COVID-19 Information & Updates
Monday 18 May 2020 - Returning to School
Kia ora parents and caregivers
It was great to see our Year 9-11 students back at school today – 89% of students were here! We started off with Ako time where students were welcomed back by teachers and taken through the outline of the day ahead, along with the health, safety and hygiene practices that we would be working with. Lots of lockdown stories, plenty of hand sanitizer and friends catching up with each other everywhere!
Tomorrow the Year 12-13 students will join the Year 9’s, and it will be just as good to see this group of students. Wednesday of course, will be our first day with the whole school together, and we’ll be back on normal timetable.
There are a couple of things to note:
- We’re watching the situation with buses carefully, and there will be issues with Metlink buses that usually have students standing eg Stokes Valley and Pinehaven. At Alert Level 2, passengers are not permitted to stand on the buses. Please talk with your child and get a sense of how busy the bus normally is. If you can make alternative travel arrangements, please do so, including using the public buses. If we are required to limit the number of students on the afternoon buses, we will prioritise junior students first.
- The canteen is open for business at interval and lunchtime, operating under revised health and safety guidelines.
- Last week, NZQA announced changes to NCEA to give students more time to prepare for end of year assessment and help manage the impact that COVID-19 has had on teaching and learning. Key changes include, at this point:
- NCEA exams will now start on November 16 instead of 6 November, ending on 9 December instead of 2 December.
- Submission date for subjects requiring portfolios submissions has been extended to 12 November, great news for Visual Arts students
- Information about winter sports for this term will be coming out very shortly. We’ll be asking for online registrations so we can assess numbers of teams for each competition.
- We are now calling for the return of UHC chromebooks that were delivered to students over the lockdown period. These can be returned to the Office. If your child received a chromebook from the Ministry of Education, please return this to the Office as well – these chromebooks are school property.
- Uniform – we understand that there will be issues around uniform for a few days yet – somehow, the correct shoes and socks have gone missing and the ties have disappeared! While we understand that there will be a bit of searching going on at home, and a trip to NZ Uniforms might be needed, we do expect students to be in full and correct uniform. If there are any issues, please contact the Ako teacher or Dean.
- A reminder – the college will take a mid-term break on Friday 29 May and return on Tuesday 2 June.
Today was a very positive day, and it was great to see the school start to return to normal with students enjoying classes and teachers, being with friends and enjoying the great weather. I’m sure there were a few sighs of relief as they left home, but perhaps a few concerns too. They’re safe at school, and we’re looking out for them. I’m looking forward to seeing our senior students tomorrow. Thanks for all your support and good wishes.
Friday 15 May 2020
Kia ora parents and caregivers
An update after our very successful Teacher Only Day yesterday. It was great to see staff back – they’re keen to see the students back in class and are looking forward to their return.
The staggered start to school next week allows us to be very purposeful with our students. It’s about welcoming them back, settling them in and supporting them to move forward. Not every student was able to be on top of their learning, and not every student had a good experience of lockdown – we recognise that families will have had, and continue to have, challenges. But we will be working with students to support them in a positive way and help them to catch up if and where necessary. BE KIND is our mantra, working with each other and with students, and we will be working to ensure our students practice that as well – BE KIND to each other, their teachers and the other staff in the school.
Return to school arrangements
Monday 18 May – Year 9, 10, 11 only.
Tuesday 19 May – Year 9, 12 & 13 only. Year 11 students will be able to continue with their learning at home for this day. We would like Year 10 students to remain at home and continue with their learning as well. However, we understand that there will be students for whom this is not possible, so those students who require supervision may attend school – they will not have normal classes and will be supervised in one space – they will need to bring work to complete over the day.
Please note, students will not need to bring their PE gear for classes on Monday or Tuesday.
We received a number of emails about this following my update and it seems to be an area of uncertainty for some parents, especially the possibility of students not being able to catch the bus because of high student numbers. Please contact Metlink directly regarding this – these are their operational procedures for Alert Level 2.
We have a number of parents who drop students off at school in the morning and pick them up in the afternoon. Please do not drive through the main driveway (Moonshine Road to Hikurangi Street), or use any other on-site car park area. We want to ensure our students are safe in these areas at both ends of the day, but especially around bus times when it may take longer to get students on and off buses.
Health & Safety
The procedures for Level 2 only require hard surfaces (desks, tables) to be wiped down daily. We want to do that more frequently during the day – at the end of each period, desks that students have used will be disinfected and wiped down. We will be requiring students to complete this process for their own learning space – we will supply the materials. We will continue to provide hand sanitiser and hand washing facilities.
It may be though, that you would feel more comfortable with your child having their own personal hygiene ‘kit’ at school. Students can bring their own hand sanitiser to use, and a chux-type cloth to wipe down surfaces and resources that they touch. The spray will be available in each classroom. Students can, of course, wear a face mask at school if they wish.
The Board have agreed to the school having a mid-term break, on Friday 29 May. School will be closed for all students and recommence on Tuesday 2 June (after Queen’s Birthday weekend). This will allow students and staff to have what I think will be a much-needed break at that point and give students the chance for some catch up time after nearly 2 weeks back at school. I apologise for the late notice of this but think our student community will be able to better manage the remaining 5 weeks of the term with this break. This term ends on Friday 3 July.
- Uniform – full and correct uniform is expected from Monday onwards. If your child has to temporarily wear a non-uniform item of clothing, please also provide a note for the Ako teacher.
- Cellphones – we will continue to maintain an ‘off and away’ stance on cellphones at school. Unless specifically permitted by the teacher for learning purposes only, cellphones are to be turned off, and kept out of sight in classes. We will not be collecting cellphones from juniors as we did in Term 1, although this may be reintroduced later in the term. I ask that parents do not contact their child during classtime.
- The canteen will be open from Monday onwards. It will have procedures put in place to minimise contact which will, initially, mean there will be no sit-down spaces available.
- NCEA – there have been a number of positive changes around NCEA announced earlier this week. This includes a delay to the start of external NCEA exams later in the year, and changes to submission dates for subjects that require portfolios. Teachers will provide information to students during the upcoming week.
- Certificate of Achievement – We are aware that there are many questions around CoA as we move forward – what will happen with Term 1 marks, Term 2 marks etc. We have yet to have that conversation at school but will do so very soon. In the meantime, there is no need for students to stress or feel anxious about it, we will work things out.
- Chromebooks – if your child has a UHC Chromebook or received a chromebook from the Ministry, we would appreciate its return to school as soon as possible. We now need them for use in classes.
- Use of a device in school – we are keen to build on the work done by teachers and students using devices over the lockdown period. We will be encouraging students to bring their device to school where possible (not in the first few days though) and will be asking students if they are able to do so.
- Enrolments are now being accepted for the 2021 year. We will have the Prospectus shortly, but enrolment forms are available on the school website. We do not have an enrolment zone and welcome enrolments from all students regardless of the area in which they live.
As we re-start school, we will be many steps to support students on their return to school, helping them to make plans if needed to catch up with learning missed, or to get back into good habits at school. We expect that students will be ready and willing to get on with their learning, to abide by the rules and expectations of the school, to do their best, and to exhibit our school values of respect, responsibility, resilience and manaakitanga. We will be there to help them readjust, reset goals and move forward positively – it really will be great to have them back.
Thank you for your support. I wish you all the best as we move forward together.
Thursday 14 May 2020
Kia ora parents and caregivers
I hope this update finds you well and looking forward to moving to Alert Level 2.
This email gives detailed information on:
- the health, safety and hygiene practices that will operate at the college under Alert Level 2
- return to school arrangements for the return of students to school next week
- transport (bus) information.
My apologies for the length of this update, but I think you will be wanting detail at this point, and there is certainly plenty of detail in the move to Level 2.
It is safe for all students and staff to return to school in Alert level 2. Schools are safe because hygiene habits will be strong and schools will put into place safe and sensible practice. We have developed safe and sensible practices for hygiene and contact tracing and all students are able to return as long as they remain well. Key controls are:
- anyone with COVID-19 symptoms or who feels generally unwell must stay away from the college
- physical distancing measures will be maintained so there is no breathing on or touching each other
- good hygiene and cleaning practices will be maintained (hand washing and drying; coughing and sneezing into your elbow; keeping surfaces clean)
- contact tracing registers are in place (combination of our timetable, attendance register and visitor register)
SAFETY & HYGIENE PRACTICES
We want to ensure that our practices protect the health and safety of all staff, students and their parents and whanau, and any visitors who come into Upper Hutt College. We have spent some time developing our Level 2 Health and Safety Plan, and this is now going through a review process. It will be made available to parents and caregivers when the process is completed.
Key points of the Plan are:
- Completion of checks of buildings, grounds, systems and hazardous substances with any concerns addressed.
- Cleaning contractors have been at work since the start of Level 3 and are adhering to Ministry-supplied advice and guidance. All areas of the College have been thoroughly cleaned.
- The College cleaners will undertake a ‘fogging’ treatment of the interior spaces of the school over the upcoming weekend which sterilises surfaces for 30 days.
- All toilet areas are stocked with soap and paper towels and/or air dryer.
- Soap dispensers and paper towels have been installed in all breakout areas of the school with kitchenettes.
- Hand sanitiser will be available throughout the college and students will be required to use this when entering any teaching area/office space.
- Spray bottles of disinfectant and cleaning materials will be available through the college to wipe down hard surfaces and desks regularly eg at the end of each class.
- Signage around good hygiene practices will be placed throughout the college.
- Individual plans for high risk areas have been developed – student management, office management, canteen, school trips and extracurricular sports.
- If students wish to wear a mask, they are able to do so.
It may be that you feel more comfortable providing your child with some items that they can use themselves to ensure good hygiene practices – a plastic bag containing a small bottle of hand sanitiser and a chux -type wipe to clean their own working areas/desks (we will provide the spray) before use might be a useful addition to the school bag.
It is safe for all students to attend school unless they are unwell or exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms:
- a high temperature (at least 38°C)
- shortness of breath
- sore throat
- sneezing and runny nose
- temporary loss of smell
We ask that parents/caregivers check for these symptoms before sending an unwell child to school. Students who are observed to have symptoms will be asked to go home or parents and caregivers will be requested to come and pick up the student. This is a public health measure at Alert Level 2.
RETURN TO SCHOOL ARRANGEMENTS
We will be having a staggered start to students returning to school next week. This gives us the opportunity to check on and manage student wellbeing, as well as giving students sufficient time with teachers to assess where they are with their learning. Please note, at this point we are working through plans for the canteen to open but have not yet confirmed these.
Monday 18 May – Year 9, 10, 11 only
- Year 9, 10 and 11 students will return to school and be at school for the full day.
- See the timetable below.
Tuesday 19 May – Year 9, 12, 13 students for classes, Year 10 students who require supervision
- Year 9 students will continue at school for the full day, following the timetable below.
- Year 12 and 13 students will return to school for the full day.
- The day will consist of two Ako Times with the normal Tuesday timetable PLUS Wednesday Period 1
- This allows Year 12 and 13 students to see ALL of their teachers.
- If possible, we would like Year 10 students to remain at home and continue with their learning today. However, we understand that there will be students for whom this is not possible, so those students who require supervision may attend school – they will not have normal classes and will be supervised in one space – they will need to bring work to complete over the day.
- The full timetable is found below.
Wednesday 20 May – all year levels in, normal timetable commences
Monday 18 May
Tuesday 19 May
Year 9, 10 & 11 students follow this timetable, based on the normal timetable
Year 9, 12 & 13 students follow this timetable, based on the normal timetable. Year 10
students will be supervised separately
8:40am - 9:15am
9:15am – 10:00am
10:00am - 10:45am
10:45am - 11:15am
11:15am - 12pm
12pm - 12:45pm
12:45pm - 1:15pm
1:15pm – 2:00pm
2:00pm - 2.45pm
(this is the class that is usually on Tues Period 1)
(this is the class that is usually on Wed Period 1)
2:45pm – 3:15pm
All bus routes servicing the school will be running from Monday 18 May. There are some important features of using buses during Alert Level 2, noted below. Further information released by Metlink today can be found here. Metlink and Tranzit will be operating in accordance with Ministry of Transport, Health and Education guidelines, and will be prioritising good hygiene practices, including provision of hand sanitiser. A register of all students who catch a school bus to and from school will be developed and maintained by the school for contact tracing purposes.
Students using Metlink school services
- Fares are currently free until 30 June. However, Metlink are asking all students to tag on and off with their Snapper card (it will not be charged). From 01 July, Snapper cards only will be used. For more information on obtaining a Snapper card, please go to Snapper
- Capacity on buses will be reduced as no standing is permitted, and physical distancing for queuing will be required.
- Physical distancing isn’t practicable on school buses, however, it’s a controlled environment where contact tracing can take place if required.
Students using Metlink public services
- Students will need to adhere to the physical distancing requirements on board that service (window seats only, no standing, and maintaining 2m distance at bus stops)
- Students will be asked to keep a record of their travel for contact tracing purposes.
- Free fares until 30 June apply.
Students using Tranzit school services (those living further away/rural areas)
- The Ministry is prioritising good hygiene practices on these services, including availability of hand sanitiser
With the buses unable to work at full capacity, there may be a situation where your child is not able to get onto the bus. Do you have a Plan ‘B’ for that situation – what will they do if they cannot catch the bus as it is too full? Please discuss this with your child.
If your child will be absent from school, please let the school know asap – use the UHC App, email the school - [email protected], or call the school. We will be contacting parents/caregivers of students who are not present at school.
Students who were loaned UHC Chromebooks are asked to return these (and power cord) to school when they come back on Monday or Tuesday. They can be taken to the Office. The Ministry has distributed chromebooks to UHC students, following requests from the school at the start of lockdown. If you have received one of these, please bring this to the school (rather than return it to the Ministry) as it is the property of the college.
We continue to work on ensuring our processes and systems provide a safe learning environment for students and staff. That does take time, and I appreciate your patience as we do so. There will be more information to communicate in the next day, and an update will follow. If you have any questions or concerns about the return to school, please don’t hesitate to contact me – [email protected].
Saturday 18 April 2020
Kia ora Parents and Caregivers
I hope that things are working well for you in your bubble. It seems like the end of lockdown is in sight now, and we can all feel pleased at having done our part to get to this point.
I have provided a general update on the Upper Hutt College Facebook page, and information on the school website will be of a more detailed nature.
We are aware of various questions and concerns that you may be having (and we are too). Rather than addressing them in this update, we have a new page on the website – Frequently Asked Questions FAQs
It’s been a very busy few days as we’ve started Term 2 – busy for teachers and undoubtedly busy for you at home too! It was great to see so many students signing in on Wednesday morning for Ako Time and being genuinely pleased to see their teachers. The feeling was definitely mutual, and teachers were happy to see their students too! We’ve spent these days working through our new timetable, monitoring how the ‘contact times’ are going, and how students are managing their time and workload. Based on this, we have made some immediate changes in our processes and will continue to monitor and modify as needed.
We have been busy ensuring students who don’t have access to a device are provided with one. We have also distributed 50 UHC chromebooks to senior and some junior students rather than wait for the Ministry of Education devices to be delivered. Junior students will receive their devices directly from the Ministry. Students who don’t have access to the internet will receive hard copy learning materials from the Ministry. If your child is unable to access a device for remote learning, or you don’t have internet access for distance learning, please contact your child’s Ako teacher or Dean.
Distance teaching and learning is a new thing for everyone and we are all learning how to do this well. Finding that happy medium – providing sufficient quality learning by teachers, and students completing work as required isn’t easy, and we are mindful that there are many things happening in your homes, just as there are in our teachers’ homes. Being kind to each other also extends to being patient with each other and understanding that everyone is trying to do the right thing by our students.
Returning to school
There is a lot of discussion and debate around how moving to Alert Level 3 will affect schools and students. Our Senior Leadership Team are looking at what that might look like for us, but we will wait for more detailed information from the Ministry, especially after Monday’s announcement on whether we move into Level 3. The Ministry is clear in their statement - ‘Parents can have confidence that the proposed approach is designed to keep children and their families safe, to keep staff safe and to support the country's overall response to COVID-19 to 'keep it out and stamp it out'.
What we know is this:
- The school will open for Year 9-10 students only but, where possible, students should remain at home connected to distance learning. Where parents or caregivers need to, they can send their children to school. Schools will be a safe place for children to go to learn if their parents need to return to work, or the children cannot learn at a distance.
- Year 11-13 students will continue to learn at home.
- Students at school will not be taught as they were last term. They will continue with their distance learning programme operating their current timetable with ‘contact times’.
- Teachers at school will be supervisors only – there is no advantage in terms of teaching and learning for students who will be at school.
- There will be restrictions on how many students can be grouped together and where they can go. Normal school processes including attendance will occur and high hygiene standards will be maintained.
- To help us with our planning, we will be contacting parents/caregivers for numbers of students who need to be here and with further details.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your child’s Ako Teacher, Dean or myself ([email protected]). We are not upset or panicking about next steps – you know us now, we will simply take this in our stride and work out what is best for our students, families and teachers – and we have already started our planning with this.
When we have further information for you, I will be in touch.
Take care out there, be kind to each other
Tuesday 14 April 2020
Kia ora Parents and Caregivers
I hope the last couple of weeks have been working OK for you in your bubbles - I'm sure you are looking forward to the lifting of Level 4 and a return to normal - slow though that will be.
In terms of an update, an email is on its way to parents and caregivers to give you a brief outline of where we are at. Term 2 starts tomorrow and teachers have been really busy getting things organised and posting information to their students. As a first action, we will be holding Ako TIme tomorrow at 9am - all students will receive an invitation to meet with their Ako teacher then.
if you are unsure what your child is (supposed to be) doing, Learning Plans for all subjects and levels will be posted on this website tomorrow. We think you'll appreciate knowing what the learning will look like for the week.
As for when we start back at school - Wednesday 29 April has been given as the date when some schools will return. We don't know yet what that will mean for UHC - except that it is highly likely that some form of 'hybrid' teaching and learning will occur - a mixture of at-school and at-home learning for most students. This is why we have developed a Timetable and teachers have designated times to Google Meet with students - to have some structure as we move forward.
Of concern too, will be how students will manage with NCEA this year. The Ministry and NZQA are working closely on this and have been consulting with a range of different groups. The best advice I can give at this time is for senior students to take the opportunities available to them now for assessments and assistance - things may look very different when we get back to school.
When we know more - later this week - I will be able to let you know how returning to school will work. In the meantime, we will continue with our [email protected] Home, supporting students with their learning. We appreciate your support in keeping our students engaged with their learning.
Best wishes, keep safe
Friday 27 March 2020
As we reach the end of Day 2 of Lockdown, I hope things are settling down wherever your bubble is, and that you are all adjusting to this new normal. I wanted to update you on how things are going with the [email protected], now that school has been ‘out’ for 4 days.
Teachers have set up their online teaching in different ways – we have no set way of doing this, just as there is no one way of teaching when in the classroom. All teachers will have a Google Classroom, and most will also have Google Hangouts, where they can organise class meetings with students via camera link. Learning activities are plentiful and range from day-to-day lessons to tasks that span days, or weeks. There are lots of ‘different’ tasks, such as cooking meal, fitness activities, as well as the tasks needed to complete ongoing assessments or those that were due in the next few weeks.
We have mixed success with our student engagement. Most of the juniors have joined the Classrooms, but fewer are completing tasks. A number of seniors are working well in the different subject areas, some are yet to engage at all in others. To help get students connected, I would ask parents to do the following:
- Please check your email spam folder to ensure you are not missing any emails sent to you by teachers.
- If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask the teachers (or me). They would love to get your feedback as to how learning is going for your child
- Don't stress or worry too much if students haven't connected during this week - they will over the next few days, especially as boredom starts to hit. They will cheerfully be welcomed into the Classrooms by their teachers.
On that last point, it’s really important that the seniors are connected and engaged. We don’t know what will happen with NCEA and assessments when we return to school – NZQA are working on that now. While we will, as always, ensure our students get the best support when school returns, students should not assume that the school will be offering extra help to individuals at the end of the year if those same individuals are not taking responsibility for their learning now.
Now that Term 1 has finished, students and teachers are officially on holiday. However, I know that some students may be wanting to continue with their learning and maintain contact with teachers, and I know that a number of teachers will want the same. Teachers will let their students know what their availability is over the holiday period.
I do recognise that this has been a unique week, and that many families will still be settling into new routines, managing use of resources at home and, for teenagers who are often unnerved by change, adjusting to a whole new way of teaching and learning. None of us have been in this situation before and it will affect everyone differently. The bigger messages of keeping connected as families and friends, of keep each other safe, of having a sense of humour and being kind and patient continue to apply to us all, moreso as the days and weeks roll on.
Wednesday 25 March 2020
With the first day of the school's closure, it was very pleasing to hear that so many students had started their [email protected]and were working well and communicating with teachers. Further information on[email protected] Home can be found on the [email protected] page this Information section.
The current situation that has led to the closure of school, and the subsequent loss of routines, friends and support systems can cause stress and anxiety in many of our students. Working remotely on [email protected], and completing tasks and activities, can help to maintain a sense of normality and control, and can ease anxiety for many students, but for some it may not. We said in the Guidelines for Students that “[email protected] is important, but your health and your family are more important”. If your student is struggling with spending a lot of time on their school work, please don’t force it – there may be other activities with family, around the house etc that can be done – [email protected] work will still be there! If you have any questions or concerns, please email your child’s Ako Teacher.
Looking Ahead - NCEA
NZQA, like the Ministry of Education, has been helpful and reassuring in their support of schools and are well aware of the impact this situation will have on student’s preparations for NCEA. At this point, the best advice we have for students is to complete as much of their assessment programme as possible as given now – don’t rely on things that may or may not be available later in the year. When school resumes, we will work with students on this, they don't need to worry about it at the moment.
Looking Ahead - Year 9 and 10 Certificate of Achievement
We will not be using Term 1 work or grades already gained for this. We will instead be starting with Term 2 information.
The dates for the end of Term 1 and holidays have changed:
- Term 1 will finish on Friday 27 March
- The holidays will start on Monday 30 March and end on Tuesday 14 April.
Term 2 will start on Wednesday 15 April.
The Ministry of Education has launched two websites to support teachers, learners, parents and whanau so that learning for children and young people can continue. The websites include resources for parents and whānau, teachers and leaders. Resources span the learning pathway from early learning through to senior secondary, and 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/
More resources will be added as they’re developed. Hard copy packs are being prepared for learners and whānau who don’t have connectivity at home.
Thank you for your ongoing support. We are entering some challenging weeks, but we are here to support you, your whanau and your student. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s Ako teacher or classroom teacher or Dean. A list of teacher email addresses will be available on the website shortly, but until then, your child should have this information as part of their [email protected] details. And, if you would like to contact me, please don’t hesitate – [email protected].
I will be in touch again. Stay well, be safe.
Monday 23 March 2020
It’s been quite a day. After lots of planning and organisation to put together a new timetable for classes and then a series of rolling [email protected] days to help manage depleted teacher numbers, news came through of the impending announcement by the Prime Minister. And what news that was!
Upper Hutt College will be closed from tomorrow to all students except the children of essential workers who are still able to come to school on Tuesday 24 March and Wednesday 25 March ( see https://covid19.govt.nz/government-actions/covid-19-alert-system/ for a list of these workers). School will then be closed for all students and staff as the country goes into Level 4 Alert status.
For our students, [email protected] will start from tomorrow, and teachers will have told students how this works, or they will have provided physical resources for learning (they may even have done both!).
The Prime Minister stated that the school holidays will be brought forward, and they will now begin on Monday 30 March and go through to Tuesday 14 April inclusive. At the end of the school holidays, we will recommence our [email protected], but the college will not physically reopen until the Level 4 Alert is lifted. Students are, of course, welcome and encouraged to continue their learning through the school holidays – it will provide a welcome distraction during the lockdown. More information on this will be sent out to parents / caregivers and provided to students tomorrow.
I’ve updated our students twice today on what is happening, at school and in our community – it shows the speed at which things have been changing. I’ve acknowledged that these are scary times for us all, but that we will get through this – isolate ourselves at home and continue with our online teaching and learning. I also told students in my end-of-day update, that we will deal with all their worries and issues when they return to school – from sports teams, to cultural events, Certificate of Achievement grades (don’t worry about Term 1) to NCEA credits.
We have great students at UHC, and I know they will be brave and strong and support their families, friends and loved ones. I look forward to seeing them when we all return to school in a few weeks.
Sunday 22 March 2020
Firstly, I hope you are all doing well – taking care of yourselves and your families – as we work our way through these new and challenging days. This is a brief update at this time, with more detailed information to be sent directly to our parents and caregivers tomorrow morning.
The announcement by the Prime Minister on Saturday means we will have reduced numbers of staff and students at school tomorrow morning. However, we have a plan and will do some further work tomorrow to ensure we can continue to provide teaching and learning for as long as we can at school before we move to [email protected].
Students who are well and do not meet the criteria for self-isolation are encouraged to attend school tomorrow. The school timetable will run as normal for Monday and students should be prepared for their learning as usual. There will be changes from Tuesday onwards and these will be signalled tomorrow.
If your son or daughter needs to self-isolate because of Saturday’s announcement, please contact the school to inform us - by phone, UHC App or email [email protected]. I also understand that you may be choosing to keep your young person(s) at home for various reasons and that is a decision we respect – again, please inform us as above.
As we head into a very busy few days, I ask for your patience and understanding as our teachers continue the teaching of their classes, stand in for teachers who are in self-isolation and continue preparations for [email protected] We want to ensure that our students have the best possible preparation for what lies ahead so our focus is on that.
Please take care of yourself and others around you and in our wider community. I will be in touch again tomorrow.
Wednesday 18 March 2020
Things continue to change rapidly as we are now seeing the increase in numbers of confirmed cases of COVID-19. While we maintain our focus on keeping things as normal as possible for our students, we are also continuing to prepare for a situation where the college may be closed.
- College Sport Wellington has advised that all Term One events will be suspended effective from the morning of Thursday 19 March 2020. This affects Archery, Bowls, Cricket, Futsal and Volleyball and means there will be no further games or competition for this term.
- For winter sports, we are waiting for national bodies to make their decisions known so that we can put in place the best process for our students and their chosen sports. Therefore, to ensure there is no confusion for students, Upper Hutt College will be suspending all winter code sports’ training and games for the remainder of this week.
Further information will be sent out to all parents/caregivers and students involved in winter code sports.
Student health and safety
We are aware of recent concerns regarding handwashing facilities at the college. I am happy to say that our dwindling supplies have been topped up with a recent delivery of handwashing materials (even schools are not immune to shortages of certain products!), and all student bathroom facilities have ample supplies of soap, with many also having hot water. We are installing more handwashing facilities in our breakout areas and implementing a rigorous cleaning regimen in our Weights Room.
We are maintaining a ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ approach with students and are very mindful of their general wellbeing in this ever-changing situation. We know that they are faced with a mountain of information online, and that a number are stressed and worried about school, families and themselves. I’m pleased that we have our cellphone restrictions in place so that in classes at least, our students' focus is on the here and now. Teachers are well-informed and are able to answer any questions that students have. Our guidance team is proactive and keeping a watchful eye on our students, and our teachers are working on keeping things as normal as possible and focused on the everyday things – attendance, uniform, mahi in the classroom etc.
A reminder – if your child feels unwell, please keep him/her at home and contact the school to let us know, via email ([email protected]), phone (04 5278749) or through the UHC App.
Tuesday 17 March 2020
The first confirmed case of a student testing positive for COVID-19 in Dunedin has been announced today.
- Click here for our Letter to Parents & Caregivers sent today
Changes affecting our students:
- Academic Assembly (Thursday 26 March) is cancelled. We will still acknowledge the achievements of our Year 12 and 13 students next week, but within their Ako classes.
- All Year level and PB4L assemblies, including Cultural Assembly, are cancelled for the remainder of the term.
- UHC Week is postponed and will be held in Term 3.
- Summer (Sports) Tournament Week (30 March - 4 April) has been cancelled by Secondary Sports NZ. Other tournaments thaat have been cancelled include Atiawa Toa Netball Tournament, 3x3 Basketball Regionals, Futsal Nationals, Easter Tournament.
- Parent-Teacher Evening on Thursday 2 April has been postponed and will be rescheduled for next Term. Reports will still be issued as planned.
- Other events are being considered on a case-by-case basis and teachers will let relevant students know if there are any changes.
We have also received the following:
- Netball New Zealand advise that the start of winter competition is postponed until at least Saturday 2 May 2020, and all trials and trainings currently underway are postponed for several weeks.
- We are waiting to confirm that the suspension of community rugby also applies to college rugby.
Sam Twomey, Director of Sport, will be in touch with students affected by these sports changes.
We know that some parents have concerns about their children attending school at the moment, some of which may be due to what they are seeing in the media about other countries.
There’s a simple rule here – if students are unwell (whether or not their illness relates to COVID-19) they should stay at home. Students who are not unwell should continue to attend school.
While we are seeing large-scale school shutdowns elsewhere in the world, in New Zealand we still have no community transmission. Consequently any decisions about school closures will be made on a case by case basis. In the meantime, unless students are unwell themselves, then parents should keep sending them to school as these environments continue to be safe and the best place for students to continue their learning.
Good hygiene practices and coughing etiquette
- wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and dry thoroughly. This should be done before and after eating or preparing food and after going to the toilet
- avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
- cough or sneeze into your elbow or by covering your mouth and nose with tissues. Put used tissues in the bin or a bag immediately
- get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals to ensure a healthy immune system
- stay home if you are feeling unwell and avoid large gatherings and events
The Ministry of Education has a lot of good information here on COVID-19, including information in different languages.
The Ministry of Health provides updates, information and advice here.
A video from Nanogirl here explains what coronavirus is in very simple terms. Recommended.