COVID-19 Information and Updates
METLINK SCHOOL BUS SERVICE AT ALERT LEVEL 2 - CLICK HERE FOR INFORMATION
LEVEL 2 UPDATE - BULLETIN 12 MAY 2020
ALERT LEVEL 2 - STUDENTS RETURNING TO SCHOOL
We are looking forward to returning to school and getting together with you all.
With a School which has over 1400 people onsite we have decided to stage our return over two days for Health and Safety Reasons.
The plan for getting going again looks like this:
Thursday 14 and 15 May – Staff will be off-line preparing for the return of students on Monday. For most classes, teachers will have set work for students for these days
Monday 18 May – Year 9, 10 & 13 return to school. The day starts with AKO at 8.45 – 9.45am, during which students will be briefed on L2 protocols. From 9.45am, the normal timetable will resume. We will encourage staff to make some form of online contact with Year 11/12 classes during their Year 11/12 class time.
Tuesday 19 May – Year 11 & 12 return for a 9 – 9.55am AKO time, to be briefed on Level 2 protocols, as above. Year 9, 10 & 13 come to school, in time for 9.30 - 9.55am AKO time to gain feedback on the previous day. Normal timetable to resume from 10am.
While the MOE’s intention is that all students will be able to return to school on Monday, we appreciate that some students and whānaumay be anxious about the return to school (for many reasons). If you would like to discuss your situation, please get in touch with your Ako teacher. Otherwise follow our normal attendance procedure (email firstname.lastname@example.org or ring the absence extension number).
It is very important that students bring their own learning equipment (books, pens, laptop, earphones, etc), food and drink for the day. The school will not be issuing devices and students should not be sharing their equipment with each other.
ALERT LEVEL 2 @ ONSLOW COLLEGE - KEY POINTS
Whanaungatanga will be especially important as we come back together. We are a community based on relationships of care and connectedness and the health and wellbeing of both students and staff is at the heart of this return to school plan.
We are conscious that some of us will be feeling excited about returning and others will be feeling anxious for a variety of reasons. We need to be sensitive to the impact of the last seven weeks on each of us. We have been living through a significant event that has impacted us in many different ways. Here’s an update on the thinking so far.
All plans prioritise the 3 key principles of Level 2.
- avoiding people getting sick in the first place
- enable contact tracing
- understand that the return to school does not mean ‘business as usual’.
HEALTH & SAFETY
What are the new practices that we will have in place around hygiene and cleaning?
- Enhanced cleaning around the College campus
- Additional daytime cleaners employed to clean toilets & high use surfaces throughout the day
- Clear guidelines for students about hygiene practices which include students not sharing food, access to drinking water and not overcrowding areas such as the Student Centre
- Hand sanitiser, disinfectant & paper towels/Chux cloths in all classrooms and other non-teaching spaces
- New routines with students for entering classrooms (e.g. students straight into class with doors left open to reduce corridor crowding)
- Improved traffic flow practices for students as they move around the school (e.g. keeping left in corridors, and Year 9 & 10 released 5 minutes early from each class to ease congestion around the school)
- We are working with our canteen to see how it can operate under Level 2 at this stage we will not have the canteen operating. We will keep informed as we move forward.
- While we have a good supply of hand sanitiser we are aware that this is a commodity that could become difficult to source. If you are able to supply this for your own use it would assist the school greatly in the weeks to come.
- Accurate class rolls will be more important than ever under Alert Level 2. Should there be a COVID-19 case in our school community, we would be required to pass this information onto the Ministry of Health for their contact tracing process. Please let us know if a student is going to be away as early as possible.
- We will require all visitors to the site to phone prior to arriving so they can be given clear instructions in regards to signing in when they arrive. We would prefer that whānau do not come onto site unless absolutely necessary.
- There are to be no face to face activities outside of normal class instruction for the first two weeks.
- Any Year 13 student who has a study spell will be required to go to the Student Centre, where a roll will be marked. This area will be set up as a study space with tables and chairs. If Year 13 students have a Spell 1/Spell 5 study, they do not have to attend study class, but supervision will be provided in the Student Centre if students do need to be at school. We have been instructed that students should not leave site during the day and this is why we are putting this in place. If students do leave site it makes contact tracing more difficult.
- We encourage students to keep to a safe social distance of 1 metre.
WELLBEING - RECONNECT, CARE, LEARNING TOGETHER
- The primary focus of our first week back is on re-establishing relationships and routines, including creating spaces to process what we've all collectively experienced. We need a balance of normality with the acknowledgement of the fact that we are returning to school from a significant nationwide event. We must remember that our return to school does not represent business as usual.
- As we transition back to school, we need to be aware that our community has experienced lockdown in diverse ways. We need to remain responsive and flexible as we move into this next phase.
- We are very aware that the return to school could be a time of high anxiety and we encourage students who are experiencing high anxiety to speak with our counsellors, and for staff to refer students they are concerned about.
TEACHING & LEARNING - WEEK ONE
- The first week back at school will be a CHECK-IN WEEK. This means LESS IS MORE with classes. Please take the time to discuss/recap/clarify/consolidate the work undertaken during online learning. We will endeavour to meet the students where they are at and work together on the next steps.
- This is an opportunity to reinforce what has been taught during online learning and to clarify and deepen understanding. Students will be arriving back in class having had a wide variety of experiences of with varying degrees of success and engagement.
- This week can be used to extend those students who have managed well and support those students who may need it
- We await confirmation from Metlink/Mana regarding the numbers of passengers that they are willing to carry. As soon as we have this confirmation we will communicate this to our community.
- There may be issues with lateness as we get used to new transport requirements & increased traffic on the roads as people get moving again.
- If you are dropping students off at school please do so outside of school grounds.
Principal's Message - COVID-19 Alert Level 3 Update - 21 April 2020
Kia ora koutou
We hope that Term 2 and our distance learning programme has been a success for you so far. We know there will have been many challenges for you to deal with but we have been getting some great feedback about the learning that is happening and thank you for all your support.
Yesterday the Government decided that we will move into Alert Level 3 on 28 April. Tuesday 28 April will be a Staff Only Day and there will be no onsite or online teaching that day. We will be open to receive students in Year 9 and 10 from the 29 April. Students in Year 11, 12 and 13 are not able to come to school. Staff will continue to focus on distance learning for all students and I want to assure all students that staff are working very hard on this. We will start to prepare our site from tomorrow for students to be there, but students onsite will also be learning online.
The key message for you is that if you can, you should keep your child at home. You should only physically send your child to school if you need to. If your child has a health condition that means they are at a greater risk of a severe illness you must keep them at home. If your child is sick please also ensure you keep them at home.
In order to ensure the safety of those Year 9 and 10 students and our staff who do come to school, we will be operating with strict enforcement of health and safety measures. This means that students will only be able to interact with students and staff in their bubble and they will have very limited access to certain areas of the school. The canteen will not be open and students will not be able to use drinking fountains. Some other guidelines we are considering are;
- Controlling staggered school drop offs and picks up times so that we don’t inadvertently have families congregating in large numbers.
- Washing/sanitising hands on entry into the classroom.
- Children with any sign of sickness should not be at school and we will ask you to collect them as soon as possible.
- Keeping groups to bubbles of 10 children or less.
- Endeavouring to maintain the recommended physical distancing for students and staff (1m social distancing inside and 2m social distancing outside).
- Playground and sports equipment will not be used.
- Scooters, skateboards or bikes will only be allowed for transport to and from school. They can not be used during school or break times.
- Limited use of classroom equipment
- Possibility of keeping siblings together as they are already in a bubble.
- Staggering break times
- Increased sanitising and cleaning of surfaces.
- Ensuring we have accurate contact lists for our school bubbles and creating a Level 3 roll.
- Parent and caregivers must sign in for potential Covid-19 contact tracing if they are on school grounds – this includes for drop off and pick up.
I want to assure you that we will continue to support all students learning at home and students who are on the school site will still be accessing their learning online. Students will be contained in a class-room during the day with interval and lunch being taken together in their bubble.
If you are intending to send your Year 9 or 10 student to school, please fill in the following form CLICK HERE - To fill in form by Thursday 10am. If your child attends school and you have not filled in this form the process for them to be placed in a class will be much longer due to the extra administration required to place them safely in a class and to ensure that we are following all of the health guidelines associated with Covid-19. If you are not sending your student to school you do not need to fill in the form.
The Ministry of Education has advised that they are working closely with health to develop clear guidance that will support schools to safely re-open their premises to students and staff. This will help us work through the public health requirements that we all need to meet. As you will be doing, we want to be sure that what we do will keep our community as safe as possible.
For now, we will continue to support your child’s learning by distance while we progress our planning for what Alert Level 3 will mean for you and for our school. We will be in touch again soon with more information. As you have been doing, please keep connecting with teachers with any questions you might have.
Principal's Message - 14 April 2020
Kia ora koutou
I wanted to touch base to remind you that 'Home Learning at Onslow College' for Term 2 2020 will begin on Wednesday 15 April. We are looking forward to re-connecting with all of our students on Wednesday.
I want to say a big thank you to the Onslow College staff for the amazing work they have done over the school break preparing for 'Home Learning'. I feel very privileged to work with such committed and capable people.
As parents and students it is important that you discuss the learning that needs to be done each day and that you discuss the daily timetable each student has. Together create a routine. Teachers are aiming to touch base with students once a week (and this will usually be in a timetabled class time) but at other times students will have tasks that they need to self manage. Work together to plan what this looks like day to day in your bubble. The Ako teacher will make contact once a week and is your main point of contact if you need support.
It is going to be important that students eat well and get exercise. Device free time is very important as is contact with friends - via the internet or phone calls of course. Do not get hung up on students spending 5 hours a day on school work. Parents please be your student's support person, make them accountable, but make it realistic.
Our guidance team is available and you can email them at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org There are also helpful tips to be found at https://study.com/academy/popular/independent-learning-strategies-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.html
Independent Learning. You just go the notification - school is closed due to the Coronavirus. Now what? It is likely that the school is providing some measure of distance learning via an online ...
So how does Home Learning work?
Teachers will make contact with their students via the Teams platform or email. Please be aware that teachers are working with 120-150 students online. This is a very new way of working for all of us and many teachers are also looking after their own children. We will need to be kind and patient with each other when waiting for responses.
Where possible students need to find a place to work that is quiet, well lit and doesn't have distractions. We recommend a laptop or computer - a phone is too small for extended periods.
Look at the work sent via Teams and email together. This could be a great way to start the day and support students to map out what needs to be done.
NCEA and Assessment
We know many of you have really big challenges at the moment. Many of you (students and parents) are essential workers. Thank you for all you are doing. It is normal that students may find it difficult to prioritize school work at the moment. While deadlines are important please know that our approach means that as staff we will make it our priority to be flexible, kind and caring. Some assessments will continue as normal but others will need modification/ Further information on assessment can be found on the NZQA website https://www.nzqa.govt.nz/ and in relation to COVID-19 here https://www.nzqa.govt.nz/about-us/news/covid-19-guidance-for-school-assessment/
If you have concerns about school work or access to resources please make contact with your/your child's Ako teacher. Our first priority for all staff and students is their wellbeing. We will take into account how difficult this time has been as we move forward.
If you are aware of any Onslow student that doesn't have access to online learning then please email email@example.com We are doing our best to support students to connect.
Onslow College is committed to a safe and caring learning environment for everyone. We must all show leadership in this new environment by making sure that we all engage in respectful online behaviour. Remember our Prime Minister's words, "We will get through this together, but only if we stick together. Be strong and be kind."
If anyone needs support in this environment then netsafe is a great place to start https://www.netsafe.org.nz/reportanincident/
When children learn from home, it’s important to make sure they stay safe online. Here’s a simple, FREE way to block the worst of the web. To Switch on you need to change the ‘DNS’ setting on your child’s device. Simple instructions on how to do this are outlined here https://switchonsafety.co.nz/
The Onslow community has been very supportive through this difficult time. Let's continue working together, learning together and remembering that together we've got this.
He aroha whakato, he aroha puta mai
If kindness is sown then kindness you shall receive
Weekly bulletins will resume next Tuesday but I will email if new information becomes available.
Principal's Message - 24 March 2020
Kia ora tatou
We hope that you are all safe and well during this difficult time. Things have certainly moved quickly and I know it will take some time to get used to the new way of doing things. Neuroscience educator and child development expert Nathan Wallis reminded us today that;
There is no academic emergency this week, so don’t be so quick to set-up a homeschool. Our country is in a crisis, and we are all stressed and tired. Stressed adults can not teach stressed children. It is a neuro-biological impossibility. Try focusing on connections and feelings of safety.
Take some time to work together as families and talk about how students are going to focus on learning. Think about suitable spaces for learning to occur. Make sure that there are scheduled times when you talk about what learning has been set and share what is going well and what students may need to support with. Remember not all learning will be in front of a screen and there will need to be some monitoring of screen time.
The way that things have occurred concerning the move from Level 3 to Level 4 alert means that some of our staff are now trying to return to different parts of New Zealand to begin their isolation. We also have staff who are caring for young children and elderly relations. Please be aware that they may support learning at varied times and it may take them a few days to establish learning links. We do have staff ready to go and many are already working with you. IT issues can be directed to the following link https://tinyurl.com/rzqcwet or the QR code below to access IT Support.
Please remember that we will do our best but will only be able to work on issues connected with the school system.
I am in contact with the Ministry and I hope to be able to share with you more details of when school break begins and ends and what expectations you should have about learning over the next four weeks.
NCEA assessments during the COVID-19 lockdown
The main focus for staff during the next weeks will be to support students' online learning through the various tools we have at our disposal. We have received advice from NZQA that NCEA assessments may still take place during this period, and on how we can main the integrity of our assessment practices while students are learning from home.
We want to reassure students that the school is thinking differently about rest of the year, as is the rest of NZ. No students will be disadvantaged moving into next year, because they haven't achieved a certain assessment standard. Please bear in mind that most students are enrolled for more than enough standards to meet the requirements for NCEA, and that assessment can be reduced accordingly without compromising curriculum, the learning in a course, or the ability to gain qualifications.
Schools are also able to be flexible with how and when they can assess, and will adjust assessment programs according to circumstances.
NZQA staff are continuing to work through this period, and are maintaining regular contact with schools. Students are welcome to contact subject-teachers if they have questions relating to assessment. Teachers will keep students up-to-date with information.
We have places where you can source support for well-being on our website. There is also information on support for mental well-being on the covid19.govt.nz website.
The school is closed to all but students of essential workers today and tomorrow. From tomorrow at 11:59pm it will be officially closed to everyone. No one should be on school site after this time.
Principal's Message -25 March 2020
Kia ora tatou
At 11:59 tonight the school site is officially closed. Our buildings can not be used. I want to thank everyone in our community, staff, whānau, students, supporters who have pulled together over the last couple of weeks. It is a privilege to be part of such a wonderful team of people.
I wanted to give some clarity around term times and expectations around learning. The upcoming school term break will be brought forward to start on Monday, 30 March. For the remainder of this week (Wednesday 25th - Friday 27th) staff will be providing remote learning. I do ask, however, that you are patient as some of our staff are making their way to family in other areas of NZ. Others have their own children to care for and so the times they can provide support may be variable. The term break will be from Saturday 28 March and Term Two will begin on Wednesday 15 April. While teachers may provide work for over the holidays this is not an expectation and there is no expectation that they will be in regular contact with students. When learning resumes on Wednesday 15 April some staff will still need you to be flexible because of their at home commitments. We will need to work together and continue learning and developing our use of the online platforms we have.
I will be in touch again before the new term begins. I do wish you all the very best for the upcoming weeks. I will share updates as I receive them from the Ministry. Once again thank you and stay safe, keep well and be kind.
Principal's Message - 23 March 2020
Kia ora tātou
I know that this is a very unusual time for all of us. Please check your school emails on a daily basis for updates. Also, keep in touch with your teachers through the digital tools they have set up for you.
We have been directed by the Prime Minister that we are closed tomorrow and Wednesday to all students - except the children of essential workers - like doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers and police. These students only are still able to come to school for the next 48 hours. For these families, schools will then be closed from the end of Wednesday. As always, anyone who is unwell should not be at school.
Students who are at school for the next 48 hours will need to adhere to appropriate public health measures - including physical distancing of 2 meters and contact tracing.
The announcement means that the school can not be used for any social gatherings or sporting activities from now on. Nobody should be on school grounds at all from the end of Wednesday.
Teachers will be making contact with you tomorrow and we are committed to our Home Learning day on Wednesday. Teachers will do their utmost to engage with you on Thursday and Friday but please be mindful that some staff will have their own children home with them so they may have to reply to emails at alternative times.
The upcoming school term break will be brought forward to start on Monday, 30 March. For the remainder of this week (Tuesday 24th - Friday 27th) and through the term break, schools will establish ways to deliver teaching online and remotely. We will let you know how and when distance learning will commence after the term break.
Remember that the Prime Minister has asked us to be kind, to shop normally and to look after our loved ones. My communication to you will continue via email.
Normal school times apply and and could students please come to the hall at the beginning of the day.
Kia kaha e te whānau
Principal's Message -21 March 2020
Kia ora te whānau
Today the Prime Minister announced that New Zealand has moved to Alert Level 2 – Reduce Contact for COVID-19.
Schools remain open. However people aged over 70, and those with compromised immunity and certain existing medical conditions are asked to remain at home as much as they can from now on. This is because while the majority of people who are confirmed with COVID-19 will experience mild to moderate symptoms, some individuals are at risk of more severe symptoms.
Therefore we ask that Onslow College students heed the following advice:
High risk individuals
Older people, particularly those with pre-existing health problems are more likely to get severe illness and are therefore considered at risk.
High risk individuals also include people with underlying medical conditions, such as:
- a compromised immune system
- liver disease
- kidney disease
- heart disease
- diabetes mellitus
If students have any of these medical conditions we recommend you keep them at home. The Government is also asking that people at risk avoid any non-essential travel.
If your student is in this category, please phone the absence line and let them know that the student is staying home because of an underlying medical condition. The student will be marked as Justified.
Where possible, staff will continue to support students at home with their learning.
Helping our school prepare
Please be aware that the situation could change again if the covid-19 alert level status goes up. Depending on the circumstance, this could mean the school closes for a period of time.
So that we are prepared for this eventuality, we are having a trial home learning day for all students and staff on Wednesday March 25.
We’d like to thank students and whanau for your understanding over the past few weeks as the public health situation with the spread of this virus has seen us have to cancel some trips and school events.
With all this uncertainty and disappointment, it is understandable that many of you are worried or anxious. We can help each other get through it by being kind, and recognising that this is an unprecedented situation for us all.
Please be reassured that Onslow College is following its pandemic plan and adjusting this as necessary following the advice and information we are receiving daily from the Ministries of Education and Health.
For more information
To understand more about the virus and how to keep yourself and your family safe, please go to: https://covid19.govt.nz/
Please also be assured that we will continue to keep you informed. And if you have questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to ask.
Ngā mihi mahana ki a koutou,
Sheena Millar Michelle Rush
Onslow College Board of Trustees
Principal's Message - 20 March 2020
Kia ora koutou
With so much information and misinformation swirling around about COVID-19, I wanted to share with you what will happen if we were to have a case in our school community. We have been planning for this and are in a position to respond quickly.
- As soon as a case is confirmed in our immediate school community (eg. a student, staff member, or member of their household), the Medical Officer of Health and Ministry of Education will inform me about this, and we will work together to get quick and clear messaging out to you.
- If there was a case confirmed of someone in our school, we will likely be asked to close temporarily by the Medical Officer of Health. This will allow time for close contacts to be traced, appropriate testing to be undertaken, and a careful clean of the school to be undertaken.
- If our school does need to close temporarily, we have a plan in place to support student’s learning. The plan includes our Home Learning Day which is happening on Wednesday 25 March. Students are being asked to stay at home to complete their learning on this day. We will be asking for feedback after the day so we can continue to develop how we can support students if we need to close.
- For students who are doing NCEA we know there is some nervousness about what happens if they are away sick when assessments are happening. Please find information on the main page of our website for how to proceed if this happens to you.
We know COVID-19 feels scary and of course people are concerned for the wellbeing of their children. Please be assured that with no case confirmed in our school, your children are safe here.
Good hygiene is a priority at our school, and we are reinforcing this regularly with all students and staff. We know that practicing good hygiene is still the best thing we can all do to prevent illness. Today started with all teachers asked to discuss good hand-washing techniques with their classes.
We are getting the most up to date advice and guidance so that we can confidently make informed decisions about the safety and wellbeing of our school community.