Sunday, 24 July 2022
Masking up for the start of Term 3
We hope you and your families have been keeping safe and well during the holidays. We look forward to welcoming everyone back to school tomorrow.
In previous years we have found there is an increase in winter illnesses in schools at the start of Term 3 as students bring back infections after travelling and socialising during the holidays. This year cases of COVID-19 are increasing in most parts of the country, and we are also seeing high numbers of other winter illnesses. During Term 2 the number of COVID-19 cases reported in our school community was low, however, the absence caused by winter illness was significant.
As you will have heard from the media, for the start of Term 3, 2022, the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health strongly recommend that all schools amend their mask policy for the first four weeks of term to require mask wearing in all indoor settings (where it will not have a significant impact on teaching and learning – see below) for students in Years 4 and above. We will support all students to wear masks in all classrooms across the school.
This recommendation does not include any situation where mask wearing might not be practicable, such as while eating and drinking, playing certain musical instruments, indoor sport, where it will have a significant impact on teaching and learning (for example, students with particular learning needs), certain activities such as singing or drama performance on stage, and PE. In these situations, particular attention should be paid to ensuring there is good ventilation during the activity, and physical distancing where practicable.
Wearing masks can reduce new cases of the virus by as much as 53%. It works alongside other measures including vaccination, good ventilation, staying home when sick, and hand washing and other hygiene measures, to protect our students and staff. Keep up healthy habits – Unite Against COVID-19
Adult-sized masks can generally be adjusted to fit older children by tying knots in the ear loops. Unite Against COVID-19 shows how to do this: How to wear a face mask safely – Unite Against COVID-19
We know that some of our tamariki/ākonga are exempt from wearing a mask. If they have an exemption card or a letter from their health provider, or we have agreed that mask wearing is not practicable for them, we will support them to not wear a mask. Apply for a face mask exemption pass – Unite Against COVID-19
Please make sure that tamariki/ākonga come to school ready to wear masks. Where possible students should bring masks from home, there will be a supply of masks available for students who are unable to bring one from home. We are expecting a supply of student sized masks provided by the Ministry of Education to arrive this week.
The health and wellbeing of our children, staff and community remains our top priority. We continue to have our health and safety protocols in place and closely follow the guidance for schools from the Ministry of Health. We are very appreciative that all families have been following advice appropriately and keeping our school informed.
During this term it is likely that in order to manage the number of students and staff away from school, students may have a different classroom teacher, and/or students may have other children in their classroom or be in a different class.
Please continue to support us by
Being very vigilant about monitoring for symptoms and if any symptoms develop, get tested immediately.
Contacting the school if your child has a confirmed COVID test or is a household contact.
Contacting the school as soon as possible if your child is sick or going to be away. You help us by doing this through Hero. (If you have issues accessing Hero please contact your child’s classroom teacher.)
Keeping your child/ren home if they are sick.
Sending your child/ren to school if they are well!
COVID and winter illness also impacts our St Brendan’s staff team. If/when staff numbers get VERY low we may need to ask families:
WHO ARE ABLE TO, to keep their children home (learning at home with families),
only families WHO ARE UNABLE TO keep children at home, to send them to school.
As always, please do not hesitate to make contact with me personally, or any of our team, if you have any concerns or questions.
Thank you for your support in protecting our school community. Keep safe. He waka eke noa.