With COVID becoming well-established in the Nelson-Tasman region it’s timely to share an update.
Life in the Red Setting
It’s been a smooth start to the school year at Waimea College despite the COVID restrictions that form part of being in the red setting.
I am very proud of the way that our staff and students have responded to the challenges of disrupted events, adapting to wearing masks in indoor settings and managing the physical distancing and other measures that keep us all safe.
As you will have read in the media, COVID is becoming well-established in the Nelson Tasman region and while we don’t yet have any confirmed cases of COVID at Waimea College we have been busy preparing for its inevitable arrival.
In the red setting face masks are required to be worn indoors for all staff and students. It is great to see strong levels of compliance with this across the school.
If your teen has a health condition that can make mask wearing unsuitable, then they may be exempt from this requirement. Information about mask exemptions is available on the Unite Against COVID website. If your teen is exempt from wearing a face covering, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can support them to stay safe and well without a mask. We request students carry exemption evidence with them.
Parents and members of the community are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings while on campus.
School Continuity Planning
As the number of COVID infections across the country and within our region grow we expect further disruption to school operations and students’ learning this term.
We are considering a range of options to best support students’ learning throughout this period.
Our plan for operating under Red in the Covid protection Framework is as follows:
Level 1: Learning Onsite: Full Operations
Students and staff are at school, learning face-to-face and participating in co-curricular activities as possible.
This is our current setting.
Level 2: Onsite and Online
A high number of students and staff are absent from school due to COVID-19. We will keep some students (e.g. teens of essential workers) at school and implement other measures to support student learning (e.g. rostering Year Levels home).
Level 3: Online Learning
The number of students and/or staff absent means that face-to-face learning isn’t possible or safe. The school will shift to full online learning. Onsite supervised online learning will be available for teens of essential workers and those who require supervision.
We are working with the Board and Ministry of Education (MOE) to maintain face-to-face student learning as much as possible through the term and year.
Communicating Level Changes
At this stage we are at Level 1, i.e. we are teaching fully face-to-face. We will notify you if there are any changes to our operations.
We know that Omicron can spread very quickly. If staff illness/isolation numbers exceed our ability to remain at Level 1, a move to Level 2 or Level 3 may occur with very little notice.
We will communicate level changes via multiple channels including email, the Waimea College Facebook page, and via the Waimea College App.
Bring Your Own Device
Your teen will need to be managing their device and its usage throughout all stages of our Continuity Plan.
Wherever possible we will be in face-to-face teaching, however, it is likely that we will have hybrid, or Online Distance Learning at various times over the upcoming weeks. Your teen needs to be coming to school prepared for online learning and this will mean bringing their device with them, charged and ready to learn. We have a comprehensive guide to BYOD at Waimea College HERE and we encourage you to refer to it if you are contemplating what type of device your teen may need. A mobile phone is not appropriate as a tool for most E-Learning.
Connection to the College platforms is straightforward: the sooner your teen is ready to go with their device, the better prepared they will be for any upcoming learning formats.
Online Distance Learning
Teachers have already set their classes up for online learning through the Microsoft Teams platform. More information about how the Teams platform works at Waimea College can be found on our school website HERE.
Teachers will be using this platform to engage with students learning from home. Your teen will need to take responsibility for going to the Class Team and finding the instructions for tasks. Should you need to contact a teacher by email the format is email@example.com
A guideline for Online Distance Learning can be found HERE.
We hope that this information helps for the days ahead.
Ngā mihi nui,
By Scott Haines