COVID-19 UPDATES

from St Peter's Senior Leadership

 

20 May 2022
 
Dear St Peter’s families

Over the past few days, we have seen a significant spike in both teacher and student Covid and illness cases.  It is likely that we are seeing some transmission between students and teachers within class environments.  

In an endeavour to keep the school open and transmission reduced, we will return to compulsory mask-wearing from Monday 23 May 2022.  We have also made the difficult decision to cancel next week's Year 10 camp. 

 
Masks will be compulsory in the following locations:
  • Classrooms
  • Assemblies and Chapels
  • Lining up at the Dining Hall
  • School Bus
We are reviewing future excursions to ensure all in our community are kept safe.  Our utmost priority is our students and we are taking these precautions in an attempt to remain open.  We are aware that a number of schools are also struggling with a similar dilemma.  

Thank you for your support and understanding.


Kind regards
Julie Small

15 March 2022

Dear St Peter’s families

As you may be aware from our daily updates, the number of students and staff returning positive Covid tests has been increasing. 

As the number of staff required to isolate increases, it is becoming more challenging to staff all classes. We are utilising relief teachers extensively as well as using other teachers to cover absent teachers’ classes. Many of the teachers who are at home isolating are not necessarily sick and are teaching online from home. These are quality lessons utilising Google meets and Google classroom that students can access from within the class or at home. Teachers have picked up many skills from previous lockdowns and are using these to ensure that learning continues.

If the number of staff isolating away from work gets to the point where we cannot cover all classes we will consider using some of our operations staff to supervise senior classes who are doing online learning. We want to keep the school running as normal as possible, but we may need to postpone some activities – such as trips or other outings.
 
The Senior Leadership Team is monitoring the situation and has discussed the options available to us to continue teaching if our staff cases continue to increase.  A number of Waikato schools have already limited their onsite teaching as they grapple with a similar dilemma. 
 
Some options available to us are:

  • Identifying those year groups who have the most students absent and manage the learning of all students in that year group online.
  • Alternate year groups learning from home one day a week.
  • Total school online learning.

It has always been our desire to keep the school open, but with the number of relief teachers in front of our students currently, there comes a point when it is not beneficial for either our staff or students to be in the classroom.
 
We will monitor the situation over the next few days and come back to you with a decision if we reach that point.  I have attached here the breakdown of numbers for your interest as of yesterday.

 

Students            
Date Cases   House Cases Returned Current
17/02/2022 2   Beaufort 29 15 14
18/02/2022 2   Broadhurst 21 13 8
19/02/2022 1   Day 86 45 41
20/02/2022 1   Lippincott 2 1 1
21/02/2022 1   Morris 14 6 8
22/02/2022 3   Oliphant 16 10 6
24/02/2022 2   Riddet 13 2 11
25/02/2022 5   School 3 1 2
26/02/2022 2   Wrigley 12 8 4
27/02/2022 9   Total 196 101 95
28/02/2022 16          
1/03/2022 10          
2/03/2022 11   Staff      
3/03/2022 14   Dept Cases Returned Current
4/03/2022 9   Boarding 3 2 1
5/03/2022 7   Ops Staff 4 1 3
6/03/2022 8   Sport 5 4 1
7/03/2022 25   Teacher 11 1 10
8/03/2022 17   Total 23 8 15
9/03/2022 16          
10/03/2022 6          
11/03/2022 5          
12/03/2022 6          
13/03/2022 13          
14/03/2022 5          
Total 196          


Please respond to covid@stpeters.school.nz if you have any questions pertaining to our Covid response.  A reminder too that your child should not return to school if they are still presenting with symptoms, regardless of whether they have completed their 7 day isolation.

We appreciate your continued support and assure you that currently our students are working well in their classes and are moving happily about our campus.

Kind regards

Julie Small

28 February 2022
Dear St Peter’s families

As we have started Phase 3 of the Ministry of Health Omicron response plan, we felt it important to clarify our current Covid process.

Confirmed Covid case
  • If your child tests positive, you must inform us immediately. We’ve made this process simpler - you just have to complete this online form. The form is available as a link on the School APP and covid pages of the website / portal.
  • Under the current guidelines, the student must isolate for a full 10 days, from the day his/her symptoms started or his/her positive test (whichever day came first). This is considered to be DAY O.  DAY 1 is the following day.
  • If you have undertaken a personal RAT test and it is positive, you will also need to report your result on My Covid Record | Ministry of Health NZ or call 0800 222 478 and press option 3.
  • If you got a supervised RAT at a Community Testing Centre or other health provider, the result will be automatically entered for you and will turn up on your My Covid Record.
  • Your positive test result is recorded and you will get sent a link from Public Health to a contact tracing form with a unique code. It may take up to 24 hours to receive your code.  Please make sure you fill in the contact tracing form as it will help the Ministry of Health identify if you need any additional health and welfare support. It will also help for contact tracing purposes.  A close contact should be anyone your student had contact with two days prior to their symptoms / positive test.
  • If you have a positive result from a PCR test, you will get a text from the official 2328 number.
  • On the 11th day if your student has been free of symptoms for 24hrs they may return to school.  They are unable to return any earlier.  They must stay the full 10 days in isolation.
  • Find out more about testing positive for COVID-19 here: https://covid19.govt.nz/.../what-happens-if-you-test.../
  • Once a student has recovered from Covid they will not need to isolate again if they are considered a household contact.
Household Contacts
  • Boarding students are not considered household contacts with fellow boarding students.
  • Those living in the same residence are considered household close contacts and need to isolate immediately for 10 full days and test on day 3 and day 8.
  • Any siblings of a positive student MUST be kept at home as per this guidance.
  • Find out what to do if you are a household contact here.
Close Contacts
Any students identified to be a close contact with a positive Covid case are not required to self-isolate.  Close contacts should continue to monitor for any symptoms and if Covid-like symptoms develop then they will get a test and isolate. 

Remember
  • To ensure we minimise the risk whilst at school, all students are asked to not attend school if they are feeling unwell.
  • A mask must also be worn whilst in the classroom and when travelling to and from school on the school bus.
  • Online learning is available via Google Classroom.  
  • Daily updates will continue to be available at 2pm via the School APP and the website/portal.
Please don't hesitate to get in contact by using the covid@stpeters.school.nz email address with any queries you may have.

Kind regards
Brenton Joubert
Deputy Principal

 

23 February 2022 Update

  • There is no longer a two-hour limit in situations where a positive case has been wearing a mask. Where the positive case has been wearing a mask, close contacts will only be identified where there may have been direct contact with respiratory secretions (for example, spitting, hongi, singing, shouting, coughing, sneezing, contact sports or physical play in close proximity).   
  • Those confirmed cases who have not yet received a result from their day five test can return to their school on day 11 if they are showing no symptoms.  Close contact and positive cases are no longer formally receiving ‘release’ notifications when the self-isolation period has ended.  
  • Please note that if a student or staff member has been identified as a household close contact of a case, they must receive their negative day eight test prior to return to school.  
  • There are different considerations in boarding as students interact in different ways outside of the timetabled day. Determining close contacts will depend on the type of interaction but it is unlikely that entire boarding house will be shut down.  
  • Waikato testing stations Founders Theatre Carpark and Greenwood St Frankton are offering RAT (Rapid Antigen) testing from 22/02/22 for those who fit the appropriate clinical criteria, the sites will determine whether a PCR or RAT is best. This will be rolled out across other Waikato testing centres as demand increases.  
  • RAT or PCR tests from an official testing station is the only place where official tests can be undertaken, we cannot take a result from an at home RAT test.

21 February 2022 

 

Dear St Peter’s families

As you can imagine, we have been fielding a number of queries from our families pertaining to the current confirmed Covid cases in the school community. This email serves to answer some of those questions, but I must stress that this is a rapidly changing situation.

Currently, the school is managing the identification of Close Contacts and alerting the Ministry of Health.  A letter is sent ONLY to those parents of students who are close contacts.  If you do not receive a CLOSE CONTACT letter, then your child can come to school.


Definitions of cases and actions in Phase 2 are:
Confirmed Covid-19 result 

  • Notify the St Peter’s nurses on nurse@stpeters.school.nz
  • Self-isolate for 10 days from the first date of symptoms or test whichever is the earliest
  • Provide necessary information to contact tracers to help them identify close contacts (outside of the school community)
  • Focus on rest and recovery
  • Household contacts are considered Household Close Contacts and must isolate for 10 days, with a test on day 3 and day 8.  If negative, they can release on the same day as the positive case
  • Once been cleared by your Doctor or Regional Public Health return to school

Close Contact

  • The school will advise directly by email if your child is a close contact
  • Alternatively, if the contact occurred outside of school, please advise nurse@stpeters.school.nz
  • They must self-isolate for 7 days
  • A PCR test must be taken on day 5 after last exposure
  • If the result is negative they may return to school on Day 8 as long as there are no symptoms

Frequently Asked Questions
If a student has already tested positive for Covid-19 and recovered, do they need to isolate again if they are identified as a close contact?
No, once the student has recovered from Covid they will not need to isolate again as it is believed their immunity will be more robust to combat the virus.
Can the sibling of the close contact attend school?
Yes, only the child who is the close contact must self-isolate.   If the sibling has any symptoms they must stay home and undertake a test.
If the child is a positive case, THEN the sibling will become a Household Close Contact and need to isolate and undertake day 5 testing.
Is a negative Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) sufficient for a negative result?
Not at this stage, Public Health still require a PCR test.  We are hopeful this may change shortly.
Can I choose for my child to learn online if we have a family member who cannot risk becoming a close contact?
Yes, online learning can occur via the Google Classroom, but without the teacher present.  We have dedicated staff member, David Vesseur to assist with the ongoing education of those students who are learning from home. Work will be set by their teacher on Google Classroom and the student is encouraged to maintain their learning if they can, whilst they are not physically at school.  David is available by email davidv@stpeters.school.nz.
If after a period away from school, the student returns, then say next week another student from the same class gets Covid, does the class need to isolate again?  
At this stage, that is the case. However, once New Zealand moves into Phase 3, close contacts will no longer need to self-isolate, unless they are presenting with symptoms.
How will my student's teacher teach if they are away from school self-isolating?

As greater numbers of teachers need to isolate, more classes are likely to be offered live online.  If this happens we will keep you informed.
When would the school close to onsite learning?
We understand that it would become unviable to physically operate the school once we drop below a certain threshold of attendance and when our teachers are isolating at home.
Who does not need to wear a facemask?
The school continues to support students who are unable to wear a mask due to a disability or health condition.  Here is the link to determine whether an exemption is applicable.   All other students must wear a face covering when in the classroom, lining up at the dining hall and travelling on the school bus.


Support 

How we will report moving forward 

  • To avoid a plethora of emails on a daily basis. We will communicate by email ONLY with those families whose students are deemed a CLOSE CONTACT
  • At 2pm each day (7 days a week), we will post an update on our Covid webpage and via the APP under Covid Notices (located on the side menu)  

There is no doubt the days ahead will be challenging.  There are a number of schools currently closing due to the case numbers and we are taking each day as it comes.  Once a move to Rapid Antigen Testing and Phase 3 occurs, we will only need to send home students who are either confirmed cases or showing symptoms.  We'll update you on any policy changes via our daily updates.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Kind regards

Brenton Joubert

Deputy Principal

 

 
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