Alert Level 3 Lockdown – #10 Panui

 

Monday 8th November 2021

Kia ora koutou Birdwood whanau

 

We have lots to be excited about as we start our planning for a return to school (subject to events closer to the time) on or around 15 November. Over the week we hope to get additional detail and information from the Ministry of Education on what the organisation will look like, how many people are permitted on site and how staggered days and start times will be structured. Principals of Auckland have been meeting with the Ministry of Education and the Government to share their thoughts on what a safe return to school plan looks like. While we can’t give you the exact information of what this looks like quite yet, I will share any information as it comes to hand.

 

Return to School

When/if school reopens before the end of the year, we are planning for a Wellbeing approach for the students’ return. Our focus when we are face-to-face will be on reconnecting. Rebuilding relationships and in re-establishing school as a fun and safe space. The emphasis will be on the social aspects of school life. Teaching will continue as well but there will not be the mad dash and push to get students ‘up the levels’ that we normally would expect for this time of the year. It would be unrealistic and unhealthy to cram 11 weeks of work into four weeks if we open on 15th November. We believe we are being realistic with the expectation that there will not be enough time to test our children’s progress and to produce the ‘normal’ end of year written report.

Our end of year report will be different this year. Teachers will be reporting on the school values, key competencies and a general comment. There will be no assessment of Reading, Writing and Mathematics.

We are not certain that all children will return either. While primary children cannot be vaccinated at this stage, there will be families who are understandably reluctant to send their children back to school. This could mean that come the 15/11, we would need to run online learning, as well as in person classes. A staggered return to school would present challenges for staff and for families with several children. Hopefully clearer directives will emerge in the coming week.

 

Teacher Only Day – Classroom Release Time, Teachers

Each term, teachers receive Classroom Release Time (CRT) to allow them to prepare lessons, assess students, and professional development. This is available to teaching staff and was negotiated as part of the NZEI Collective Agreement (2004). Our teachers haven’t missed a beat during lockdown, and as such, we have engaged in our regular professional development programme. Each teacher receives 10 hours per term of CRT.

 

If/When school reopens, we want to maximise the amount of time your child’s teacher is in the classroom, so for Term 4, we will be having CRT/Teacher Only Day on Friday 12 November. Our teachers will be using this time to prepare, plan for reopening, planning for 2022 and professional development. Students are encouraged to continue their Distance Learning programmes which can be accessed through google classroom and seesaw.

 

Online Safety/Being Cybersmart

Online safety/being cybersmart is a learning area we explicitly teach and reinforce with our students. Teachers follow up immediately when students make inappropriate choices. We are only able to monitor this behaviour when a student is using their school log in. If students have their own/home Google accounts, we cannot access and monitor this traffic. If you decide that your child/ren can have their own Google account, the students need to gain permission from you to create their own profile and we ask that you actively supervise this. We strongly encourage all parents to engage with their children about their online activity and read these resources which provide excellent advice and

information:

 

https://www.netsafe.org.nz/parenttoolkit/

7 quick tips: https://www.netsafe.org.nz/online-safety-for-parents/

Making Online Safety Plan: https://www.netsafe.org.nz/make-a-plan/

 

 

Diwali

Namaste and a very happy Diwali week last week. Acknowledgement to all our families for which this is a very significant week. According to the ancient calendar, Diwali is observed on Amavasya (or new moon), the 15th day of November, of Kartik, every year. Diwali was celebrated in New Zealand on Thursday 4 November. Diwali signifies the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil and the renewal of life. Throughout this week our teachers have had a focus on Diwali celebrations activities and learnings as part of this week’s class Distance learning programmes.

 

Here are some Interesting facts about Diwali:

 

  • There are five days as observed on the Diwali celebration days.
  • Dhanteras: Worship of wealth.
  • Naraka Chaturdasi: Choti (small) Diwali
  • Laxmi Pooja: Diwali
  • Govardhan Pooja: Bali Padyami
  • Bhai Dooj: Love between brothers and sisters.

 

Commemorating Parihaka Day

Last Friday we had a special assembly acknowledging the importance of Parihaka in New Zealand history. Parihaka is a small settlement in the Taranaki region. In 1881, the small settlement of Parihaka was invaded by about 1600 Crown troops seeking to confiscate their lands. The special recognition on 7 November reflects the day the colonial soldiers pointed a cannon at the residents of Parihaka but it never fired. We encourage our learners to know more about significant events which have occurred in the past.

 

Vaccination Status of Volunteers

We are in the process of digesting the new COVID-19 Public Health Response Order which came into effect at 11.59pm on Monday 25 October. Clearly there are implications for school life, and it is going to take some time to appreciate what all of these are. A school like ours is dependent and very grateful for the support of parents and the community.

 

The advice that we have received from the Ministry of Education is that everyone who works or Volunteers for a school who may have contact with children or students, or will be present at a time when children and students are also present must have had a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by 15 November and be fully vaccinated by 1 January 2022.

 

This also applies to:

* teachers

* relief teachers and casual staff

* administration staff

* caretakers and cleaners

* principals

* contractors and other tradespeople (if on site when children are around) * service managers

* caregivers and other staff

 

The vaccination requirements apply wherever in person schooling occurs, such as on the school site, but also at school camps, swimming pools, lunch programmes, gardening, museums, or where other education outside the classroom (EOTC) programmes take place.

 

This means that we are only able to allow people to help at school events with children if they have had at least their first Covid19 vaccine dose by 15 November, and are fully vaccinated by 1 January 2022.

 

If you wish to be involved as a helper in any events after 15 November, please email through or pop by school with evidence of your vaccination/s before that date – ask to speak to Vicky Avia, in the office.  If you have any questions about the schools Vaccine Register please contact Viv Carr vivc@birdwood.school.nz. When school starts next year, we will need evidence of full vaccination by 1 January 2022 for any school helpers (or evidence of exemption). We will store your information privately in our school register.

 

The requirements do not apply to people who are just visiting the school, such as for a learning conference/parent-teacher interview or meeting, or a parent, whānau and community evening.

 

I realise that there will be plenty of questions, and it is likely that we will not have answers right away. All schools are in the same boat and working through various situations and scenarios.

 

Ngā mihi,

Jenny Bernard

Tumuaki / PRINCIPAL