Returning to school in Red Light

Dear Parents and Whanau

We hope it has been a wonderful summer for you and your whanau despite the worry and anxious times that Covid brings.

This isn’t the start to 2022 any of us wanted. Whilst we had been preparing to return to school at Orange, we now face opening under the Red Traffic Light setting.  In the Red Traffic Light setting schools are open. We know from the experience of schools overseas that staffing will be the greatest challenge in the event staff are infected with Covid. There is a very limited supply of relievers who will be in high demand. 

The staff are getting very good at being agile under these circumstances and are ready to go for the 2022 school year. We can’t wait to welcome everyone back onsite.

What teaching and learning will look like.
As long as school is open lessons will be delivered face to face. However, there will be digital or hard copies of activities planned by your child’s teacher available if your child is unable to be onsite. Email the teacher directly if you require this option. For any other enquiries if the teacher is unavailable contact the team leader or a member of the senior team. 

From previous experience we know that circumstances can quickly change and if they do we are ready to move into online teaching and learning.

Events and activities
Large gatherings especially when indoors continue to be a high risk activity. We have therefore reviewed all our events and activities for the upcoming term to ensure we meet the health guidance for Red. Our local cluster of schools have cancelled all interschool sports and activities for Term 1. We will be sending more information as the term progresses regarding different events and activities.

We have used the Ministry of Education self-assessment tool to review all our ventilation in readiness for the start of the year. Providing good old fashioned fresh air remains the most important thing we can do in our learning spaces to minimise risk for ākonga and kaiako (and the same goes for you at home). We will also be receiving a CO2 monitor in the coming weeks to further support our ventilation plan.  

Masks increase protection
There is strong evidence that the correct use of masks decreases the risk of Omicron transmission, and that some types of masks are more effective than others in decreasing risk. The Government has therefore strengthened the requirements and recommendations for use of masks.

Whenever masks are required to be worn (for example, by Year 4-6 students when indoors at school, at supermarkets, retails stores, cafes, public transport, school transport) they must be the type that attaches to the head either through an ear loop or a head loop.

Bandanas, scarves or t-shirts pulled up over the mouth and nose are no longer acceptable to be used in the settings which require masks to be worn.

For those of you with children who might be reluctant to wear a face covering, there is some helpful advice from Michigan Health.

Safety precautions followed at school
All our usual safety precautions will be in place, which include following all the recommendations from the public health experts.

This means we will regularly clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces, encourage everyone to frequently wash and sanitise their hands, cover their coughs and sneezes, and keep physically distanced from others as much as possible.

Managing cases in our school
We have a good contact tracing system in place so that if there is a confirmed case who has been at school while infectious, we can quickly identify who was a close contact of that person.  We will then quickly advise those contacts of what they need to do.

Only if the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Education advises us to do so, would we consider closing school and moving to distance learning for everyone. At Red we will keep everyone learning onsite for as long as we can.

Please make sure your contact details we have on file are up-to-date, so we can get in touch with you if needed. Contact the office staff if your details have changed. 

Preparing for COVID-19
You can also prepare for COVID-19, making sure you and your household have a plan and know what to do. This will mean your whānau and community can help each other if needed. Find out more here:

Self-isolating at home because of COVID-19
Many people will be able to manage self-isolation with help from friends and whānau, but there is help available if you need it – both with health support and access to food and other essentials.

If you know anyone in our community affected by COVID-19 and who may need help, such as food and other financial assistance, Work and Income has a range of supports available for individuals, families, employers and self-employed people affected by COVID-19.

Work and Income support
The beginning of the year can be a tough time for parents who are faced with many costs and it is important you are aware of what assistance you may be able to get from Work and Income. These are available to people on a low income as well as those on a benefit.

Check what you might get here

Use the links above or call 0800 559 009 to find out more, or to apply.

MoneyTalks can assist with free budgeting and debt help

You can also contact your local community provider. Please find more information here.

Getting ready to return to school
The Ministry of Education has some helpful information on their Parents and Whānau website to support your tamariki to get back to school. There is also a very important reminder about how you can take care of yourself.  

While this might all feel a little overwhelming at times, we know that all these measures will help our children return to school, reconnect with whānau and friends and do what they enjoy.

We are also here to help. Please get in touch with Mrs Margaret Walker (SENCo) – or a member of senior management if you have any concerns or need help in any way. 

We look forward to welcoming back everyone on Tuesday 8th February at 9.00 am.

Sue, Monique and Antonia


Possible questions and answers

Will the school close if there is another Covid case?                                                                   
The classes will not be mixing therefore if a case eventuates it will only affect the class that the child was in at the time unless we do not have enough staff to operate safely.

Are all staff vaccinated? Yes.

Does my child have to be vaccinated to attend school onsite?                                                             
No, it is not mandatory for children to be vaccinated.

Can I drop my child off before 8.30am?
No unless they are enrolled in before school care. There will be staff at the gates from 8.30am and in the afternoons from 2.30pm. 

Can I pick my child(ren) up earlier?                                                                                                     
Yes, please just ring the office and we will arrange to have them at the gate waiting.

Will online learning be available?                                                                                                            
Yes, only if your child is isolating at home or if school is closed.

What should my child bring to school for their day onsite?                                                      
Food, drink bottle, sunhat and a mask (Year 4 up). Your child’s teacher will also let them know if they need to bring anything else. 

What if my child in Year 1, Year 2 or Year 3 wants to wear a mask?                                                  
Any child is welcome to wear a mask.

What if my child is in Year 4, Year 5 or Year 6 and does not want to wear a mask?
Unfortunately, unless they have an official exemption they cannot be at school. 

What if my child suffers from hayfever, will they be sent home due to a runny nose etc?   
No, but please inform your child’s teacher who will let the office staff know. Your child will need to go home if showing one or more of the following and if not hayfever:

  • a new or worsening cough
  • sneezing and runny nose
  • a fever
  • temporary loss of smell or altered sense of taste
  • sore throat
  • shortness of breath

Can parents come onto the school grounds?
We encourage parents to minimise this as far as possible and come in only if it is absolutely necessary. 

Any other questions please email Monique Browne – , Antonia Burton – 

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