PĀNUI | NEWSLETTER 20 MARCH 2020
20 Mar 2020
Happy New Year to our Muslim students and families.
Dear parents and caregivers,
What interesting times we are experiencing currently. I hope you are all keeping well and keeping up to date with all of the information that is coming out.
With so much information and misinformation swirling around about COVID-19, I wanted to share with you what will happen if we were to have a case in our school community. We have been planning for this and are in a position to respond quickly.
- As soon as a case is confirmed in our immediate school community (eg. a student, staff member, or member of their household), the Medical Officer of Health and Ministry of Education will inform me about this, and we will work together to get quick and clear messaging out to you.
- If there was a case confirmed of someone in our school, we will likely be asked to close temporarily by the Medical Officer of Health. This will allow time for close contacts to be traced, appropriate testing to be undertaken, and a careful clean of the school to be undertaken.
- If our school does need to close temporarily, we have a plan in place to support student’s learning.
We know COVID-19 feels scary and of course people are concerned for the wellbeing of our children. Please be assured that with no case confirmed in our school, your children are safe here.
Good hygiene is a priority at our school, and we are reinforcing this regularly with all students and staff. We know that practicing good hygiene is still the best thing we can all do to prevent illness.
We are getting the most up to date advice and guidance so that we can confidently make informed decisions about the safety and wellbeing of our school community.
Public Gatherings of More Than 100
You may have seen that yesterday the Government announced indoor gatherings of more than 100 people are to be cancelled. This does not apply to schools, early learning services, tertiary providers, workplaces, supermarkets or public transport. The Ministry of Eduation will continue to provide me with guidance around events and gatherings that could be relevant to schools.
Murphy Bus company has issued sanitiser dispensers and sanitiser wipes for their drivers to access.
Currently underway is the issuing of additional cleaning materials for the drivers to wipe down the bus interiors at the end of each run – the focus will be on spraying and wiping “high touch” areas such as hand rails, seat handles etc and the driver area. Remotely based drivers will receive their own materials, whilst depot based drivers will use the materials that are based at each depot.
Official posters from the Ministry of Health have been issued and Murphy Buses are following the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and other authorities.
When is sick, sick?
The messaging remains clear – that if your child is feeling unwell please keep them at home. However at the tail end of a cold, there will be runny noses and probably some coughing. This might be worrying for some people who are being vigilant about their own and others’ health.
A diagram has been developed by Dr Siouxsie Wiles to assist you when considering symptoms (sent to us via the Ministry of Education by a teacher who found it useful). What it tells us is:
- A dry cough and a high temperature are common to both flu and COVID-19
- Sneezing is not a symptom of COVID-19, however if someone has COVID-19, then sneezing can spread droplets containing the virus
I have been in contact with families where there has been a need to self-isolate. For privacy reasons I can't go into any more than that and ask that as members of our community, you support them without prejudice and be assured that the school is following the correct protocols.
None of us know what the long term outlook will be.
I'd like to thank those of you who took the time to respond to our survey on Distance Learning at the start of the week. Based on the responses of this survey, 95% of our families have internet access at home and 92% have a device in the home that can be used for distance learning. Most parents are concerned about managing your own work commitments with the learning for your child or children. And of course there are concerns around motivation and distractions. We understand all of these concerns and whatever eventuates, loving and supporting your children through this will be the most important thing.
The teachers are being released to prepare for online learning. We will be using the Google suite of apps and will issue every student with their own email address to access the online learning. These will come out next week. Teachers will record lessons and upload these so they can be accessed at anytime. We won't be scheduling for your child to connect at any certain time as this may not suit your family situation nor the teacher's situation - many of them have their own children to care for.
Do not expect the online learning to fill your child's day. It was clear in the survey that this would be unachievable for most families. There will be activities included that are in easy reach of all families such as washing the car, playing a game outside, vacuuming the house, etc.
Without wanting to create more panic buying, heading down to the Warehouse, K-Mart or similar to get jig-saw puzzles, board games, quiz books, and wordfinds will provide some activities to keep your children busy as well as wholesome family time.
If and when we are directed to close, we will be in touch immediately with specific details about our online learning.
Finally, the updates and support I am getting from our government agencies has been and continues to be amazing. For our government this is a situation when not everyone will agree with the actions being taken, however, we have to trust our government and it's agencies at a time like this.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the school pool will be the closed to outside use after the weekend.
Next Wednesday 25th March we will be running a fun day for the students to lift spirits in these trying times. There will be an assortment of different activities throughout the day.
At first break, 10:30am students will be able to buy a sausage in bread and an ice block for $2:00. Thank you to FoTHS for organising this for us.
Please send lunch along with your child for the second break time and their togs and towel as we will have a lunchtime swim if the weather is good.
We do ask that no parents or caregivers are to attend.
Over the past two weeks the Rutherford students have been using an integrated approach to their learning. This has involved using thinking and research skills to demonstrate how culture connects us to our past and future through change. Our mathematics focus has been developing our understanding of rotational symmetry. We used the designs created by Pasifika cultures to develop their own tapa cloths or siapo. To understand this process the students created three designs and then transferred these onto one side of a 3X2 grid on brown paper. The tricky part was to rotate the image around the centre point. To achieve the desired effect students painted using Indian Ink or if the designs were detailed they use vivid. Once the Indian ink dried students creatively applied brown and ochre coloured dyes to represent the colours used in traditional tapa/siapo. Finally the scary part was to scrunch up the artwork and manipulate it so that it softened to take on the texture of a traditional tapa. This was a fun and creative way to learn what can be a tricky mathematical concept. Here are some images of our work below. Please remember you are welcome to pop into Rutherford and admire our finished pieces.
On Monday Te Kanawa went to Camp Adair for a day of team building activities. We were very lucky with our day having superb weather and amazing helpers from parents and camp staff. The children all got to participate in an army style confidence course through the mud, a climbing wall and an array of team building activities such as balancing a platform and getting through a suspended tyre. They got to wrap up the day with a mudslide for everyone and even managed to talk Mrs Kane into this too! All the children had a fantastic time and got very muddy! Below are a few pictures of our day.