Headmaster's message Sunday 22 March

Kia ora tatou

I apologise for contacting you on a Sunday, but I recognise the importance of ensuring that decisions relating to your son’s wellbeing are communicated to you as quickly as possible.

Yesterday, the government announced the move from a Level One to a Level Two response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This escalation means that any member of our community, staff or student, who is over 70, or has a compromising health condition, should avoid attendance at school. 

For all other students and staff, the situation remains the same as it was on Friday. As a staff, we remain committed to providing a positive, sustained education and a healthy environment. And we recognise the important, positive benefits of maintaining a sense of the normal through this difficult, frightening time.

We will make every endeavour, as far as is possible, to ensure physical distancing in the classroom. We are also maintaining our policy of no assemblies, and we have postponed all large gatherings over the remainder of the term. I ask that you remind your son of the critical importance of physical distancing, and of no contact sport at interval and lunch. We also appreciate your continued support with our heightened hygiene expectations.

At present, Ministry policy remains the same, that students who have a family member who is in isolation but not ill, can still attend school. I will update you on this, should any change occur. However, if families wish to self-isolate together, we encourage them to do so.

In a similar way, if other family members are in the identified at risk category, those families may choose to keep their sons at home to prevent infection.

At present, we are actively preparing to move to a distance learning environment. However, as the school is still open, this can not be our main focus at present. We will update you on the steps being taken to utilise Google Classroom, our learning management system, as well as face to face teaching, over the next few days, as we endeavour to place all work being covered online. We will also spend time discussing the ways in which we will manage the complexities of NCEA assessment, in the event of partial or full school closure.

Our focus and energy at the moment is the same as yours - to care for your sons and to keep them safe. Any decision we make places each young man at the centre, and we are so fortunate to have the staff we do - their willingness to give so much has allowed us to continue as we have, in maintaining the very special world we share. I offer them, and you, my heartfelt thanks, as we respond to these unique challenges together.

It is always worth remembering the wisdom of the phrase “This, too, shall pass”. Our focus is on ensuring that we are able to look back, in the not too distant future, with a sense of gratitude to each other, and a greater understanding of just how strong is the community we share.

Thank you all for your care and support - I have appreciated your messages of encouragement very much.

Ngaa mihi nui

Susan Hassall