Newsletter - Week 3 Term 1

Greenmeadows School 18 February 2022


Tēnā koutou katoa,

We normally send out newsletters every fortnight ... but with things being the way they are in our COVID world we thought another newsletter would be of help this week.

I want to say how impressed I have been with the approach of the classes to learning at the start of this year. They have settled in well and have been very positive: despite a number of interruptions and changes to routine.

Our thoughts go out to those at Taradale High School managing some positive COVID cases in their student population. We send our best wishes to all concerned.

I am taking leave from school from next Thursday 24th February until Monday 4th April. A while back I decided to prepare myself to ride the length of New Zealand on my blue bicycle. I have entered an event called the 'Tour Aotearoa Brevet' which has 300 people taking part. The cyclists leave in waves of sixty people over five different days.

Now the time has arrived and I start this on Saturday 26th with the rest of my group. At 8.00am I depart from Cape Reinga and head south towards Bluff. That should take me the best part of four weeks to complete if everything goes well. I have a ride of more than 3000km in front of me, and climb (wait for it ...) the equivalent of 32km in hills during the trip.

People have asked me if I am raising money for a charity to do this, which I am. The charity I have chosen is Brain Tumour Support New Zealand. A number have asked for details so that they can provide a donation.

If you wanted to, the account is:

12-3144-0207207-001 and use the reference 'TA ride'

If you choose to do so - many, many thanks: it is a group worthy of support who do an immense amount.

With the COVID situation we are dealing with, I have been thinking long and hard about whether choosing to take five weeks away from school at this time is the most appropriate thing to do. However I feel that as a school we have done plenty of effective planning to deal with whatever challenges we may be faced with in the coming weeks. I also have complete confidence in the quality, decision-making and leadership of the personnel we have in place. Greenmeadows School is very well equipped to deal with anything.

Mr Darren Holloway will be Acting Principal while I am away. My sincere thanks to Darren for taking on this responsibility at this time.

Finally many thanks for your kindness and messages of support towards the school. They are certainly appreciated by us all.

I wish you all a safe and healthy time over the next five weeks. I look forward to seeing you all upon my return.

Ka kite anō,

Mark Johnson



Two new students have started with us this week: Griffin Phillips and Emmett Roux. Welcome to GMS!!! Our roll is currently 435.


We are preparing for the inevitable ... when the time eventually arrives when there are people who contract the 'Omicron' (or 'Delta') variant in our school community.

We want to try and clarify how to deal with this, keeping you all informed as best we can.

In light of recent cases in Hawkes Bay we want to support our families with any Covid-19 queries, as well as what you need to do. We know that this could possibly end up with disruptions to your lives and work, and thank you for your understanding and support.

Please note that we are not the 'health experts', but do know that the Ministry of Health may be delayed in providing advice and guidance as case numbers grow.

Please also note that this information is subject to change, based on any updated guidelines from the Ministry of Education & Health.


If your child, or an immediate household member, tests positive for COVID-19 we ask that you let the school know immediately. You can do this by sending an email to or by ringing the school office on 06 8447024.

NOTE: If a child or staff member tests positive while at school, then we will start the process of determining who might be 'close contacts'.


My child has been identified as a 'close contact'. What does this mean?

  • This means your child has had contact with a positive case at our school.

  • They will need to isolate for seven days and be tested on day #5. (Note - the seven days start from the date that they were in contact with a positive case at school. Because of the time lag between the confirmed case/test results, this may mean that your child only needs to remain home for a smaller number of days).

  • With possible delays, this may mean that notification of being a 'close contact' could also come at what is determined as 'Day 5'. If that is the case, then this means get a test that day.

  • We will advise you further regarding testing and isolation dates.

A member of our household is a 'close contact' of someone else not at our school. Can my child still attend school?

Yes. Your child is able to attend school.

We received the letter/email saying that my child is NOT a close contact. What do I need to do?

Most importantly, your child is still able to attend school.

  • You and your whānau should watch for symptoms of being unwell

  • If any develop, get tested immediately

  • Then, stay at home until you receive the result

  • Please keep an eye out for school communications

My child has tested positive for Covid-19. What does this mean?

This will mean that your child will need to isolate. All family members will be close contacts and also need to isolate.

Ministry of Health will provide more guidance.

A member of our household has tested positive. What does this mean?

This will mean that your child will be a close contact and also needs to isolate. Ministry of Health will provide more guidance.

My child is feeling unwell (e.g. cough, headache, sore throat etc).

Can I still send them to school?

Because these are all symptoms of COVID-19, please do not send your child to school. While these may be the normal bugs/sniffles that occur, we encourage you to get your child tested.

We want to promote calm despite it being a time with uncertainty. We heard of an example of a school in a neighbouring region (not in Hawkes Bay) which puts things in perspective.

Two Year 8s in one large class setting of 90 students were infectious with COVID for two days while they were at school. Yet no other classmates became infected. This appears to be because they all wore masks while indoors and the classroom space was well ventilated.


Some people are worried that there may be a movement at some stage to vaccinate children at school without parental consent ...

I want to assure our entire community that this will not happen - no child will be vaccinated at Greenmeadows School without parents giving permission for this to happen. Our Board of Trustees are unanimous on this.

There has not been any communication that indicates schools will be used as a facility for vaccinations. This may change in the future, but certainly does not look likely at this point in time. And if it does - parental consent will be required before any child is involved.


At this point in time there are four different 'stages' for a school to operate.

Stage 1 - all children are expected to be at school for normal class learning. No home learning provided. This is the stage we are at at present.

Stage 2 - SOME Home learning being provided. This will be if groups within the school are forced to isolate because of positive cases being identified at school. This will be for close contacts, and might include staff as well. Home learning will commence for those affected.

Stage 3 - ALL children involved in home learning (similar to lockdown)

Stage 4 - School closed. No home learning available.

Obviously things might change but we will keep you updated. We will also attempt to do what we can to support the education of essential workers where possible. This applies to Stage 3. However this may be influenced by what our school is encountering at the time.


Thank you for your ongoing support of our school canteen. Without families support we couldn't offer this service in our school. We keep our prices low so lunches are still affordable for families.

The canteen is open Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. All orders are done online through Kindo, therefore removing the need for any child to be responsible for bringing cash to school.

You can view a copy of the canteen menu on our school website under the canteen tab.


If your child is going to be absent from school, please let the school know before 9.00am on that morning.

The absent text service is NO longer available. Please do not text.

To report your child being away please use the school app. Find the absence button then use the email function.


If you need to pick up your child during the school day, please call the office and let the office staff know you are here and at which gate you are waiting.

Carolyn or Sara will ring through to the classroom and have your child sent out to meet you. The office staff will sign your child out on your behalf.

If you do need to come into the office to collect your child from the sickbay or for some other reason, please make sure you are wearing a mask and have scanned in. Many thanks.


Lucky Book club order forms are being sent home today. All ordering MUST be done online. Instructions on how to order are on the back of the catalogue.

Closing date for orders online is Friday the 25th February.

NO CASH ORDERS will be accepted.


Below is a link to download our school App if you haven't already.

This is how we communicate with the school community any importmant messages or reminders.


Mr Sullivan and his partner Shannon have announced the arrival of their new son Jesse who was born on 5th February. Our congratulations to all!
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