We really appreciate how you are all responding to what are very uncertain times. Unfortunately the situation is going to remain uncertain for some time yet. It is important to maintain contact with colleagues and help one another. Everybody is facing tough decisions; talking those through with a colleague is a powerful act to help you, and you will be helping them too. We will do our very best to help and we know you will also help each other.
We have had a number of enquiries seeking guidance for schools with a proportion of staff who are impacted by the COVID-19 Level 2 Alert announced yesterday - staff and students who are over 70 years of age and those with compromised immunity and certain existing medical conditions are asked to remain at home as much as they can from now on and avoid any non-essential travel. If you are concerned your school won’t have enough teaching staff to safely deliver learning to all year levels, you will need to consider a range of options which could include:
1. Offer supervision of some classes using non-teaching staff (who have been safety checked) – use those teachers who can work from home to set learning for them and could potentially offer support online back to the class, undertake marking etc
2. Implement your distance learning/online learning plans for some classes or year levels – again teaching staff working from home can support their learning at home
3. Relief staffing could be an option depending on your pool of available teachers; we appreciate this might be difficult but where they are available they should be used
Information about who is considered vulnerable has been updated today on the COVID-19.govt.nz website and is as follows:
At risk people include:
1. Those over 70: Older people often have underlying health issues, including respiratory issues that make them more vulnerable to COVID-19.
2. People with medical conditions: Underlying medical conditions can make you more vulnerable to COVID-19. In particular, people with respiratory conditions such as COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), heart conditions, high blood pressure, kidney problems and diabetes.
3. People undergoing a treatment for cancer and blood conditions: As treatments for cancer and blood conditions affect people’s immune systems, this makes them more vulnerable to COVID-19.
4. Pregnant women: Health experts do not yet know if pregnant women are impacted by COVID-19 in the same way as other people. However, pregnant women experience changes in their bodies that may increase their risk from some infections.
5. People without easy access to healthcare