Covid-19 Update # 14

18 March 2019

Dear Parents and Whanau

Thank you for all your support with the current Covid-19 situation. As has been previously mentioned this is ever evolving and we are recieving daily updates from the Government to guide us in our day to day lives and the life of our school.

Here at St Joseph’s we are very mindful of the importance of giving our students a safe, positive, consistent environment in which to learn. We are also endeavouring to ensure we keep our parent community fully informed. The leadership team and staff are reviewing the schools procedures daily in relation to the Ministry Updates and expectations and how these are reflected in our school day. As we are a Government organisation, we are following Government guidelines and expectations.

Novel Coronavirus 2020 (Current School Pandemic Plan)

In January 2020, Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) was identified in Hubei province, China. It causes respiratory illness with flu-like symptoms including fever, coughing, difficulty breathing. Although the virus has spread to a number of countries, the risk of an outbreak in New Zealand is low.

The Ministry of Health is closely monitoring the situation and following guidance from the World Health Organisation.

If any public health measures are needed for the virus, the Ministry will advise.

Our school is following the advice of the Ministry of Education including checking their website for the latest information and implementing heightened hygiene practices.

For further information see:

These sites are reviewed and regularly updated.

Student Attendance

Currently all students are expected to attend school daily. The New Zealand Ministry of Education states on their website “Cases of Covid-19 (Novel Coronavirus) are confirmed in New Zealand, but Ministry of Health advise that the chance of a widespread outbreak is low.” Consequently the Ministry of Education expects all NZ students to be at school daily, unless they are sick, as has always been the case.

If your child is unwell we do ask that they are kept at home until they are fully recovered. Should a child arrive at school, that we determine is not well, the parent will be contacted and asked to take them home.

We ask that in the current environment, you err on the side of caution. If your child is displaying any signs of illness, please keep them at home. 

Partial / Full School Closure

The Ministry of Health determines if a school closes due to Covid-19. It is not the Principal or the Board’s decision. If the school is open, students are expected to attend. They are however expected to stay home if they are unwell.

The Ministry of Education is currently developing guidelines around ‘on-line learning’. We will be acting in accordance with those guidelines, when they are received. We are currently developing a framework around how teachers can deliver online learning from their homes, should there be a full closure. When we have the guidelines and expectations from the Ministry of Education on online learning, we will be able to share with you how this would occur for our school.

At Risk Students and Staff

We need to be mindful as a school community, as with all school communities, that we do have students and staff with underlying medical conditions. We need to be vigilent around supporting our students to maintain the Ministry of Health’s healthy hygiene practices. Practising good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene is the best defence:

  • wash your hands often with soap and water before and after eating as well as after attending the toilet
  • cover coughs and sneezes with clean tissues or your elbow
  • put used tissues in the bin.

We also need to be mindful of how we greet each other. The Ministry of Health has asked that we stop greetings that require physical contact ie kissing, hongi, hugging. A simple hello does the trick.


All students, parents and staff are expected to act in accordance with the Ministry of Health’s self-isolation guidelines if required. Please read these along with ensuring you have a clear understanding of the coronavirus symptoms. This is for your health and wellbeing along with everyone else in our school community.


As a school we do have a number of families who travel to visit their relatives overseas. They always inform us of their travel intentions if it is through the school year. We are aware that some families intending to travel overseas this year have postponed their journeys. We ask that families considering overseas travel this year carefully consider the Ministry of Health’s travel guidelines when planning their trip. This includes travelling to Australia. The school will contact any families travelling overseas in the future to confirm what the school’s expectations are regarding their student returning to school.

Any families who have arrived in the country from overseas travel since the beginning of the school year have followed the Ministry of Health’s travel guidelines. We know this as these families have been in contact with the school.

School Events

Every school led event, whether it be educational, spiritual, cultural or sporting, and whether it be an in or out of school event, will be assessed on its viability in regards to potential risk, based on Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health guidelines.

We are reviewing events that students participate in, and the same is occurring for events run by outside organisations that our students participate in.

Listed below are changes we are currently aware of. You will be informed of any future changes in the school newsletter.

Monday School Prayers

These will not be occurring for the foreseeable future. On a Monday students will go directly to their Home Groups for prayers as they do for the rest of the week. Parents continue to be welcome to join their child’s Home Group for prayers in the mornings.

School/Team/Home Group Masses and Liturgies

These will not be occurring for the foreseeable future, including the school Easter Liturgy. Students will not be going to Friday Parish Masses and there will be no Masses or Liturgies to which family and whanau are invited to in the school day. While we are sorry we have to do this we are confident that this is a temporary measure.

School Trips / Camps

There was only one team trip planned this term and that was Team Kakapo’s trip to Kelly Tarlton’s. This will no longer be happening. Kelly Tarlton’s is an enclosed public aquarium, which caters for both local and tourist patrons. We have determined that it would not be appropriate to take students to this attraction.

The Year 6 students are booked to go to camp in Term 2 Week 4. We will be assessing whether we can go, in accordance with the Ministry of Educations guidelines, closer to the time. Parents will be notified accordingly.

We thank those parents who have paid for this camp. If the camp is cancelled you will receive a full refund. If you have yet to pay, please could you hold off doing so until such time as we can confirm whether or not the camp is happening.

All school trips whether educational, spiritual, cultural or sporting will be considered on a case by case basis.

Sharing the Learning

This is a part of our school reporting procedure. This sees parents coming into school on a set day and time, to hear about and see all the wonderful learning that has occurred through the term. This is led by their child.

In light of the current situation we will not be having Sharing the Learning this term.

As always, if you wish to discuss your child’s learning with their teacher you are welcome to do so at any time through the year. Contact the office to make an appointment.


We are receiving notifications that out-of-school sports run by independent organisations, are cancelling their competitions. Parents of students in these sports are informed of the cancellation as soon as we are notified. All parents will receive a full refund if the organisation allows for it. This will be a process that requires quite a bit of work on the schools part so parents will not be receiving their refund immediately. We will keep these parents informed.

The school sports and inter-sports calendar is still in place however each sporting event will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

Child’s Perception

Children are children and they don’t always get the story straight. If you have any concerns or they come home with a Covid-19 story and you are not sure if is true or not please email me, I can assure you that if there are any concerns regarding Covid-19 here at St Joseph’s, the Ministry of Health will be directly in contact with me, and I in turn with you as parents. I will not be giving the message to the children to take home to you.

One of our goals as the staff of St Joseph’s is for our students to experience a normal “Covid-19 talk free’ day. We would encourage you to minimise the amount of Covid-19 chatter, news etc the children hear at home. Although this is a hard ask, we believe it would support the students and their wellbeing.


Thank you to the parents who have got in contact with me directly regarding their concerns about Covid-19 in relation to our school. As you are aware the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health are working very hard to keep all schools fully up to date. We in turn are working hard to keep on top of the guidelines and expectations and keep you our parents informed. We do not have all the answers however you can be assured that when there is a new development, you will be informed.

If you have any questions or concerns please do one of three things:

  • Check the Ministry of Education website for the answer
  • Check the Ministry of Health website for the answer
  • Email me: Alister Bridgman,

Thank you for your continued support.

Ka manaakitia koutou e te Atua

Alister Bridgman


2020-03-18T17:25:29+00:00 18th March 2020|