Term 2 Sports Registrations

Hello to our fabulous St Mary's Community,
 
Welcome back to school everybody! Hope you have all had a great week so far, and life is feeling a little bit more normal for you all. 
 
Over the past few weeks, there has been all sorts of information being sent through from the various sporting codes, along with regular updates from Sport Bay of Plenty. 
 
I am now pleased to say that we have been given dates around when the three sports that St Mary's are participating in this term, Hockey, Netball and Basketball, are kicking off. (or passing off haha!)
  • Netball - 17th/18th July (Last weekend of school holidays), and will go for 10 weeks
  • Basketball - Start 8th June (Very soon!) and still awaiting an end date
  • Hockey - Start 13 June - still awaiting end date but expecting end of September/middle of October. 
There are still a few last minute bits and bobs coming out daily, including pricing for the seasons, so I will make sure you are all informed as soon as I know.
 
I also wanted to give everyone another week to put their child's name forward for one of these sports. Please let me know your child's name, year level and which sport they would like to play and I will make sure everyone is in a team. 
It would be awesome to have as many students as we can, playing some sort of sport this term. We already have had a great response, and with all that has gone on lately, will be a perfect opportunity for our kids to get out amongst it and enjoy either a new sport they haven't tried before, or to get more experience in a sport they know and love.
 
Please email me on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., with any further registrations.
 
The Sports Co-ordinator's around our area of the Bay are all working together to come up with some awesome opportunities for the kids this year. So watch this space!
 
Look forward to meeting you all at various times over the coming weeks and if anyone has any other queries, please feel free to email me at any time.
 
Kind Regards,
 
Rachel Parry
SPORTS CO-ORDINATOR
ST MARY'S CATHOLIC SCHOOL, TAURANGA

COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) update 22 March 2020

Good afternoon St Marys Community,

I do hope everyone has been able to have some quality time together and also take some time to share some prayers for our community and the World. I am emailing you to let you know what is happening this week and to follow on from some of the latest updates.

I say again, these are unprecedented times and this is when family sticks together. Now more than ever we must protect our own families and those in this community which we serve. We are going to need to limit the number of people we have entering our school and limit the number of meetings we have inside and outside of school. We will do our best to support our community in adhering to the latest Government requirements. We are going to stop extra-curricular activities that happen and we have asked our volunteers to stay away currently so we can make assurances we are following the Government's advice.

Yesterday,  came the announcement that New Zealand has moved to Alert Level 2 – Reduce Contact for COVID-19, people over 70 years of age and those with compromised immunity and certain existing medical conditions are asked to remain at home as much as they can from now on and avoid any non-essential travel.

Staff, children and young people in schools and early learning services are therefore asked to follow this advice.

I ask that any unwell students or those with flu-like symptoms remain at home until 100% recovered. This includes students who are going through mandatory self-isolation. These students are marked on the role as a justified absence.

I understand that some parents or caregivers may keep their children away from school. Please remember that school is still a very safe place for children and only those children or families affected by the guidelines should stay at home.

Here are actions that are to be in place from tomorrow as a school until further notice:

  • All staff who are able to be onsite will be operating, however, all staff will remain on-site and no external meetings will occur.
  • A strict limit on visitors to the school,  who must sign in to the office before entering a classroom, signing in at the office, and give confirmation they have no signs or symptoms of any sickness
  • No volunteers on site until further notice
  • We need to be mindful of our Grandparents who are over the age of 70 and keep them safe by not entering classrooms.
  • If any staff member/ child is sick with any illness, even mild-moderate, they must call in sick and stay at home
  • All children and staff members who have compromised immune systems, severe asthmatics, diabetes, liver disease, cancer, kidney disease, heart disease or diabetes should not come to school

Self Isolation.

For self-isolation, as much as possible you should limit your contact with people other than the family members/companions you travelled with. You should avoid having visitors to your home but it is OK for people to drop off food/supplies. If you are in a home where others who live with you haven’t travelled, you should minimise close contact by avoiding situations where you have face-to-face contact closer than 2 metres for more than 15 minutes. You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, pillows or other items with other people in your home. After using these items, you should wash them. Contact Healthline if you begin to feel unwell (0800 358 5453) 

School Cleaning.

We have been in contact with our school cleaners to confirm their product is effective in killing bacteria, viruses and pathogens. We have also asked that areas with high volumes of touch, eg door handles, are a special focus for our cleaners. 

School Closures. 

The Ministry of Education has sought further information from us and all schools across New Zealand on our preparedness for providing online learning should closure be necessary. As a school, we are currently preparing for this as a precaution. This is the Ministry of Education advice we received recently about potential school closure: "The most likely scenario is if a student or staff member is confirmed with COVID-19, [the Ministry of] Health may require a school to close for a day or two, to undertake tracking and tracing of close contacts. A reminder that close contact is generally described as someone who was in near proximity (1.5 meters) of a person confirmed with the virus for 15 or more minutes. For those with compromised immunity that is 2 metres."

Please be aware that we also have our scheduled Teacher Only Day this Friday, March 27th.

 

PARISH INFORMATION:

Following on from the Government restrictions for COVID-19 the Parish 2020 Sacramental Programme lessons have been suspended until further notice.

We will keep you all informed the moment anything changes. 

We ask that you endeavour to remain connected to the life of the Parish through the following:

  • Parish App (this is free to download from the App store)
  • Parish Facebook page
  • Parish website 

Please continue to pray together as a family, you will be able to access some resources that may help via the Parish Facebook page or Parish App. 

As we work through this situation we will keep you informed along the way as best we are able. Thank you. 

God's blessings and stay well

O Mary, you shine continuously on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope. We entrust ourselves to you. The health of the sick.

At the foot of the Cross, you participated in Jesus’ pain, with steadfast faith. You, Salvation of the Roman People, know what we need. We are certain that you will provide, so that, as you did at Cana of Galilee, joy and feasting might return after this moment of trial.

Help us, Mother of Divine Love, to conform ourselves to the Father’s will and to do what Jesus tells us: He who took our sufferings upon Himself, and bore our sorrows to bring us, through the Cross, to the joy of the Resurrection. Amen

We seek refuge under your protection, O Holy Mother of God. Do not despise our pleas – we who are put to the test – and deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin.

Pope Francis

 

James Murray

Principal

St Mary's Tauranga

COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) update 20 March 2020

Kia ora koutou

With so much information and misinformation swirling around about COVID-19, I wanted to share with you what will happen if we were to have a case in our school community.

We received some of these updates last tonight from the MOE.

We have been planning for different actions and we are in a position to respond quickly should we be asked to.

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. Most likely a text message via our school student management system or via email.

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 will have a plan in place to support student’s learning at home. The government is also working to support this. Some of you will have seen this in the news.

We know COVID-19 feels scary and of course people are concerned for the wellbeing of our children. Please be assured that with no case confirmed in our school, your children are safe here and we are trying to take all of the practical steps we can for both your children and our staff.

Good hygiene is a priority at school, 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 from the MOE so that we can confidently make informed decisions about the safety and wellbeing of our school community.

Stay strong and together we will get through this.

Kia Kaha
James Murray

COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) update 19 March 2020

Kia ora e te whanau,

Further to recent correspondence yesterday, I am writing to you in regards to this ever-evolving Coronavirus (COVOID19) situation. I want to reassure our community that our pandemic planning is thorough and our communication with our BOT, Aquinas College and St Thomas More is collaborative and responsive.

To aid future communication we will use our website and Facebook and please make sure your contact details are up to date. Please email Theresa and Karen in the office if you have any changes.

We are continuing to make our decisions based upon information from the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education. We have been asked to review and reflect on how we promote physical distancing in our environment and the implications for our ability to teach and learn.

The trend in the official advice is increasingly restrictive and we should expect at some stage that this will affect our school.

I can inform you that St Marys is making preparations to provide online learning for your children with tasks that do not always require a device. This strategy is required in case of illness, self-isolation or school closure.

To remain clear St Marys is still open and will remain so until advised by either the Ministry of Health and/or Education.

Cancellations

Although we are continuing to carry on with as much as possible, the escalation of the situation means we are having to postpone and cancel many current and upcoming events.

Our decisions are made in the best interests of keeping our children and staff safe. We understand that these cancellations, postponements are disappointing to our students and families and we thank you for your support during this time. We have a strong mandate from Sport New Zealand and the local associations to cancel many of our sports for the rest of Term 1. This has already happened in some instances. We have now made the decision to withdraw our Volleyball, Waterpolo, and Flippa Ball teams immediately from their current competitions. This includes all practices with these sports.

This was also alongside a number of other sports doing the same yesterday. This has already been communicated to the associations and the families concerned. This is to align our thinking with Sport NZ and our sister school Aquinas College. 
All swimming at school will cease. We have taken precautions around Huis and Liturgies as stated in yesterday’s communication.

The snorkeling for Yrs 5& 6 has just been canceled as we have taken medical advice and the sharing of equipment at this stage would not be sufficiently cleaned for sharing.

Seek Medical Advice

If you or a family member becomes unwell, the Ministry of Health recommends a conservative approach in terms of limiting contact with others and you should seek medical advice from your GP and contact MoH Healthline 0800 358 5453.

https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus

https://covid19.govt.nz/

Prayer in this time of Crisis:

Almighty and merciful God
Lover of the human race, healer of all our wounds
In whom there is no shadow of death
Save us in this time of crisis;
Grant wisdom and courage to our leaders;
Watch over all medical people
As they tend the sick and work for a cure;
Stir in us a sense of solidarity beyond isolation;
If our doors closed let our hearts be open
By the power of your love destroy the virus of fear, that hope may never die
And the light of Easter, the triumph of life,
May shine upon us and the whole world.
Through Jesus Christ, the Lord has risen from the dead,
Who lives and reigns forever and ever.

Amen
Holy Mary, the health of the sick, pray for us


St Joseph, the guardian of us all, pray for us.
We certainly acknowledge the challenges and anxiety created by the rate of change. At this time please remember and take the time to pray for others.

Kia Ora
James Murray
Principal

COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) update 18 March 2020

How quickly the world can change. The evolving situation with COVID-19 is on everyone’s minds, and I want to assure our school community that we are taking all practical precautions and responding to the latest advice. The Ministry of Education is communicating daily with Principals and our decision making is guided by them. At St Mary’s we have implemented extra hygiene measures for students and ensured that our cleaning protocols are thorough and responsive to the situation. 

I’m sure that you can appreciate the challenges that schools face at the moment in prioritising the health and wellbeing of all students and staff. We need your support please. We have students/staff at school who are immunocompromised. This means that they have medical conditions which significantly weaken their immune systems, so if they get sick it can be very serious. Please, now more than ever before, keep your own children home if they are unwell, so that we can keep our school a healthy environment. Please make sure your contact details are up to date at the school office, and respond quickly to calls from the school, as students will need to go home if they are unwell.

There are many events being postponed or cancelled at the moment in the interest of public health. We appreciate your understanding around this, and we are all doing our best to help students deal with their disappointment. In classrooms, students are obviously talking about coronavirus, and we do our best to lessen their fear and give them accurate, age appropriate information. There is good information about how to talk to children about coronavirus on Education.govt - talking to children about coronavirus, and the Ministry of Health has this advice:

Taking care of children

There may be children or young people in your life who experience distress. As a trusted adult, you can help reassure and educate them about COVID-19 – it can be good to talk to them now, so they can understand the illness and be reassured. If you feel the child or young person is getting distressed through this conversation, reassure them and end it.

Children react to stress differently than adults – they may withdraw or behave in a more ‘babyish’ way, seem anxious or clingy, be preoccupied with illness in their play or drawing, have problems sleeping or nightmares, or may get physical symptoms such as stomach aches or headaches. Here are some tips for supporting children and young people:

  • Reassure them they are safe.
  • Encourage them to talk about how they feel.
  • Tell them they can ask questions and answer these in plain language appropriate to their age – be honest, but avoid details which may distress or cause anxiety.
  • Tell them that feeling upset or afraid is normal, that it’s good to talk about it and that they’ll feel better soon.
  • Be understanding – they may have problems sleeping, throw tantrums or wet the bed – be patient and reassuring if this happens. With support and care, it will pass.
  • Give your children extra love and attention.
  • Remember that children look to their parents to feel safe and to know how to respond – reassure them, share that you are upset too but that you know you will all be fine together.
  • Try to keep to normal routines – mealtimes, bedtimes etc. – allow them to get out and play, to go to the park etc.

While the pandemic is ongoing, St Mary’s will continue to give regular updates. The main communication channels will be emails to parents via HERO (so make sure we have your current email address), via facebook and links on our school app, and there is also a section on the frontpage of our website for school related COVID-19 links and updates. Please be aware that we will continue to use our facebook page as many parents find this easy to access, but we ask that you don’t use this social media platform to direct questions back to the school - please come and talk to us if you have concerns or questions. 

We will not be celebrating St Joseph's day Mass at St Mary Immaculate this Thursday at 9.30am. This is a precautionary measure in conjunction with the BOT and Parish. The classrooms will share some information around St Joseph to celebrate the occasion. Celebration Hui will be conducted in classrooms this week as well. No Monday Liturgy 23rd March as Whanau Vincent will be sharing their reflections through slides which classes will share. As things happen we will continue to update our community.

 

COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) update 13 March 2020

Kia ora koutou

You may have seen that the World Health Organisation has now declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic. As noted by the Minister of Health, this doesn’t change what New Zealand is doing to respond to coronavirus.

The Ministry of Health has been working through its pandemic plan since January. You will also know the Government has already implemented a range of measures to minimise the impacts to New Zealand. This includes border restrictions, a requirement to self-isolate on arrival in New Zealand from China, Iran, Italy and the Republic of Korea and immediate and detailed contact tracing of any confirmed cases. It is important to note that those four countries account for more than 90% of cases globally and China and the Republic of Korea have significantly declining numbers of new cases.

We have 5 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand and it is pleasing to know they are all doing well and are at home.  Their children, four students at Auckland schools, continue to be well and show no symptoms. While we expect that more cases will arise, the Ministry of Health says that with continued vigilance the chance of widespread community outbreak is expected to remain low in New Zealand. We all have a role to play in this.

For our school, our pandemic plan is also ready to be implemented if needed. In the meantime we will continue to focus on good hygiene practices. Hand washing and good cough etiquette are very important tools in preventing the spread of illness including colds, flu and COVID-19.

With that, there is a good video clip from Nanogirl that will help your children to better understand the virus - YouTube clip - Nanogirl

You may have also seen the Prime Minister sat down with Dr Michelle Dickinson (aka Nanogirl) and the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor, Juliet Gerrard, to talk about coronavirus:

One other action we can all take is to be vigilant about our own health and the health of our children. I will be encouraging my staff to stay away from school if they are showing signs of illness such as coughs and colds. I ask that you please do the same with your children. Colds and flus are common in schools and by staying away, seeking medical attention and practicing good hygiene, we can all keep any spread of illness to a minimum.

 

Ngā mihi

James Murray

PRINCIPAL