08 May Lockdown Update – Preparing for Level 2
We hope you are all doing well I your bubbles. It is important that we all continue to stick to the rules. It looks likely that Level 2 is not far away and we don’t want irresponsible behaviour by a few to force us all back to Level 4. It’s worrying to see examples from overseas where they got the number of cases down, relaxed, and now have case numbers spiking again.
The reports we sent home on Monday were hopefully helpful. We did see a surge of energy from some students afterwards, so thank you. However, we know that many of you are juggling some major challenges so don’t forget Nigel Latta’s advice from early on in lockdown: wellbeing is the priority, just do what you can!
We are here to help so keep in contact with your Dean. Don’t forget, until school starts properly we are available to supervise students.They can come here to do their on-line learning so that you can get back to work or do what you need to get done. HOWEVER, we do need to you to pre-register, so we know who is coming in: CLICK ON THIS LINK TO REGISTER THEM
No doubt you have followed with interest the announcements made by the Prime Minister. Yesterday, she 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 primary public health approach is to minimise the risk of someone getting infected in the first place, and secondly to ensure we can identify and contact anyone who has been in close contact with a person, if someone in a school is infected.
The details about what Level 2 looks like are starting to be released from the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health.
The key message is that schools are safe and that everyone needs to go back to school, (unless you are actually sick).
The critical measures for schools are:
- Good hygiene practices – regular washing and drying of hands and good cough and sneeze etiquette remain fundamental to preventing spread of illness such as colds, flu and COVID-19.
- Ensuring people with COVID-19 symptoms stay away from school.
- Maintaining physical distancing where practical – in schools at Alert Level 2 this means children, young people, and staff maintaining a physical distance so that they are not breathing on or touching each other, (there is no minimum distance requirement for schools at this level).
- Keeping track of people who enter the school – through the attendance register, timetable and visitor register.
Physical distancing in schools further explained
Physical distancing remains important, particularly when people are interacting with people they don’t know and who cannot be easily traced. However, the risks are relatively low at Alert Level 2, and it’s now safe for individuals to be physically close to their good friends and family.
A school environment is controlled. We know who is at school, who they have been in close contact with, and have good hygiene measures in place, including regularly washing hands, especially before and after use of shared equipment. People who are sick are staying at home and we will be monitoring for anyone presenting with signs of illness. We will also be cleaning high touch surfaces daily.
So, physical distancing in schools means children, young people, and staff maintaining a physical distance, so that they are not breathing on or touching each other. You literally get some breathing space. As described by Dr Gary Payinda in the NZ Herald: “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”.
In a school setting, if you can smell the person’s breath or feel that you are in that “moist breath” zone, move a little further away. Avoid touching others and, for adults, it’s recommended that, where possible, you keep a metre distance between you.
We will be in contact with you again early next week when we know what the Level 2 time frame is.