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
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)
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.
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.
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.
St Mary's Tauranga