This is why you should send your child to school in Level 2
14 May 2020
Well done to all of us. We've stayed in our bubbles and kept it local for all of Level 4 and Level 3 lockdown, and we haven't reported a case of Covid 19 in Wellington for over a month.
It's the first day of Level 2 today, and it's another lovely autumn day in the greatest little capital in the world. There is nothing like a touch of sunshine for positivity and hope.
After the tragic impact of Covid 19 in NZ and around the world we need to know that there is hope and that things won't get worse. While many of you will be looking forward to your children getting back to school I know that some will be worried about this. It's understandable that children and parents may feel nervous about coming back to school and that you might be concerned about safety.
I too have worried about how safe it is to open up schools again and because of this have searched out evidence for the assurances that we've received that it is safe to be at school. I've found that numerous paediatricians and doctors have tweeted, posted and been reported outlining why it is safe for children to go to school. They quote a growing number of studies (most not yet peer reviewed) from around the world. I feel very satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to support schools opening again from Monday 18 May given that a number of conditions are met. These conditions include the limitations on who can enter our classrooms, hygiene and physical distancing measures that we'll be applying, but most importantly the low number of cases across New Zealand and in particular the Wellington region and the apparent absence of community transmission.
I encourage parents to allow their children to attend school from Monday 18 May, not simply because it is safe to do so, but because it is important that they are here to be part of the transition into school with their peers. We know that after a traumatic incident or period of time, that it is important to carefully manage children's return to school. During Level 2 we will not be jumping back to the "normal" of school that we operated in during Term 1. While there will be enough recognisable familiarity for children to 'relax in the known', teachers will be working to make school fun and fabulous. They will be using the research proven activities from Te Rito Toi to help children work through their experiences in relaxed and non-confrontational ways. Teachers will be taking children outside for games and spending time doing art activities. They will spend time talking with children and providing opportunities for children to reconnect with their peers and with learning. We are calling this our Resilience and Recovery Programme. To benefit from it, your child needs to be here.
Transitioning into school again is something that all of our children need to do. You may not feel quite ready for this yet, but putting it off may make it harder for your child. If they come back to school a week or more after their peers, they may find that everyone else has already moved on and apart from missing out on some fun stuff, they may also have missed the opportunity to work through their experiences with their friends.
If you have specific concerns about your child coming back to school, please get in touch with me or with Sarah Taylor our Deputy Principal to discuss these. If your child is not going to be at school on Monday for any reason, remember to let us know.
Please read our Alert level 2 procedures to find out how we will be operating over the next 2 weeks. Note that we'll continue to add detail and refine these procedures or make changes as required.