support your child’s learning from home. We appreciate this is a sudden and significant change, and will be heavily disruptive to many people in our community.

The Government have stated that the school holidays are being brought forward so that they are completed within the four week period. The holidays will now begin from Monday 30th March until Tuesday 14th April inclusive.

 

By the end of the school holidays period, schools will endeavour to provide some distance learning activities for your child/children to undertake while at home.  These learning suggestions will be communicated with you through our skoolbag app and/or emailed to you.

 

We hope you understand that your child’s wellbeing is paramount.  Children will need comfort, and we all have an important role in ensuring they feel safe.  Your child will be looking to you for guidance and support.  Keep the conversations going, go on walks, bake cookies, read books, do a science experiment together, play board games and watch movies.  Now is not the time to worry about your child regressing in school. Right now, your child’s mental health is more important than their academic skills. 

 

Our school is fully alarmed and monitored however; we would like to ask that if you are getting some fresh air that you walk past or through our school property and keep an eye on our lovely environment. Please contact the police if you see any suspicious behaviour.

 

The return to school will be announced by the Government, and we will be following the Ministry of Education guidelines.  If we have any information specific to Owairoa Primary School we will contact you directly. 

 

If you have any questions concerning school governance or administration you can email:


Principal: Alan McIntyreprincipal@owairoa.school.nz
Deputy Principal:  Christine Bulldeputyprincipal@owairoa.school.nz
Associate Principal: Wendy Greshamap@owairoa.school.nz

Assistant Principal: Kirsty Ricekirsty.rice@owairoa.school.nz

Assistant Principal: Anita Randhawaanita.randhawa@owairoa.school.nz

 

We have certainly appreciated the goodwill and co-operation that we have had from parents and community as we have tried to keep everyone safe and we are hoping this intervention will help prevent the virus from affecting our families.

 

I would like to thank our Board of Trustees for their support over the past week.  Thank you also to our outstanding staff too, for remaining calm and focussed as they prepare for the next few weeks.
 
We look forward to getting back to our normal programme and being together again as an Owairoa “family” community.

 

With kind regards

 

Alan McIntyre

PRINCIPAL

 

Novel Coronavirus - SCHOOL CLOSED

 

Update 11: 23 March 2020

 

The Prime Minister has made an important announcement this afternoon regarding the Corona Virus.

With notified virus cases now at 102 confirmed cases the Government have immediately declared a Level 3 alert and this will move to Level 4 alert as from midnight Wednesday, for at least four weeks.

Alert Level 3 means the risk of the potentially deadly virus not being contained and there will either be community transmission of the virus or multiple clusters breaking out.

Level 4 means people are instructed to stay at home, schools and universities closed, as well as non-essential businesses, major reprioritisation of health services, and severely limited travel.

As from tomorrow, Tuesday 24th March, Owairoa Primary School will be closed for all students except children of essential service workers only e.g. children of Doctors, Nurses, Ambulance, Police, Bankers.

 

These children of essential workers can, if necessary, still attend school on Wednesday but as from midnight, Wednesday 25th March, all of New Zealand will be in Level 4 self-isolation, so all New Zealand schools will be closed.

 

On Tuesday or Wednesday, we will endeavour to communicate with you, probably via our skoolbag App, or maybe our school website to suggest some learning ideas for students to undertake while at home.

 

We have certainly appreciated the goodwill and co-operation that we have had from parents and community as we have tried to keep everyone safe and we are hoping this intervention will help prevent the virus affect our families.

 

 

With kind regards

Alan McIntyre

PRINCIPAL

Novel Coronavirus

Update 10:  23 March 2020

 

Dear Parents and Caregivers

 

With the announcement that New Zealand has moved to Alert Level 2 – Reduce Contact for COVID-19, people over 70 years of age and those with compromised immunity and certain existing medical conditions (see below) are asked to remain at home as much as they can from now on and avoid any non-essential travel.
    
This applies also to all staff, children and young people in schools who have compromised immunity or are over 70 years of age. 

 

High risk individuals

While the majority of people who are confirmed with COVID-19 will experience mild to moderate symptoms, some individuals are at risk of more severe symptoms. 

Older people, particularly those with pre-existing health problems, are more likely to get severe illness and are therefore considered at high risk. High risk individuals also include people with underlying medical conditions, such as:

•    a compromised immune system
•    liver disease
•    cancer
•    kidney disease
•    heart disease
•    diabetes mellitus

Further information is available at:
•   https://covid19.govt.nz/help-and-advice/for-everyone/vulnerable-people/

•    
https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-novel-coronavirus-health-advice-general-public/covid-19-novel-coronavirus-questions-and-answers

 

You MUST adhere to the following:

1.     Students who have underling medical conditions or compromised immunity need to remain at home. Please continue to email us with absences on absent@owairoa.school.nz   The class teachers will not be providing home learning for those absent, unless the Government officially close the school down.

2.     NO Grandparents/people over the age of 70 to come on the school site to collect grandchildren from Owairoa Primary School, unless absolutely necessary.

3.     Any parent wishing to keep their child / children at home may do so, irrespective of a medical condition. If you wish to do that, you need to email the school.

4.     You will be contacted directly by email or on our Skoolbag App should the situation change regarding school closures. 

5.     It would be preferable to drop your children off at the gate when entering the school and especially ask parents to keep out of the classrooms in the mornings.

6.     Please do not stand around in big groups at the end of the school day. Spread out to keep your physical distance from others.

7.     Keep off the playgrounds before and after school. We are considering closing the playgrounds down to prevent the spread of germs.

8.     While we encourage top hygienic practices e.g. washing hands thoroughly, it would be prudent to send your child along with a named hand towel to dry their hands. These are available at the school office for $3.00 each.

 

Additional measures we are putting into place include:

 

1.     Sick children to remain at home

2.     Extra daily cleaning of the school

3.     Drinking fountains are closed. Please ensure that your child has a full drink bottle each day

4.     All outside visitors to the school have been cancelled (Christian Living Teachers, RTLB teachers etc.)

5.     We will not be sending home any further home readers

6.     No playdough or messy play

7.     No sharing of food at school

8.     No sharing of pencils, pens etc.

We will continue to keep you updated. Thank you so much for all your support of our wonderful school. 

Help us keep our community free of the Corona Virus.

We all need to be responsible and help each other where we can.

 

With kind regards

 

Alan McIntyre
PRINCIPAL

Novel Coronavirus

Update 9: 16 March 2020

As part of its response to managing the Covid-19 outbreak the New Zealand Government announced on Saturday 14 March 2020 further border measures. These include extending travel restrictions and self-isolation requirements for most people arriving into New Zealand. These restrictions will be reviewed after 16 days.

 

Novel Coronavirus - Update

Update 8: 12 March 2020

 

Dear Parents

You may have seen that the World Health Organisation has now declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic. As noted by the Minister of Health, this doesn’t change what New Zealand is doing to respond to coronavirus.
 
The Ministry of Health has been working through its pandemic plan since January. You will also know the Government has already implemented a range of measures to minimise the impacts to New Zealand. This includes border restrictions, a requirement to self-isolate on arrival in New Zealand from China, Iran, Italy and the Republic of Korea and immediate and detailed contact tracing of any confirmed cases. It is important to note those four countries account for more than 90% of cases globally and China and the Republic of Korea have significantly declining numbers of new cases.
 
We have 5 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand and it is pleasing to know they are all doing well and are at home.  Their children, four students at Auckland schools, continue to be well and show no symptoms. While we expect that more cases will arise, the Ministry of Health says that with continued vigilance the chance of widespread community outbreak is expected to remain low in New Zealand. We all have a role to play in this.
 
For Owairoa Primary School, our pandemic plan is also ready to be implemented if needed. In the mean time we will continue to focus on good hygiene practices. Hand washing and good cough etiquette are very important tools in preventing the spread of illness including colds, flu and COVID-19.

As part of our pandemic planning we need all of your contact details updated urgently. An update form has been sent home to you to complete and return to school. Pls sign and return even if you have no changes to make.
 
With that, there is a good video clip from Nanogirl that will help your children to better understand the virus - YouTube clip - Nanogirl
 
You may have also seen the Prime Minister sat down with Dr Michelle Dickinson (aka Nanogirl) and the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor, Juliet Gerrard, to talk about coronavirus:

One other action we can all take is to be vigilant about our own health and the health of our children. I will be encouraging my staff to stay away from school if they are showing signs of illness such as coughs and colds. I ask that you please do the same with your children. Colds and flus are common in schools and by staying away, seeking medical attention and practicing good hygiene, we can all keep any spread of illness to a minimum.

We all need to be vigilant and stay strong to beat the virus.

 

With kind regards,

Alan McIntyre

PRINCIPAL

 

on behalf of the Owairoa Primary School Board of Trustees

 

Novel Coronavirus - Information for Parents

Update 7: 5 March 2020

Related Links > Coronavirus Information for Parents

Novel Coronavirus - Update

Update 6: 3 March 2020

 

Dear Parents

 

Owairoa Primary School continues to follow Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education advice and guidance on all matters regarding the Coronavirus

 

Current Status

The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation continues to develop around the world with many more countries reporting cases. The first case of COVID-19 is now confirmed in New Zealand, however the likelihood of a widespread outbreak remains low-moderate.

Travel restrictions involving China and Iran remain in place and are under regular review by New Zealand agencies.  Visitors from Italy and Korea are now required to isolate themselves for 14 days and need to register with Healthline.

The Ministry of Health's expert advisory group provides a list of countries or territories of concern on their website.  Anyone who has travelled from a country of area of concern, or who is a close contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19, and who has clinically compatible symptoms should be considered a suspect case of COVID-19 and testing performed.

 

Keeping you and your family well

In terms of keeping yourself and your family well, the Ministry of Health suggests the following:

  1. regularly washing hands (for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap and dry thoroughly)
  2. covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze
  3. staying home if you are sick
  4. avoiding close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms
  5. if you feel unwell you should avoid public gatherings and events

Children are encouraged to stay home if unwell and seek medical advice.

 

Updated information from the Ministry of Health

As announced this week by the Ministry of Health, there are now two categories for travellers arriving in New Zealand:

Category 1 –

China, Iran, Italy, Korea (as at 3 March 2020)

People who have travelled from or transited through countries in category one in the last 14 days are required to self-isolate for 14 days and contact Healthline after they have left the countries.

Category 2 –

Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Thailand (as at 3 March 2020)

People who have travelled from or via countries listed in category two, who develop symptoms of fever, cough or shortness of breath should seek medical advice by first phoning Healthline’s dedicated COVID-19 number 0800 358 5453, or contacting their GP including phoning ahead of their visit.

Anyone who has travelled from or transited through any of the countries listed in both categories with clinically compatible symptoms should be considered a suspected COVID-19 case and testing performed.

 

Alan McIntyre
PRINCIPAL

on behalf of the Owairoa Primary School Board of Trustees

Novel Coronavirus – Your Support is Required

Update 5: 5 February 2020

 

Dear Parents,

 

Pleased be assured that we are taking proactive steps to preserve the good health of our school and community at this time.

The health of Owairoa Primary School students, staff and families is a priority for all as we start back for the school year this Friday 7 February 2020

 

As a precautionary measure, our Board of Trustees have made the decision that all of our students coming from (or via) China, or have been in contact with people from China are required to take a 14 day stand down from their date of contact, entry / re-entry into New Zealand.

We have several of our school staff who have been unable to return to school this week and several parents and students who have honoured our request by informing us that they will be staying away from the school for the full 14 days stand down period. Thank you for your consideration of others.

 

Today I was saddened to hear that some students who are enrolled at other schools decided not to abide by the 14-day stand down and started at their schools this week without respecting the request for the 14-day stand down, put in place to protect everyone’s health.

In my mind, this action is both irresponsible and certainly not in the spirit of what we would expect from members of our Owairoa “family’. I would like to think that we could all care for one another and help protect out extended school community.

I will not be tolerant of people who decide to make their own rules around this 14-day stand-down. We will be checking on Friday to ensure that all students present are eligible to be here.

Once again, my apologies for this unforeseen situation, and for any disruption that this ruling may cause.

 

Domestic Students:

All domestic students who have been either been to China, or have transited through China over the holiday break, or have been in contact with someone who has recently travelled there, are requested to remain at home for 14 days, from your date of contact or re-entry to New Zealand.

Notification to the school:  If you are in this situation, please email us on absent@owairoa.school.nz stating the student’s name and expected start date back at school so that we can confirm your child’s place in the class.

 

International Students:

All International Students arriving from China are required to remain away from school for 14 days from their date of entry into New Zealand. Once the 14 days is up, students may continue with their studies at Owairoa Primary School.   

 

Implications for School Parents:

The same stand down period applies to any Parent who has recently returned from or via China, or has had close contact with anyone from China, during the school holidays.  We ask that you also respect this important health initiative, and stay away from school for 14 days from your date of contact, entry, re-entry to New Zealand. 

 

Alan McIntyre

PRINCIPAL

on behalf of the Owairoa Primary School Board of Trustees

Novel Coronavirus – Translated Information 致家长和照管人的重要信息

Update 4: 31 January 2020

 

Dear Parents,

 

The Ministry of Education has requested that we share the following translated information regarding the Novel Coronavirus with our school community.

 

Please find attached the Ministry of Education information in Simplified and Traditional Chinese.

 

Kind regards,

 

Alan McIntyre

PRINCIPAL

 

Related Links > Simplified Chinese Translation Message to Parents | Traditional Chinese Translation message to Parents

Novel Coronavirus – Promoting Good Hygiene

Update 3: 30 January 2020

 

In order to provide reassurance to our school community about how we are taking action to maintain the health of all at Owairoa Primary School, we would like to provide a further update about some of the steps that we are taking for the start of the new academic year.

At the start of each new year, our teachers put a great deal of effort into reinforcing good hygiene practices with our students, and growing responsibility in our students. We will be educating children on good routines of handwashing, sanitising, and covering coughs and sneezes.

As a school, we are also ensuring that sanitisation of tables, door handles and light switches is completed to a high standard. We will endeavour to provide sanitiser dispensers and Dettol sprays in every learning space, but as an added precaution, if you wish to send your child to school with their own sanitiser, this is also permitted.

We have a very high level of attendance at Owairoa Primary School - last year, it was 93.2%, and measures such as these ensure we remain above Ministry expectations.

We recommend that parents support us in this by keeping unwell children at home, and we in turn will be contacting parents of children who are demonstrating symptoms of illness such as sore throats, high temperatures, coughs and respiratory issues.  It is normal school procedure for children demonstrating symptoms of illness to be taken home by parents.

In the current virus situation, we are happy for children to wear masks as a preventative measure if parents wish, but these must not be used as a substitute if children are ill.  Sick children must be kept at home.

 

Stand Down Request

We are aware that a number of our community will be travelling back to New Zealand from China. We request that anyone who has returned from China, or has had contact with people from China in recent weeks, to remain away from school for a period of 14 days from their date of their arrival in New Zealand.

As with all infectious diseases, and in line with our existing pandemic procedures, we will have the following steps in place:

  • Strong hygiene and cleaning practices in place at school
  • Reminding students and staff about good personal hygiene practice
  • Monitoring students for symptoms of fever, runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat, faint, muscle ache, other general unwell feeling and contacting parents if these are present
  • Reminding students about not sharing food

Whilst we are required to follow the directions of the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health, we will be monitoring the ongoing situation and if necessary will provide further updates to you.

 

Welcome back for Term One, 2020

We are certainly looking forward to welcoming everyone back to school on Friday 7th February.

On Friday 7th, all students can go directly to their classrooms as from 8am. The morning session bell will ring at 8.45am.

All new enrolments to the school are requested to go to the school hall to complete their enrolment documentation.

 

The official class lists will be published on Teacher Only Day Wednesday 5th February, as from 3pm.

These class lists will be available in the classroom windows as follows;

Year 1 and 2 classes for 2020 – Room 4 windows

Year 3 to Year 6 classes for 2020 – Room T3/Room16 windows

 

The class lists will also be published on the school website www.owairoa.school.nz at this time.

 

Alan McIntyre

PRINCIPAL

Novel Coronavirus - 14 Day Stand Down

Update 2: 29 January 2020

 

Dear Parents,

You will by now have an appreciation of the anxiety that the coronavirus is causing around the world, and we are taking proactive steps to preserve the good health of our school and community at this time.

The New Zealand Ministry of Education is providing our school with updates and advice on a daily basis, and we are adjusting our school arrangements around the latest information received.

The health of Owairoa Primary School students, staff and families is a priority for all as we start back for the school year on Friday 7 February 2020.  We are aware that some domestic students and families are returning home from being overseas, as well as some International Students arriving into New Zealand. 

As a precautionary measure, based on the latest advise we have received from the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health, our Board of Trustees has made the decision that all of our students coming from (or via) China are required to take a 14 day stand down from their date of entry / re-entry to New Zealand.

Domestic Students:

All domestic students who have been either been to China, or have transited through China over the holiday break, or have been in contact with someone who has recently travelled there, we request that you remain at home for 14 days from your date of re-entry to New Zealand.

Notification:  If you are in this situation, please email us on absent@owairoa.school.nz stating the student’s name and expected start date back at school (14 days after your arrival date into New Zealand) so that we can confirm your child’s place in the class.

International Students:

All International Students arriving from China are required to remain away from school for 14 days from their date of entry into New Zealand. Once the 14 days is up, students may continue with their studies at Owairoa Primary School.   

Implications for School Parents:

The same stand down period applies to any Parent who has recently returned from, or via China, or has had close contact with anyone from China, during the school holidays.  We ask that you also respect this important health initiative, and stay away from school for 14 days from your date of re-entry to New Zealand. 

 

Once again, my apologies for this unforeseen situation, and for any disruption that this ruling may cause.

 

Alan McIntyre

PRINCIPAL

on behalf of the Owairoa Primary School Board of Trustees

Novel Coronavirus

Update 1: 28 January 2020

 

The health of Owairoa Primary School students and staff is a priority for all as we start back for the school year on Friday 7 February 2020.  We are aware that some domestic students and families are returning home from being overseas, as well as some International Students arriving to New Zealand. 

 

Our school is closely monitoring information being provided by the Ministry of Health, in regard to the Coronavirus.  The risk of an outbreak in New Zealand is currently low, and there are no cases of the virus in New Zealand at the present time, so the Ministry of Health’s current advice is that there is no specific action to be taken at this time.

 

Should the situation change, we have detailed procedures in place for managing the incidence of infectious diseases (such as measles, mumps and influenza etc) and we will be revisiting these procedures with our staff on their return to school next week. 

 

We will continue to monitor sites from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and Safe Travel NZ, to ensure we have access to the most up-to-date information and advisories.  During the 2019 measles outbreak, schools received regular updates from these organisations. 

 

As with all infectious diseases, and in line with our existing procedures, we have the following steps in place:

·        Strong hygiene and cleaning practices in place at school

·        Reminding students and staff about good personal hygiene practice

·        Monitoring students for symptoms of fever, runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat, faint, muscle ache, other general unwell feeling and contacting parents if these are present

·        Reminding students about not sharing food

 

 

As with all illnesses in a school setting, students and adults are advised not to come to school if they are unwell.  To report a student absence, please email absent@owairoa.school.nz or phone (09) 538 0060 and press 1.

 

If you have a particular health concern, please contact Healthline on 0800 611 116 or your GP for medical advice.  Healthline has translators and interpreters available 24/7 in 150 languages and have Mandarin and Cantonese speaking staff available.

 

 

For those of you concerned about possible infection, the Ministry of Health has provided practical information (as below) which we encourage you to read – www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov

 

 

Included is some advice (for travellers) to help reduce the general risk of infection:

    • avoid very close contact with people showing symptoms
    • frequently wash hands
    • avoid close contact with sick live farm animals or wild animals
    • practice cough etiquette (maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing, and wash hands)

 

The Ministry of Health will continue to update that content, as further information becomes available.  The Ministry of Education is working closely with the Ministry of Health to ensure that we receive the most relevant information in regard to the potential risks associated with the Coronavirus. 

Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

In January 2020, Chinese authorities confirmed a new type of coronavirus, known as 2019-nCoV, which affects the respiratory system. The Ministry of Health is closely monitoring the situation and following guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO). The risk of an outbreak in New Zealand is currently low.

What is novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)?

Coronaviruses are a large and diverse family of viruses which includes the common cold, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).

In January 2020, officials identified a new coronavirus called novel coronavirus or 2019-nCoV.

We don’t know yet how 2019-nCoV is transmitted to people, but it’s likely that it comes from an animal. A live animal market in Wuhan is suspected as the original source, but that hasn’t been confirmed. There is evidence that 2019-nCoV can spread from person to person in the community and in health care settings. There have been cases of 2019-nCoV reported in some other Chinese provinces and countries. Some of these cases have no history of travel to Wuhan.

Signs and symptoms

Symptoms of 2019-nCoV are similar to a range of other illnesses such as influenza and do not necessarily mean that you have 2019-nCoV. Symptoms include fever, coughing and difficulty breathing. Difficulty breathing is a sign of possible pneumonia and requires immediate medical attention.

Current status

There are no cases of 2019-nCoV in New Zealand to date. The risk of an outbreak in New Zealand is low, but the Ministry of Health is monitoring the situation closely. If any public health measures are needed for this virus, they will advise.

WHO does not recommend border screening for 2019-nCoV, and there are currently no travel restrictions at the New Zealand border related to this outbreak. As it is currently winter in Wuhan, respiratory illnesses (such as colds and influenza) are expected among those leaving the region.

Health advice cards in both traditional and simplified Chinese are available at international points of entry. These cards provide general advice on symptoms of concern and advise ill travellers to call Healthline (for free) on 0800 611 116 and mention their travel history. Healthline has been informed and will continue to triage any symptomatic callers.

With the support of New Zealand Customs, banners have been developed for points of entry in traditional and simplified Chinese to draw attention to the health advice cards.

As this is a new virus, there is no vaccine available. While investigations continue into the origin of the virus, it can be spread through person-to-person contact. The number of confirmed cases has grown, due in part to increased surveillance and testing. For more information on the number of confirmed cases, see the Border advisories section.

Advice for travellers

WHO does not recommend any specific health measures for travellers but is continuing to review the situation.

WHO advises people follow the basic principles to reduce the general risk of acute respiratory infection. These are:

·        avoid close contact with people suffering acute respiratory infections

·        wash hands frequently, especially after contact with ill people or their environment

·        avoid close contact with sick farm animals or wild animals

·        people with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should practice cough etiquette:

·        maintain distance

·        cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing

·        wash hands