BIS Term 4 Newsletter

Thursday 14th of October 2021


Kia Ora e te Whānau,

On Tuesday I met with Katrina Bush and Mel Robinson to work out our plan for term 4. We are very aware of the growing angst in the community to know what the plan is and to have a guarantee that we are doing all that we can to keep everyone covid safe in our school environment. We also know that you want some guidelines around online learning and some reassurance that you are doing a great job.

With the current alert level 3, the school will only reopen for the children of essential workers who do not have any other carer who can look after their children. We want to keep this number low to ensure minimal contact between households. All staff on site will have to have proof of a negative covid test. Social distancing and sanitising protocols will be in place. Students can only attend school if they have registered to attend by emailing Mrs. Bush.

Home learning continues and we will provide a variety of activities. There is enough work and online sessions for your child to be on a screen all day if you choose. As well as a daily zoom session with your child’s whanau teacher, there are teaching sessions offered throughout the day for any student to attend. These sessions are deliberate acts of teaching and are offered to all. We call them optional as we are aware that how your child spends their day is at your discretion.

The home activities will utilise the home learning packs that were given out last term but will also have activities that can be done with online resources or resources in your home. We feel that your child should be engaged in 3-4 hours of school tasks per day with regular breaks for fresh air, food and exercise. This is less than a normal day at school but we are aware that motivation may be difficult and not all students are able to self-manage their time and their tasks.

For maximum engagement, we suggest that your child has a dedicated space for their zoom meetings. This should be seated at a table or desk with minimal distractions. Your child should have their resource pack and stationery handy so they can share work or participate in written tasks while on a zoom call. The camera should be on but it may be appropriate for it to be muted at different times. A set timetable or daily routine should be agreed upon at the start of the week. Use the timetable of opt-in sessions to plan this. Students also need to read through the activities for the week and work out when each activity will be worked on. Sharing their timetable plan with their whanau teacher is a good idea as this will help them to get good coverage of zoom sessions and independent work sessions. At the end of each day, your child should be sharing with you what they have completed, what they have worked on and what they are still learning.

Once we are able to have all students back on site we have decided to continue to teach in our whānau class bubbles. This reduces interaction around the school. We will have staggered break times and we will not be having any trips out of school or visitors into school. We will put out more information about this once we are in a position to prepare for the return to school.

The Government has now stated that schools must keep a covid vaccination record.

We will therefore need to know if your child has had their first or second vaccine dose or is exempted from being vaccinated. This information will be held by us in accordance with the Privacy Act and will only be shared with public health authorities.

We are therefore getting our data collection system in place and will get in touch with you again very soon.

We are proud of how our community has responded to this outbreak, but the mahi isn’t yet done. Please continue to follow all the alert level requirements including staying at home and getting tested for COVID-19 if you are feeling unwell, and for your own sake and for the health of your whānau, please get vaccinated.

All staff on site are now required to return a negative covid test prior to returning to work and must be fully vaccinated by 1st January 2022. We will be complying with all MOE and MOH regulations on this.

As you are aware, we have had to cancel many events including sports days, camps, outdoor education, choir, and some performing arts shows. One of the things that we continued to do during level 3 and 4 via zoom meetings was to rehearse for our school production, Twisterella. This production was supposed to include song, dance and drama and be performed in our theatre to a live audience. However, it is now a dramatic performance featuring songs, acting and talent all filmed at various homes across our school community. This production was filmed on zoom calls and has now been carefully edited by Mrs. Dalton during the term break. We will be releasing our first-ever school production ‘Zoovie” on Friday 22 October. This is an amazing achievement and reinforces that we can overcome obstacles to keep on achieving great things with our students.

I hope that you are all able to enjoy some whanau time and I look forward to seeing students online next Monday. As we get new updates from the Ministry, we will aim to keep you well informed so that you are aware of our term 4 planning and curriculum delivery model.

Kia Kaha,

JoAnne Sutton

Tumuaki / Principal

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