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.

 

Thursday 8th October

Our move down to Alert Level 1 this week provides all of us with certainty that it is safe for all children and young people to physically attend school.

Your children’s learning, health and wellbeing is important to us – and we can’t wait to see them next week.

I assure you we will continue to follow all appropriate health measures at school including maintaining cleaning and disinfecting practices and encouraging good hygiene standards.  We will also continue to remind people to stay home if they are unwell and to seek medical advice.

Term 4 is an exceptionally busy term as senior students prepare for exams next week and NCEA exams starting in November.  Junior assessments also continue this term with final assessments/exams taking place in mid-November.

This term is also the time when we celebrate student achievements.  There are a number of evening events taking place over the next month.  Now that we are at Level 1, with no limits on event numbers, we will be planning accordingly.  Closer to the time we will inform parents/caregivers and students of any special arrangements that we need to make.

 

Friday 28th August

Mōrena

Earlier in the week I advised the parents and students that students would be required to wear face coverings on buses. The latest advice which is attached below, outlines this is not the case for school buses.

To clarify the situation. If students use a public bus, they are required to have a face covering. However, if they use a school bus, face coverings are not required but are optional. We recommend that face coverings should be worn to reduce possible risk.

Within school face coverings are not required and are optional. If students feel that they are more comfortable having their face covered that is their right.

As a college we are following all recommended steps to keep our students safe. We look forward to seeing all our students on Monday.

 

What is the public health advice about face coverings in schools and early learning services?
Here is a statement from Director of Public Health Dr Caroline McElnay:
 
We have carefully looked at the evidence around COVID-19 and educational settings, and at the experience of other countries in responding to COVID-19 in these settings to inform the public health advice about face coverings (including masks) for children and young people at school and early learning services.
 
When reviewing the evidence for children and young people, we have considered the potential benefits of reducing the spread of the virus, and any potential harms or risks.
 
The purpose of wearing a face covering wrapped around your nose and mouth is to prevent the spread of infection between people. With the other public health measures, we have put in place in schools and early learning services, coupled with the reduced risk of transmission at Alert Level 2, we consider the risk of infection is low.  
 
At Alert Level 2 schools and early learning services are reinforcing good hygiene practices, are undertaking regular cleaning, and staff, children and young people are staying away if they are sick. Where practicable, physical distancing is in place, particularly between adults.
 
Overall, we think it is important not to interfere with learning as much as possible, so it's about balancing up the benefits against the potential harms. Our experience in New Zealand and overseas with COVID-19 shows that it does not affect children and teens in the same way it does adults. Compared to other places, schools and early learning services are not environments where we have seen significant spread of COVID-19. Household members and work colleagues who are in close contact with people with COVID-19, are the most common sources of transmission.
 
Children and teens don't become as unwell if they do get infected, and they don't tend to pass the virus on so much as adults in the classroom setting.
 
Based on what we know about face coverings and transmission in children, we are taking this balanced approach at this time. If new evidence emerges, this guidance will be revised.

 

Tuesday 25th August

Kia ora koutou Parents/Caregivers and Students

Return to School in Covid-19 Level 2

It was a big relief to hear we are moving back to Alert Level 2 at the beginning of next week. We look forward to welcoming all our students and staff back onsite at that time!
 
Thank you once more to our parents and caregivers for the support and resilience you have shown through Alert Level 3.

 Following on from the Prime Minister’s announcement that Auckland is moving out of Covid-19 Level 3 and schools can return on Monday 31 August, we thought it best to provide you with some clarification.

  • Students are expected to return on Monday 31 August and will go to period one as normal. Monday will be Day 6.
  • The school will organize classrooms to promote social distancing.
  • At form time students will be informed of the actions they and the school need to take to minimize any health and safety risks. The most important aspect will be the use of hand sanitizer and hand washing. We will have hand sanitizer in every classroom.
  • If students are unwell they should remain at home. Any students becoming unwell at school will be assessed by the nurse and sent home.
  • Students using buses are required to have face coverings.
  • All visitors must sign in and out at Reception and use the Covid-19 tracer app. This includes parents coming in to pay accounts.

We know all these things will help to keep our community as safe as possible. Because of these measures, your child does not need to wear a face covering while at school. We will of course support them should they choose to do so.
 
For those of you who might be finding things more difficult than usual, a reminder that there is a large range of support available for businesses and the community. We encourage you to go to covid19.govt.nz for more information, or get in touch and we will help you to find the information and support you need.
 
We are looking forward to seeing our students again. Upon return teachers will explain to students what is happening in each subject as there may be some re-organisation of teaching programmes. We want to work in the best interests of our students and will support them to overcome this latest disruption to their learning.

 

Monday 24th August

At 3.00pm this afternoon the Prime Minister will inform us whether we continue with Covid-19 Level 3 or whether Auckland moves to Level 2. 
 
At Level 2 schools can return.  When we know the date this will occur we will inform you on the website and by email and also outline the Health and Safety requirements we will put in place to keep your child(ren) safe.
 
 

Wednesday 19th August

Year 12 and 13 at School
Further clarification as to which students can potentially return to school under Covid-19 Level 3 has been provided by the Ministry of Education.  This information emphasised that students should only be at school in exceptional circumstances and that learning from home should be the norm.  The Senior Leadership Team and Faculty Leaders have discussed this issue and have decided that at this stage no students will be asked to come into school under Alert Level 3.  The exception will be one small group of Year 13 students for whom permission is currently being sought by the Ministry.  Those students will be contacted directly by their teacher if permission is granted. 
 
Students Employed in Paid Work During School Time
It has come to our attention that some students have been unable to attend Zoom lessons because they are working in paid employment.  The college insists that as full time students, students are expected to be undertaking school work between 8.45am and 3.20pm.  Any paid employment should be outside those hours.
We understand that financial circumstances may be difficult but our priority is to ensure that students keep up to date with their learning requirements so that future academic and career aspirations can be met.
 
 

Tuesday 18th August

You may have seen the latest news from the Government that schools may be able to bring back Year 12 and 13 students in Covid-19 Level 3 under special circumstances.  We have yet to receive from the Ministry when this potentially could be possible.  However, we have received the health requirements if we were to proceed. These are as follows:
  • Physical distancing must be observed at all times – 1m inside and 2m outside
  • Students must be organised into bubbles of no more that 20 with one teacher
  • The student make-up of each bubble cannot change throughout Alert Level 3
  • Bubbles must not mix with each other inside or outside in the school grounds
  • A teacher cannot be associated with more than one bubble of students but a bubble of students can have more than one teacher throughout Alert Level 3
  • Rigorous hand washing and drying must be adhered to and hand sanitizer available at the entrance to classrooms
  • Coughing and sneezing must be into the elbow
  • Students and teachers must stay home or be asked to go home if they are unwell
  • It goes without saying that rigorous adherence to the public health requirements is essential for the safety and wellbeing of your students, teachers and their families.

These restrictions have certain implications.  As the composition of students in each class is different because students are all on individual timetables it would mean that they could only come to school for one subject as bubbles are not allowed to change.  It would also mean that a teacher can only teach one group of students, not a number of classes.  Some practical subjects e.g. Dance, would not be possible due to social distancing. If two different bubbles use the same teaching space then a thorough clean would have to take place between classes.

The college has set up learning at Covid-19 Level 3 to be online and teachers have organised Zoom lessons as required during scheduled lesson times.  Teachers have asked students to come into school to pick up resources as needed over the past few days.  I will be consulting with Faculty Leaders today as to whether certain subjects need a bubble of students to attend school to assist with their learning.  If this is the case students will be informed directly.  However, it is expected that most, if not all, Year 12 and 13 students WILL NOT be required to come into school during Covid-19 Level 3.

Thank you for your understanding.  We are confident, as shown by the way students have caught up from the last lockdown, that our students will not be disadvantaged.  Our priority is to ensure the health and safety of the whole school community - staff, students and families.

 
 

Monday 17th August

2021 Enrolment Applications for Glendowie College
 
Due to the restrictions imposed by Covid-19 Level 3 it may not be possible for parents to drop off completed enrolment forms at the college which is currently closed.  It also may not be possible for parents of students in-zone for Glendowie College to be able to obtain a Justice of the Peace's or solicitor's signature to complete the statutory declaration required as part of the enrolment process.
 
As a result Glendowie College has extended the in-zone deadline until Friday 4 September 2020 under the assumption that Auckland moves out of Covid-19 Level 3 next week.  If this is not the case, parents will be informed of a further revised in-zone deadline.
 
As out-of-zone enrollment applications do not need a statutory declaration the closing date for out-of-zone applications will remain on Wednesday 2 September 2020.
 
Enrollment applications can either be emailed to reception@gdc.school.nz or dropped into the college office when the college re-opens.
 
Circumstances have made the enrollment process more difficult.  However, the college will ensure that everyone wishing to enrol at the college will have the opportunity to do so.
 
 

Saturday 15th August

Morena Students/Parents/Caregivers

Following on from the Government Covid-19 level announcement all the learning in the college will be learning online until at least Wednesday 26 August. Closer to that time we will inform you whether online learning will be continuing. We know this is not ideal but having gone through this once we know what needs to be done. Tracking data of expected NCEA level 1, 2 and 3 results for 2020 show that students are, on average, attaining at a higher level than the equivalent cohort last year despite being in lockdown earlier this year. We are confident results will not be compromised if students keep to the learning expectations of their teachers.

There have been some changes to the structure of learning from the last time we had online learning. Those changes are detailed here.  Please read this document as it includes support structures we have for students as well as how the timetable will be organised.

Currently we have received no notification of any children of essential workers requiring to attend school. If any child of essential workers needs to attend can a parent please email me at principal@gdc.school.nz. We have been informed by NZ Bus that no school buses will be operating under Level 3.

We will be using the website and emails to keep you informed of any developments.

Kia haumaru te noho (Be safe)

 

Friday 14th August

Dear Parents/Caregivers

At this point of time we do not know whether Auckland will be remaining in Level 3 or change to another level next week. We anticipate we will be informed in the 5.30pm broadcast by the Prime Minister and subsequently by the Ministry of Education.

If we are to stay at Level 3 or change to Level 4, the college will remain with an on-line learning programme. Detailed information as to how the on-line learning will be structured will be posted on the college website after the Prime Minister's broadcast.

If the alert level changes to Level 2, then school will be open from when advised by the Ministry of Education.

Further updates will be posted here on the college website under the Covid-19 logo on the home page.

Kia haumaru te noho (Be safe)

 

Thursday 13th August

Weekend Sport Cancelled

Following the Government’s update which took place at 1.00PM today, I wish to inform you that all College Sport events and activities scheduled for this weekend will not take place

Like you, we had hoped that the Ministry of Health may have been in a position to advise us that Auckland would shift back to Alert Level 1 or 2 at midnight tomorrow, however, to date that has not been possible.  Given this, we can but assume that Auckland will remain at Alert Level 3 over the weekend and consequently, school sport would not possible due to the Government’s restrictions on gathering sizes. 

 

Wednesday 12th August

Mōrena Parents/Caregivers

We are just clarifying the next few days as far as teaching and learning for your son/daughter.

Today is an independent work day for students: carrying on with work or assessments already set, homework or study. 

On Thursday and Friday teachers will set work for your son/daughter and this will be communicated by email or Google Classroom only.  There will be no Zoom lessons.

Further updates will be provided by email and on the website as we get more information.

Scholarship exams will be rescheduled for later in the term.  Students are encouraged to keep studying as we do want them to have a scholarship exam practice as soon as possible.

Please stay safe and follow all personal hygiene and safety protocols.
 

 

Monday 18th May

Kia ora!  We’re looking forward to re-connecting with our students this week.  Overleaf is some information for your benefit, especially with regard to NCEA.  We will explain this to students tomorrow when they return, and to you again later in the year.

The good news is that students have already been collecting credits towards NCEA this year, albeit in a slightly different order than previous years.  We’re publishing a senior NCEA progress report next Friday 29th May to update you on your child’s progress to date.

This week teachers will explain to students what is happening in each subject.  I believe that Glendowie College is very well placed for our students to achieve NCEA as per normal.

Please contact your child’s Dean or Assistant Dean if you have any general questions or concerns about his or her academic progress, or wellbeing.

 

Information for Parents 

Visitors to School
All visitors, including parents must sign in and out at reception.  This includes parents coming into pay accounts.

School Buses
Auckland Transport have advised us that they’re putting on extra buses on the following routes: 

  • Routes 414 & 417, are getting an extra bus each in the mornings and afternoons
  • Routes 418 & 419, are getting an extra bus each in the mornings

These extra buses will be in place until the on board physical distancing requirements are removed or until further notice.

School Holidays
At this stage all school holiday dates are unchanged.  That means that this term will be 12 weeks long.  We’re currently in week 6 of the term.
 

School Hygiene
Our staff have worked hard to prepare the school for students’ return.  The most important aspect of this will be the use of hand sanitiser and hand washing.  We have hand sanitiser in every room.  Students are allowed, but not required to wear masks to school.


NCEA

We’d been talking with NZQA and were hopeful that they would make changes to NCEA this year to address schools’ significant equity and wellbeing concerns.  Along with a number of other schools, we felt it was highly appropriate to lower the ‘credit thresholds’ for NCEA to reflect the impact of the lockdown on students’ progress towards NCEA, and to do this now for people to plan for it. 

Regrettably, NZQA hasn’t done this and has only made minor tweaks to NCEA.  They’ve also stated that they make further changes to NCEA at a later date in the year.

In light of this, we’re modifying our NCEA programmes now to best support them to achieve this year and to move forward next year.  I’ve listed NZQA’s national changes and our own local changes overleaf:

NZQA National Changes:

  • external NCEA and NZ Scholarship exams have been delayed.  They will now start on 16th November instead of 6th November, and finish on 9th December instead of 2nd December.
  • the submission dates for portfolio subjects have been changed.  Individual subjects will confirm these dates and advise students in class.

Glendowie Changes:

All Levels

  • all senior NCEA subjects are reducing the number of standards that they assess this year to reflect the impact of the lockdown on teaching time.  Most subjects will reduce their course by 1 standard.
  • subjects will identify extra standards that they can offer to individual students later in the year if required to help students achieve NCEA in 2020.
  • as the majority of our students gain significantly more credits than they require to gain NCEA (e.g. on average our year 11 students gain 125 credits when they only require 80), we’re confident that this won’t impact on students’ success in 2020.

NZ Scholarship

  • NZ Scholarship remains unchanged.  We are working with NZQA to identify any curriculum changes to NZ Scholarship exams are a result of the lockdown.

Level 3

  • level 3 requirements remain the same.
  • we’re surveying all year 13 students tomorrow in form class to clarify their academic goals for this year, their aspirations for 2021, and where they are currently placed towards those.
  • we’ll then follow this up and talk with all year 13 students individually to identify a plan that ensures they are best placed to meet their goals for this year and next.  This will be done by Deans, Assistant Deans and careers staff over the next few weeks.

Level 2

  • level 2 requirements remain the same.
  • every year we track students’ progress towards NCEA through the year.  We will increase our tracking of year 12 students this year, especially those pursuing endorsements that they can use to apply for external scholarships in 2021.

Level 1 (Glendowie Certificate)

  • all students will remain enrolled in Level 1 NCEA
  • however, we’re introducing a local “Glendowie Certificate” that we will focus on as a measure of student success at year 11 in 2020.  To achieve this, students require the following credits:
         - Achieved                                             … 60 credits at Level 1
         - Endorsed with Merit                            … 40 credits at merit or higher
         - Endorsed with Excellence                     … 40 credits at excellence

  • you’ll see that this is the same structure as Level 1 NCEA, but with reduced credit thresholds. 
  • our reason for doing this is to retain our focus on quality rather than quantity, and to support students’ wellbeing.  We don’t want students stressing to get extra credits in a reduced timeframe or focusing on chasing credits at the expense of quality learning.
  • we’ll also keep subject endorsements but lower the credit threshold to 10 credits to achieve these.

 

 


Wednesday 22nd April

Kia ora,

Further to yesterday's email, below are instructions for booking your child to attend school next week if this is necessary, some information on our Key Competency reports, and a brief update on Mr Chand's recovery.

Students Attending School
The message from the Ministry is very clear that students should continue to learn at home if they can.  If you do need your year 9 or 10 child to attend school next week, please phone our receptionist (Tara King) or email her.

Tara will be at work from tomorrow during normal school hours as the school prepares for Level 3.  You can phone the school and select '0' to get through to her.  Alternatively you can leave a message on the phone or email her at reception@gdc.school.nz.  Please provide Tara with:

  • your child's name
  • his or her year level
  • your name
  • the best contact phone number for us to contact you if necessary

We must know the names of students coming to school next week by the end of the school day on Friday 24th April, so that we can ensure we have sufficient cleaned spaces and staff to supervise the students.  From next week on, you must contact the school by the day before, for your child to come to school and be supervised.

Please remember that students will study online at school.  We won't be providing face-to-face teaching.

Key Competency Reports
These reports will be available to download on the portal from 3.20pm on Friday.  If you need help to access the report (e.g. to request your portal password), contact Sheree Anderson in Student Services.  Her email is student.services@gdc.school.nz.  Please note Mr Chand's class will not appear on these reports.

Update on Mr Chand
Thank you to those who contacted the school with wishes of support for Mr Chand and his family.  He remains in hospital, where he appears to be making good progress there.  His family are also well.

Ngā mihi nui 

 


Tuesday 21st April

Kia ora,

I hope that life in your bubble is going well.   I hope that Term 2 and our distance learning programme has been a success for you so far. I know there will have been any number of challenges for you to deal with but we’ve been getting some great feedback about the learning that is happening and thank you for all your support.

Yesterday the Prime Minister announced that we’ll move into Alert Level 3 on 28 April, and that schools may receive some students from 29 April.  In short, this will look exactly the same for all students as they continue to learn online. The message from the Ministry is very clear that students should continue to learn at home if you can. However, we’re aware that some parents will need to send their child(ren) to school and are preparing for this.

Students who may come to school are:

  • years 9 and 10 students only
  • students who NEED to be at school (e.g. they’re under 14 and parents can’t work from home)
  • students who are not ill

Based on the Ministry’s guidelines, we will base students in the school library where they will study independently online. This means that:

  • students will learn independently online and must bring their own device and headphones
  • students must remain 1m apart indoors and 2m apart outdoors
  • there will be no services such as the tuck shop, guidance, form class, nurse, etc
  • students will not be able to leave the school grounds for any reason during the school day
  • there will be no face-to-face teaching, only supervision
  • students will have access to toilets and will have supervised interval and lunch (with social distancing guidelines enforced) 
  • students will need to bring their own food and drink bottle each day
  • school will run from 8.40a.m. to 3.20p.m. daily. 
  • when they come to school, students will go directly to the library where they must sign in. Students will not be able to leave school early

We're currently setting up a ‘booking’ system for parents to book in their child to attend school. We will need this information by the day before (or earlier) so that we know who to expect and ensure that they arrive, we have sufficient facilities clean and ready for use, and that we have sufficient supervisors.  I’ll contact you later this week with more details about how to book your child, and to pass on further information that we receive from the Ministry of Education. 

As you will be doing, we want to be sure that what we do will keep our community as safe as possible. For now, we will continue to support your child’s learning by distance.

Ngā mihi nui 

 


Friday 17th April

I hope that this finds you well.  Below is a brief update.

Back to School ... Not
Unfortunately the Level 3 announcement was very different from what I and other principals expected.  While we await more details, yesterday’s news about Level 3 means that we will be teaching our students online for the foreseeable future.

We expect a few staff to be allowed back to school in the next couple of weeks and years 9-10 students may attend school if necessary, but the government would prefer them to stay at home.  This means that under level 3 our school won't teach proper face-to-face classes at school, and will continue online learning.  We also won't be able to provide services such as the tuck shop, etc.

We recognise the need to support parents and families who may need to send younger children to school, and will gladly do this.  We're awaiting further details from the Ministry of Education.  What it most likely means is that we'll accept and supervise some junior students to be at school and do their online learning there, with teachers delivering teaching via our online learning platforms.

When I hear more from the Ministry of Education, I'll update you on our plans.

Tracking Student Engagement
Teachers met with a number of students in ZOOM classes yesterday.  The overwhelming feedback was positive.  

We're aware that some students are engaging with their work more than others.  We've developed a simple 'traffic light' system to monitor students' engagement and to communicate this home.  Staff are being asked to track students engagement, using three levels ... STRONG (high, regular contact with the teacher and work) ... AVERAGE (some contact with teacher and work) ... LOW (little or no contact with teacher and work).  This is an informal, subjective system with the primary purpose of keeping you informed of your child's progress.

Staff will contact you if your child's engagement is LOW.  We're setting this system up now and will start contacting home next week.  Note ... this information won't be going on to students' reports or records of learning.  It's  to help us to work with you to support your child(ren) learn online.

I'll post more information about this on the school's website early next week.

ZOOM Concerns
There's been some concerns in the media about misuse of ZOOM.  Teachers' experience so far has been very positive with only a few examples of students' misbehaviour.  Much as we experience in face-to-face classes.  This is a learning curve for teachers as they learn to apply their face-to-face behaviour management strategies to the online learning environment.  This includes strategies such as:

  • restricting access to only those invited
  • turning off the ability of guests to invite others
  • restricting the use of virtual backgrounds
  • showing staff how to turn off the video/audio of individual guests as needed
  • using the wait room feature
  • not accepting students who don't use their correct nameTeachers will deal with student behaviour in the first instance.  If necessary, they will contact you for your support.  If their concerns are bigger, they will contact the Dean to escalate the matter.

Ngā mihi nui


Monday 13th April

I hope this finds you well and enjoying the last days of Easter and the school holidays.  We ‘return’ to school this Wednesday, with teachers connecting with students via Google Classroom, email and ZOOM.  Below is some information for your benefit:

 

1.  Timeline

The Minister and MOE have released some tentative dates for re-starting schools, though with no definite commitments or detail.  We’ve been told the following:

  - staff could start to return on 24 April, with a Teacher Only Day on 28 April

  - some students may start to return from on 29 April

  - social distancing rules will remain in place (e.g. no assemblies, etc)

As I hear more, I’ll let you know.

 

2. Learning Expectations

I’m meeting with staff tomorrow to discuss the return to school on Wednesday.  I know a number of staff have been doing schoolwork through the holidays.  All classes are expected to have a Google Classroom set up, which students can log into daily. 

We’re working with teachers to make more use of ZOOM to connect with students directly.  These won’t be standard ‘lessons’ as these can’t work the same as face-to-face interaction in the classroom.  However, it’s an important way for students and staff to stay connected and support students’ learning.

In the junior school, all classes in English, Languages, Maths, Social Studies and Science have  work for students to do each week.  Classes in the Arts, Health & Physical Education, and Technology may or may not have work for students due to their practical nature.  Teachers will communicate this to students.

In the senior school, all subjects other than practical subjects (e.g. Building Construction) have work for students to do.  This may be focused on NCEA internal assessments, but not necessarily.  For example, Science has switched its focus to preparing for externals as its internal assessments require practical work in science laboratories.

 

3. NCEA
Students’ progress in NCEA is our top priority, especially for year 13 students and year 12 students considering leaving Glendowie at the end of 2020.   I have talked with senior officials at NZQA, and am pleased that they share our concern for year 13 students (and potential year 12 leavers) and their ability to get into tertiary courses and/or apply for scholarships in 2021.

At this stage, we’re assuming status quo.  But this year won’t be status quo and I’m monitoring the situation closely, and working with SLT and faculty leaders to ensure the best possible outcomes for our students.

 

4. Pastoral Care

The wellbeing of our students also remains a top priority.  I’m hopeful that students are currently well, but I’m aware that this will be a long and challenging year.  Please contact your child(ren)’s Dean or Assistant Dean if you have any concerns or questions about their wellbeing or learning.

Glendowie College has a very strong and supportive community.  We are working to maintain this through things such as virtual form classes and house assemblies.  Each form class has its own Google Classroom to help students stay connected, and the prefects in each house are working with their Dean and Assistant Dean to connect with all students online.

Remember, there are also other support services available.  I’ve listed these below: 

  • Alcohol and Drug Helpline: 0800 787 797
  • Family Violence Info Line: 0800 456 450
  • Healthline: 0800 611 116
  • Lifeline Aotearoa Nationwide: 0800 534 354
  • Warmline (Mental Health Peer Support): 0800 200 207
  • Victim Support: 0800 842 846
  • Outline: LGBTIQ affirming support line and face-to-face counselling: 0800 688 5463
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865
  • Anxious or depressed: Text 1737 to talk to a trained counsellor 24/7
  • Central Auckland Foodbank: 022 045 8184 / foodbank.co.nz

For me, pastoral care also extends to our teaching and support staff.  They are working hard, some in difficult circumstances, to provide the best learning for our students.  I want to acknowledge their efforts to date and into the remainder of the year.

 

Thank you for your ongoing support.

Kia kaha.  Kia āwhina.  Stay strong.  Be kind.


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.  https://www.nzgeo.com/together-at-home/  
  - Quizzes on anything you can imagine ... https://www.sporcle.com/quizzes/   
  - Virtual Tours of sorts o sites and museums ... https://www.familydaystriedandtested.com/free-virtual-tours-of-world-museums-educational-sites-galleries-for-children/?fbclid=IwAR0KJhV_qzPBrF8MfVDBkLAXjIeqCUBNwy42MWTvu9wnmTLHOC96NAJb7To
  - NZ Virtual Tour  closer to home, great to have some NZ content ... https://www.rangihouaheritage.co.nz/
  - More Geography Quiz Sites: ... https://world-geography-games.com/  ... and ... https://www.geoguessr.com/

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)

Morena,

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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9KjlD4yC8g&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR1dRtTmf2Z3mQLU2NeUzG5DyKsnZRNaW-yioYz0xF5etmO4Z6faAJgJ-8c


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 :  https://vimeo.com/398990181   and    https://vimeo.com/400146129.  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 ... https://www.thepoke.co.uk/2020/03/20/this-commentators-got-no-live-sport-left-so-hes-commentating-on-everyday-life-and-its-brilliant/.  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.

2. NCEA
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
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