Coronavirus Update - 19 March 2020

Dear Parents/Caregivers

As a school, we are receiving daily updates about the coronavirus situation. We will keep you informed as more information becomes available. This may be every day or two.

You may be aware a very small number of our students and staff have recently returned to school from overseas. In light of yesterday’s announcement by the Government they will now be in isolation. We also have a staff member being tested for COVID-19.

We have been in touch with the families of the students and thankfully they have informed us there are no signs of any infection. Despite this, they have opted to be in isolation as a precautionary measure.

We will be staying in contact with the families, providing them with support. We trust our wider community will also be mindful of the difficult situation our families and staff are experiencing at this time.

It is understandable that you will have questions about how this could affect your child and we have sought advice from the various agencies. The current advice is that:

"There is no need to self-isolate as a matter of course. There is a need to self-isolate if displaying the symptoms: fever, a cough, high temperature, or shortness of breath." 
"As with any school in New Zealand, if any of our students or staff test positive for COVID-19, the Ministry of Health steps in and advises the school around the process.”

In speaking with officials at the Ministry of Education today, I have been reminded that at this time closing the school is not an option as that decision sits with the Ministry of Health. Therefore, at this time, school remains open and classes are operating.

However, if your child is displaying symptoms consistent with COVID-19, we urge you to seek medical advice.

Our focus remains on keeping you and your family well. The current advice includes the following:
• Regularly washing hands (for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap, and dry thoroughly)
• Covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze
• Staying home if you are sick
• Avoiding close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms
• If you feel unwell you should avoid public gatherings, schools, and events

Please be assured the College will be watching the situation very closely. We are reviewing our cleaning practices daily and have confirmed we are using appropriate products.

We will inform you if there is any update.

In the meantime, if you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or you may want to seek more information at www.healthy.org.nz or www.govt.nz/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/.  

Yours sincerely,
Gary Yeatman
Principal

House to House Challenge

The Special Needs department have taken on the challenge to walk, run, bike or swim 210km (or more) during the month of March, and to fundraise $210 to donate to Ronald McDonald House.

Every month, New Zealand families travel an average of at least 210km for their child to receive hospital treatment away from home. Many of our 400 Block students have been recipients of the services at Ronald McDonald House, so we decided it was a great way to “give back”.

Each class is challenged to clock up as many km’s as possible, including staff. We will have a visual record of how we are going in the 400 Block hallway. We would love any other families, staff or students to join us, so feel free to email Sonja Reid, HOD Special Needs, evidence and we will add you to our tally.

Donations are also accepted. Feel free to send your donations to school with your child or you can also donate directly on the following fundraising page: https://housetohouse2020.everydayhero.com/nz/sonja

HousetoHouse

Coronavirus Update - 18 March 2020

Dear Parents/Caregivers

We appreciate that some of you have concerns at this uncertain time.

Awatapu College is following, and constantly reviewing, the advice of the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, and Government. We currently receive daily briefings from the Ministry of Education, and a number of other agencies, which inform us of the latest situation with any changes to guidelines and how we operate.

The school remains open at this stage and our expectation is that if students are well, they attend school. Keeping them home because of ‘fears’ around COVID-19 alone is not seen as a justifiable absence by the Minister at this time, and work may not be provided or sent home on this basis.

As part of our ongoing planning, the school is exploring if the curriculum can be delivered online and on mass (this may not be possible in all curriculum areas), but this is only on the basis that the government requires us to close for a lengthy period of time – which has not happened at this stage.

In the meantime, we have been asked to remind our community of the legal requirement for enrolled students to attend school unless they are unwell, or required to self-isolate.

We will keep our school community up to date with any activities that need to be cancelled due to COVID-19. However, I emphasise, Awatapu College is open for instruction and students who are well are expected to attend.

Yours sincerely,
Gary Yeatman
Principal

Coronavirus Update - 17 March 2020

Dear Parents/Caregivers

You will have heard that the Government has provided advice on mass gatherings. We are reviewing all our calendared events for the next few weeks as to whether they should proceed or not. This will be done on a case by case basis depending on the type of activity, the number of people involved, if it is an inside or outside event and whether it involves other school or community providers.

Some sports events may well be cancelled and we will endeavour to notify you as soon as we are aware. Events we can confirm that have been cancelled include the WeetBix TRYathlon, Central Districts Field Days, and the Manawatu Inter-Secondary School Athletics.

We are postponing school assemblies until further notice. This means the Academic Badge assembly scheduled for this Friday will happen at a later date.

The Prime Minister has also advised that we should stop handshakes, hongi and hugging.

As a school community, our role continues to be about prevention:
• Awareness - know the symptoms and where to get good information.
• Vigilance - stay away if you are ill or showing flu-like symptoms. If any student presents to school with these symptoms they may be asked to return home.
• Good hygiene - hand washing and drying, good cough and sneeze etiquette, and not sharing drinks/food will help prevent the spread of a virus.
• Self-isolation following overseas travel - if students have returned from any country except those listed on the countries and areas of concern under Category 2 after 1am 16 March 2020 they will need to self-isolate for 14 days.

At this stage, schools are open but we are considering how we would continue to deliver our curriculum if the school were required to close. In reality this may not be possible for all curriculum areas and/or levels. This might be a conversation you could have with your child on what work is currently being undertaken and how best to carry on with it at home.

As always, we appreciate your co-operation and ask you to respect any decisions we make.

Yours sincerely,
Gary Yeatman
Principal

Manawatu Inter-Secondary School Athletics - Cancelled

Please note, the MISSA event scheduled Saturday 21 March 2020 has been cancelled. Please refer to the College calendar for up to date events. 

Change of Bank Account

We have recently changed the Awatapu College bank account to a new ASB account. Our new account details are as follows:
Account Name: Awatapu College Board of Trustees
Account Number: 12-3211-0030502-00

To ensure a smooth transition to our new account, our Westpac account will remain open for the remainder of the year. From 1 January 2021, the Westpac account will no longer be active and any transactions will not be processed.

What this means for parents/caregivers?
If you have the College saved as a payee or have an automatic payment set up with us, please update your records to our new account details.

A reminder, when making payments to the College, please use your student's name or ID in the particulars code. It is also helpful to state what the payment is for e.g. rugby fees. 

Many families take advantage of the automatic payment system. Automatic payments can be set-up online via your online banking or contact the school office for an automatic payment authority form.

Eftpos and cash payments are still accepted at the office. Parents/caregivers can also still make credit card payments online via the Portal.

If you have any queries, please contact the school office by phoning 06 356 4817 or emailing [email protected]school.nz.

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