A very warm welcome to 2022! The start of the school year is fast approaching. Please read below for some information to help support the return to school.
A very warm welcome to 2022. We look forward to welcoming each of our students returning to Waimea College for this year. I would also like to acknowledge the students, parents and caregivers who are new to Waimea College and will be joining us for the first time. A very warm welcome to our school community!
Back to School Information
Our January Newsletter distributed earlier in the month contains the key information regarding the return to school process. Please check it out HERE.
An email with more specific information for your teen will be sent shortly.
School Life at the Red setting:
New Zealand is currently in the Red setting of the COVID-19 Protection Framework. We have carefully considered the advice from the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education and we want to share with you some of the additional measures that we have put in place to support the safety of all students and staff. Our previous message to parents and caregivers about the move to the Red setting is HERE for anyone who missed it.
Face masks are required to be worn indoors for all staff and students.
Public health advice is that an appropriate face covering will fit snugly and seal well around facial contours. This can include single use disposable masks (medical masks) and reusable fabric masks with three layers.
We encourage students to Bring Your Own Face Mask (BYOFM), however some masks will be available for students who are caught short and wish to access them.
Students and staff with an approved mask exemption should carry evidence of this with them.
Events and Activities
The Red setting places greater restrictions on the events that can occur at school. We have reviewed all our events and activities for the upcoming term to ensure that we align with the expectations of the Red setting.
Some of the changes we have made include:
- Pōwhiri – Our new staff and student pōwhiri planned for Thursday 3 February cannot occur as one large group of students and staff. A mihi whakatau (welcome) will now occur in smaller groupings.
- School Assemblies – We will not be holding in-person Assemblies while in the Red setting.
- New Parent Evening – This will be held via an online format. Further information will be shared closer to the event.
- House Sports Day – Regrettably this is cancelled as we cannot hold our House Sports event while in the Red setting.
- Sports Events – Currently all Tasman Secondary School sports events are scheduled to proceed. Further guidance regarding these events will be issued. The board of School Sport NZ have confirmed that all School Sport NZ sanctioned events in Term 1 2022 (including the term 1 holidays) will be restricted to fully vaccinated participants, aged 12 and over, only.
- Music Information Evening – We will not be holding the Music Information Evening, however, you can sign up for lessons HERE. The cut-off date is 5pm on 11 Friday February. Please feel free to contact Waimea College or the Head of Performing Arts, Mr Nick Sharpe with questions and queries and we will reply as soon as possible (firstname.lastname@example.org).
There are likely to be further impacts on events and activities that arise if we remain in the Red setting for an extended period. We will be sure to signal any cancellations or amendments in advance.
Supporting Safety at School
We continue to carefully follow the advice from the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education
- The guidance for schools operating in the Red setting is that beyond classroom groupings physical distancing of 1-metre when indoors should be observed wherever practicable. Large groups of students meeting indoors will be avoided.
- Classrooms and other learning areas will be well ventilated wherever possible.
- Our cleaning routines have been intensified to ensure that high use areas are maintained in line with Ministry guidelines.
- Hand sanitiser will be available in every classroom and in high traffic areas. Students and staff are requested to sanitise when entering and leaving the classroom. Students are also encouraged to bring their own sanitiser for personal use during lunch breaks, etc.
For some situations e.g. sporting activities, physical distancing of any sort is not possible. In these situations, extra emphasis will be placed on hand-washing and drying (or cleansing with hand sanitiser) before and after activities and regular cleaning of equipment.
We very much value the close engagement with our parents, caregivers and members of the wider-community, however the Red setting requires that there are no non-essential visitors onsite so while we remain at this setting our preference will be to hold meetings via phone/or an electronic platform where possible. If your visit is essential, please book an appointment via phone ahead of time. All visitors are requested to wear a face mask and scan in.
If your teen is unwell, for any reason, they must stay at home. Please contact us via the regular channels if this is the case.
If students become unwell during the day, we ask that they report to the Student Office. We will contact you and ask you to collect your teen as soon as possible.
It is essential that our information about who is onsite is accurate. Should students need to leave the school grounds e.g. for an appointment, they will need to sign in and out via the Attendance Office. Students cannot leave the campus during the day without doing this.
Waimea College Kiosk
Our school Kiosk remains open at the Red setting. Students will be required to line up in a physically distanced manner and we encourage them to sign in using the COVID tracer app for their own tracing purposes.
Managing COVID-19 cases in our school
If the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Education advises to do so, we would consider closing Waimea College for onsite learning and move to distance learning for everyone.
We also have planning in place for how we would manage significant staff shortages due to illness or isolation requirements.
At Red we will keep everyone learning onsite for as long as we can.
Please make sure your contact details we have on file are up to date, so we can get in touch with you if needed. You can do this through the Parent Portal (login details for new students/parents will be emailed by the end of week 2).
Preparing your household for COVID-19
You can also prepare for COVID-19, making sure you and your household have a plan and know what to do. This will mean your whānau and community can help each other if needed. Find out more here:
- Be prepared for COVID-19
- Download the COVID-19 Readiness Checklist
- What to expect when self-isolating at home
Work and Income support
The beginning of the year can be a tough time for parents who are faced with many costs and it is important you are aware of what assistance you may be able to get from Work and Income. These are available to people on a low income as well as those on a benefit.
- School costs
- Out of School Care and Recreation (OSCAR) Subsidy
- Other Childcare Assistance
- School and Year Start-up Payment (for people getting Orphan’s Benefit or Unsupported Child’s Benefit)
- Help with living costs (including food and rent/mortgage)
Use the links above or call 0800 559 009 to find out more, or to apply.
MoneyTalks can assist with free budgeting and debt help.
You can also contact your local community provider. Please find more information here.
Thanks for taking the time to read this information and thank you for your support as we work our way through these very interesting times.
Ngā mihi nui
By Scott Haines