COVID-19 Updates

24 March 2020 3.15pm

Dear PBS families 

LEARNING FROM HOME  and CHANGES IN THE SCHOOL HOLIDAY DATES
The Ministry of Education has announced that the School Holidays will be brought forward so that they occur within the 4 week closure period. School holidays will now begin on Monday 30 March to Tuesday 14 April inclusive (as schools always observe Easter Tuesday). This means that until Wednesday 15 April you can enjoy some ‘chill time’ with your children and focus on the health and wellbeing of those in your household.  

From Wednesday 15 April, all NZ schools are expected to provide learning for students to work on at home. Currently teachers and syndicates at PBS are planning and refining these ‘at home’ learning opportunities. When ‘home learning’ time begins, we are really keen to stress to parents to just do what you can. Below I’ve compiled some do’s and don’ts:

DOs
  • Do focus on emotional well being.  Find time to laugh and keep things light and positive.
  • Do fun, low-key activities with your kids: Read to your child, play games, do puzzles, draw, bake...
  • Get kids out in the backyard for fresh air and exercise
  • Have lots of discussions with your child - oral language is great for brain development
  • Try to balance device time with hands on tasks and physical activity 
  • Find ways for kids to keep in touch with friends e.g. phone calls, skype, share photos of what they’ve been up to etc
  • Reach out if you are feeling stressed e.g. email your child’s teacher, email me, talk to a friend, call a helpline

DON’Ts
  • Don’t sit your child down between 9am and 3pm and try to recreate daily life at school.  Doing this is likely to stress you and your children out.
  • Don’t feel the need to complete every single task your child’s teacher sets.  We will simply be offering a range of things to select from.  
  • Don’t worry about your child’s learning progress.  All NZ kids are in the same situation and they will be ok. 
Between now and Wednesday 15 April your child’s teacher or syndicate team will be in touch with you with further information about what ‘learning from home’ tasks they are planning.  

Lastly I want to inform you of two websites the Ministry of Education has launched, “Learning from Home” and “Ki te Ao Mārama”.  These websites include resources for parents, students and teachers. More resources will be added as they’re developed. The information and resources are available at https://www.learningfromhome.govt.nz/ and https://www.kauwhatareo.govt.nz/ki-te-ao-marama/If you do not have internet connectivity at home, the Ministry and our school will work on getting hard copy packs out to you (from 15 April).

Kia kaha, stay calm and stay well.

Jess Ward (Principal) and Zoe Pearson (Board Chair)

Monday 23 March 7pm

Kia ora PBS Whānau 

With today’s announcement by Government, our teaching staff will be working over the next few days on how 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.  As staff it is a significant operational change too, but one that all kiwi schools and teachers are facing. There are more details on the official Government website Current COVID-19 alert level.

For children of essential workers, we look forward to seeing your child here at school tomorrow morning at the normal time. 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.

LEARNING FROM HOMEIn the coming days, we will notify families with regards to how we intend to support your child’s learning from your home.  Learning from home will look different depending on the age of your child.  
  •  For students in Years 1-4 we will be using a range of approaches which may include photocopied work, hands on learning ideas, digital content via SeeSaw
  • Students in Years 5-8 will be able to access digital platforms on their chromebooks just like they do at school. Teachers will be in touch with more details soon.  However if your Year 5-8 child has left things at PBS like their chromebooks and headphones which may need over the coming weeks, they may pop into school to collect these items tomorrow between the hours of 9am and 3pm. Conversely, students in Years 5-8 who do not own their own chromebook the school is prepared to loan them one.  
WHAT IF A PARENT NEEDS THEIR CHILD/CHILDREN CARED FOR BY SOMEONE ELSE?
There will be some parents who need others to help care for their child/children for a variety of reasons. If this applies to your household then that other ‘caregiver’ needs to be identified as part of your self-isolation group.  Families need to form their own personal plan about this before midnight Wednesday and the group must remain the same for the whole 4 week period. The caregiver’s own group (eg, their partner and children), your child and your own group (eg, your parents and other children) become one group. This group needs to be limited to minimise any risk of spread and should be no more than 20 people.

GUIDING CHILDREN THROUGH THIS STRANGE TIMEYour 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 PBS staff and school community.

Kia kaha, stay safe and stay well.

Jess Ward (Principal) and Zoe Pearson (Board Chair)

Monday 23 March 2.37pm

Kia Ora Families

Jacinda Ardern has announced that New Zealand is moving to Alert Level 3 and then Alert Level 4 within 48 hours. This means all NZ schools will be closing. At PBS we are currently preparing a full communication notice which will be posted here later this afternoon/early evening. Please keep yourself informed by reading this information.

Kia kaha, stay calm and stay well.

Jess Ward (Principal) and Zoe Pearson (Board chair)

Sunday 22 March

Kia Ora PBS Whanau

With the announcement that New Zealand has moved to Alert Level 2 – Reduce Contact for COVID-19, I will be posting regular updates directly to this page, rather than communicating via our weekly newsletter.  Please ensure you check in and read these updates. This announcement stated that people over 70 years of age and those with compromised immunity and certain existing medical conditions are asked to remain at home as much as they can from now on and avoid any non-essential travel. This means that some PBS students and staff will be unable to attend school. High risk individuals also include people with underlying medical conditions, such as:
  • a compromised immune system
  • liver disease
  • cancer
  • kidney disease
  • heart disease
  • diabetes mellitus
The Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health are sending schools daily updates. The Ministry of Education and my own staff are working to plan what learning we could provide if schools were to be closed for a long period of time.

At PBS our Leadership Team, Staff and Board of Trustees are acting on the advice we have to hand. We are doing our best to stay on top of this swiftly changing landscape. A large portion of the staff have been having digital dialogue today about options for learning from home (if that were to happen).

We are also fielding a number of queries from parents and are doing our best to respond in a timely manner. If your child/children are going to be away for any reason please contact the school office. Every day last week we had a high number of absences and it looks like this coming week will be the same. Teachers will still have classes to teach at school but will also do their best to provide some work for those students off site. It will be difficult to cater for everyone, especially if we have reduced staffing. Each teacher’s first responsibility will be those students who remain at school. Unfortunately the situation is going to remain uncertain for some time yet.

Take care everyone - you matter to us!

Jess Ward
Principal