Mask wearing at school – update

24th July 2022

Kia ora koutou

I Friday the school received the Ministry of Education Bulletin from the Secretary of Education.  Over the weekend I have been in contact with the leadership team and Board of Trustees regarding the template letter (below) regarding mask wearing.

In summary the school will also strongly recommend a return to mask wearing in Room 6 & 7 (Y4 to Y6) and any other students across the school who prefer to wear masks.

Key points

  • R00m 6 & 7 will be strongly encouraged to wear masks inside class
  • All previous student mask exemptions are still valid
  • Any new mask exemptions – please email
  • Learning in R6 & 7 will be inside, as it is now winter, and not an option to be working on decks
  • All classrooms will be encouraged to keep ventilation flow as good as possible
  • School assemblies will continue to run remotely from classes
  • Teachers will wear masks in confined spaces (admin block) to protect teacher health to keep classes open and staffed
  • Parents who wish to enter classes/the office, please wear a mask
  • Please keep children home if they are unwell
  • At this stage no full time teacher at our school has had Covid – most school principals I have talked to would have had over 50% of staff with covid.  One factor that may have helped us is our exceptionally good infra-red heating system and ability to keep windows/doors open and retain heat as well as keep air flow going.  Either way the less bugs we can pass on within classrooms the better for everyone involved.

We really enjoyed having parents/community back inside the gates last term.  Please continue to come in.  You do not need a mask while outside of classes.

Ag Day Animals: Please note Robyn and Terry have set up the lamb/goat pen behind the library today.  It is extremely wet under foot so we have used the gravel area this time.  We will set up a shelter of some kind as well.  Please pop in to see me if you are bringing an animal to school each day and fill in the forms provided within the last few newsletters (vaccination/drench – on the website).

We look forward to seeing you all back tomorrow.
Kind regards
Please find below the letter from the Secretary of Education

Template letter: For schools and kura to communicate with parents and whānau

Kia ora Otaika Valley School Community 

Masking up for the start of Term 3

In previous years we have found there is an increase in winter illnesses in schools at the start of Term 3 as students bring back infections after travelling and socialising during the holidays. This year cases of COVID-19 are increasing in most parts of the country, and we are also seeing high numbers of other winter illnesses.

For the start of Term 3, 2022, the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health strongly recommend that all schools and kura amend their mask policy for the first four weeks of term to require mask wearing in all indoor settings (where it will not have a significant impact on teaching and learning – see below) for students in Years 4 and above.

This recommendation does not include any situation where mask wearing might not be practicable, such as while eating and drinking, playing certain musical instruments, indoor sport, where it will have a significant impact on teaching and learning (for example, students with particular learning needs), certain activities such as singing or drama performance on stage, and PE. In these situations, particular attention should be paid to ensuring there is good ventilation during the activity, and physical distancing where practicable.

Wearing masks can reduce new cases of the virus by as much as 53%. It works alongside other measures including vaccination, good ventilation, staying home when sick, and hand washing and other hygiene measures, to protect our students and staff. Keep up healthy habits – Unite Against COVID-19

Adult-sized masks can generally be adjusted to fit older children by tying knots in the ear loops. Unite Against COVID-19 shows how to do this: How to wear a face mask safely – Unite Against COVID-19

We know that that some of our tamariki/ākonga are exempt from wearing a mask. If they have an exemption card or a letter from their health provider, or we have agreed that mask wearing is not practicable for them, we will support them to not wear a mask. Apply for a face mask exemption pass – Unite Against COVID-19

Please make sure that tamariki/ākonga come to school ready to wear masks. Students should bring masks from home. If students cannot bring masks from home,  there will be a limited supply of masks for students who are unable to bring one from home.

Thank you for your support in protecting your school community.

Noho ora mai

On behalf of the Secretary of Education

By |2022-07-24T12:50:27+00:0024th July 2022|Newsletters, Updates - Email, Updates - Home Page|Comments Off on Mask wearing at school – update

About the Author: