LCŌ AND Ministry of Education update #6 on coronavirus, COVID-19

A further Ministry of Education and LCŌ information update

Kia ora koutou. Talofa. Kia Orana. Malo e lelei. Bula. Fakaalofa atu. Namaste and Kumusta. Greetings to our LCŌ Community.

Yesterday afternoon (Saturday) the Prime Minister announced significant information that I am sharing with all the community in case you have not seen it through other channels.  

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/120465788/live-prime-minister-jacinda-ardern-addresses-the-nation-on-coronavirus-in-new-zealand

Today there was a further important announcement about the alert system.  The following information on this system comes from the central COVID-19 government website – https://covid19.govt.nz/


Alert system

https://covid19.govt.nz/government-actions/covid-19-alert-system/ has the 4 level alert system. We are level 2.

The level 2 measures are:

  • New Zealand’s borders are closed to almost all travellers

  • there are restrictions on mass gatherings and events.

  • physical distancing on public transport (e.g. stay at least one metre away from other passengers and leave the seat next to you empty if you can)

  • limit non-essential travel around New Zealand, which means cutting non-essential domestic travel to help us track and contain any spread of COVID-19 – every unnecessary movement gives COVID-19 a chance to spread

  • employers start alternative ways of working if possible (e.g. remote working, shift-based working, physical distancing within the workplace, staggering meal breaks, flexible leave arrangements) and business continuity plans are activated(external link)

  • people over 70 years of age, people who have compromised immunity, or people who have underlying respiratory conditions stay at home as much as they can

  • schools will be closed if there is a case that affects a school.


Buses and physical distancing

We have students who catch the bus from Aldwins Rd to LCŌ  and return. We are in contact with the bus company about physical distancing.

I have had recent reports of a few students on the bus deliberately try to stir up and unsettle other students about COVID-19. This sort of behaviour will not be tolerated. Students who deliberately act in disrespectful ways will be removed from the bus and not allowed to use it again until they have satisfied both their family and me that they will use public transport sensibly. There is enough going on with this sort of silly nonsense.


At risk people

The following is from the “at risk people” link on https://covid19.govt.nz/government-actions/covid-19-alert-system/

People over 70 years of age, people who have compromised immunity or people who have underlying respiratory conditions should stay at home as much as they can.

At risk people include:

  • Those over 70: Older people often have underlying health issues, including respiratory issues that make them more vulnerable to COVID-19.

  • People with medical conditions: Underlying medical conditions can make you more vulnerable to COVID-19. In particular, people with respiratory conditions, such as COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), heart conditions, high blood pressure, kidney problems and diabetes.

  • People undergoing a treatment for cancer and blood conditions: As treatments for cancer and blood conditions affect people’s immune systems, this makes them more vulnerable to COVID-19.

  • Pregnant women: Health experts do not yet know if pregnant women are impacted by COVID-19 in the same way as other people. However, pregnant women experience changes in their bodies that may increase their risk from some infections.

  • People without easy access to healthcare

We already have a number of families very sensibly choosing to keep their child at home as they have underlying health issues that heighten their risk to the virus. The BOT and I fully support the families doing this and urge other families in the same situation to do the same. If this is the right thing for your child, please contact the office to inform us of this.

Sometimes health advice on how to make this decision can be very reassuring.

  • For COVID-19 health advice and information please contact the Healthline team (for free) on 0800 358 5453
  • For non-coronavirus health concerns, Healthline’s main number is still the one to call for non-coronavirus health concerns – 0800 611 116

Whichever number you call, you will get professional health advice and information.


Why and when would a school close?

Repeating information from the Update #5:

In the media there is a lot of discussion about school closures with many varying opinions being expressed and some misinformation.

Medical Officers of Health have the authority to close a school. They would only do so if there was a medical reason to do this.

If a school were to have a case in its school community the Ministries of Health and Education have the capability to act quickly.

  • If a case is confirmed in the immediate school community (eg. a student, staff member, or member of their household), the Medical Officer of Health and Ministry of Education informs the principal and together the parties inform the community, quickly and clearly.
  • If a case is confirmed of someone in a school, it is likely that the school will be closed temporarily by the Medical Officer of Health. This is allow time for close contacts to be traced, appropriate testing to be undertaken, and a careful clean of the school to be undertaken.


The future?

Like everyone we are hoping for the best but preparing for all eventualities. It is possible that LCŌ may be closed for reasons outlined above or partial closures because of, for example, a shortage of staff. Of course we all hope that none of these sort of actions become necessary but it is important that I am honest and frank with everyone that anything is a possibility. To that end the school is working through the various online-learning opportunities. I am very proud to be part of our school with the dedicated professionalism of our staff and BOT, the expert assistance of our MOE liaison staff and support agencies and the resiliency of our students – your children.

This afternoon my sister and I were ensuring that my 88 year old mother has what she needs in her independent townhouse in her retirement village as, sensibly, from 5pm today only “essential” visits are allowed. My sister and I have been regularly communicating with our “big sister” (the boss) who lives in Waipukurau. I tell this little story as similar things are happening up and down Aotearoa-New Zealand and all around the world.  He waka eke noa: We are all in this together.

I will put out another communication either immediately if there is a further update or within the next 2-3 days.

Ngā mihi

Richard Edmundson

Tumuaki-Principal