Returning to School Newsletter

Friday 12th November 2021


Kia Ora Everyone,

We have spent the past few months looking forward to a return to school and now, that day is almost here. It brings with it a lot of planning, reorganisation of systems, health and safety considerations and some concerns for many of us. This newsletter is dedicated to the Return to School. I hope to cover all aspects of how it will look and answer as many questions as possible. The key message is that you need to make the best decision for your tamariki. We will set systems in place and inform you about how schooling will work for the next 4 weeks. Health and safety and your child's wellbeing are our main priorities.

Decisions about vaccination, returning to school or continuing to work from home are decisions for you and your family to make. We will respect your decisions and strive to continue to provide a quality education in a caring environment. I hope that the contents of this newsletter give you clarity about our organisation for the next 4 weeks so that you can make an informed choice about what is best for your whanau.

Kia kaha,


Newsletter proudly sponsored by

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Part Time On-Site Schooling

The government has announced that schools are to reopen in a part time capacity from Wednesday 17 November. The focus is on reintegration into school, socialisation and student wellbeing. Bubbles of students must be set and these groups cannot mix with other groups. Adults will not move between bubbles. Strict health and safety measures will be put in place to reduce the risk of a covid outbreak. The number of students and adults onsite will be reduced to ensure additional space for all and reduced contact between others.

Thank you to those people who completed the survey about returning to school. We had less than a 50% return rate but, as this is the data on hand, we have used this to inform some of our decision making.

Online learning will continue. Students will have weekly tasks to complete at home. All students will be able to have an online zoom with their whanau class 3 days pre-week. All students are invited to return to school for 2 days per week on set days.

Please note: School will start at 9am and students are not permitted to be in the playground before school. Any students arriving before 9 am (e.g. Students travelling to school by bus) must report to their classroom and stay inside with their bubble.

Based on the survey, we anticipate that each whanau class will have less than 20 students in it.

The 2 days onsite will involve many of the types of teaching and activities that have not been possible at home. The home learning will reinforce the skills covered onsite.

Students will get a balance of face to face teaching and socialisation with their peers as well as a continuation of independent learning at home.

The table below shows the days that your child can return to onsite learning.

Teachers will take the roll each day. If your child will not be attending onsite, please email the whanau teacher directly.

There is a lot of information in this newsletter so please read to the bottom. Any thing not contained in this newsletter, should be asked directly to the whanau teacher who can then forward your email on to someone who can answer your questions.

Which days will my children be returning to school?

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Full Time Students

For the children of essential workers who have no other options for child care, school continues to offer a full-time bubble. If your child was in this bubble then you will have received an email from Mrs. Bush about your child remaining in this bubble.

It is important to note that students cannot move between bubbles so if your child is full time then they cannot join their whānau class when they are at school.

Student Entry and Exit points to the School

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School Buses

Our regular school bus routes will begin before and after school, Monday - Thursday beginning next Wednesday the 17th of November.

If your child is using this service please be aware of the following procedures during Level 3.2:

  • All children should enter from the rear door of the bus
  • Only AT hop cards are being accepted (no cash)
  • For contact tracing purposes, please make sure your hop cards are registered
  • Masks must be worn by all passengers
  • Due to no contact with the driver being permitted, students will not be able to pay for a second fare on their card for other students

Mask Wearing

The government has stated that all students from year 4 must wear masks at school.

Students must arrive and depart from school wearing a face mask. They must wear a face wear when inside the classroom. Teachers will be organising the day to have regular outside breaks to relieve 'mask fatigue'.

A well-fitted mask that covers the nose and mouth needs to be worn. Students need to have their own masks. We have school masks available for sale for $10. However, any mask can be worn provided it is not offensive to anyone else.

Our school masks have arrived. They are made of thin wetsuit-type material and fit well on small faces. We still have some available to order.

To encourage mask-wearing and to try to normalise this at school, we have purchased fabric reusable and washable face masks to sell. These are adjustable and good-quality face masks that will have our school logo on them. We will name each mask in fabric paint when purchased. Masks will cost $10.00.

These are available for order now and can be paid via kindo. Click on the link to order one.

What happens if there is a positive Covid-19 case at School

If you or anyone in your household is diagnosed with Covid-19 or awaiting test results please contact the school immediately on (09) 483 9168, or after hours please email

Your child can not attend school if they are a close contact or awaiting results.

When we have received a notification of a positive Covid-19 result we will inform the Ministry of Health who will advise us of our next course of action. This could include closing the school for deep cleaning. For this reason, you will need to be checking for updates on our website, on Facebook and via the School App regularly to keep informed of any current situation.

If we need to close the school during the school day, we will use all of the above methods to inform the school community, students will be kept spread out in a well-ventilated space until they are collected from school. For this reason please have a childcare contingency plan worked through with your whānau to assist in this circumstance.

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Sun Protection

We want to utilise our outdoor spaces but we have limited areas that have adequate shade. Please ensure your child has sunscreen and a hat.

We will not be loaning hats or allowing students to share hats.

We will allow hats that are not our school uniform hats as long as they do not contain logos or wording that may offend others.

Health and Safety Plan

We will not tolerate the breaking of any health and safety rules. Students who do not comply will be sent home.

  • All staff and students will wear face masks when inside and when arriving and leaving schools.
  • Hand washing and sanitising will be done regularly throughout the day.
  • All eating will be supervised in outdoor areas.
  • Bubbles of students will not mix.
  • Adults will not move between bubbles.
  • Regular outdoor breaks will be scheduled.
  • Weather permitting, teaching will be outdoors if appropriate.
  • Sick staff and students must not attend school.
  • No one waiting on a covid test result may attend school.
  • No visitors onsite - this includes parents.
  • Anyone showing or expressing that they feel unwell will be taken to an isolation area, parents will be contacted immediately so they can collect their child from school.
  • No shared equipment where possible.
  • Surfaces will be regularly sanitised.
  • Classrooms to be well spaced and students will have a designated area to work in.
  • Students will be supervised throughout the day.
  • 2 Meter distancing will be enforced when students are outdoors.
  • No contact sports at all.

No Visitors on site under Level 3.2

During school hours we are reducing the number of adults who interact with students and staff onsite. We will not be having any visitors or contractors on school grounds. This includes parents. If you need a meeting with someone at school, we will arrange to meet via zoom.

If you need to pick up or drop off your child during the school day, please phone the school office. We will arrange for your child to meet you in the school carpark so you do not need to leave your car. This is to protect you as well as us.

Vaccination Status

The government has mandated that all school staff must have had their first vaccination shot before Monday 15 November.

Vaccination is an emotive topic and I have had several emails from many parents about this topic. The health and medical information of individuals is private. We are asked to collect this information but it cannot be shared or used to plan classes or to exclude students from any regular activities. Not all students are eligible and not all families will choose to vaccinate. The vaccination status of your child will not be shared nor we will put your child in a situation where their vaccination status is discussed at school.

What I can tell you is that all of our staff have complied with the health mandate to vaccinate. All staff on site are either fully vaccinated or have had their first dose and are planning on getting their second dose. All staff on site have had a negative covid test prior to returning to work.

I also ask that if you have strong feelings about the vaccine and feel the need to share these views with our staff, please remember that we did not make these rules. Some of the emails sent to the principal about this matter have been abusive and show a lack of understanding about the government mandate. Schools must comply with all educational and health acts.

Siblings at School

If you have more than one child in your household who attends our school, you may want to ensure your children are in the same bubble. We can move a sibling into the same class as their brother or sister to ensure that your household is only mixing with a single bubble.

If you would like to do this, email and specify which class you would like your children to be together in. We will not be making any changes to accommodate friendships.

Digital Free Zone

We have decided that the days when students are on-site will be screen-free days. We will not be using chrome books at all on these days. Our students have spent a lot of time on screens and the purpose of returning to school is to re-integrate into school but also to do some things that they have missed for the last few months.

This includes their own mobile phones. In the past, we have collected these in the mornings and returned them in the afternoon. However, we are not sharing or handling personal belongings for hygiene reasons. Students will not need a phone at school. Please send your child to school without their phone.

I am aware that some of our families will object to this rule and continue to send their children to school with a phone. We have always had the rule that students are not to use their phones at school. This protects everyone’s privacy due to the amount of photos and movies that students make on their phones. Phones also limit their socialising with peers. We want them to have real socialisation while at school.

If your child brings a phone to school, we take no responsibility for any loss or damage to it. If your child is using the phone while on site we will take it off them and you will need to collect this from the school office.

Cyber Safety with NETSAFE!

Netsafe is a website that holds a variety of resources for parents and their children about staying safe online, and what to do if you are being bullied or harassed online and on any social media platforms. You can report incidents of online bullying, harassment or if you or your child feels unsafe or is receiving.

Upcoming Events

Tuesday 16th November - BOT Meeting 6.30 pm (in school or online TBC)

Tuesday 7th December - BOT Meeting 6.30 pm (in school or online TBC)

Wednesday 15th December - Prize Giving (TBC). End of Term 4

Communication Home

We email home a school newsletter every fortnight. The purpose of this newsletter is to keep our community informed of what is happening at our school.

Please ensure we have an up-to-date email address, download our BIS School App, like our Facebook page and check our website regularly for more detailed information about what is happening at BIS.

Community Advertisements

Please contact to advertise your community event in this space.

What's happening in our Community?

Click here to see the events and activities the Birkdale Beach Haven Community Houses have planned for our community this Term.