An COVID-19 update from the Principal
Kia ora parents, caregivers and students,
Thank you for your collective support during the past few weeks while we have had year levels rostered home due to high numbers of COVID-related staff absences. Teachers have been working hard to support the students in their classes whilst supporting those ill, isolating and rostered home for distance learning. It is pleasing to hear that engagement levels from students in online learning has been high. I want to acknowledge our students for your efforts and thank our parents for your support with this.
COVID-19 continues to present significant challenges across the country and here at Waimea College. While staffing levels remain COVID-impacted, the pressure has eased a little this week with fewer staff absences. This has enabled us to return to our usual timetable without the need for further rostering home. It is great to have all year-levels back at school.
We will continue to monitor staffing levels closely and will provide as much notice as we can if the situation changes and further rostering home is required.
At the time of writing, there are 68 active COVID-19 cases in our school community with a further 130 isolating.
Changes to the COVID-Protection Framework.
On Wednesday this week, the Prime Minister announced changes to the COVID-19 Protection Framework which will take effect from 11.59pm this Friday 25 March, and to vaccine mandates and My Vaccine Pass, which will take effect from 11.59pm Monday 4 April.
New Zealand remains at the Red setting. However, Cabinet will review the framework level on Monday 4 April.
Overview of the key changes:
COVID-19 Protection Framework, My Vaccine Pass and vaccination mandates
- The removal of vaccination mandates for education workers will take effect from 11.59pm Monday 4 April.
- On the same date, removal of the My Vaccine Pass from the COVID-19 Protection Framework (traffic light system).
- There is no requirement to display QR code posters (although Waimea College will retain them for those who wish to continue to scan). This system may need to return if case numbers rise.
- There is no change to masks in education settings from the existing Red setting. Medical-grade masks remain a requirement for staff working indoors with children and young people in Years 4-13.
- For all New Zealanders, including school settings, masks will not be required outdoors.
- Capacity limits will be removed for outdoor events and activities.
- Indoor capacity limits for extra-curricular activities increase to 200 people, or a maximum capacity based on the maximum number of people who could occupy the space if each person was one metre apart (whichever is lower).
- There is no change to masks in education settings from the existing Orange setting. Masks are strongly encouraged to be worn when indoors and are required for children aged 12 and over on school transport.
- As at Red, there will be no mask requirements when outdoors.
- There will be no outdoor capacity limits.
- Indoor capacity limits are also removed. However, for non-curriculum related events and activities you are strongly encouraged to use allocated seating for large events (such as those with more than 500 people) or apply a maximum capacity limit based on the maximum number of people who could occupy the space if each person was one metre apart.
- There will be no face mask requirements and no capacity or gathering limits in any setting, indoors or outdoors.
Mandatory vaccination requirements ending
From 11.59pm on Monday 4 April, all workers in early learning services, schools and kura will no longer be required to be vaccinated to work with children or students, or to work on site where children and young people might be present.
Volunteer workers will also no longer be required to be vaccinated.
The Government’s decision is based upon the assessment that the mandates are no longer appropriate given where New Zealand is at in our Omicron response.
Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT’s)
Recently the COVID-19 Minister Chris Hipkins announced that Rapid Antigen Tests would be made more widely available for schools and learning providers.
A supply of RAT tests has been received here at Waimea College. Parents of teens who become unwell are able to access Rapid Antigen Tests from the school office. Please keep your teen at home if they are unwell or display symptoms.
If your Teen or a member of your household tests positive for COVID-19
- Please continue to inform us immediately if your student tests positive for COVID-19. Contact can be made via email to email@example.com or by phoning 544 6099.
- You should report the results of your rapid antigen test (RAT) if you test positive or negative. You can do this online through My Covid Record or by calling the helpline. See HERE for more information.
Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 or lives with a positive case must self-isolate from others for 7 days.
Start counting your 7 days from Day 0. Day 0 is the day that your symptoms started or the day that you were tested if you do not have any symptoms. See HERE for more information.
Have other questions or need help?
Please reach out to us via phone 544 6099 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
We also regularly update our COVID-19 Frequently Updated Questions article so please check this out.
By Scott Haines