Mōrena koutou e te whānau,
Yes, it’s another email from me with a new COVID-19 Red Alert update and what it means for us at school, and for you at home. The MoE sent a template letter to circulate, but I know you deserve a lot more than that!
Please don’t be alarmed by the growing number of cases of Omicron in schools. It is only natural as cases in our community increase. We know they will appear in our school too.
Be assured that we have put good systems in place to respond to the situation. And although they haven’t been tested yet, we have done everything we can to be ready.
Our focus is not just on school operations but on people and on wellbeing. He tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata!
It is essential for the wellbeing and learning of all children and young people to be at school with their friends and with our staff right now. Everything that we have put in place is with that aim in mind – to be here for the students.
As parents your job remains the same, too: please continue to keep a close watch on your whānau for anyone with symptoms. If unwell, please stay at home and get advice about getting a COVID-19 test. And let us know.
With Phase 3 of the Omicron response, the key change is that it is only confirmed cases and their household contacts who need to self-isolate. Everyone else, including those who may have had close contact with the case but aren’t in the household, must continue to monitor closely for any symptoms of COVID-19, but can remain at school or at work. This is very welcome news.
Rapid antigen tests (RATs) are now being used to diagnose COVID-19 as well as PCR tests. This means that you will get an almost immediate test result back if a RAT is used.
If anyone in your family is confirmed as having COVID-19, you will be asked to notify your close contacts yourself. Please get in touch with us as soon as you can if your child has tested positive for COVID-19.
Transmission of COVID-19 is still most likely to happen in your home – so please keep doing all those good things to keep your whānau safe. Wash your hands, get lots of fresh air, cover any coughs and sneezes, clean surfaces regularly, and seek advice if anyone is not feeling well. And please wear a mask when you are out and about. There is information online to help your family prepare to isolate if you need to.
The most important advice we can give to keep your whānau safe is to act as if you have COVID-19. More than a third of people who have COVID-19 will not have any symptoms if they have had three doses of the vaccine. Please think about who you visit and what health measures you can put in place to keep everyone as safe as possible.
Getting three doses of the vaccine will really help you to do that. Research has shown that compared with being unvaccinated, three doses of the vaccine will mean you are 67% less likely to be infected with Omicron and 97% less likely to get Delta. If you can’t get COVID you can’t pass it on.
Finally, we know how hard the impact of COVID-19 has been for many families in New Zealand. If you know of a family in our community that is struggling, please encourage them to reach out for support to access food, medicine, or access financial support. Help is available via the COVID-19 Health Hub.
If you have any concerns about sending your child or teenager to school, please do get in touch.
We continue to update our website with information for you, but please use the Ministry of Health links for the most relevant COVID news, to keep you safe.
Remember, we are here to help.
Take care dear whānau,
Nō reira, noho ora mai rā nā, Caroline