Kia ora e te whanau
Happy new year and welcome back to St Peter’s College for 2022! Omicron is casting a pall, but a new year should be a time of hope. And no one is more hopeful than educators, “teaching is the greatest act of optimism.” So, we are going to face some challenges this year, but we are prepared and well planned for all levels of adversity that will come our way. We will do this with continued hope and strive to do all that is possible to keep our students and staff safe. Our health and safety plans are all up to date and can be provided for you to read upon request.
Universal masking, vaccination of children and adults, systemic testing and tracing infections, keeping at least 1.5 metres of distance, practicing good hygiene, and sanitation and ventilation of buildings are all ways we can help minimise the spread of Omicron. Thank you for ensuring your child is wearing a mask to school. This is going to be the best way to guarantee your child does not spread or catch Covid and/or become a close contact. We have a small number of students with mask exemptions. When Covid reaches St Peter’s College, and cases rise, close contacts will instantly be asked to self-isolate at home for 10 days minimum. Wearing a mask is one way to avoid being a close contact. The table below shows how this is worked out. When we begin to back trace contacts, students and staff who have not been wearing a mask around a Covid case will be the first to be sent home.
We don't expect widespread system shutdowns like we have had before, but it's highly likely that outbreaks in individual schools may force a temporary closure and the need for quick deployment of remote instruction. We are ready for a fast pivot to virtual learning. As has always been the case throughout the COVID-19 response, some children, students or staff may be required to self-isolate (as they are a confirmed case or a close contact) or have complex medical needs, particularly if not fully vaccinated, and therefore may not attend onsite for a period of time. Our planning needs to consider what we will do if a large number of staff are unable to be at school. While it is unlikely that St Peter’s College will be closed entirely for public health reasons, it may become unmanageable to remain open for onsite learning. In this case the Board of Trustees will decide if all students and staff need to work remotely for a period of time. We will do our utmost best to accommodate the needs of students under 14 who would not have supervision at home.
As a school and community, we have learnt a lot about health and safety, online learning, communication and social media to a level we have never needed to before and as teachers our job has changed immensely. We can deal with the Covid related stuff, but it is the loss of empathy and appreciation that is unmanageable. Teachers and leaders are coping with impossible, unfamiliar burdens during this pandemic. Should you have the chance to offer grace or support over the coming weeks, I hope you will. Grace, forgiveness, patience and a willingness to work together is what will get us through 2022.