Newsletter Term 1, Week 1

Bishop Edward Gaines Catholic School

Principal Message

Talofa, Kia ora, Malo e lelei,

What a fantastic start to the term and the year! Thank you parents and caregivers for making sure all our school students were school ready this week! We began term 1 with a welcome liturgy and offering prayers for our community and country at this time. Our senior students did a great job at reading for liturgy. Students are very settled in their start to school and have enjoyed swimming and lunchtime sports this week. Our amazing teachers have organised purposeful and fun learning, around prayer and our school charism in religious education, statistics in mathematics, and recount and descriptive writing in literacy. Our Student Led Conferences are on the 24th February, and you will be able to book a time for these soon. Student Led Conferences are an opportunity for your child to verbalise their learning goals and share some of their learning. This Friday and next week, classes will be learning about Waitangi Day and doing activities and reading about this special day. Remember, Bishop is your school, and we welcome and encourage whanau to join us in our school projects, Liturgy, Mass and sports events, so keep an eye out for what is coming up. A huge thanks to the parents and friends of the school who have been helping with the weeding, working bees, swimming supervision and offering to help manage and coach teams this year, we appreciate you!

We are welcoming new students to our fabulous whanau, if you know of a family or relatives who may be interested in attending, please pass on our school details and we can arrange a school visit. Preschool visits are Thursday and Fridays 9:00-12:30pm.

Ma te Atua koutou e manaaki—God’s blessings,

Bernadette Hall

Catholic Character

Students are learning about the different types of prayer and ways to pray. By prayer one acknowledges God's power and goodness, and one's own neediness and dependence. It is therefore an act of the virtue of religion implying the deepest reverence for God and allowing ourselves to look to God for help in everything.Traditional prayers include the Hail Mary and Our Father, meditation and song are forms of prayer too. Prayers are said for; blessings (gift bestowed by God), adoration (showing devotion), confession (asking for forgiveness) and for intersession (asking for help).

We will be running a Sacramental Programme for those students who wish to undergo their Sacraments of Initiation. We will notify our community of those dates in our next newsletter.

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Happy Birthday! Best wishes to Tane who turned 6 today!

Important Dates:

Term Dates

Term One: 1 February-14 April

Term Two: 2 May-8 July

Term Three: 25 July-30 September

Term Four: 17 October-14 December (TBC)

Welcome Liturgy

1 February 9:30am on turf courts

School Mass

11 February 9:30am on school grounds

Swimming Days @ Aquatic Centre:

W 1: 2 February & 3 February 12-1pm

W 2: 8 February & 10 February 12-1pm

W 3: 14 February 12-1pm

W 4: No swimming

W 5: 28 February & 1 March 1:30-2:30pm

W 6: 7 March 1:30pm

W7: No swimming

W 8: No swimming

W 9: 29 March & 1 April 10:00am

W 10: 5 April & 8 April 10:00am

Student Led Conferences

24 February 1:30-5:30pm

Preschool Visits

Note changes: Will run each Thursday and Friday from 9:00am -12:30 for the few weeks leading up to the child's 5th birthday. Please let the office know if you are wanting your child to have preschool visits. Also please let others know who may be interested.

Lunchtime Fun Sports for our Tamariki

Every Tuesday and Thursday


Monday after lunch (courts opposite our school)

Health Nurse Educational Talks to Senior Students

16 February-Talk

16 March-Immunisations HPV/Boostrix for our yr 7s and Yr 8s

Shrove Tuesday & Ash Wednesday

1 March and 2 March

Preschool & Kindy Picnic @ Bishop

3rd March 11:30-1:00pm

St Joseph Feast Day Liturgy

18 March 9:30am

3rd March 11:30-1:00pm

Whanau Hui

24 March 6:00pm staffroom-all welcome

Holy Week

10-15 April

Covid -19 Update

We are beginning our school year under the Red setting.

What does this mean for whanau?


Kei aku nui, kei aku rahi, tēnā koutou katoa i roto i ngā āhuatanga o te wā.

In regard to COVID-19 we have moved fully into the new traffic light framework for all our school and kura activities and events this year. It is good to know that at Red setting, we are able to support everyone learning onsite.

Events and activities

Large hui and gatherings especially when indoors continue to be one of the riskier activities we can undertake. We have therefore reviewed all our events and activities for the upcoming term to ensure we meet the health guidance for Red.


We have used the Ministry of Education self-assessment tool to review all our ventilation in readiness for the start of the year. Providing good old fashioned fresh air remains the most important thing we can do in our learning spaces to minimise risk for ākonga and kaiako (and the same goes for you at home). We will also be receiving a CO2 monitor in the coming weeks to further support our ventilation plan

Omicron and testing

We have all seen the very large numbers of cases overseas and we will very likely see much larger numbers of cases in Aotearoa than we have previously experienced in the last two years. While Omicron is more transmissible than previous strains, most people who get COVID-19 will have a mild to moderate illness and will fully recover in their own home.

However, some of our community who are immune compromised, are ill or have other vulnerabilities, even when they are fully vaccinated, could be more affected by Omicron. So, we all need to continue to play our part to minimise the spread of the virus.

In regard to testing, the health system currently has capacity to process 40,000 PCR tests a day. PCR testing is the most accurate test for COVID-19 and will continue to be used while New Zealand is in the stamp-it-out phase.

Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) will begin to be used more widely over time. They are not as accurate as PCR tests and this means that some people who do have COVID-19 will get a negative test result back. There are currently 4.6 million RATs in the country and 10s of millions ordered.

If you are symptomatic or need to be tested to access a workplace or service, you will be guided at the time on which test is best for you.

Face coverings

Staff and children in Years 4 – 13 must wear face coverings when inside at school when we are at Red.

Public health advice is that an appropriate face covering will fit snugly and seal well around facial contours. This can include single use, disposable masks (medical masks) and re-usable fabric masks with three layers.

Don’t worry if you don’t have these specific types of face coverings, as public health experts also say that any face covering is better than no face covering.

The Unite Against COVID-19 website also has information on how to make a face covering.

For those of you with children who might be reluctant to wear a face covering, there is some helpful advice from Michigan Health, including using simple, specific explanations about why they need to wear a face covering, adults being the role models, providing small rewards for wearing them, bringing face coverings into play such as drawing face coverings on characters in colouring books, or letting them choose/make the mask.

Vaccination for five- to 11-year-olds

Vaccination including a booster shot, remains an important tool to help prevent the most serious harm from the COVID-19 virus. If children and young adults who have been vaccinated do develop COVID-19, they are far less likely to get seriously ill and less likely to transmit the virus to others.

The free five- to 11-year-old vaccination programme is now underway and more than 100,000 children in New Zealand have had their first dose.

There is some helpful information available to support you on the Unite Against COVID-19 website including How to book a vaccine for your five – 11 year old and some great videos on the Kids Health page that can support you to talk to your tamariki about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Managing cases in our school

We have a good contact tracing system in place so that if there is a confirmed case who has been at school while infectious, we can quickly identify who was a close contact of that person. We will then quickly advise those contacts of what they need to do.

Only if the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Education advises to do so, would we consider closing a physical onsite school and moving to distance learning for everyone. At Red we will keep everyone learning onsite for as long as we can.

Please make sure your contact details we have on file are up to date, so we can get in touch with you if needed.

Preparing for COVID-19

You can also prepare for COVID-19, making sure you and your household have a plan and know what to do. This will mean your whānau and community can help each other if needed. Find out more here:

· Be prepared for COVID-19

· Download the COVID-19 Readiness Checklist [PDF, 121 KB]

· What to expect when self-isolating at home

Self-isolating at home because of COVID-19

Many people will be able to manage self-isolation with help from friends and whānau, but there is help available if you need it – both with health support and access to food and other essentials.

· What to expect when self-isolating at home | Unite against COVID-19 (

· Getting extra support if you have COVID-19 or are self-isolating | Unite against COVID-19 (

· COVID-19 positive – managing your symptoms | Health Navigator NZ

If you know anyone in your community affected by COVID-19 and who may need help, such as food and other financial assistance, Work and Income has a range of supports available for individuals, families, employers and self-employed people affected by COVID-19.

Work and Income support

The beginning of the year can be a tough time for parents who are faced with many costs and it is important you are aware of what assistance you may be able to get from Work and Income. These are available to people on a low income as well as those on a benefit.

Check what you might get here

· School costs

· Out of School Care and Recreation (OSCAR) Subsidy

· Other Childcare Assistance

· School and Year Start-up Payment (for people getting Orphan’s Benefit or Unsupported Child’s Benefit)

· Help with living costs (including food and rent/mortgage)

Use the links above or call 0800 559 009 to find out more, or to apply.

MoneyTalks can assist with free budgeting and debt help

You can also contact your local community provider. Please find more information here.

Getting ready to return to school

The Ministry of Education has some helpful information on their Parents and Whānau website to support your tamariki to get back to school. There is also a very important reminder about how you can take care of yourself.

Education outside the classroom: Offsite options

With careful planning, education outside the classroom (EOTC) activities can go ahead at Red.

By 4 February we anticipate that public health orders will be in place so that EOTC providers will be able to offer curriculum-related activities/services to a registered school that does not require all children to be vaccinated (even if require this from other users of their facilities).

This means the provider will need to meet a number of conditions, such as:

  • working with a registered school to deliver curriculum-related activities
  • the activity is in a defined space (sole use of part or all of a setting/venue for the period the service is provided)
  • staff delivering the service are vaccinated.

Getting extra support if you have COVID-19 or are self-isolating-

While this might all feel a little overwhelming at times, we know that all these measures will help our children return to school, reconnect with whānau and friends and do what they enjoy.

We are also here to help. Please get in touch if you have any concerns or need help in any way

See you soon!

Bernie and the staff at Bishop.

Help Your Child be School Ready