Ministry of Education update on coronavirus, COVID-19

The Ministry of Education has provided all schools with an information update which is the base of this communication.

8 March 2020

Kia ora whānau

Many of us will be aware that three of the four cases of COVID-19 confirmed in New Zealand have had links to four school communities. While none of these schools is connected with our school and our wider community, the Ministry of Education has provided all schools with an information update which is the base of this communication.

The Auckland Regional Public Health Service has reported that the children in the affected families in self-isolation are not showing any symptoms of COVID-19 and are doing well. Because the children continue to not show any symptoms, they were not infectious when they were at their schools and the Ministry of Health is confident there is no risk for the students and staff in those schools. (And repeating, these schools are not in our community.)

Research published by the World Health Organisation states that children and young people under 18 account for only 2.4% of all reported cases of COVID-19. This means we are unlikely to see widespread cases in schools and early learning services in New Zealand.

The Ministry of Health’s current advice is that with continued vigilance, the chance of widespread community outbreak is expected to remain low. So we all have a role here to minimise the spread of COVID-19.

The Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health and regional health authorities are all working together in this area. The Ministry of Education is regularly communicating nationally with all schools and more directly with specific schools when necessary.

What everyone can do, and be should be doing, is preventing the risk of infection. The best preventative steps are:

  • wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
    and dry thoroughly
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • avoid sharing anything that has come in contact with saliva,
    whether in your living or social environments
  • stay home when you are sick and seek medical attention
  • cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in
    the rubbish
  • get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals to ensure a healthy
    immune system

If you want to know more about COVID-19 please make sure that any reading you are doing is from a reliable source as there is factually wrong information being spread through social media. The Ministry of Health is the best source of information for New Zealand and they update this information regularly:

A reminder that anyone who is ill should not be attending school.

The COVID-19 symptoms are a fever, coughing and difficulty breathing. If anyone has these symptoms and has recently been to a country or area of concern, or have been in close contact with someone confirmed with COVID-19, please encourage them to contact Healthline (for free) on 0800 358 5453 (or +64 9 358 5453 for international SIMs) or their doctor immediately.

Ngā mihi

Richard Edmundson