Dear Parents. Caregivers & Whānau
We are receiving regular updates from the Ministry of Education on the Coronavirus situation.
I’m sharing today’s update which describes the situation and provides some helpful links.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has now classified COVID-19 as a pandemic. WHO Director-General, when announcing this decision, noted “describing the situation as a pandemic does not change WHO’s assessment of the threat posed by this virus. It doesn’t change what WHO is doing, and it doesn’t change what countries should do”.
The Minister of Health clearly reinforced this message stating this doesn’t change anything for New Zealand. He noted that our Director-General of Health has been saying since January that COVID-19 is pandemic-like in all but name, and we have been working on that basis.
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, have all been put in place to minimise risk to those in New Zealand. 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.
While we have 5 confirmed cases in New Zealand, it is expected we will have more. However the Ministry of Health says that, with continued vigilance, the chance of widespread community outbreak is expected to remain low in New Zealand. This has not changed because of the reclassification to pandemic status. We all have a role to play in this.
A reminder about handwashing and good hygiene as well as ensuring people who are sick don’t come to school. It is also important for adults to be sensible about physical distance.
You will appreciate the importance of giving children factual, age-appropriate information about COVID-19 so that they can feel informed and in control. The guidance will support parents to have those conversations – Talking to children about coronavirus - https://education.govt.nz/school/health-safety-and-wellbeing/pastoral-care-and-wellbeing/talking-to-children-about-covid-19-coronavirus/) – (copy and paste)
Included in the message were some helpful clips you could share with your whānau, the first one is simple and aimed at children but our students would appreciate its message (4 mins) -
YouTube clip - Nanogirl - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPsY-jLqaXM (we will share this at school too)
This second clip is of the Prime Minister talking about coronavirus with health experts (18 mins), and is also very good - Read and watch on the Newshub website - https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2020/03/watch-health-experts-join-jacinda-ardern-to-dispel-some-coronavirus-covid-19-myths.html
We have our Pandemic Plan ready to be implemented if needed. In the meantime if your children are unwell and show any of the following symptoms:
Please keep them at home. New information will be shared as it becomes available.
God’s blessings on your family.