Emergency Information



We try not to close the school at any stage during the school year, but will do so if there is a risk to student and staff health and safety, either within the school or getting to and from school. Where possible, we will notify parents prior to the beginning of the school day.

Depending on circumstances notification will be through either / combination of:

  • Facebook

  • School website

  • Notification via the School App

  • Email

  • Notices on the local radio stations (Newstalk ZB and More FM)

Closure is generally due to extreme weather or if the school environment is dangerous to students or we have no essential services for an extended length of time.

If school closes during a school day Year 9 and 10 will be kept at school until collected or until the end of the school day. Years 11 to 13 students will be released when time allows and it is safe to travel for those students who have their own means of transport.


At Otago Girls' High School we take the safety of our students and staff very seriously. Our responsibility includes identifying and reducing potential risks, preparing for and responding to emergencies, and managing the recovery from crisis situations that affect our students, staff and the school environment.

During the year we undertake a number of fire, earthquake and lockdown drills. It is essential for the school to plan for emergency events so that you will know where your teenager will be and how we will be looking after them. For your convenience, Emergency and Crisis information is available on the school website on the [Home Page/About/Emergency Information.]

Your cooperation is necessary to ensure that we can manage situations that involve the safety of the more than 870 people who make up our school community on any given day.  We need your help in ensuring that we have up-to-date information on any issues that may affect your teenagers’ wellbeing or that of our school community. We also need your up-to-date contact details to contact you at any time, including how to contact you in the case of an emergency or school closure.  We trust you appreciate that it is better that we prepare for these eventualities before they occur rather than as they are happening.

Please contact Sue or Cheree at the office to update your details – (03) 4740496 or via email – admin@otagogirls.school.nz


Get yourself connected!  Have you used our school app that can be downloaded from either the Apple store or Google Play stores?  Search for schoolappsnz, then Otago Girls’ High School and when you download it, select the groups that you would like to receive notifications for eg. orchestra, Year 9, junior girls volleyball, and keep up to date with push notifications to your smart phone. Parents also receive school closure or emergency messages via the school app.


Should an emergency or disaster situation arise at school while students are on site, it is our first priority to keep our school community safe and at school until they can be released safely. We practice drills to ensure that our school community is both aware of emergency procedures and knows how to respond quickly and effectively to them.


There will always be the threat of a pandemic on a local, national or global scale. In the early stages of any threat to student safety we will communicate the risks and school procedures to you. These will range from hygiene and sickness strategies to school closure.

If there is an outbreak of a contagious disease in or around a country or region your teenager or family members have visited, we ask that parents consider the other members of our school community in determining whether their teenager should have a time of isolation from others at school. If there is a perceived high risk to New Zealanders of a contagious disease we will follow the recommendations of health professionals and government agencies. Parents travelling or living overseas should ensure they have personal plans for the care of their teenager should there be a need to close the NZ border and/or the school.


Cases of infectious illnesses occur from time to time in schools. Their importance depends on several factors: The severity of the illness, the number of students and staff affected, the mode of transmission, the amount of fear they generate, whether any specific action is necessary to stop further cases – (eg immunisation, improving food-handling practices etc.)

Please consider the other members of our school community when deciding whether your teenager should be attending school and do not send your teenager to school if they have a contagious illness. For example, students should not return to school until 24 hours after their last bout of sickness or diarrhoea. When we have been notified of an ‘outbreak’ by the District Health Board, the stand down period increases to 48 hours after the last episode of sickness or diarrhoea.


Decisions regarding the release of students will be made by the school, dependent on the level of risk to student safety. If there is any foreseeable risk, students will be cared for at school until collected by you or a person identified by you as being able to collect on your behalf.

In the event of a Local or Regional Civil Defence emergency, for example earthquake or flooding, when school is the safest place, all students will be kept at school until collected. The time of release and collection may be directed by Civil Defence and/or the NZ Police.

Please impress upon your teenager the need for them to follow the directions of any school personnel in times of an emergency and not to leave the school grounds until officially signed out. In some situations it may be difficult to communicate and we may not be able to release students to persons other than those you have identified on the school emergency contact information (updated at your request). Please advise the school office if both primary contacts for your teenager are out of town and whom we should contact in your absence in an emergency.

During an extreme emergency, students will be released from a designated collection point. This is the black netball courts in front of the main building, or the gymnasium. We will contact caregivers as soon as is practical / advised by authorities via our school app and/or sms depending on the severity of the situation. When the dangerous incident has subsided, the “all clear” will be advised by Civil Defence or NZ Police and we will contact caregivers again.


Whether a school emergency is of a personal or environmental nature, it is essential that we are prepared, able to contact each other and you know where your teenager will be.

To ensure that this can happen we require: Up-to-date contact details for you – street and email addresses and your phone numbers.

If we cannot contact you, please provide the contact information for who has your authority to make decisions relating to your teenager in an emergency situation.