covid-19 update and some answers

Kia ora e ngā whānau

The spread of COVID-19 to our country, albeit in very small numbers, has made it a tricky task for all of us to find the right balance maintaining normality, rhythms and routine for our tamariki and their whānau, while at the same time strictly following the government guidelines responsibly. Here at Te Rāwhiti and Te Rā we receive daily messages from the Ministers of Health and of Education. We will continue to adjust our practices based on those recommendations and requirements. Naturally, many of you are asking questions!

Here are some of the answers we are able to give at this point:

We currently have no reason to close the school.
It is completely understandable that you may still be concerned for your child or your family. If you think there is anything we can help with right here at Te Rāwhiti or Te Rā, please talk to your child’s teacher, or to David or Kerstin directly.
The health ministry advises that non-essential events or school activities that would bring together a wider group of people, even if this is below the official threshold of 500, are to be avoided.
As a result, several school and kindergarten events have been called off: Harvest Fair, Class 4 sleepover, the Big Swap (clothes swap), working bee, Sharing Assembly … please keep an eye on tomorrow’s newsletter and email notifications.
At this stage, the plan is for Friday’s school Kapa Haka session to go ahead outdoors.
No Monday school assemblies, for the time being.
Parent evenings can go ahead, bearing in mind the ‘physical distancing’ guideline (1-2 metres) between individuals.
Teachers will continue to ensure students follow the recommendations on hand washing and covering coughs and sneezes (see below).
At school, the ‘traditional’ handshake greeting by the teachers at the beginning and end of the day has been replaced by a non-contact greeting.
We are waiting for the delivery of paper towels and dispensers – as you can imagine they are hard to come by at the moment!

Here is how we would like to ask you to support us at kindergarten and school:

Within recommended health guidelines from the Ministries of Education and Health, we ask that you self-monitor and take responsible actions for yourself and your family, as well as our community:

Remember that personal hygiene, and reducing unnecessary physical contact (e.g. hugs, handshakes, hongi) are still the most important things to do to stop the spread of any virus.
Follow good hygiene principles at home: wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds and dry thoroughly before and after eating, as well as after going to the toilet, cover coughs and sneezes with clean tissues or with an elbow, put used tissues in the bin.
Staff and students need to stay home if they are unwell in any way.
If you are concerned over your health and want advice, try the following healthlines: 0800 611 116 (general) and 0800 385 5453 (specifically about the coronavirus).

Your children may be full of questions themselves and we encourage you to respond in the most reassuring, gentle way possible, bearing in mind how important it is to protect particularly the young children from our adult levels of concern. We are deeply grateful for your support at this time.

Ngā mihi mahana

Kerstin Wagner, David Nicoll, Doris Zuur & Aleka Beaumont

(On behalf of the College of Te Rāwhiti and Te Rā)

18 March 2020