Kia Ora Koutou
There is a vibe of being on tenterhooks since we went back into Alert level 2. Why is hope important? Hope provides a positive vision for the future about what is possible, motivating us to look forward. There will be times we are probably feeling a lack of hope. To have hope, it is vital we feel a sense of meaning in our lives. Particularly during a crisis, having meaning or purpose can protect our mental health. In recent months, two things that give our life meaning – work and connections with friends and family – might have been disrupted. Uncertainty has thrown some plans into jeopardy.
Adjusting our goals is what we have to do to work through these feelings of lost hope. We need to modify our goals to ensure they are realistic within the “new normal”, and we have a clear pathway to achieving them.
For example, I was meant to be in the States right now. But now – due to travel restrictions it has become more realistic to plan a holiday in a nearby location.
It is important to focus not only on long-term hopes, but on the short term too. If we focus too much on the future, we can lose sight of what is achievable and important to us now.
We should ask ourselves, what can we reasonably do this week or next month within current restrictions?
Here at school we are working out the certainties for those aspects of our lives over which we have control.
One such event is House Music. Will it happen? Yes. Is rehearsal time precious? Yes. Will we have confirmation of time, place, and venue under Alert 2 next week? Yes. Should the houses use that time wisely? Absolutely Yes. Will Alert 2 have an impact on this event? It has to as we are subject to the health guidelines. So will House Music happen? Again Yes
Despite repeated requests for parents to connect your daughters’ devices to Family Zone/Linewize and then to sign into the St Matthew’s platform, we still have students accessing apps which we have shut down. What that means is they do not have this security app on their phones or they have controls over its use.
Social media use and its grasp on our young people has now got beyond a frustration for me. The decision is now pending about the complete removal of cell phones from having any presence in the school during the school hours.
Families who have installed the app, first thank you. Secondly, you will still have the use of this security feature, as its value always extended beyond our school day. I know some of our young ones have seen it as a noose,but if we consider the rope metaphor it is probably better to see it more as the rope that is helping to keep their internet ships attached to solid and safe moorings.
Alert 2 and guidance we have been given
Sports (on school grounds) – physical activities including using shared equipment can go ahead. Physical distancing is not possible in some sporting activities. In these situations, extra emphasis on handwashing and drying (or cleansing with hand sanitiser) before and after activities and regular cleaning of equipment is very important.
Inter-school events – these can go ahead although there will be limitations due to the public health measures required and will need specific contact tracing ability of those playing for and against teams. Where people from outside the school may be attending or if we are hiring out our hall or allowing community groups to use school facilities, the rules for gatherings will apply.
Can parents and caregivers come onsite at Level 2?
Yes – however physical distancing of 2 metres is recommended for parents and caregivers from people they do not know (to align with public health measures outside the school grounds). Parents and caregivers who come onsite need to be noted in the visitor register (or if only doing drop offs or pick ups, can use check in using the NZ COVID Tracer App via your QR Code poster).
A reminder that we will already have contact information for our parents and caregivers, so do not need to collect those particular details each time they come onsite for a period of time.
Face coverings are not required in a school or early learning service setting. Some people may choose to wear face coverings. If they do, encourage respect - people are being proactive in keeping themselves and others safe.
If social distancing is difficult then wearing masks makes sense.
Mental Health- what to look out for if at risk.
We will be keeping an eye on how everyone is coping and we will contact you if your child is distressed.
Some signs to look out for are:
• Changes in behaviour (tearfulness, sleep patterns, eating patterns, up and down emotions or heightened anger or irritability, becoming suddenly calm or happy after being down, feeling hopeless or worthless, guilty, whakamā or ashamed.
• Losing confidence, or a downturn in school or sport performance.
• Becoming isolated or withdrawn from whānau, family and friends, things that are normally of interest.
• Talking about depression and expressing dark thoughts
• Not coping with day to day problems, or becoming overwhelmed with usual activities
• Using substances to cope with difficult feelings or thoughts.
• An escalation of risk-taking behaviours.
• Giving away possessions.
• Physical symptoms that do not have an obvious cause such as aches, pains, feeling sick
Seek help if these signs are appearing. If you have any concerns about your child/children please let us know by contacting our guidance counsellors Reverend Lesley or Mrs Keeton, a member of the Senior Leadership Team, or your child’s Dean.
Other agencies you can contact for support:
1737: You can free call or text 1737 to speak with a counsellor 24/7
Youthline: text on 234 (8am to midnight) or ring 0800 376 633 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Lifeline: 0800 543354
Skylight: have useful resources on their website about managing grief –
Te Haika: 24/7 mental health support 0800 745 477
Take care, follow the protocols, and be your best selves