Corona Virus


Corona Virus update 16 August 2020
Kia ora koutou

It was a relief to learn on Friday evening that we would be remaining at Alert Level 2.  This means that school will largely operate as normal and sport will continue to operate with the provisions communicated to you on Friday.  We will communicate any further changes to planned events as required.   
 
In the meantime it is essential that all students are attending school, unless unwell.  Attendance has a direct impact on student achievement.  As we cannot predict what will happen between now and the end of the year in relation to Covid-19 and the required response, every day at school matters even more.  Your support in this regard is much appreciated.  
 
Ngā mihi
Linda Miller
Principal   

COVID-19 Return to Level Two

As you will be aware we are to move to level 2.

This means that we continue with our key actions to combat any transmission.

1. Stay at home if you are sick or feel unwell.
2. Cough and sneeze etiquette are important.
3. Sanitise and wash your hands.

We have sanitiser available in each classroom of the school.

School is continuing as usual at Level 2. We will give more information as it becomes available. Please read through all Alert Level 2 instructions carefully.

Please remember, while many of our community have been tested since we returned to 'normal' there have been no cases in our school.

This is also a reminder that our enrolments close at 4pm tomorrow and are able to be completed online. Please check with whanau, friends and neighbours who are intending to enrol. 

Preparing for Level 2 (in various languages)

Translations for parents on preparing for alert level 2 in a number of different languages have now been added to the COVID-19 website. 

COVID-19: Preparing for Alert Level 2 14 May 2020

Welcome to School Blessing 15 May 2020

Kia ora parents/caregivers/whanau
 
Tomorrow morning (Friday, 15 May) at 8:30pm we will be holding a karakia whakawātea (blessing) for our school as we prepare to reopen for all students on Monday.  Whaea Maureen Cribb and our kaumātua Matua Pita Kara, who are both part of our school whānau have kindly agreed to conduct a brief ceremony to bless our school and we warmly welcome you all - parents/caregivers/whanau/students - to attend.  
 
This ceremony is in accordance with tikanga Māori and is part of our effort to ensure that our school family feels safe in returning to onsite learning.  It will take place on the courtyard outside our main building entrance at 8:30am.  We ask that you observe physical distancing.  In accordance with Level 2 safety provisions, there will be no hongi, and kai will not be shared afterwards.  
 
Further information about next week will be contained in tomorrow's newsletter but please note that next week school will finish at the earlier time of 3:05pm and we ask that students are offsite by 3:30pm.  This is to ensure areas cleaned after school remain so for the following morning, and also to ease the transition back to school for staff and students alike.  
 
Please contact me: mi@otagogirls.school.nz if your child is unable to return to school yet, and also let me know if there is an immuno-compromised person in your household so we can inform you immediately in the unlikely event of a case of Covid-19 in our school community.  
 
Ngā mihi nui
Linda Miller (Principal)
 

Corona Virus update 12 May 2020

Kia ora koutou

Yesterday the Prime Minister announced that New Zealand will move to Alert Level 2 on Thursday 14 May, and that schools will reopen to all students on Monday 18 May.  

We are really looking forward to welcoming your children back on Monday and have been working hard to ensure we can provide a learning environment that is safe for all staff and students.  We will be open for all year levels on Monday, with school starting at 8:50am as usual.  

There will be a number of changes to how we operate the school in the coming weeks, to ensure we meet the public health principles of Alert Level 2.  These are: 

  • Reduce the risk of someone getting infected in the first place

  • Ensure we can identify and contact anyone who becomes infected

The following information outlines how we will achieve these principles.  

It is important that you keep your child home if they are unwell.  Should your child become unwell at school we will request that you come and collect them as soon as possible.  If your child is immuno-compromised or there is someone in your bubble at high risk of a severe reaction to Covid-19, please inform us.  We are required to continue with distance learning during Alert Level 2 so your child will be able to continue to access the learning from home if necessary.  

All staff and students will be required to exercise excellent hygiene practices.  Everyone entering the school will be required to sanitise their hands.  Sanitiser will also be available in every classroom.  Student desks will be disinfected at the beginning of each class and high use surfaces including wash basins, banisters and main door handles will be cleaned multiple times each day.  Frequent hand washing and coughing and sneezing into elbows will be required.  To support our cleaners with the additional work they will be doing we are asking that all students vacate the school site by 3:30pm and staff by 4pm.  While there will be some exemptions to this for specific activities, this general rule will mean that we can be assured students and staff will be coming into a clean school each morning.  Where equipment is required for specific learning tasks, this equipment will be wiped down at the end of each period, as practicable, and students will be required to sanitise their hands after use.  

Under Alert Level 2 safe physical distancing in a school environment means maintaining enough distance so that staff and students are not breathing on or touching each other.  To achieve this we have reroomed some classes to put large classes in the largest classrooms, separated desks and chairs, limited student numbers in some spaces, increased the number of wet lunch spaces, cancelled assemblies, designed a one way system into and out of all areas of the school and reduced the number of class movements each day.  This will mean movement around school will be quite different to usual.   We will be reviewing these practices throughout the first week back to check that they are workable and are achieving the aim of keeping students safely distanced.  

Because of the required room changes, all students will have a new timetable for Monday.  Please encourage your daughter to look at her timetable before Monday to identify any changes to the classes she will be in.  This is particularly important for Period 1 on Monday, which is where she will need to go on arrival at school.  

We are going to be relying on students to take responsibility for ensuring they follow the new ways of doing things.  These actions are necessary to keep everyone safe and we would really appreciate you supporting us in this.  

To enable us to contact trace, all visitors to the school are required to register at the office, specify where in the school they will visit, and who they will be in proximity with.      

I am aware that many students have been unable to get their Winter uniform as yet.  Students will be able to wear their summer uniform to school until they are able to get their Winter uniform.  

The school canteen will operate from Monday but there will be changes to the way students will order and collect food.  More detail on this and other matters will be outlined in the school newsletter on Friday.  

Drinking fountains will only be available for filling water bottles.  Students are not to drink directly from them. 

If you have any questions about any matters relating to our return to school, please email me on mi@otagogirls.school.nz 

Our teaching and support staff have done an amazing job over the past seven weeks, supporting students with their learning and keeping the school ticking over.  I would like to acknowledge their outstanding contribution under very trying circumstances.  While we still have a long way to go to get back to normal, having everyone back to school is a great step in the right direction.   

Ngā mihi mahana

Linda Miller (Principal)

Corona Virus update 7 May 2020

Kia ora koutou

Like me, I am sure you have followed with interest the announcements made by the Prime Minister.

It is reassuring to hear how well our country has done at minimising the impacts of COVID-19. Alert Levels 4 and 3 have not been easy and I thank you for your ongoing support for the work we are doing.

Today, the Prime Minister advised that in Alert Level 2 schools are safe environments for children, young people and staff and that additional public health control measures are in place to prevent the spread of disease and to support contact tracing.

The good news is that when we are able to, we will be ready to welcome all students and staff back to our school site.

The key Public Health approach is to minimise the risk that someone gets infected in the first place, and second to ensure we can identify and contact anyone who has been in close contact with a person, if someone in a school is infected.

As we have done in Alert Level 3, you can be assured that in Alert Level 2 we will know who is at school, who our staff and students have been in close contact with and take appropriate measures to keep everyone safe.

 

Physical distancing is a good precaution to prevent the spread of disease. We do however know it is challenging in schools, so good hygiene practices and regular cleaning are even more important here. This includes staff and students coughing into their elbows, handwashing and drying and regular cleaning of commonly touched surfaces. 

 

Under Alert Level 2, we advise any students and staff to stay at home if they are sick, and we will send anyone home immediately if they show any symptoms.

 

Our school has safe and sensible practices to maintain the health and safety of everyone on the school site. As described by Dr Payinda in his NZ Herald article, “Covid's not measles or chickenpox, it doesn't hang in the air for hours waiting to infect passers-by. It travels on invisible drops of spit. You don't have to cross the street to avoid anyone. Just avoid getting in their 'moist breath' zone”. We all just need to remember to have some breathing space at Alert Level 2!

 

It’s important however that not just at school but at home, safe hygiene habits are practised by everyone, as this is essential to minimise the risk that someone gets infected with Covid-19.

 

For more information about the public health measures at Alert Level 2, you can visit the covid19.govt.nz website: https://covid19.govt.nz/

 

If you have any questions about our health and safety plan, or have a child who might be vulnerable to serious illness and would like to discuss a plan for them, please contact me.

 

We will be in touch again soon to update you on our plans.

 

Ngā mihi

Linda Miller (Principal)

Corona Virus update 22 April 2020 (in Arabic - click here)

Corona Virus update 20 April 2020

Kia ora parents/caregivers

To plan for Alert Level 3 we need to know the number of Year 9 and 10 students who will be coming to school from Wednesday 29 April because they are unable to be cared for at home.  

These students will be supervised at school as they complete their online learning during this Alert level.  

If your child/ren falls into this category it is essential that you complete the following form by 3pm on Thursday 23 April: 

Attendance form for parents/caregivers 

Further information will be sent to those responding to the form. 

If you have any difficulty completing the form please email admin@otagogirls.school.nz

Ngā mihi mahana

Linda Miller (Principal)

 

Corona Virus update 20 April 2020
Dear parents/caregivers

Today the Government announced that New Zealand will move to Alert Level 3 on Monday 27 April.  
 

Under Alert Level 3 there are two key public heath principles. These are to:

1. Minimise the risk that someone gets infected in the first place

2. Limit the number of possible contacts people have if they do get infected to make it easier to rapidly stop further spread.  

Therefore the advice under this Alert Level is for people to continue to work and learn from home if at all possible.  
 
Where parents and caregivers are unable to work from home, students up to Year 10 may attend school.  This provision comes into effect from Wednesday 29 April, with Tuesday 28 April being designated a staff only day.  
 
The school is preparing to be able to receive a small number of students from Wednesday 29 April however we are awaiting guidance from the Ministry of Education before providing further details to you about how this will work. 
 
We expect to be able to send further information, along with a survey for parents/caregivers of students in Years 9 and 10, on Wednesday 22 April.  The survey is to determine the number of students we need to cater for during Alert Level 3.  Please note that students who attend school will not be in normal classes but will be supervised to complete work set online by their teachers.   
 
We have been so impressed by the way the girls have adapted to the 'new normal' and the ability of teachers to shift so swiftly to this style of delivery.  We are all looking forward to getting back to the 'old normal' and seeing the students all back at school.  In the meantime please support us to keep all staff and students safe by keeping your children at home if possible.  Teachers will continue to provide online learning to all students throughout Alert Level 3.  
 
Kind regards
Linda Miller (Principal)
 

Corona Virus update 13 April 2020

Dear parents/caregivers

I trust you are all managing in your Lockdown Bubbles.  These have certainly been unprecedented times but it is extremely reassuring to see that the actions taken by the Government last month seem to be working with the numbers of cases of Covid-19 continuing to fall.  My thoughts go out to all families affected by this illness, whether this be the result of death, illness, disruption to normal life, economic hardship or emotional strain.  No-one has been left untouched by this virus and I would particularly like to acknowledge all our Essential Service workers who have continued to provide our community with services such as health care, groceries, petrol, fuel, emergency services and the like.  Thank you for putting others first. 

We are still not able to state when school will be reopening, nor what that will look like when it happens.  The most recent advice from the Ministry of Education states that the earliest schools will be open to students is Wednesday 29 April, and that this may only be for some students.  Due to the relatively high number of cases in the South, it may be that we go back later than other parts of the country.  As soon as we are advised I will let you know.

In the meantime, school will begin for Term Two on Wednesday 15 April, and we will continue to deliver programmes of learning via distance.  Students can expect to have one or two zoom sessions per subject per week, with additional work set by teachers.  Teachers will communicate with students via email and/or through their google Classrooms to let them know when their zoom sessions will be.  Please encourage your child to use the Timetable provided in the OGHS School-Wide google Classroom to keep track of their zoom sessions and to be ontime and ready to learn at each session.   In my email to students earlier today I defined "Being ready to learn" as being 'up' (not lolling around in bed!), being dressed, having all the material for that subject easily accessible, being up to date with the work set, and not having any other devices or activities distracting them, or others, from their learning.   Please make sure that you let us know if your child is unable to access the internet or a laptop.  We can help.    

Students will be contacted by their mentor (in the case of all Year 10 - 13 students) or Whanau Teacher (all Year 9 students) over the next week, to check that all is well.  Please note that there are various forms of help available for students and families during the lockdown period.  Filling out the following form will enable us to direct the appropriate form of support.  Alternatively you may like to contact our Guidance Counsellor directly at tyr@otagogirls.school.nz 

The Learning from Home website provides some excellent resources for parents, teachers and students at any year level of our education system, while the Ministry of Health Covid-19 website continues to provide the most up to date information on all things relating to the crisis from a health perspective.   

All the best for the weeks ahead and please don't hesitate to get in touch if you have any queries or concerns.  

Ngā mihi mahana

Linda Miller (Principal)

 

Corona Virus update 27 March 2020

Kia ora koutou
We have started into a new phase of New Zealand’s response to COVID-19 and it is very different than anything most of us have ever experienced.  I wanted to reassure you that our school staff and Board of Trustees will continue to be available to support your child’s learning and wellbeing in the next weeks. 
 
You will understand the importance of routine for your family. If your routine has been shaken up, like you’re now working from home, it’s good to structure your time. Routines are reassuring, and promote health and physical wellbeing. The below timetable (targeted at younger children) could be something your household adapts to use over the next weeks. A school holiday version will likely look a little different, but some form of routine will still be important as we go through the lockdown period.
 
Daily Schedule

Before 9:00am Wake up Eat breakfast, make your bed, get dressed, put any dirty clothes in the laundry
9:00-10:00 Morning walk Family walk with the dog, bike ride,
Yoga if it’s raining
10:00-11:00 Learning at home School-led learning or Sudoku, books, flash cards, study guide, journal etc
11:00-12:00 Creative time Legos, magnatiles, drawing, crafting, play music, cook or bake etc.
12:00 pm Lunch :)
12:30 Helping at home # wipe all kitchen tables and chairs
# wipe all door handles, light switches and desk tops
# wipe both bathrooms - sinks and toilets
1:00-2:30 Quiet time Reading, puzzles, nap, radio NZ stories
2:30-4:00 Learning at home School-led learning or iPad games, Prodigy, Educational show
4:00-5:00 Afternoon fresh air Bikes, walk the dog, play outside
5:00-6:00 Dinner :)
6:00-8:00 Free TV time Kids shower time
8:00 Bedtime All kids
9:00pm Bedtime All kids who follow the daily schedule & don’t fight

*Adapted from a resource developed by Jessica McHale Photography
 
There are links below to more wellbeing information to support your family during the lockdown.
 
Some good news to support you either working at home and/or studying at home - Spark, Vodafone, Vocus/Slingshot, 2Degrees and Trustpower have all advised they have removed their data caps and the possibility of any extra charges based on usage.
 
For our Pacific families, if you are not aware the Ministry for Pacific Peoples’ has been working to ensure useful information is available to Pacific peoples. A one-hour special will be aired on Tagata Pasifika’s segment on Saturday at 9am; and on Sunday at 7.35am, Tagata Pasifika will share messages from community leaders. The Ministry is asking you to reach out to all your family members, community groups, friends and group chats to ensure our Pacific community groups are watching the programming on both days.
 
A big thank you to all of you for taking the lockdown so seriously. As the Prime Minister has noted staying at home will break the chain and save lives; breaking the rules could risk someone close to you and if the rules are not complied with, this could risk the lock down period being extended or could risk the virus being spread to thousands.

Over the school holidays you can continue to contact the school for support.  For guidance counsellor support please email tyr@otagogirls.school.nz.  For all other support please email admin@otagogirls.school.nz  

 Further information will be available in the Nautilus News Newsletter that will be coming out today. 

We will be in contact on Tuesday 14 March to provide an update on where things are at and plans for the start of Term 2.

Ngā mihi

Linda Miller 

Principal

Information and resources to support wellbeing and support learning at home

Message from OGHS Guidance Counsellor 26 March 2020
Kia ora OGHS community,

My first whaiora for the day provided me with more health and well being than I afforded him!  You are all welcome to make use of my counselling services during term time and I thank you for allowing me into your homes remotely.  The first point of contact is to send me an email on tyr@otagogirls.school.nz and I will respond that day with an invitation to a google/zoom meeting.  I can also be contacted on the school phone system.  My extension is 829.  Our Public Health nurse Rebecca Young will be able to offer a range of services remotely should they be required.  Please contact me and I will arrange this on behalf of the student. 
 
If there is an urgent matter requiring my attention outside of term time please let me know via email and I will make myself available.  If you have any urgent safety concerns, EPS (Emergency Psychiatric Services) at the Dunedin Hospital will continue to operate, and can be contacted 24/7 on 0800 46 78 46 or dial 111 if it is an emergency.
 
Ng`a mihi nui
Kirsten Taylor
Counsellor

Corona Virus update 24 March 2020

Kia ora koutou

With yesterday’s announcement by Government, we are implementing with urgency our plan to support your child’s learning from home. We appreciate this is a sudden and significant change, and will be heavily disruptive to many people in our community.
 
Today was to be our Teacher Only Day so I am assuming that essential workers had arrangements in place for their children today.  If you are an essential worker, we look forward to seeing your child here tomorrow morning at 8:50am. You may wish to check if you are considered an essential worker - https://covid19.govt.nz/government-actions/covid-19-alert-system/  however those roles include doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers and police. We continue to ask that children who are not well, do not attend school.
 
For all other children, we will be supporting their learning from your home in the following ways:

  • through online learning

  • teachers will provide work through their usual Google Classroom and via Zoom

  • through the School Google Classroom which will include links for accessing resources, counselling or any other help  

  • please contact the school office: admin@otagogirls.school.nz if you have any concerns, questions or requests.  

School holidays have been brought forward by two weeks.  They begin on Monday 30 March and extend to Tuesday 14 April.  This means that Term 1 finishes this Friday  and Term 2 begins the Wednesday after Easter. Students will be provided with work for the remainder of this week and may have ongoing work to do over the two week break, however no new work will be set over the holidays.  

If your child needs to collect learning materials or other resources from the school they may come in before 4pm over the next two days to collect this.  They must report to the office who will arrange for them to collect what is needed.  From midnight Wednesday there will be no access to the school.  

These are unprecedented and uncertain times for us all and your child will be looking to you for guidance about this decision. Parents, caregivers, whānau and teachers will have a particularly important part to play in reassuring children at this time. If you haven’t already done so, you may wish to read the information put together by the Ministry of Education to support your conversations with your children – Talking to children about COVID-19

As noted by the Prime Minister these restrictions are our best chance to slow the virus in New Zealand and to save lives. We all have a clear role here to slow the spread of COVID-19.
 
We will continue to communicate with you over the coming days. Thank you for your ongoing support of our school staff and school community. 
 
Ngā mihi 

Linda Miller (Principal)

 

Corona Virus update 23 March 2020

Kia ora parents/caregivers

I am awaiting information from the Ministry of Education to provide further detail to the Prime Minister's announcement today.  I will forward this on as soon as it arrives.  
 
In the meantime, school will be closed to all students, except those children of essential service workers, for the next 48 hours.  If you fall into this category, we will provide supervision for your child/ren at school over the next two days.  Please contact us if that is required.   
 
As of midnight Wednesday schools will be closed.  My understanding is that the holidays are being brought forward but I am unclear what that will mean in terms of when we will switch to online learning.  Again, I will keep you informed as we are provided with this information.  
 
We will have a very limited number of staff at school over the next two days who can help if your child needs to collect things from the school.  Please phone or email ahead so we can collect what they need and minimise any contact between people.  
 
This is clearly a worrying time for the whole country.  Maintaining social distancing is going to be crucial to us limiting the spread of this virus.  Please follow the advice given and keep you, your family, and others safe. 
 
Nga mihi
Linda Miller (Principal)

Corona Virus update 21 March 2020

Dear parents/caregivers

As you are all aware the Covid-19 situation continues to evolve and change on a daily basis.  Because of this, and due to the fact that we have Anniversary Day on Monday and Teachers Only Day on Tuesday I will wait until Tuesday morning before providing a further update.  

You do need to be aware that people over 70 and those classified as being high risk, due to having compromised immunity and certain existing medical conditions, are being advised to remain at home.  This will affect a number of our staff and students.

Please advise us if your child is considered a high risk individual.  Although we have medical information for most of these students, there may be others we are not aware of. 

Kind regards
Linda Miller (Principal)

Corona Virus update 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

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Corona Virus update in Farsi
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