COVID-19 Information & Updates
Thank you for your ongoing support as we deal with the rapidly evolving situation with COVID-19.
We continue to receive advice and guidance from the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health and we are continually evaluating what we are doing in the light of this information. We will update this page as further information comes to hand.
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.