By Urs Cunningham | Posted: Sunday June 7, 2020
Our Prime Minister has announced that we will move to Alert Level 1 at midnight tonight (Monday 8th June). This will cause some changes to the way school operates, and this article sets out what Amesbury School will look like at Alert Level 1.
Key links or useful numbers:
Healthline: 0800 358 5453
We had fantastic news from our Prime Minister in her announcement this afternoon: we now currently have no active cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, and it has been 17 days since we have had a new case of the virus. It has been 40 days since the last case of community transmission. As our PM said, our team of five million has done a fabulous job in 'uniting in unprecendented ways to crush the virus'. As a direct result of this, we will now be moving to Alert Level 1, where restrictions are largely limited to our borders.
- There are no specific public health requirements.
- There are no restrictions on personal movement, so all students, children and staff continue to be safe to go to school, and all students are expected to be attending school.
- Schools are no longer required to keep a contact tracing register but will continue with the usual practice of having a visitor register (our Vistab system) and an attendance register.
- Physical distancing is not a requirement but is encouraged when you are around people you don’t know.
- There are no restrictions on numbers at gatherings or on physical activities including cultural and sporting activities, practices and events.
The biggest area of change for our school is that parents are now able to come onto school grounds during the school day without needing to sign a contact tracing register. This means parents no longer need to drop off or pick up children at the edge of school grounds, and this is effective as of Tuesday morning (9th June).
However, we have had considerable feedback from parents and teachers about the gains in student confidence from having to come into school by themselves. We are noticing that even our youngest children are very capable of coming into school by themselves, carrying their own bag and signing themselves in, and many seem to be relishing this independence. Teachers are enjoying greeting children as they come onto school grounds, and with the exception of very rainy days, we are seeing levels of bikes and scooters at school that we normally only see during our annual Movin’ March campaign.
We are keen to hold on to these gains, and so things will not go entirely back to the way they were before the Covid-19 outbreak. We will continue to keep our car park closed to traffic at drop off and pick up times, and Koru Hub will continue to have a teacher out on duty in the morning to greet students and walk in any students who feel a little unconfident. They will also continue to bring their groups outside for pick up at 2:55pm. We will trial this approach for the rest of this term, and see how it works for us. Keeping the car park closed to traffic during those high foot traffic times means a safer environment for our students whilst at school. It means parents can feel secure in having their children travel into school by themselves, without worrying about traffic.
Key details for drop off and pick up in Level 1:
- Car park will continue to be closed to traffic from 8:30 - 9:10am and 2:30 - 3:10pm. An adult will be on the road crossing from 8:30 - 9am and 2:55 - 3:10pm.
- A Koru Hub teacher will be outside in the car park on duty from 8:30 - 9am in a high visibility vest. If your child needs a little help with coming into school, the teacher on duty will happily walk your child into the hub.
- Parents and caregivers are most welcome to come onto school grounds and into school buildings. If you are coming into school outside of the key drop off and pick up times, please do still sign in at the office first, as usual. However, we also encourage parents to let their children walk into school by themselves, at least some of the time. Perhaps walk them onto school grounds and let them walk the rest of the way into the hub by themselves, or have one or two days each week when you come into the hub, and let your child come in by themselves on the other days. We are seeing huge shifts in student confidence and independence by allowing our young children to do some of these key tasks by themselves.
- For pick up at 3pm, Koru Hub teachers will bring out their groups at 2:55pm (to avoid younger students being caught up amongst all the older students). They will bring their children to the netball courts. Any parents or caregivers wanting to pick up Koru Hub students can wait around the netball courts or on the school field, and pick their child up from there.
- Please do not try to pick your child up from the teacher as they walk out to the courts - this will cause crowding and confusion. We are asking adults to wait until the groups are on the courts before picking children up.
- In the case of rain or particularly poor weather, Koru Hub will keep their groups inside, and parents can come to the hub to pick them up. Children who end the day in Kowhai (yellow carpet) can be picked up from the sheltered area outside Kowhai (in the central courtyard area); children who end the day in Karaka (orange carpet) can be picked up from the sheltered area over the blue matting (on the side of the school field).
- Parents are welcome to come over and chat with Koru teachers after the pick up. The team recognises that before and after school is a good time for parents and caregivers to make connections with teachers and keep communicating with them. You are all still most welcome to do this.
- A member of the leadership team will be on duty on Amesbury Drive each day after school until 3:15pm, and an adult will patrol the road crossing.
- We still recommend older siblings pick up younger siblings and walk them to a designated meeting spot, or walk them home, depending on your family arrangements.
- Students in Harakeke and Pōhutukawa will leave their hubs as usual at 3pm. As much as possible, we encourage parents to have their children walk home by themselves, where appropriate, or meet with the adult picking them up at a pre-designated point towards the edge of school grounds or a little way from school.
- Parking and traffic is currently very heavy around school at 3pm in particular. We ask that car parks very close to school entrances are left for parents and caregivers of Koru Hub students, as they are much younger and are more likely to need to be picked up directly from school grounds. For children in Harakeke and Pōhutukawa, we ask that people park a little further away, if driving is absolutely necessary.
- On Romaine Road there is very little parking / turn around space available. If your child is in Harakeke or Pōhutuakwa, please park much further up Romaine Road or in a surrounding road, and have your child walk up the road to meet you, rather than crowd around the school entrance area.
We are very appreciative of the compliance our school community has shown in going home straight after school and coming back to play a little later. This has made it very easy for us to ensure that all children are picked up safely, and that any children left at school are easily and quickly identified.
Now that we are moving to Level 1, it is fine for children who have been picked up by caregivers or parents to stay and play at school. Here are the key details for staying in school grounds after school:
- By 3:15pm all children must either be picked up by an adult or caregiver, or have gone home or to the home of a caregiver. There will be teachers out on duty in school grounds and on Amesbury Drive until 3:15pm.
- There must be no unsupervised children still at school after 3:15pm unless they have been home first and then returned to school. If children have not been picked up or gone home by 3:15pm, they will be asked to go into the school reception area where they can be supervised by school staff, and a member of staff will contact their parents.
- Once children are picked up by adults or caregivers, they are most welcome to stay and play in the school grounds.
- Children who go home without an adult are welcome to come back to school and play once they have been home. The act of going home means the responsibility for their care has transferred from school to their family or caregiver, and an adult knows where they are.
Life at school has looked fairly ‘normal’ at Level 2, apart from very clear and careful hand washing routines, and keeping each hub separate, to avoid very large gatherings or unnecessary mixing. We have also noticed families generally being very careful to keep children at home if they show any signs of sickness - we are very appreciative of this, as it helps to keep us all safe.
In Level 1 these are the key details:
- If people are sick, they should stay home (phone Healthline or their GP and get tested if they have cold or flu symptoms). Please let school know if your child or anyone in your household needs to be tested for Covid-19.
- Stringent self-isolation of those who display relevant symptoms of COVID-19, test positive for COVID-19, have been in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19, or have been overseas in the last 14 days.
- Continue to regularly wash and dry hands, sneeze and cough into elbows. All teams will keep up the strong hand washing routines they have set up.
- We will be keeping the same cleaning routines - daily disinfecting of all hard surfaces (with single use paper cloths), door handles, and high touch areas. Twice daily cleaning of student bathrooms, as usual.
- We are displaying QR Code posters for the NZ COVID Tracer App, so that people can check in with the app. This helps with any contact tracing that may be needed. We encourage all visitors to use this app to sign in and keep track of their movements.
- Programmes across hubs and whole school activities can begin again. Activities such as school cross country can be opened up to school parents and whānau without the need to sign a contact tracing register (although we strongly recommend all people coming on to school grounds sign in using the NZ COVID Tracer App QR Code).
We will trial keeping our car park closed until the end of this term, to see how it works for our tamariki. Thank you to you all for working with us on helping our childrent to stay safe and to develop independence and confidence around school.
The Amesbury team