I am sure you will be aware by now that the World Health Organisation has declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic. Because of this step, it seems timely to issue a further update to our community. As noted by the Minister of Health, this doesn’t immediately change what New Zealand is doing to respond to coronavirus. The Ministry of Health has been working through its pandemic plan since January.
As of the time of writing this email, we have five confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand. The Ministry of Health has advised that we should expect that more cases will arise, but also says that with continued vigilance the chance of widespread community outbreak is expected to remain low in New Zealand. We all have a role to play in this.
With that, there is a good video clip the Prime Minister sat down with Dr Michelle Dickinson (aka Nanogirl) and the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor, Juliet Gerrard, to talk about coronavirus:
For our College, our pandemic plan is ready, and we have already undertaken several additional steps as it relates to cleanliness and hygiene as precautionary measures. I ask that all families undertake the following actions as part of our Pandemic Planning:
1. Ensure that your contact and emergency details are current on Kamar. You can log in to the Kamar Portal and make changes directly. Should you experience difficulties doing this please contact the College Office with updates.
2. If you have an internet connection at home, ensure that your child(ren) can log in to their school Office 365 and Google accounts. If there are any issues with this, please contact the College Office for support. Likewise, please advise us if you do not have internet access at home.
3. Continue to reinforce and practice good hand washing and proper cough etiquette at home.
4. Be mindful of the travel recommendations and associated self-isolation recommendations from the Ministry of Health. Should you or your child(ren) be required to go into self-isolation, please advise the College Office immediately.
One other action we can all take is to be vigilant about our health and the health of our children. I will be encouraging my staff to stay away from school if they are showing signs of illness such as coughs and colds. I ask that you please do the same with your children. Colds and flu are common in schools and by staying away, seeking medical attention and practicing good hygiene, we can all keep any spread of illness to a minimum.
As I have already acknowledged, COVID-19 remains a situation with the potential to change rapidly, but at this point, and as previously advised, we plan to continue our domestic field trips and sports trips as scheduled. This is subject to change. We will maintain a close watching brief on the spread of COVID-19 and continue to take advice in this regard.
As a community, let us continue to pray for the Lord’s grace and protection at this time, especially for the sick and most vulnerable.