COVID-19 Updates

News and updates regarding the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic are occurring frequently and changing quickly. This page endeavors to capture information that the school receives about Coronavirus, so parents and visitors to our website can be as informed as possible. Not all the information on this page has been emailed to parents, however, parents can be assured that any key or vital information will be emailed to them as it comes to hand

26 March

How to talk with your kids about COVD-19

https://sparklers.org.nz/parenting/how-talk-your-kids-about-covid-19/

26 March

Dear Parents

The Ministry of Education has asked me to share the following information with you. 

Government announcement about children aged 0 – 14 of Essential Workers
Further to our Bulletin content about self-isolating groups (circles of care), Government has confirmed the following arrangements today. You may wish to forward this to your community immediately.

Where possible, essential workers need to make their own arrangements for childcare from Thursday 26 March until the end of the lockdown, due to limited capacity.

Where this is not possible alternative arrangements have been made so essential workers can continue to work.

What essential workers need to know when making their own arrangements
Essential workers will need to use their existing networks for in-home care, for example, a neighbour, relative, friend or current carer/nanny who can come to their house, or provide childcare in their own home. There are Public Health rules that must be observed:

  • The person caring for your child becomes part of your self-isolating group
  • This group must remain the same for the whole period
  • The carer must not care for children from other households (other than their own) over the same period
  • If a child or carer becomes unwell, they must stay at home

If essential workers do not have access to childcare through their own networks
If essential workers are unable to access childcare to perform their essential service, the government will fund other licensed childcare providers (for example through PORSE, Barnados and Edubase / Home Grown Kids) to provide in-home care to the children aged 0-14 of essential workers. The carer would be subject to the same Public Health rules as set out above.

For the purposes of providing care to children of essential workers, the in home carer will be classified as an essential worker in both cases.

Initial list of contact details for providers

Removing data caps for internet

Please be advised most of the major telcos have now removed data caps and the possibility of any extra charges based on usage.

Please see the links to those major companies below if your staff or students working from home need further support with this.

SPARK – https://www.spark.co.nz/help/covid-19/
“Removing overage charges for customers who are on data-capped broadband plans, so they won’t have to worry about paying extra to stay connected. This applies to both small and medium business and consumer customers;”

VODAFONE – https://news.vodafone.co.nz/covid-19-care
“The removal of data caps from data-capped Broadband plans for consumers and small to medium sized businesses until at least the end of June 2020”

VOCUS/SLINGSHOT – https://help.slingshot.co.nz/hc/en-us/articles/900000386943-Our-action-against-COVID-19?_ga=2.224375707.1878754814.1585097493-87562686.1585097493
“We removed all the data caps from our plans to better enable you to work from home during this time of social distancing and self-isolation.”

2DEGREES – https://www.2degreesmobile.co.nz/help-and-support/mobile/your-account/covid-19/
“Any customer who was on a limited data plan on or before Friday, March 20 will now receive unlimited data through until June 2020.”

Ngā mihi nui

Paul Dolan

Principal

25 March

Real-time Resilience: Supporting Young People with Dr Emma Woodward & Denise Quinlan

24 March

Dear Parents

Now that the dust is starting to settle on the Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday, I wanted to touch base with you around what the next four weeks, from a learning perspective, might look like for Ilam families. 

Work for this week – if required

Prior to the Prime Minister’s announcement, our main focus at Ilam was on getting our systems organised so we could run programmes as normally as possible while at the same time putting in place a variety of precautions to try and keep everyone safe and well.  Our Deputy Principal, Belinda Kennedy has been working in the background organising learning opportunities for children who were self-isolating. These activities are on the COVID-19 Home Learning page of the Ilam website –   https://www.ilam.school.nz/home-learning-opportunities  Parents might want their children to work on some of these this week and your class teacher may suggest you visit this site too. There will be activities and links updated regularly. 

Work after the School Holidays – from Wednesday 15 April

Teachers are currently setting up learning programmes for you to access at home after the school holidays. (The school holidays are from Monday 30 March to Tuesday 14 April.) In preparation for this, by this Friday, 27th March, your child’s classroom teacher will send you an email with information regarding home learning, and usernames and passwords required for learning websites.   While you will have access to all the content on these websites, teachers won’t assign work until Wednesday 15th April. 

A reminder that teachers are also going through the same concerns and worries that you are. The holidays are an important time for them to become familiar with their new way of living, be with their families and rest and recover during this time. I respectfully ask that families do not contact teachers during this period.

From Wednesday 15 April, classroom teachers will be in contact via Linc-Ed with families via email and will be providing specific learning activities for children. 

Final Thoughts

I would like to emphasise that programmes sent to families will not, and can not, replicate a standard school day.  Each home situation will be different and you are not expected to suddenly become trained teachers and your home become a classroom during this time. While it would be ideal if there is an opportunity for children to do some of the activities provided, your greatest priority at that time may be looking after the health of family members. We do not want homes to become a battleground over schoolwork.  

A quote that is on Nathan Wallis’ (A renowned New Zealand neuroscience educator) Facebook page is a good reminder for all of us. “At the end of all of this, your kid’s mental health will be more important than their academic skills. How they felt during this time will stay with them long after the memory of what they did during those weeks is long gone.”  

In summary, your relationships with your family members will be the most critical aspect of this time ahead. While completing some school work will be beneficial, assuring everyone that they are loved and safe and that we are all doing the right thing to look after each other will be more important.

Please take care. I will be in contact in due course.

Kia kaha, kia māia  (Be strong, be brave)

Ngā mihi nui

Paul Dolan

Principal

Corona Virus & Anxiety

Dear Parents

Below is a link to a video clip from Nathan Wallis giving tips for families on the topic of Corona Virus & Anxiety, and how to best support children. Other helpful videos and advice can be found on Nathan Wallis’ Facebook page.

Corona virus & Anxiety.

Posted by Nathan Wallis on Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Real-time Resilience Strategies for Coping with Coronavirus by Dr Lucy Hone & Dr Denise Quinlan

Monday 23 March

Dear Parents 

Further to my email this afternoon, I am now able to provide some clarity for you following the Prime Minister’s announcement this afternoon. 

This Week

Ilam School will be open tomorrow (Tuesday 24 March) and Wednesday (25 March) for children of essential workers. You may wish to check if you are considered an essential worker – https://covid19.govt.nz/government-actions/covid-19-alert-system Children who are attending school tomorrow will start their day in their normal classrooms. We continue to ask that children who are not well, do not attend school.

Ilam School will be closed for access from 6:30pm on Wednesday 25 March until further notice. 

The Home Learning page of our website – https://www.ilam.school.nz/home-learning-opportunities – is available for any children required to be at home both on Tuesday and Wednesday and for all children for the remainder of the week. It has a variety of learning activities for all year levels. 

School Holidays

The school holidays will now begin from Monday 30 March to Tuesday 14 April inclusive (The Tuesday after Easter Monday is always a closed day for schools).

Home Learning

From Wednesday 15 April, classroom teachers will be in contact with families via email and will be providing home learning activities for children. In order to ensure all children at Ilam can access online learning, please fill in this form Online Learning Survey if your children DO NOT have access to the internet, a computer/laptop/tablet/iPad, or a printer.  

Ilam OSCAR

Ilam OSCAR will be open on Tuesday (24 March) and Wednesday (25 March) for those children whose parents are classified as essential workers and already had a booking for these dates at Ilam OSCAR. Please email oscar@nullilam.school.nz by 10:00am tomorrow morning to confirm that your children will still be attending on these days. All other bookings will be cancelled and a refund provided. 

While obvious, for clarity, Ilam OSCAR will be closed from 6:00pm Wednesday 25 March until such time as the government’s restrictions are lifted.  

Today’s announcement is a sudden and significant change for everyone in New Zealand and will be heavily disruptive to many people.  As I have stated previously, at times like this it is easy to become overwhelmed and feel you have no control over the situation. I encourage you to take care of yourselves so you are in the best mental and physical space possible to care for your children.

I will endeavour to keep you informed of relevant updates as they come to hand. As noted by the Prime Minister, these restrictions are our best chance to slow the virus in New Zealand and to save lives. 

Kia kaha, kia māia  (Be strong, be brave)

Paul Dolan

Principal

Monday 23 March

Dear Parents

Like many of you, we have just heard the Prime Minister’s address to the nation outlining the change from COVID-19 Level 2 to Level 3 and then in 48 hours to Level 4. 

We are processing this information now and are waiting to hear officially from the Ministry of Education. You will appreciate that we want to get the correct information to you and as such will be sending an email to you later this afternoon/evening once we know more. 

My understanding at the moment is that school will be open tomorrow and Wednesday for children whose parents are identified as ‘Essential Workers’ but closed for all other children. An absolute definition of who are Essential Workers is yet to be released. 

I will be in touch as soon as possible. 

Ngā mihi nui
Paul Dolan
Principal

Sunday 22 March

Dear Parents

Following yesterday’s announcement by the Prime Minister, I wanted to update you as to what this means for us at Ilam. 

If you are over 70-years-old – you need to stay at home. This is because older people, particularly those with pre-existing health problems are more likely to get severe illness and are therefore considered at risk. 

High-risk individuals means people with underlying medical conditions, such as:

  • a compromised immune system 
  • liver disease
  • cancer
  • kidney disease
  • heart disease
  • diabetes mellitus

If you are unsure – contact your doctor or ring health line 0800 611 116.

Effective immediately, the following systems and processes will be put in place at Ilam as we endeavour to provide as much physical distancing as possible for everyone.

  • The library is closed at all times – effective immediately.
  • A 3 Rotation Break & Lunchtime Roster will be put in place for the remainder of the term. This means that break and lunchtimes will be staggered for children. Only 7 classes at a time, from across the school, will be released to play and eat. 

In addition to these two initiatives, our website has been updated to contain a COVID-19 page on the menu. This area has a news updates page, where all information regarding COVID-19 is placed (Parents will still be emailed key information, however additional ‘non-urgent’ information received will be placed on the website) and a Home Learning Opportunities page for parents, who for what-ever reason have children away from school at the present time. The page contains links to a variety of resources that can either be accessed online or downloaded.
This is all in addition to the following that was put in place last week.

  • Canceling, postponing or rearranging all gatherings that are generally bigger than one class size (approximately 30 children) until such time as it is deemed appropriate to meet.
  • Ensuring, while supplies allow us, all classrooms have additional hand sanitiser, soap and hand towels placed in them. These are monitored daily. 
  • Asking children to bring their drink bottles to school which can be filled from taps in classrooms as the drinking fountains have been turned off. 

A reminder that we are asking families who are, or soon will be, in self-isolation to register with the school by the completion and submission of this form

We are also asking families who have any upcoming confirmed international travel to register with us by completing this online form as soon as possible. 

This is a tough time for everyone. There will be many of you who are very worried about COVID-19 and the safety of your family.  Please do not hesitate to contact me or our Deputy Principal, Belinda Kennedy, if you have any issues or questions around how the school is endeavouring to manage the coronavirus pandemic.

Kia Kaha
Paul DolanPrincipal

Friday 20 March

ARE SCHOOLS GOING TO CLOSE?

With so much information and misinformation swirling around about COVID-19, I wanted to share with you what will happen if we were to have a case in our school community.

  • As soon as a case is confirmed in our immediate school community (eg. a student, staff member, or member of their household), the Medical Officer of Health and Ministry of Education will inform me about this, and we will work together to get quick and clear messaging out to you
  • If there was a case confirmed of someone in our school, we will likely be asked to close temporarily by the Medical Officer of Health. This will allow time for close contacts to be traced, appropriate testing to be undertaken, and a careful clean of the school to be undertaken.
  • If our school does need to close temporarily, we have a plan in place to support student’s learning.

We know COVID-19 feels scary and of course people are concerned for the wellbeing of our children. Please be assured that with no case reported at Ilam, your children are safe here.

Good hygiene is a priority for us, and we are reinforcing this regularly with all students and staff. We know that practicing good hygiene is still the best thing we can all do to prevent illness.

Paul Dolan

WHEN IS SICK, SICK?

The messaging remains clear – if children are feeling unwell please stay home. 

A diagram has been developed by Dr Siouxsie Wiles to assist you when considering symptoms. What it tells us is:

  • A dry cough and a high temperature are common to both flu and COVID-19
  • Sneezing is not a symptom of COVID-19, however if someone has COVID-19, then sneezing can spread droplets containing the virus

Thursday 19 March

THE FOLLOWING WAS PART OF OUR SCHOOL NEWSLETTER EMAILED TO PARENTS.

Updates relating to the coronavirus pandemic have been changing so frequently this week that some are outdated shortly after being sent out. Please be assured that the health and safety of your children and our staff is our number one priority. We are endeavouring to put as many actions into place to try and mitigate any form of illness at Ilam, while at the same time keep the school operating as near to normal as possible. You should have received an email on Monday outlining those plans, however in short we are:

  • Canceling, postponing or rearranging all gatherings that are generally bigger than one class size (approximately 30 children) until such time as it is deemed appropriate to meet.
  • Ensuring, while supplies allow us, all classrooms have additional hand sanitizer, soap and hand towels placed in them. These are monitored daily. 
  • Asking children to bring their drink bottles to school which can be filled from taps in classrooms as the drinking fountains have been turned off. 
  • Asking families who are, or soon will be, in self-isolation to register with the school by the completion and submission of this form
  • Developing a page for our website that will contain school work for children who are required to be at home. I will update you once this is completed. 
  • Asking families who have any upcoming confirmed international travel to register with us by completing this online form as soon as possible. 

The Ministry of Health continue to emphasise the importance of good hygiene practices, which include:

  • Washing hands with soap and water before and after eating as well as after attending the toilet
  • Covering coughs and sneezes with clean tissues or with an elbow
  • Encouraging staff and students to stay home if they are unwell

I’m sure the whole subject of coronavirus has been discussed many times at home recently, however, if you are looking for some advice on how to talk to children about the pandemic, the following Ministry of Education page may help.

I have heard numerous rumours about school closures since the government’s announcement last weekend. The following quote is taken from an email from Iona Holsted, Secretary of Education sent to schools on Wednesday evening.

“At this stage, we are not expecting widespread school closures. We are planning for temporary closures, like what is happening at Logan Park School but as the World Health Organisation has confirmed, the risk to children remains low and parents should continue to send their kids to schools and early learning centres. Consequently any decisions about school closures will be made on a case by case basis.”

I will endeavour to keep you informed of relevant updates as they come to hand. At times like this it is easy to become overwhelmed and feel you have no control over the situation. I encourage you to take care of yourselves so you are in the best mental and physical space possible to care for your children. Please do not hesitate to contact me or our Deputy Principal, Belinda Kennedy, if you have any issues or questions around how the school is endeavouring to manage the coronavirus pandemic.

Paul Dolan

Principal

Monday 16 March

EMAIL TO PARENTS

Dear Parents and Caregivers

The Government’s announcement on Saturday in response to the Coronavirus pandemic has led us to review how we go about our daily activities at Ilam. While we want life to be as normal as possible for children, parents and staff at school, we also want to be socially responsible and put steps in place to avoid the possible spread of any colds, flu and of course the potential of Coronavirus.

Cancellation of Events 
As a precautionary measure, as of tomorrow, Tuesday 17 March, all gatherings that are generally bigger than one class size (approximately 30 children) will be cancelled, postponed or rearranged until such time as it is deemed appropriate to meet. For the time being, this means the following events scheduled for the rest of Term 1 will not be going ahead as planned. 
– Assemblies (School and Team)
– Year 4 Children’s University Passport Assembly 
– International Lunch – scheduled for this Wednesday, 18 March 
– After School Chess Club 
– Choir (The Senior Choir may continue in smaller groups. This is to be confirmed)
– Kapa Haka Group
– Pasifika Group
– Talanoa – scheduled for Thursday 26 March

Small group activities such as music tuition, creative writing and Science with Dr Joyce will still go ahead.

Precautionary Measures

In addition to the above, all classrooms have had additional hand sanitizer, soap and hand towels placed in them. These will be monitored daily to ensure supplies are adequate. The school drinking fountains are now closed, we ask that children bring their drink bottles to school which can be filled from taps in classrooms.

Self-Isolation

As I’m sure you will know, every person entering New Zealand (excluding from the Pacific) after midnight Sunday 15 March is required to self-isolate for 14 days. As a result, there is now a mandatory self-isolation period of 14 days for any child who has had contact with a member of their household where that household member is required to self-isolate under the Government’s current rules. We ask that any families who are currently, or soon will be, in self-isolation, register with the school by the completion and submission of this form.

Children absent from Ilam

We are currently developing a page for our website that will contain school work for children who are required to be at home. I will update you once this is completed.

April School Holidays

With the April holiday period approaching in four weeks, we would like to collect information regarding any planned international travel. I completely understand that families travel plans could now be undecided as the result of the government’s announcement. However, I would ask that any confirmed international travel is registered by completing this online form as soon as possible. 

As we have seen throughout this term, matters pertaining to the Coronavirus pandemic can evolve rapidly. Be assured that we will continue to monitor and act on the latest information as it is made available in order to ensure the health and wellbeing of our community.

Please continue to practise good hygiene around staying home if not well, managing coughs and sneezes and disposal of tissues. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding this or any related Coronavirus matter.

Ngā mihi nui (Kind Regards)

Paul Dolan

Principal

Sunday 15 March

EMAIL TO PARENTS

Dear Parents

As you will be aware the world reaction to Coronavirus and events is rapidly changing.

Tomorrow’s planned event to honour those martyred and injured in the March 15 mosque attacks will still go ahead at 2:35pm in the hall.

Tomorrow we will again review planned school events and measures we have in the school to stop the spread of any illness. I will update you once this is completed.

Please note that with the government’s announcement regarding travel and self-isolation on Saturday afternoon, there is now a mandatory self-isolation for any child who has had contact with a member of his household where that household member is required to self-isolate.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions regarding this or any other matter related to Coronavirus.

Paul Dolan
Principal

Monday 9 March

EMAIL TO PARENTS

Dear Parent

Coronavirus Update

The Ministry of Education has shared an update about Coronavirus with schools this morning, as a result of the COVID-19 New Zealand cases having links to school communities.

It was reassuring to read the information from the Auckland Regional Public Health Service that the children in these families are not showing any symptoms of COVID-19 and are doing well. Because the children continue to not show any symptoms, they were not infectious when they were at school and the Ministry of Health is confident there is no risk for the students and staff in those schools. The Ministry of Health’s current advice is that with continued vigilance, the chance of widespread community outbreak is expected to remain low.

A reminder that the recommended best preventative steps are:
– wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and dry thoroughly
– avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
– avoid sharing anything that has come in contact with saliva, whether in your living or social environments
– stay home when you are sick and seek medical attention
– cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the rubbish
– get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals to ensure a healthy immune system.

As you will be well aware, Social Media contains a variety of stories, opinions and advice. The Ministry of Health is the best source of information for New Zealand and is updated regularly – https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus

Finally, a reminder that anyone who is unwell with any sort of ailment should not be attending school.

Nga mihi nui (Kind Regards)

Paul Dolan

Principal

Ilam School Grounds