Kia ora e te whānau
Once again, I'd like to express my gratitude for the seamless transition to online learning for all students isolating at home either as positive cases or household contacts. Everyone has experienced significant disruption since the start of 2022, and disruption will continue over the next few weeks as the Omicron outbreak reaches its peak in the South.
We are committed to caring for the safety and wellbeing of our staff and student body within the limitations we have to work. For the rest of the term while the virus peaks, we are preparing for the possibility of a number of staff and students being away. We have now reached the point where we cannot staff all timetabled classes face to face.
Therefore, starting on Monday 28 March we are going to have senior students doing home learning, for two consecutive days per week. This means that all year 7-10 students will come to school as normal. Senior year levels will be rostered home to continue their learning. All learning will be prepared for them the day before they are rostered home by their teachers and further instructions and tasks will be put up on Microsoft Teams. For the two days students are at home they will not have any contact with their teachers so self-management and discipline will be required. Whanau can help by providing a quiet study space and checking in with your child to see they are working on their lessons. These dates will be reviewed as we progress.
Our hybrid teaching and learning plan is based on having a sustainable, practicable and proactive response. It is sustainable because teachers and students know what they can expect from each other. It is practicable because it means that we can offer flexibility in the case of staff shortages. By taking this approach, we hope to be able to keep the school running smoothly. We will keep you informed as to any changes to this plan or developments.
Our plan will be discussed with students today in their subject classes and in Microsoft Teams.
· Year 13 - Monday 28th March and Tuesday 29th March
· Year 12 - Wednesday 30th March and Thursday 31st March
· Year 11 - Friday 1st April and Monday 4th April
· Year 13 - Tuesday 5th April and Wednesday 6th April
· Year 12 - Thursday 7th April and Friday 8th April
We are continuing to follow our NCEA assessment policy, in line with guidance from NZQA. Should we be closed for a period when assessments were going to be set, we may defer assessment and alter deadlines. We will work to ensure that assessments continue to be reliably and consistently managed.
Our approach to teaching and learning is centred on student wellbeing. Please contact your child's whanau teacher if you require assistance at home, as well as the subject teacher if you have any concerns about learning in a particular subject. Please also note however that these teachers may also be isolating so a wait time of 24-48 hours for a response can be expected.
Finally, we know how hard the impacts of COVID-19 have been for many families. If you know of a family in your community who is struggling, please encourage them to reach out for support for example to access food, medicine, or access financial support: Help is available.
If you have any questions or concerns please contact Bridget Ryan (DP of Learning and Teaching) firstname.lastname@example.org in the first instance.
Kia ora e te whanau
Two years ago, we would never have been as conscious as we are now of coughing or sneezing in public. If you cough or sneeze in the supermarket, people instantly take a step away from you and you even wonder yourself, could I have Covid? The sneeze is probably related to dust in the air and the cough is probably related to wearing a mask all day! Two years ago, a sneeze or a slight cough was nothing to worry about it, in fact we probably didn’t think twice because it is a normal part of being a human being.
Thinking about this in terms of the pandemic, Covid has and continues to make us all think differently about things. Whether it is something as small as “what does this sneeze mean?” or much larger dilemmas such as “what do I need to prioritise at this time?” or “how are we going to manage this?” Covid has certainly given us many opportunities to develop new skills and knowledge.
There are two ways we can respond to this. The first way is to be resentful about all the things we have missed out on as a result of Covid and focus on how much harder life is, or we can use the pandemic to make us better people and celebrate all our new ways of thinking and doing.
For example, prior to the pandemic I would have argued that you could never run a professional development workshop online. But do you know what? You can. I have learnt to participate online. In fact, I now find this easier than face-to-face. It is also cheaper and quicker than flying around the country!
Perhaps what we all need to be learning through this season is something Christopher Robin once said to Pooh: “Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” — Christopher Robin to Pooh, A.A. Milne.
We can’t control what the future may hold. The fact is we never could, but it seems to take a pandemic or natural disaster to remind us of this. What we can do though is control our response to what stands in front of us. We get to choose our next step.
In this season of Lent, let us give up being resentful and remember with hopeful joy that the Resurrection is coming.
Kia ora e te whanau
Perseverance has been a strength that I am sure we can all relate to and remember times when we have needed this quality. There are circumstances that we face every day that bring out this strength in each one of us. How we approach these circumstances says a lot about our innermost strength and our faith. We often rely on our own strength and are under the impression that we must solve everything with this strength of ours without seeking assistance from our family, friends or spiritual guidance. In times of difficulty, we are called to persevere and not be afraid of what lies ahead knowing that we are guided and upheld by the Good Lord in our daily lives. Romans 5:3-5 says, Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, character, and hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
The last couple of weeks have not been easy but I am pleased with the resolve shown by our young people in adapting to each new situation and working with enthusiasm. They are, on the whole, following health and safety guidance and protocols that can keep them, their teachers and family safe and I am proud of their approach.
As we progress through this year, I encourage our community to be positive and work together with us at St Peter’s College to ensure that every young person builds on their future. Your encouragement and presence in the lives of each of our students is important in building on their perseverance and the outcomes that come from this perseverance. It allows them to not be easily discouraged by set-backs but to endure and seek and achieve the goals that they have set themselves. This will continue to grow their confidence and strength of character, knowing that they are supported well by you and all of us at school.
You will aware that today at 11:59pm the required period of isolation for positive cases of COVID-19 and their household contacts is being reduced from 10 days to seven days. Office staff are keeping a spreadsheet of dates of infection, positive test results etc and will inform you of the date a student can return to school. Thank you very much to all of you who have been so vigilant in keeping your child at home if they have cold and flu symptoms and informing us of positive case results in your households. This information is treated with confidentiality. Day 0 is the day symptoms began or the day the test was taken (whichever came first). Cases will isolate for a full seven days and are free to return to normal activities on Day 8, if they are not symptomatic. Please only return your child to school if they have had no symptoms for at least 48 hours.
We have done really well so far at not spreading Covid in our school. I post daily updates on Facebook of cases and attendance for those of you who are interested: https://www.facebook.com/stpetersgorenz
Kia ora e te whanau
This week began the Church season of Lent, starting with Ash Wednesday which leads up to Easter and the Resurrection, the greatest feast of the Church.
In this time, we are asked to put a greater focus and effort on prayer, fasting and giving to others, often referred to as almsgiving (Matthew 6: 1-8). These three things are not ends in themselves but a means of deepening faith, personally and communally through repentance, sacrifice, self-giving and prayer. Of Lent, Pope Francis reminds us, “It is time to reconsider the path we are taking to find the route that leads us home and to rediscover our profound relationship with God, on whom everything depends…It is an exodus from slavery to freedom.”
Since the very early days of the Church, ashes have been put on ones forehead in the sign of a cross with words uttered, “Repent and believe in the Gospel" or more traditionally, "Remember that you are dust and unto dust, you shall return." While some might interpret the latter as somewhat morbid, it is both realistic and a reminder of our eternal destiny.
While we were not be able to distribute the ashes as normal, we can still remember what they signify and take on the challenge of Lent encouraged to draw closer to the One who made us. We celebrated Ash Wednesday in our whanau classes with a liturgy led by the Year 13 house leaders. It was a lovely service that enabled our Year 13’s to show true servant leadership and for their younger brothers and sisters to experience prayer and reflection in a respectful and faith filed way.
There are six weeks left of the school term to go and preparations are in place for winter sports to get going in term two. Trials and trainings are starting up and we encourage you to check out our sport Facebook pages for updates and information. Registrations have only just taken place and with committee meetings only able to take place over Zoom at the moment please be patient with us. We are still weeks away from naming any teams and we have a lot of time before this is necessary. We will share this information with you when we have it and please know a lot of work is going on behind the scenes from our sports coordinator, code convenors, committees and teachers in charge.
Almighty and Everlasting God,
You have given the human race
Jesus Christ our Saviour as a model of humility.
He fulfilled Your Will by becoming Man
And giving His life on the Cross.
Help us to bear witness to You
By following His example of suffering
And make us worthy to share in His Resurrection.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son.