25 March

Extraordinary measures for an extraordinary time. Thank you to our community as we were required to quickly transition to being closed and in self-isolation.

School will close from midnight on Wednesday 25 March for four weeks. New Zealanders who are outside of essential services must stay at home and stop all interactions with others outside of those in your households.  Student wifi has been switched off at school and we have been told to close our playground. School holidays will start early, from 30 March to 14 April inclusive. 

The preparation we had done prior to closure has enabled teachers to be well placed to provide distance learning. It is important to note that teachers focus will be on providing regular periods of learning in order to keep students engaged in a learning routine, rather than replicate a normal curriculum.  These activities will support student wellbeing by enabling students to continue to feel part of a community of learners. Over the holiday period teachers will not be updating the distance learning work but will be preparing for distance learning for the weeks that follow.
 Student Distance Learning Guidelines for Emerge…

Our senior students may be concerned how the closure of the school will affect their NCEA assessments. The nature of NCEA is that there is a range of options available to assess work. Teachers will use this flexibility as is needed and there are options available should the self-isolation need to continue beyond the current four weeks. NZQA is working with schools to provide support to generate grades derived from a student’s learning programme.

Check school website for updates. 
Wellbeing and Digital SafetyThis current climate means that we will all be spending more time online. The digital world offers plenty of exciting opportunities for learning as well as connecting with others. We also know that our young people regularly encounter challenges online, such as social exclusion, bullying, inappropriate behaviour and pornography. 

It is so important that we remember that the Prime Minister’s message, We will get through this together, but only if we stick together. Be strong and be kind”,  also extends to our online spaces.

Let’s work together to provide a safe and enjoyable online learning environment for all our young people. And remember that, if you need help, our pastoral deans and school counsellors, Mrs Louise Hamilton (lh@darfield.school.nz) and Ms Jayne Mallinder (ma@darfield.school.nz) are here to support us via email and google hangouts. You can also report online harm to Netsafe

Digital Safety

To support our students, it is important they are reminded about our DHS digital citizenship agreement which supports them in being safe online.

  • Avoiding conversations that are unkind, mean or bullying
  • Checking that the information you use is correct. Checking that the research is correct by using reliable sites. When in doubt, asking your teacher or your parents.
  • Building positive relationships by not sending hurtful or inflammatory messages to other people, or forwarding messages that are unkind or inappropriate.

 Well-being

Lastly, we can support our young people by ensuring they do the following:

  • Have a shower and get up at the normal time for school. This will wake you up and get you ready for the day.
  • Get some fresh air and sunlight, even for 10 minutes, as this will benefit your overall well-being.
  • Make good choices online.
  • One device at a time. 
  • Stay connected; a video call to a friend will help you through the isolation period.
  • If you have space, set up a designated area to set up your school work. Then you can settle into your work without distractions.
  • Balance your time spent on devices. Make sure you get some fresh air and do something fun with your family. 
  • Put your health and your family first.

Be Calm, Stay safe and Be Kind!

Ngā mihi nui

Monday 23 March 6pm

The COVID-19 response has continued to move rapidly with schools being required to close for most students from tomorrow (Tuesday). We are all required to be self isolating where possible from now.
Government Update
New Zealanders who are outside of essential services must stay at home and stop all interactions with others ousider of those in your households.  

From Tuesday 24 March, early learning services, schools and kura will be closed for most students. Children whose parents are essential workers will be able to attend early learning services or school on 24 and 25 March, while their parents make other arrangements.  Early learning services, schools, kura and tertiary education providers will then close from midnight on Wednesday 25 March for four weeks. Distance education will be provided where possible. School holidays will start early, from 30 March to 14 April inclusive. During the holiday break, we will support schools to develop e-learning and other distance learning options for Term 2.

Tuesday 24 March and Wednesday 25 March at Darfield High School
Buses will run and school will be open for supervision for children of essential services workers only. If you work in essential services and you require you child to be supervised over the next two days please respond to this quick survey

We will be endeavouring to be provide online learning where we can until this Friday (27 March) when ‘holidays’ will begin. Not all subjects will be available from Tuesday. Guidelines for how this will work are at Student Distance Learning Guidelines for Emerge…
Check school website for updates. 
RegardsJames Morris  

Monday 23 March

Dear Parents and Caregivers 

We are facing a rapidly evolving situation nationally and the school wishes to keep you all informed with regular updates. 

The school will be using its website as the official source of any information impacting on the staff and students under our care. There will be a dedicated section accessed via the front page of the website which will be updated as needed. Please use this for your information and not other sources of social media.

Information regarding COVID-19 is being regularly updated. Go to https://covid19.govt.nz/ for the most up-to-date general information.

We are under the direction and mandates of the Ministries of Education and Health and we are expecting and preparing for any changes that will come from them. At this stage, they are saying that school is open and students are expected to attend.

Current guidelines are that students should be at school unless they are unwell, at risk or have been required to self-isolate through having been overseas or in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case. Teachers will try to provide some distance learning opportunities for students who are required to remain at home. Initially, this will be via the students’ email; however, it will be via google classroom if the school closes. There will be more information coming to you if we are put in the situation of having to offer alternative teaching and learning tools.

At risk groups are specified at https://covid19.govt.nz/government-actions/covid-19-alert-system/

A number of staff and students meet the ‘at risk’ definition and so will be working from home. Medical Certificates are not required.

School is open but will be closed if directed to. This will occur if there is a direct case confirmed at the school or NZ is placed at alert level 4.

If the school is unable to adequately staff the school, then a partial closure may be required with some year levels learning from home.

NCEA

It is understandable that parents, staff and students are anxious about what impact this will have on the NCEA years. Advice has been received over the weekend regarding managing NCEA assessments. We will continue to share any information with you about NCEA qualifications: https://www.nzqa.govt.nz/about-us/news/covid-19-guidance-for-school-assessment/

We have a Pandemic Management Group that meets regularly to consider updated information, communication required, and actions to be taken.

  • School trips will be further reviewed in light of recent advice to limit non-essential travel.
  • The school bus service is currently operating as per normal but this may change if staff become unavailable.
  • A reminder for any student who has been overseas within the last 14 days to be self-isolating.
  • Our visiting Thai group travelled home over the weekend.

And another reminder please to use the Darfield High School website front page to stay abreast of developments and to receive the accurate facts about our evolving situation.

Also reminding us all to be kind and stay connected in any way we can with each other.

With best wishes. Kia kaha

James Morris

Principal

Friday 20 March

Dear Parents and Students

With so much information and misinformation swirling around about COVID-19, we wanted to share with you what will happen if we were to have a case in our school community. We have been planning for this and are in a position to respond quickly.

  • As soon as a case is confirmed in our immediate school community (eg. a student, staff member, or member of their household), the Medical Officer of Health and Ministry of Education will inform me about this, and we will work together to get quick and clear messaging out to you
  • If there was a case confirmed of someone in our school, we will likely be asked to close temporarily by the Medical Officer of Health. This will allow time for close contacts to be traced, appropriate testing to be undertaken, and a careful clean of the school to be undertaken.
  • If our school does need to close temporarily, we have a plan in place to support student’s learning.

We know COVID-19 feels scary and of course people are concerned for the wellbeing of our children. Good hygiene is a priority and we are reinforcing this regularly with all students and staff. We know that practicing good hygiene is still the best thing we can all do to prevent illness.

We are getting the most up to date advice and guidance so that we can make informed decisions about the safety and wellbeing of our school community.    
We have decided to cancel the parent/teacher interview evening that was scheduled for Thursday 26 March. Please email teachers directly if there are any matters you would like to discuss with them. 

All interschool sport and cultural events have been cancelled or postponed at this stage. We will be considering any scheduled class trips on a case by case basis to determine if they can take place safely. 


Regards

James Morris