Message from the Headmaster, Friday 28 January 2022

Kia Ora te whānau

As we reach the end of the official school holiday break, I take this opportunity to welcome you all back to our 2022 school year. I am looking forward very much to the beginning of the year, as we share the excitement and anticipation of each young man as he starts his 2022 school journey.

Over the past two weeks, we have been busy preparing for a positive and effective start. In spite of the latest challenges regarding the presence of Omicron in New Zealand, our goal is to ensure a happy, successful first term for all.

This morning we welcomed our 18 new teaching staff to a preparation day. We are indeed so fortunate to have them join our world, as they will contribute a great deal to the well being and success of our students. And next week we will also welcome over 500 students who are new to the school.

As part of ensuring that we maintain a safe environment for all, we have, as I said last week, created a protocol document for the start of the year, which provides an outline of the strategies we are putting in place to minimise the potential impact of COVID in 2022. These are attached to this email.

One of those protocols relates to students’ attendance if they have been at a place of interest, or who feel unwell with any of the symptoms of Omicron. In light of this, if your son attended the Sound Splash Music festival last weekend, I ask that you monitor his health for any symptoms, and if you have any concerns, that you arrange for him to be tested, and keep him at home until you receive a negative result. We appreciate your support in this, as safety for all who are attending school is our first priority.

A strong recommendation in our list of protocols relates to mask choice. As I am sure you are aware, mask wearing is now compulsory for all students and staff, while they are inside, at all times at school. For staff, Ministry requirements now limits the choice of mask to medical grade only. This includes the popular blue mask. While it is not mandatory for your son to wear a medical grade mask, it is highly recommended, as it provides better protection than the cloth variety. We do have blue disposable masks for sale for your son at the school shop, if required.

We have also reviewed our calendar for Term 1, and unfortunately have made adjustments to some of our planned activities. You can find our adjusted Calendar here.

We are no longer able to hold a full powhiri of welcome for our new whanau on Tuesday. Instead, we will have a haka of welcome for our new students and families outside the school, and then we will move straight to a whakatau for students only, before each young man meets his Tutor teacher, who will take care of him for the rest of the day. 

Our new parents are very welcome to attend and be part of the handover of our new students; however, we are sadly not able to invite you into the school. The start of the Year 9 journey is a special rite of passage for our boys who will become men, while they remain in our world, and we cherish this special moment in their lives.

I know that the current situation in which we find ourselves brings a continued set of challenges, but by working together to make our transition back to school safe and secure, by recognising the importance of abiding by the protocols we have established, and by cherishing what we are able to do, we will be able to have a rewarding and very happy term.

I wish you well in these difficult times; have a very special and happy weekend, and celebrate the many wonderful things we have in our world.

Nga mihi nui, arohanui

Susan Hassall