Announcement Close

Announcement Alert SCHOOL CLOSED

Glendowie College is currently closed to all students and staff. Please go to our COVID-19 page for the latest information.

COVID-19 Update

This page contains all information shared with parents with regard to the COVID-19 coronavirus. As the situation is changing so fast, the latest information is the most accurate.


Friday 27th March

Today is the last day of school for the term.  Tomorrow we take a break for just over two weeks (including Easter) for the first term school holiday.  Seniors should have NCEA assessments that they can keep working on.  Many of you will be balancing work and children at home.  I wish you well.

I won't be sending emails over the holidays, unless there is something urgent.  I will, however, keep updating the pages on our website from time to time.

For your information:

1. Virtual House Assemblies
These have started.  I've seen the Rūaumoko video which will be posted to YouTube.  It's great to see the house prefects working with their Dean and Assistant Dean, to use the technology to connect with their peers.  With at least four weeks of lockdown, this connection is important.  Thanks to all who have worked on this and other communications.

2. Social Sciences Links
I've asked our Faculty Leaders to share a small number of links for parents and whānau to access if you want to.  Today's links are from Pip Jones, our Social Sciences Faculty Leader.

  - Stories with activities from around NZ - a new one added each day.  
  - Quizzes on anything you can imagine ...   
  - Virtual Tours of sorts o sites and museums ...
  - NZ Virtual Tour  closer to home, great to have some NZ content ...
  - More Geography Quiz Sites: ...  ... and ...

Ngā mihi nui

Thursday 26th March  (pm)

This is a relatively brief.  Talking to staff, I'm hearing great stories of students' learning and staff starting to play with ZOOM and other tools as a way to stay in touch with students.  This week we've focussed on getting the systems up and running, and being ready for next term.  Start small and grow.  As we move into the new term after Easter, I hope to see more interaction occur.

Tomorrow is the last day of school for the term.  Students should still check their emails, connect to the Google Classrooms, and carry on with work.  Then it's two weeks of holidays until Wednesday 15th April - for staff and students.  It's been a tough term and people need the time to rest and recover.

I'll continue the updates once a day, but expect them to be briefer as we get into the routine of teaching and learning online.

Ngā mihi nui

Thursday 26th March  (am)


Well life is now very different.  I've set up in the spare bedroom and, like some of you, we have an extra child back at home from the hostel at university.  It will take some getting used to.  One 'house rule' we've agreed to is that the lounge is for family ... and not an office, play space or phone booth.

For your info:

1. GDC - Active Online
With regard to school, things should be up and running.  Your child(ren) should have work / assessments to get on with.  We've posted some information online to let you know what's happening and give you some ideas.  We'll keep adding to that.  Please remind your child to check their emails regularly, as well as Google Classroom.

2. Resource for Students
Attitude, a group who come in and speak to students on various wellbeing issues, have put out the following video for students.  Apologies for not being able to simplify the link.

3. Playing the Long Game

Hopefully the Prime Minister's initial estimate of 4 weeks will be enough, but we're planning for this to be longer.  So our focus has been on building up systems that can grow should we need to.  Here's hoping we don't.


I hope that you get to enjoy some quality time with your family, as well as getting work done and having some personal time out.

Kia kotahitanga tātou

Wednesday 25th March  (pm)

In a few moments, I'll be closing the door to the office and locking/alarming the school for the last time for the next few weeks. With a State of Emergency declared by the Government, the school is physically closed until further notice.  It feels surreal.

Today we had a ZOOM meeting with 100 teaching and support staff present. We checked in with how staff were going, and then talked through the plans for the days and weeks ahead.

For your information:


1. GDC - Active Online
We've updated the GDC online page with more information about what to expect for your child and who to contact by email if you have any questions or concerns.  

We're not trying to replicate face-to-face learning with set lesson times, etc.  Instead I expect teachers to have a programme of work for their class or subject and to share this with students via Google Classroom for them to work through.  This will look different for each subject.  Some practical subjects (e.g. junior PE, hard materials) may not be able to provide online work.  It's my hope that there is a balance of work, e.g. reading, exercises, inquiry.

Senior students have NCEA assessments to work on and should be clear about what they are doing.  To re-iterate, I've talked with Faculty Leaders and staff, and asked them to be more flexible than usual around normal NCEA requirements such as deadlines.  We will still have them, but hope to be more flexible.  We want to support your child(ren) to succeed.

2. Ideas for Parents
We've started another page with ideas for parents.  It's quite brief currently.  We'll continue to post ideas and resources to help you support your child.  There's a link to it on the GDC Online page.

3. Staying Active 
Our sports staff have developed some great resources / challenges for our young people to stay active at home.  Follow the link to our sports Instragram and Facebook pages on the GDC Online page.  Our PE staff are also going to share some resources.

4. Staying Connected 
A special feature of Glendowie College has always been its caring environment.  I want to maintain that online.  To help with this we want to run 'virtual form classes' and 'virtual house assemblies'.  The focus of these is to keep students connected and positive over the weeks ahead.  There's more information on the GDC Online page, and staff will be in touch with students.

5. Pastoral Care
Some limited pastoral care will continue to be provided by staff.  We will now be mostly reliant on parents and whānau to look out for their child(ren).  However our Deans can be contacted.  Information about this is available on the GDC Online page.


I'm confident that our staff will do a fantastic job for your child(ren) over the days and weeks ahead.  Bear in mind that pulling this all together in an exclusively online environment is new, and has been done in a very short time frame.  Staff have used many of the tools such as Google Classroom before, but not to deliver whole courses or assemblies.  I suspect we'll make some mistakes along the way.  Please be patient as we work our way through them and learn.

I'll continue to stay in touch via email, and on the COVID-19 Update page.  Take care over the days and weeks ahead.

Kia kotahitanga tātou (we're all in this together)

Wednesday 25th March  (am)

Ata marie,

The sun is shining and the streets are almost empty.  It's a different world, but thankfully we're still connected through technology.  Today I'm meeting with our senior leadership team, faculty leaders and, later in the day, staff.  We've been trialling ZOOM meetings, which so far is working very well.  For your information:


1. Resilience
Gordon Robertson (DP) has shared the following resources that you might find useful.  The links are :   and  The second vimeo features Dr Emma Woodward who has worked with us on our wellbeing framework.  

A little more light-hearted, I enjoyed the following clips from a very bored UK sports commentator ...  Nothing to do with school, but it made me laugh.  Good therapy.

2. Student Emails
We will be using students' emails and Google Class to connect with students.  Can you please get them to check their emails regularly.  I'm recommending to staff that they get into routines so that students know what to expect.  As you know, my routine is to (try and) email each morning and afternoon, even if it is only brief.

3. Active Online 
Our goal is to enable our rangatahi (young adults) to be active mentally, physically and socially over the next few weeks.  That will be a challenge.  We'll do our best to support you and your childrent to achieve this ... and avoid log cabin fever.  Talking to staff and parents, I'm very confident we'll do this.

4. Guidance for Parents
I've started to add information to the GDC Online page.  It's still bare bones, but keep checking in there.  It will grow over the next few days.

Thanks again for the many supportive emails.  These are tough times and it's very heartening to see people come together.

Kia kotahitanga tātou (we're all in this together)

Tuesday 24th March  (pm)

Kia ora tātou,

Thankfully today has been much calmer than yesterday.  The school has no new cases of COVID-19 and has been working on our online learning plan.  SLT had a ZOOM meeting this morning (our first) and this afternoon I shared our draft online learning plan with faculty leaders.  Below is some brief information for you and your whānau:

1. Online Learning
SLT met today and went through our 'online learning plan'.  I've shared this with faculty leaders this afternoon and will talk with staff tomorrow.  There's two elements to it ... community and learning.  With students isolated for at least four weeks, I believe it's important that we try to maintain our sense of community.  Glendowie College is renowned for its caring environment and I want to protect that over the weeks ahead.  We will share our ideas about this tomorrow.

Google Classroom is our online learning platform.  Many (if not all) classes should already have this.  Over the next 2-3 days, we'll be checking that all classes are set up and using this.  Please note that some practical classes (e.g. Hospitality, BCTS) may not be able to provide online learning.  There are also other resources (e.g. Education Perfect) that teachers will use with students.  I've also asked our PE department to provide some resources for you and your child(ren) to do some exercise at home.

I've talked further with faculty leaders about trying to support senior students (and whānau) as best possible with regard to deadline and authenticity requirements.  We will try to be as flexible as possible.  Each subject and assessment is different, so I can't give a blanket rule or guideline.  Please be assured that we will do our very best in this regard.

3. Guidance for Parents
Over the next few weeks, teachers and whānau will need to work together to support your child(ren)'s learning.  We're putting together some basic resources to support you.  Some parents have already shared what they or their child has organised (e.g. a study and rest timetable).  I'm impressed.  We have incredible students.  I'll also provide guidance on whom to contact (and how) if you have questions over the next few weeks.

4. Holidays
Remember, the school holidays are now from March 30th to April 14th (inclusive).  This means that students and teachers are on holiday at that time, with the same expectations of normal school holidays.  Some people (including staff) have contacted me and asked if we will provide online learning during that period.  I've checked with the Ministry, and the answer is 'no'.  They are the holidays and a chance for everyone to relax.  I've asked teachers to prioritise NCEA students over the next 2-3 days, so that they can work on their internal assessments over the holidays if they want to.  We will also have  work for juniors.


I'll be in touch tomorrow.

Kia kotahitanga tātou (we're all in this together)

Tuesday 24th March  (am)

1. Thanks
I want to start by thanking everyone for their patience and support yesterday.  The staff at ARPHS were excellent in what must have been a very stressful day for them.  Whānau and colleagues inundated the schools with encouragement and support.  It's mīharo (awesome) to be part of this community.

2. Close Contacts
As I said yesterday, we have contacted the families of all students (and staff) who were in close contact with the student diagnosed with COVID-19.  If you weren't contacted, your child(ren) was not in close contact.  We have no new cases of students or staff diagnosed with COVID-19.  We will inform you if this changes.

3. School Closed
As stated, the school is now closed physically.

4. Online Learning
Today I'm meeting (online) with SLT and talking with staff to start gearing up our online learning.  We have the resources to do this and will methodically get them up and running to support students' learning while they're at home.  Go to the GDC Online page on our website (follow the link on our homepage) to learn more.  It's empty now, but will start to populate over the next few days.

I was asked on national radio this morning what advice I have for parents.  With more time to think about it, my best advice is (1) you are your child's best resource, spend some time together and (2) provide structure.  We'll give more guidance over this week.

Kia kaha me noho ora mai

Monday 23rd March  (7.00pm)

This is the last update for today.  Please be aware that I'm posting major updates to the COVID-19 page on the school website.
1. Close Contacts
I have now contacted all students and staff who, according to ARPHS guidelines, have been in close contact with the student diagnosed with COVID-19.  If you haven't been contacted as part of this mailing list, your child(ren) has(have) NOT been in close contact with the student at school and is(are) considered a 'casual contact'.  The ARPHS is dealing with any contact out of school.  If you have any questions about this, please visit the ARPHS website, or phone Healthline.
2. School Closed
Irrespective of the Prime Minister's announcement (see below), Glendowie College remains closed to all students and staff.  I'm aware that some students (and staff) want to come in to get equipment, portfolios, etc.   I'll address this tomorrow.  For now, no-one may come into school.
3. Prime Minister's Announcement
The MOE has just sent principals clarification of the PM's announcement.  These are as follows:
4. School Holidays
The April school holidays have now been shifted.  The upcoming school holidays will begin from Monday 30 March to Tuesday 14 April (inclusive).  At the end of the school holidays, schools will remain closed.  The PM announced that NZ will move to Level 4 in the COVID-19 Alert Level system for four weeks from Thursday 26 March.  Schools will be fully closed during this period.
5. Children of Essential Services Workers
I have discussed this with senior officials in the Ministry of Education.  The MOE has asked schools to remain open for tuition for students of essential service workers.  However, because Glendowie College is closed already, the Ministry has instructed me that Glendowie College is not to do this.  We are closed to all students.
6. Students' Learning
The Government has asked that schools endeavour to provide learning opportunities to our students "to the greatest extent possible".  Our focus until now has been on ensuring continuity of face-to-face learning.  I had hoped to prioritise preparation for school closures and online learning this week.  The plans of mice and men...  
I must seek your further patience as SLT and I now work with staff, at a distance, to develop a considered plan for online learning.  It's important that we work through this methodically, rather than jump into quick-fire, band aid solution.  This closure will be at least four weeks.  It could be longer.  There will be no or little extra work for students this week as we shift into the holidays.  Students should carry on with existing work.
Your child's learning is vitally important to me and my staff.  That and their wellbeing is our job.  We will work very hard to provide the best possible learning to your child(ren).  Knowing my staff, I'm very confident of their ability to support your child(ren).
I will create a separate page on the website later this week, and use this to keep you informed.
7. NCEA Assessments
Senior (years 11-13) and some accelerate year 10 students will be doing NCEA assessments.  Please assure them that they do not need to worry about deadlines at this stage.  Shortly I will be emailing staff and instructing them to make extensions to current internal assessments.  We're here to maximise your child's chance for success, and won't let the current circumstances affect that unnecessarily.  Staff will be in touch this week.  For now, please assure your child that they don't need to worry about internal assessments.
I'll be in touch again tomorrow.
We're all in this together.  

Monday 23rd March  (8.00am)

Over the next few days I want to maintain regular communication to keep you as informed as possible, even if there is not much to report.  This will be by email, and this page.

1. Today
I and the Senior Leadership Team are now at school and waiting on the health authorities to contact us and lead us through what needs to happen.  We're in their hands and will follow their instructions.  

2. We're walking not running
There is a lot to do and consider, so it's important that we prioritise what is most important and get this done correctly.  We will do this calmly and methodically, rather than rushing and trying to do everything at once and risk making mistakes.  If you have concerns or questions, please contact us by email and be patient. We are now (very) short-staff and I ask that you be polite and patient. 

Our first priority today is students' and staff's wellbeing, then we will start to focus on students' learning.

Sunday 22nd March ... Glendowie College is Closed for 72 Hours

The Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) has informed me that a student at Glendowie College has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Accordingly the Ministry of Education has closed our school for 72 hours.  We will be closed to all students and staff from Monday 23rd March through to Wednesday 25th March.  At this stage, we will re-open on Thursday 26th March.

The ARPHS has said that health authorities will start working with the school to identify all students and staff who have been in close contact with the student, and instruct them to self-isolate for 14 days.  The ARPHS have stated that this work will start tomorrow.  I and the Deputy Principals will be at school to work on this tomorrow morning.  No other staff will be at work tomorrow.

Until then, I recommend that you keep your child(ren) at home until we confirm whether they have been in close contact with the student identified with COVID-19. This will be the school's first priority tomorrow.  We will communicate with close contacts as soon as we have tracked and identified them.  We will then contact all other students to advise that they have not been in close contact.

Hopefully your child has some work to get on with tomorrow.  I will be in touch tomorrow with more information about the tracking and your child's learning.

Thanks for your ongoing patience and support.  This is serious and we’re in it together.


Saturday 21st March

Following my newsletter ...

The Prime Minister has clearly stated that schools remain open, and that students are safe there.  Glendowie College remains open.

We will continue to promote good hygiene, and look to increase measures to protect students and staff where possible.

I agree with the Government that it’s important to  keep schools open as long as possible.  At the same time we need to be prudent and further prepare for the possibility of the Government closing schools for a period.  Two weeks ago I asked staff to start thinking about what they would need to do to teach online, and to ensure that every subject has a Google classroom set up.  This week I will ask staff to put more focus on this.  Online learning can’t match teaching students in person.  However, if needed, we will support your child’s learning online as best as we possibly can.

Thanks for your ongoing patience and support.  This is serious and we’re in it together.

Friday 20th March

I have made the following decisions based on guidance from the Government, Ministry of Education, and other groups such as national sports bodies.

  • School Ball This is postponed. 
    Next term, when we have a better idea of timeframes, we will review this decision and consider options for running a ball or similar event later this year.

  • School Production Hairspray is postponed to next year. 
    This means that rehearsals are cancelled for the foreseeable future.   
    We don’t consider it appropriate to run the show next term, and realistically there is no window later this year to run it without interfering with other events (e.g. KBB Festival … if it goes ahead).

  • Summer Sports These are winding up this week. 
    Some sports are having their last game, while others have already ended.  The sports department is contacting students and parents about this as needed.

  • Winter Sports
    Due to directives from national sports bodies and decreasing venue availability, all winter sports competitions run by College Sports have been put on hold.  College Sport will review this decision at the start of term 2.  
    Connected with this, most national sports bodies have asked schools to also stop all sports trials and practices.  I instructed our sports staff to do so, as of yesterday.  However, I’m mindful that we also want to keep our students active over winter.  I will review the training decision over the next few days.  I’ve asked our sports staff to consider how we can best keep our students active, and safe, through winter.

  • School Trips We continue to run some trips and not others.
    We are considering each trip on a case by case basis.

  • Arts Groups All other groups continue as per normal. 
    I’m meeting with staff daily to discuss whether other groups, e.g. concert band, will carry on.  At this stage, no decision has been made, and.  Students should assume their on and bring their gear to school.  
    I’ll update you and students should this change. 

Stopping Rumours
We have asked parents to keep their child(ren) at home if they are ill, or display any symptoms of COVID-19.  This has the potential to create false rumours about students or staff being away because they have COVID-19.

If the school has a case or suspected case of COVID-19, I will inform you.  Until then, please help us to stop inaccurate speculation by students, especially online.

School Closure?
The Prime Minister has made it clear that there is no immediate need to close schools.  So Glendowie College is open for business.  Clearly without all activities and events taking place.

The general thinking appears to be that we want to keep schools open for as long as possible, if not avoid closing them entirely.  This is to minimise the social disruption that would come with closing schools (e.g. parents having to be home with young children) and to protect students’ learning and qualifications.  

I’m sure the Prime Minister’s decision will be reviewed if New Zealand shifts from overseas transmission to community transmission.  But we’re not there yet.

While I hope we won’t close, I have asked staff to start thinking about how we would continue to support students’ learning if the Government does decide to close schools.  For example, I’ve asked teachers to ensure that all subjects have a Google Class set up.  While we have time, we will continue to work on this.

For now, our focus is on maintaining learning in our classrooms.

What is COVID-19?  
COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a type of coronavirus. The are called coronaviruses because of the shape they have when looked at through a microscope.

Like the ‘flu, it can be spread from person to person. When a person who has COVID-19 coughs, sneezes, or talks, they may spread droplets containing the virus a short distance, which quickly settle on surrounding surfaces.

You may get infected by the virus if you touch those surfaces or objects then touch your mouth, nose or eyes.

That’s why it’s really important to use good hygiene, regularly wash thoroughly dry your hands, and use good cough etiquette.

The symptoms are:

  • A cough
  • A high temperature (at least 38 degrees)
  • Shortness of breath.

These symptoms do not necessarily mean you have COVID-19. The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and ‘flu.

source - NZ Ministry of Health

Tuesday, 17th March

As you will be aware the situation is changing rapidly.

It is important to note that New Zealand continues to have no confirmed cases in schools or early learning services. The policy decisions being made by Government give us time to plan for future scenarios.

Following the weekend’s announcement to require all people travelling to New Zealand to self-isolate, the Prime Minister announced yesterday a ban of gatherings of more than 500 people in a bid to head off the worst of the coronavirus outbreak.  She also confirmed that New Zealand's schools will remain open for the time being.

As a result of this, the school has made the following decisions:

School Fun Run
I have talked with the Parents’ Association and we have made the decision to cancel the run this weekend.  We will review this later this year as to whether running it later in the year is an option.

School and House Assemblies  
We are stopping these until further notice to follow the Prime Minister’s and health authorities guidance. 

School Trips and School Events
We will consider these on a case by case basis, and as the Government’s guidance evolves.  The Year 13 History trip has been cancelled and we are reviewing other trips.

For your information, New Zealand Secondary Sports has cancelled summer sports tournaments, including the MAADI Cup.

Sports, Arts, and Student Leadership Activities
Sports and other co-curricular activities continue as per normal for now.

School Ball & School Production
At this stage we are working on the assumption that these are going ahead.  I would very much like them to take place.  We’re closely monitoring the Government’s updates as it relates to these events and will keep you informed.

The Government has said that it will make further announcements about mass gatherings, including smaller gatherings later this week.  We will update you as we know more. 


Some parents have contacted the school that they have chosen to self-isolate their children (who are not ill and haven’t been in close contact with some with someone with Covid-19) as an extra precaution.

Current health guidelines are that only people suspected of having Covid-19, or who have been in direct close contact are required to self-isolate.  Close contact is defined as anyone who has been in face to face contact with the person suspected of Covid-19 or has been within two metres of the person for longer than 15 minutes.

The Ministry of Education requires us to treat anyone who doesn’t meet these criteria and doesn’t have a medical certificate justifying their child’s self-isolation, as as an unjustified absence.  Current Ministry of Education guidelines also have possible implications for your child’s continued enrolment at the college should it extend to 20 days or more.  We are talking to the Ministry about this as the situation evolves.

Please be aware that the school is not equipped to provide distance learning beyond the current access to resources such as Education Perfect and any existing online resources such as Google Class if this is already set up.  I have instructed teachers that their focus remains on their classroom and the students before them.

This may change if the government makes an announcement about school closures.  At this stage, the Prime Minister has stated that she sees no need to consider school closures.  We continue to run the school on that basis. 

That said, I’m working with staff to consider how we would maintain students’ learning in different scenarios such as partial or full closures.

In the interim, classes and school events carry on, and we continue to emphasise good hygiene practices at the school.

Finally, if your child is showing signs of illness such as coughs and colds, please keep them at home.  Colds and flus are common in schools and by staying away, seeking medical attention and practicing good hygiene, we can all keep any spread of illness to a minimum.

If you have any specific concerns about COVID-19, contact your GP or the 24-hour COVID-19 health line number - 0800 358 5453.  You can also visit the COVID-19 page at


Thursday, 5th March

COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) is now confirmed in New Zealand, however, the Ministry of Health currently advises that the chance of a widespread outbreak is low.

Hygiene at School:

  • We have talked to students at assembly and placed posters around the school around hand-washing and general hygiene at school. The Ministry of Health advises people should wash their hands for 20 seconds, and then fully dry them.

Keeping you and your family well:

In terms of keeping yourself and your family well, the Ministry of Health suggests the following:

  • regularly washing hands (for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap and dry thoroughly)
  • cover nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing (preferably with a disposable single use tissue).
  • immediately dispose of used tissues.
  • adopt good hand washing and drying practices, particularly after coughing, sneezing or using tissues.
  • keep hands away from the mucous membranes of the eyes, mouth, and nose
  • stay home if you are sick
  • avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms
  • if you feel unwell you should avoid public gatherings and events.                      

Signs and symptoms

  • Symptoms of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) include fever, coughing and difficulty breathing. Difficulty breathing can be a sign of pneumonia and requires immediate medical attention. 
  • Go to the Ministry of Health website if you require more information about the signs and symptoms.

Pandemic Plan:

  • I’ve recently talked with education and health authorities. They’ve explained that they are currently in a “keep it out” phase of dealing with the virus and the risk of closing schools is “a very long way away”. I’ve decided that it’s prudent for the college to consider how we would respond were the government to require many or all of our students to self-isolate. Hopefully this planning will be unnecessary.

Advice for an unwell child:

  • Anyone who is unwell should not be at school.
  • If you have any concerns about one of your children or students, the Ministry of Health guidance suggests that you contact Healthline at 0800 611 116 or your GP for medical advice.

Travel Restrictions:

  • Go to Immigration New Zealand’s website (link below) to read the latest travel restrictions.

Quarantine / Self-Isolation

  • The college continues to follow the official guidance on requiring students or staff to self-isolate themselves.

Trips, Sports, etc:

  • At this stage, it is business as usual for all local school events. All trips, sports, practices, etc are going ahead.
  • We are monitoring the situation with overseas trips and liaising with students and parents on these directly.

Further Concerns:

  • We will continue to monitor advice from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and the Auckland Regional Public Health Service and follow their advice.

Useful Links

We will keep you updated as we know more.  Thank you for your support.


Ngā mihi,

R Dykes


Immigration NZ website:       



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