Kia Ora Koutou
I am being naturally pensive while we are being sensible and calm in our response to recent events, it is an unsettling time for everyone, and it is more important than ever to work together and do everything we can work through this.
As was expected MoE have begun ramping up communications so I will provide you their insights, and mine, so we can continue to navigate the days ahead.
We are being proactive and getting prepared by sorting out the resources we might need if the levels change.
It is important to remember that getting through everything everyday is made easier because we do it together. I adore this quote and felt it apt to share it with you again “Ships don’t sink because of the water around them; ships sink because of the water that gets in them. Don’t let what’s happening around you get inside you and weigh you down’
Out of sorts
We are feeling a little out of sorts, but we have got this. It is not unprecedented times because we have been in Alert 2 before, and your daughters went into this like champs. None of us want to be here and we are hopeful that we return to level 1 soon. Complacency had drifted in and I spoke to this in my previous communication not knowing what lay ahead. I believe rules and guidelines are there to keep us safe and this sadly is a timely reminder about the importance of adherence.
Given the new cases of COVID-19 occurring in our communities, you will appreciate the importance of contact tracing as a critical aspect of the ‘stamp it out’ strategy. The quicker close contacts of cases can be identified, the sooner those people can go into self-isolation and get support.
Under the new COVID-19 Public Health Order, all schools and early learning services are now required to display a QR code poster for the NZ COVID Tracer App in a prominent place at or near the main entrances. This we have done.
Displaying a QR code should make contact tracing administration a lot easier for us as we will no longer need to capture in our visitor register all parents and caregivers doing drop-offs and pick-ups. However, we will continue to use our visitor register to record those coming on site for a period of time, which will also support contact tracing efforts.
For parents and caregivers who cannot use the App, you may wish to continue to record your details in a simple register when you do pick-ups and drop-offs.
As staff and parent/caregiver community please update your contact details if they have recently changed.
Seriously consider, in fact do if you have not already, download the COVID App.
What I must do if there are cases connected with our school
I work with health authorities and the MoE if we have a possible case linked with your school. MoE will support us with messages to you and make decisions about who needs to stay and away and who can continue to safely attend.
If a person is unwell, they should stay home until they are well. If a person is a close contact of a confirmed case, Health authorities will direct them to self-isolate.
In all other cases, it is safe to attend school. Schools do not close because someone connected with the school has been tested for COVID.
Schools are open at Alert Level 2 and Alert Level 3
All schools and early learning services should be open at Alert Level 3 for the children of essential workers and others who need to send their children to school or early learning.
All schools and early learning services are also open for all students and children at Alert Level 2.
MoE are working with public health to develop several FAQs about face covering for schools and early learning services. MoE advice yesterday remains correct – there is no requirement to wear face covering in schools and early learning services.
You will see from some images that we are being proactive and making some. Recently I sent an easy pattern to follow should you have a creative urge to make them yourself.
Online learning resources
Classroom NZ2020 https://ncea.tki.org.nz/Resources-to-support-distance-learning-during-COVID-19/Information-on-ClassroomNZ2020 is a platform with a range of online courses that is available to support distance learning, until the end of February 2021 at this stage.
The online courses cover a wide range of NCEA subjects and levels, and were developed by Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu (Te Kura). The resources are aligned with the New Zealand Curriculum, meet NCEA requirements and can be used to supplement schools’ curriculum content. Ākonga in wharekura may use this platform to support their studies towards NCEA standards derived from the New Zealand Curriculum.
Please look into your provisions in this area especially if you struggled over Alert 4 and 3 last time.
Telcos are continuing to roll out provision of internet access to around 50,000 student households.
Included in this newsletter are resources which can be accessed should you or your family need them.
We need to remember those protocols because Alert Level 2 is not life as normal. You can still go to work and school, but you must:
• keep your distance from other people in public
• wash your hands
• sneeze and cough into your elbow
• keep a track of where you have been and who you have seen
• wear a face covering if you can (see previous note)
The most important advice I can give myself and to you is to be calm and to know and trust that we have the capacity to weather the storm. I am not going to lie that there will not be flotsam and jetsam, because there will be. That is when we reach out and grab hold of hands that need us.
Around School This Week
New Zealand Secondary Schools Squash Championships
The St Matthew’s Squash team had a very successful showing in the recent 2020 National Secondary Schools Tournament. The team was seeding 10th in the 16 team draw and had a tough first up opponent in Orewa College who were seeded 7th. But they got into their work early with a comprehensive 4 matches to 1 win. Team captain Claudia Hawkes went into the tournament coming back from an ankle injury but showed that she hadn’t lost any of her class winning comfortably and setting the tone for the rest of the team to follow.
This put the team into the top 8 of the draw which meant that their next opponent was going to be the highly ranked Westlake Girls team. With three B graders in the team Westlake Girls were a formidable challenge and the result was reversed with a 1 match to 4 loss. Claudia again showed that she was comfortable playing the top players in the tournament with a gusty 3-1 win, but it was a stretch too far for the other members of the team, although Christina Kirkup gave her opponent a scare racing out to an early lead.
Then it was out to Te Puke for a match up against Ruapehu College who had also forced an upset in the first round. This was a close draw and was only decided when Ella Kirkup playing at five was able to secure the tie for St Matthew’s 3 matches to 2. This meant they were playing in the 5th/6th play off against the host school Tauranga Girls.
An early start on Sunday morning and back to the Devoy Squash Centre in Tauranga for the final match up. Ella Arnold Barron led out the team and fought valiantly but was unable to get past her opponent. Chelsea Hawkes then came on and got St Matthew's back on track with a confident effort which was a trademark of her game all tournament, which even the ledger at 1 match all. Claudia showed great composure to win her match and make it four from four for her at the tournament. With only one more win needed Ella Kirkup again ran everything down and almost got there, but eventually lost 2-3. With the tie evenly balanced at 2 matches all, Christina came out and gave it her best shot with her customary fast start, but in the end was outplayed by her opponent and Tauranga Girls took it out 3 matches to 2.
But a 6th place finish for the team was an excellent effort, four places above the teams ranking. Special mention must go to Olivia Kirkup who battled hard at 3 in the team against much higher graded players. It was a great weekend with the girls representing St Matthew's fantastically both on and off the court, even managing to squeeze in some walks on the beach and a little bit of shopping. It was also really good to cheer on the Rathkeale team who also competed well. Thanks to the parents and sports department that helped pull it all together.
John Kirkup - Team Manager