Introduction   

This document sets out the key principles and public health requirements for Taradale Intermediate School working under the COVID-19 Protection Framework.  

For the Taradale Intermediate community COVID-19 became a part of our reality near the end of term 1 in 2020 when New Zealand went in to its’ first lockdown. In the course of two days, we managed to ensure all students who had internet connection at home had either their own or a school device to work on and that those students who lived in internet blackspots had hard copy learning programmes. The staff worked together to design meaningful and relevant on-line programmes for our students.  

This was just the beginning. Now, with the 2022 summer holidays over and with Omicron in some parts of the community we are preparing for another pivot. As guided by the by the Ministry of Health [MoH] and Ministry of Education [MoE], we will provide education under the RED setting of the new covid protection framework [CPF]. Our staff are well prepared to deliver face to face learning or should the need arise, learning through distance.  

As we all return to school, Taradale Intermediate School Community will come together again, and by following the public health recommendations we’ll all do our very best to protect each other.  These are tricky times, with a constantly changing situation. Your patience and understanding are appreciated. We are equipped with a greater knowledge of how to run the school safely and we are committed to doing our part to protect our most vulnerable. With this in mind we would like to share this safety plan with you, as we follow public health recommendations.   

As the situation with Omicron evolves, we will be adaptive and update this document. In keeping our children, families and selves safe it will require conscientious effort and this safety plan sets the expectations for how we will move forward together.  

To summarise Dr Ayesha Verrall, Associate Health Minister 27/01/2022: 

  • we have started a new chapter in the fight against COVID-19 

  • we will slow the spread of the virus through our high vaccination rate and high booster rate and through the tools and public health measures we know work 

  • while Omicron is the most transmissible variant of COVID-19 yet, it is markedly less severe than previous variants and for most it will be a mild to moderate illness to manage at home 

  • 31% of all children have already received their first dose or are booked to do so. 

Remember, we’re here to help. If you have any concerns adults please email our SENCo Mr Cole Paige colep@taradaleint.school.nz and students ineedhelp@taradaleint.school.nz which will be picked up by our pastoral care co-ordinator Mrs Jo Woolley. 

Health and Safety Strategies  - Message from the HBDBH Public Health Service 13/05 2022

Taradale Intermediate follows the Ministry of Health guidelines with clear procedures to enable us to operate safely and reduce the spread of Covid-19.

Akonga may experience cold and flu like illnesses that mimic COVID over the winter months.

If a child has had a COVID infection within the previous 90 days and is unwell again it is very unlikely this is a reinfection of COVID. Repeat COVID testing (RAT and PCR) within these 90 days should be discouraged except on medical advice.

If other viral illnesses are more likely, normal advice applies:

  • Stay home if you have a new cough, fever, shortness of breath, wheeziness or an increasingly snotty nose
  • Return to school/ kura/ early learning centre, Te Kohanga Reo when symptoms have resolved. There may be some discretion used for children to return when they have improving and mild symptoms such as a slight cough or runny nose but are otherwise well. If returning with mild and improving symptoms it would be strongly encouraged for the child to wear a mask (if age appropriate)
  • Cough etiquette and hand hygiene to be encouraged
  • Do not re-test within 90 days of previous COVID infection except on medical advice. Please see a GP if you are high risk or becoming more unwell.

However, if the ākonga with relevant COVID symptoms: (include a new or worsening cough, sneezing and runny nose, a fever, sore throat, temporary loss of smell or taste, shortness of breath. For more information go to the Unite Against COVID-19 website)

  1. is at higher risk of severe illness from COVID, then they should stay home and seek advice from their doctor or call Healthline, to assess whether this could be reinfection of not, or
  2. has not had COVID within the previous 90 days, then they should be encouraged to follow normal COVID advice – i.e. isolate and test (see Omicron advice)

Similar advice to the above applies to teachers and other staff members.

Isolation advice for cases and household contacts

Those who are diagnosed with a COVID reinfection must follow standard isolation requirements, as per the MOH website: link: https://www.health.govt.nz/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-health-advice-public/advice-people-covid-19/covid-19-isolating-others

​​​​​​​Only household contacts of COVID cases need to isolate– either initial or reinfection. No contact is required to isolate if they have been a case within the previous 90 days or if they are a household contact who was required to isolate within the previous 10 days.

. The Taradale Intermediate Leadership Team will continue to update the community as we act in response.  

Public Health Measures 

Vaccination   

At this point the best way to protect ourselves and each other from severe infection is to get vaccinated. Parents and caregivers now have the opportunity to protect their tamariki aged 5 - 11 against Covid-19 by being immunised with a paediatric formulation of the  vaccine. We encourage students aged 5-12 and above to get vaccinated. All workers in school, paid and unpaid, have had two doses by 1 January 2022 and, as mandated, are receiving boosters due by 1 March or 183 days after their second dose. Only a small number (less than 100 people in New Zealand) qualify for a vaccine exemption. 

As of Jan 28th, 2022, Hawke’s Bay District Health Board report a 94% double vaccination rate of the eligible (people aged 12+) population. Getting vaccinated is a key step to gain more protection against the virus.   

 

Schedule   

Schools remain open at all levels of the CPF framework ‘traffic light’ system. If there is a case of COVID at Taradale Intermediate we  would contact our regional Director of Education who will provide advice and their team will connect with public health services to seek advice on next steps for our school.   

Teachers will be teaching face to face at this stage and won't be offering remote learning. However, if you haven’t already, and your child has high and complex health needs please contact our school’s Special Education Needs Co-ordinator Mr Cole Paige colep@taradaleint.school.nz to discuss learning and support options. 

Protecting Our Vulnerable   

Children with complex medical needs   

RED Setting 

Seek advice from health professional and work with the school to develop a plan to support attendance on site should it be appropriate.  Key Liaison staff: SENco  colep@taradaleint.school.nz  

Visitors 

We would appreciate all visitors to the school to wear a mask on the school grounds as per covid guidelines. This will help keep all involved safe. Learners and staff can choose whether to wear masks as per current school covid guidelines. There is hand sanitiser available in the school office and we would appreciate people maintaining a metre distance from those that they don't know well. 

Masks 

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. Whenever masks are required to be worn (for example, by Year 4-13 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.   We recognise that some adults and children will be exempted from wearing a mask, including those who have a disability or health condition. The person will have an exemption card or a letter from their medical practitioner or disability organisation. The current mandate for Year 4 and above is clear regarding face coverings whilst at school – it must be a mask.  Unless your child has a mask exemption, they are required by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education to wear one while indoors at school.  

  • If your child misplaces their mask, we’ll provide one for them.  
  • Masks are not required outdoors.  

 To help us, go over with your child how to put on and remove their mask correctly. When masks are not being worn, they need to be placed into the paper bag for storage which school will supply.  Please be aware that there will be students and staff who have mask exemptions. 

Stay Home If You Are Sick   

Play it safe. Stay home if you’re feeling unwell even if it is mild. Don’t come to school and keep unwell children home from school.   

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, get a test and remain at home until a negative result is received and they are symptom free for 24 hours.  

Staff will observe children on arrival, checking for symptoms. If a child presents as unwell, arrangements will be made for them to be picked up. 

If a student becomes unwell at school, they will be taken by their teacher to an outdoor area. The school will notify the parents/caregivers to come and pick the child up and discuss where that place will be.   

If a teacher becomes unwell at school they will self-isolate in the sick bay until we can arrange safe transport for them home.  

If a child has been unwell, stay home and get tested. We require them to stay home for at least 24 hours after their symptoms have gone, then they can return to school.  

If a staff member is unwell, follow the advice of your GP or Healthline and notify  robyne@taradaleint.school.nz of the result of a Covid-19 assessment/test.  

Use Basic Hygiene  

Wash Hands

Washing hands has been a good strategy in maintaining a healthy environment.   

  • To promote good practice, we will:  
  • Teach good hand washing technique   
  • Wash your hands with soap and water often (for at least 20 seconds) and dry thoroughly. Use an alcohol-based sanitiser and rub hands together if soap and water is unavailable.  
  • Encourage hand washing before and after eating, and after going to the bathroom - encourage hand washing before and after outdoor play  
  • Each classroom will have hand sanitising stations will be available. 
  • Coughing or sneezing into your elbow or cover your mouth and nose with tissues. Put them in a bin immediately.  
  • Avoid touching your face, including your eyes, nose or mouth.   

Improve Ventilation  

Maintaining good ventilation in schools is recommended at all levels of the COVID-19 Protection Framework. We will be keeping windows and doors open as much as we can to keep fresh air moving through our classrooms as this the fastest and best way to ventilate a space. Classes will be outside whenever this is sensible.   The MoE will be distributing CO2 monitors to all state and state-integrated schools as part of a classroom ventilation self-assessment toolkit. Taradale Intermediate has registered for this programme.  

When required our school has a modern, high spec heat pumps throughout the school.  

Transportation   

With most people living within such a close proximity to school, we expect that in good weather the vast majority of people would come to school by foot, scooter or cycle.  


Public and School Transportation   

  • Mask wearing on school transport will align to public transport requirements  
  • Under red alert levels masks are to be worn on school transport for all from Year 4 upwards.  

Physical Distancing & Groupings   

The risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 increases the closer you are to a person and the longer you are close to that person. The risk is highest in crowded and poorly ventilated indoor spaces, and is lower outside, where there are fewer people, and when you are  further away from others. To avoid infection, follow physical social distancing guidelines – by keeping your distance when outside your home.  

RED Setting  

  • Students will be grouped and keeping a 1-meter distance between groups is in place  
  • Large groups of students will not be brought together indoors  
  • Pickups and drops will occur from the gates  
  • Whenever possible groups will not intermingle. Protocols will be in place for staggered start and finish times.  

E.O.T.C   

With careful planning, education outside the classroom can go ahead at the RED setting. Curriculum related services will be able to be provided under several conditions:

  • staff delivering the service are vaccinated  
  • the activity is in a defined space  

By 4 February we anticipate that public health orders will be in place so that EOTC providers will be able to offer curriculum-related activities/services to a registered school that does not require all children to be vaccinated (even if require this from other users of their facilities). This means the provider will need to meet several conditions, such as: 

  • working with a registered school to deliver curriculum-related activities 

  • the activity is in a defined space (sole use of part or all of a setting/venue for the period the service is provided) 

  • staff delivering the service are vaccinated. 

 The provider will essentially be treated as a school premise while the EOTC activity is taking place.   Guidance is also being developed to support the EOTC provider to meet anticipated legislative requirements. We will provide you with this information as soon as it becomes available.