Newsletter - Week 1 Term 1

Greenmeadows School 31st January 2022

PRINCIPAL'S MESSAGE

Nga mihi mahana ki a koutou katoa (warm greetings to you all)


This is a first ... actually sending out a newsletter before the school year starts. But obviously the start of 2022 is like no other year.


We are really looking forward to having the children back and managing through this situation as a community. The building has been progressing well and we now have a new court area for us to use which is exciting!


This newsletter is basically concerned us dealing with the Covid Protection Framework 'Red setting' we find ourselves in. This is definitely a time with a lot of uncertainty. I know that there are a range of opinions and perspectives in the community about the way this pandemic is being approached.


From my position, we are aiming to make the Greenmeadows School's way of dealing with this situation as one of keeping as safe and inclusive an environment as possible for ALL.


'All' refers to whānau, students and staff of this community based around our wonderful school.


As we are a state school we have responsibilities and guidelines to follow from the Ministry of Education, who are working alongside the Ministry of Health. Many of these guidelines we have no choice in and are required to adhere to.


Other decisions we make at a school level are simply to limit any possible spread of the virus or reduce the potential increase of any infections.


There are plenty of questions and worries we have about what lies ahead for us all. The school is focussed on making this period as positive an experience for the children. We ask that you all help us work collectively to deal with what we face. Our children are facing enough in the way of anxieties - here is our opportunity to help them through this.


I have talked with many of you over the past week or so. We have also fielded a lot of questions about the school year. Hopefully this newsletter will answer a lot of your queries and explain how we are going to approach the start of 2022. Do not hesitate to ring or email the office if you need further clarification after reading this newsletter.


Ka kite anō,


Mark Johnson

Principal

SPECIAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR 'RED SETTING' AT GMS

The following is information outlining how the school is going to deal with the challenges we are faced with in the coming weeks.

2022 SCHOOL DATES - Term 1

The key dates to note for this term are as follows:


2 February - first day of school starting at 9.00am


7 February - school closed for Waitangi Day observation


8 February - Tōtara classes start swimming



14 April - Last day of Term 1

PARENTS ENTRY AND ACCESS TO SCHOOL

We will be using the two entry gates to school as we did for the 2021.


i) Gloucester Street gate

ii) Osier Road (dental clinic) gate


On coming to school children should be dropped off at either gate.

While we are at the 'Red level' we ask that parents not to enter the grounds, unless it is an emergency. The only exception to this is for new entrants students just starting at school and need some assistance getting orientated.


At the end of the school day parents are asked to remain in the marked collection areas for students (shown by the large orange cones).


Parents can still get in contact with the child's teacher through the Seesaw app once that is up and running by the end of this week.


We all find this very challenging. Schools such as GMS have made a real effort and focus over the past years to strengthen the links between them and home ... and this current situation is something we all find tough. As we are sure families do as well. Hopefully the time will come soon when something 'normal' can return.

BELL TIMES FOR THE SCHOOL DAY

8.30am - students can enter school from this time


As children come into school from 8.30am on the three days of school this week, they are to go straight to their own classroom. On the first morning a member of the senior management team will be on the field to help remind anyone who has forgotten which is their room for 2022.


9.00am - school day starts



School end times will be as for 2021:

2.50pm - Kōwhai children and their older siblings released

3.00pm - all remaining Pohutukawa and Tōtara children released

MASK MANDATE - YEARS 4 to 6 and STAFF

The wearing of masks at school is something that is going to be very new for us all.


Note the following:

* we have a supply of masks at school that are available to students who need them

* as Year 3 students also work alongside the Year 4s in classes, we have asked for these children to wear them as well. Please note that as Year 3s are not part of the mask 'mandate' this request is in effect is 'optional' for our Year 3s.

* children do not have to wear masks when outdoors, eating or drinking.


Staff will be wearing masks as well when indoors.


We will be having lots of activity and outdoor breaks during the course of the day that will give the opportunity to get out of the masks.

REMINDER ABOUT PICKING YOUR CHILDREN UP DURING THE SCHOOL DAY & THE REQUIREMENT OF FACIAL COVERINGS

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.

SEPARATE SCHOOL BUBBLES

GMS will start this year basically operating as three separate schools based around the three syndicates: Kōwhai, Pohutukawa and Tōtara.


These groups will have:

- their own playing areas during break times (using separate halves of the field and court areas)

- separate toilet blocks to for each group of children to use

- assigned teacher aides and support staff


The staff will also be in their own groups with their separate areas for each to have morning tea and lunch.

DISTANCE LEARNING

We are preparing for the need to come when we might face large numbers of children (and staff) being forced to isolate if they become close contacts of people with Omicron. Distance learning will be provided for learners in that position.


Unfortunately we do not have the capacity to offer distance learning for children who have simply decided not to come to school. It takes considerable time to prepare, monitor and respond to distance learning demands - and we can not do so while running full classes as well.

SCHOOL READERS - PLEASE SEND THESE BACK!!

We need back all school readers (numbered junior books and school journals) that are out in ‘Greenmeadowsland’ … please check for any that may be at home: bedrooms, wardrobes and school bags. Each book we don’t get returned costs us at least $10 - we would rather spend our money buying new books than replacing lost ones we have already purchased.
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