COVID-19 Update #6 From the Principal
24 March 2020
Kia ora college whānau
I trust your preparations for tomorrow night’s full lockdown are going as well as they can be in the circumstances. Staff have had a positive time at school today as they have explored ways to maintain teaching and learning over the next period.
I just need to update you on a few matters to provide further clarity and offer further support.
As part of yesterday’s news it was announced that the Term One school holidays have been brought forward two weeks. This means holidays will start on Monday 31 March, and conclude after Easter on Wednesday 15 April.
What this means is that teachers will all be available until the end of this week, and then not be required for full teaching duties until 15 April. The holidays will give them more time to make changes to their teaching programmes and to prepare for Term Two. Some teachers may be in contact during this time – as in any other holiday period – but they, and students, need their break too, and will not be fully back at work until later.
However, New Zealand will still be in lockdown for almost two more weeks after the holidays end, so school will still not be open. At this stage we do not know when Alert Level 4 will end, and the country comes out of lockdown. This has to be happen before school can re-open.
2.Teaching and Learning programmes
Staff have been extraordinarily busy, creative and committed in ensuring students can still continue their learning during the lockdown. Please note the following:
‘Google Classroom’ – which all students have individual accounts for – will be the landing place for all work sent to them by teachers. They need to regularly check this for additional work set there by their teachers.
I have asked all teachers to make email contact with their students by the end of tomorrow. This is to touch base and to outline the programme for their courses from here.
For some courses, teachers have requested students, or someone from their family, to come into school tomorrow to pick up hard copies of their work. The courses that this applies to are listed below. If your child takes one of these courses please arrange for them, or someone else, to come to the school office and collect between 10.00am and 3.00pm tomorrow. After tomorrow there will be no access to the school site and it will be too late.
Teaching online/from distance will obviously look quite different from a regular classroom. Therefore, there will be a range of activities that could be done – it might involve reading, watching a video or podcast, doing an online quiz or game, or doing something else creative. In other words, not just traditional pen and paper activities (although I am sure there will be some of that too).
For some subjects (such as Art) there will not be separate day to day activities because they are working long-term on a project (such as their portfolio boards).
For senior students, the teaching programme will be very clearly focused on NCEA assessments.
I would ask that you make the space available for students to work on their classwork, and encourage them to keep up to date with it.
I am aware that some students may not have access to suitable digital devices to assist their learning at home during this period. Smartphones have their uses, but are not ideal for classwork.
Therefore, we will be lending out school Chromebooks for those who need them over the period the school will be closed. This obviously exposes the school to considerable risk, but we want to remove any barrier we can to students continuing to learn and being able to achieve success.
If you would like to take advantage of this offer, the only time we can provide this is between 10.00am and 3.00pm tomorrow – Wednesday. After this time, it will be too late. There will be no cost to this, and all we ask is that you sign an agreement promising to properly look after the equipment.
Just in case there was any doubt, Workday that was scheduled for Monday 31 March has been postponed. We have not set another date for this yet.
Ms Emma Gordon, our school counsellor, will still be available to support students online. She will be sending out an email to all students explaining this, and giving some suggestions for support. If you need to contact her, please email her (firstname.lastname@example.org).
6.Communications with school
As indicated yesterday, there will be no staff on site at school after tomorrow. This also means that the phones cannot be answered. If you would like to contact a member of staff, please email them direct. If you are unsure of their address, email email@example.com and it will be forwarded to the right person.
I will send further communications out on SchoolStream and Facebook as new information comes to hand. But feel free to make direct contact with me if you need (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Thank you again for your support. We can do this.
Ad Altiora; Mauri Ora
Principal’s Coronavirus Update #6
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COURSES WHERE STUDENTS NEED TO COME INTO SCHOOL WEDNESDAY (10.00-3.00pm) TO COLLECT WORK FOR:
1. All Year 9 and 10 Maths classes
Work packs to be collected.
2. Year 12/Level 2 Ready, Set, Go class
Work and assessment to collect (but will also be available online)
3. Year 12/Level 2 Tourism class
Work to collect
4. All Design/DVC classes
Portfolios need collecting
5. Year 9 Art classes
Visual diaries need collecting
6. Year 11-13/Levels 1-3 Art classes
Visual diaries and painting boards. All levels have work to get on with, but will need paints at home