Karamu High School - COVID-19 Information

Karamu High School is in Stage 2 (click here)
Guide to self-isolation  Guide to contact type

COVID-19 update - 29 April 2022

Kia ora koutou, 

I trust you have all enjoyed a well-deserved holiday break, including the Easter and ANZAC long weekends.

You’ll be aware that in Term 2 we will be operating under the ‘Orange’ COVID-19 Protection Framework (Traffic Light) setting.

The decision to move to Orange has been made on public health advice and reflects that we are moving past the peak of cases and our health system is able to cope. We are seeing that cases are declining due to high levels of vaccination and natural immunity after infection.

I wanted to give you an update on what the move to Orange means for us here at Karamu.

At Orange, face masks are no longer compulsory at school. They are optional and anyone choosing to wear a mask will be supported to do so. Wearing a mask is still seen as a key health measure that slows the spread of COVID-19 in indoor settings.

There may be times that we re-introduce compulsory mask wearing, for example if there are a high number of cases at school or in the community we may ask that masks are worn in classrooms for a time. Therefore, please do not get rid of them just yet!

NB: At Orange, our students are still required to wear a face mask on school or public buses.

We will continue to keep all the other health measures in place at school that we know slow the spread of COVID-19. These include ensuring our indoor spaces are well-ventilated, maintaining good hand hygiene and cough and sneeze etiquette, appropriate physical distancing whenever we can and, most importantly, staying home if we are sick. All students that present with symptoms will be asked to be picked up and taken home.

Please also continue to notify the office if your child is a positive Covid case or they are a household contact and are isolating (via the absence line on phone 06 8706143). We are required to report these to the Ministry of Education.

We will also be tracking our cases and if necessary, use the mechanisms that have been effective in Term 1 to manage the school ie: Year level rostering home and/or whole school circuit breaker days.

We will be returning to having 45min lunchtimes and assemblies, but remaining with a staggered finish to the day ie:

2.50pm: Year 9 and 10
3.00pm: Year 11-13

We have noted this is a much safer exit to the school for students, staff, whanau and our community.

We are looking forward to starting Term 2 with a school life that is a bit closer to ‘normal’ with winter sport up and running, trips outside the classroom and many activities on the calendar.

Ngā mihi nui

Dionne Thomas
Mrs Dionne Thomas
Principal


COVID-19 update - 23 March 2022

A warm afternoon to you all on this cold wet day,

This week we have continued with a steady pattern of absences. As you can see, we are still tracking between 20 and 35% of the school absent on any given day (not including rostered home numbers):


We have had growing numbers of staff away too, as either positive cases or as household contacts. This is putting tremendous pressure on staff to cover for absent staff, as well as provide both online and face to face lessons.

We have had positive feedback from students and whanau regarding rostering home and for this reason we will be doing a mass ‘across school’ circuit breaker of rostering home next Friday 1 April.  This means ALL Year 9-13 students will be learning from home on this day.

NB: Any whanau that cannot arrange supervision of Year 9’s between now and then please advise us on [email protected] by 3pm Wednesday 30 March. They will be supervised in one class at school by myself. There will be no other staff at school and no other students are to come to school on this day. 

The normal rostering home is continuing for the remainder of the term. On a:

  • Monday: Year 13 stay home 
  • Tuesday: Year 10  
  • Wednesday: Year 11  
  • Thursday: Year 12  
  • Friday: Year 9 

We thankyou for continuing to notify the office of all positive cases. It is a requirement I notify the Ministry daily. Please remember:

Positive Cases 

Please advise when students are likely to return to school. Day 0 is the day symptoms began or the day a test was taken (whichever came first). Cases must isolate for a full seven days and are free to return to school on Day 8, if they are not symptomatic. 

Household Contacts 

Are also required to isolate for the same seven days as the case. They can return to school on the same day as the first case in their household, so long as all test results have been negative, and they are not symptomatic. Household contacts should continue to self-monitor for symptoms up to Day 10. Household contacts are required to take a self-administered rapid antigen test (RAT) on Day 3 and Day 7 of the case’s isolation period. Please advise the office of these absences via the absence line 8706143, Karamu App or KAMAR App. Please advise when the student is likely to return to school.

We have received some updated clarity and information from the Ministry regarding: 

Household contacts testing positive at different times
 For households where someone has COVID-19, the Ministry of Health recommends you apply the following guidance. 

  • If someone becomes a confirmed COVID-19 case, then that case and all other people in their household must isolate for seven days.
  • If someone else in the household then tests positive for COVID-19 during those seven days: 
    • the isolation period for that person only re-sets – that person must isolate for an additional seven days from the day they test positive or symptoms begin
    • other household contacts who do not test positive are still able to leave isolation after the original case has completed their seven days isolation.
  • For the next 10 days after a household completes seven days isolation, evidence shows that due to their exposure to COVID-19 they are less likely to catch or transmit the virus. This means: 
    • if someone else in the household tests positive within those 10 days, the whole household will not have to re-isolate, only the positive case
    • if someone else in the household tests positive and it has been more than 10 days since the household completed isolation, household contacts should re-isolate along with the new case for seven days.
  • Any person who has had COVID-19 within the last 90 days/three months will not need to isolate as a household contact unless they become symptomatic and test positive again. This is because reinfection rates for people who have had COVID-19 are low for the three months after they have the virus.

You can visit the Ministry of Health website for further information here: What does it mean if I am a household contact? – Ministry of Health

Accessing School Work when Home

All learning is accessible via our learning management system Microsoft ‘Teams’. Teachers are mindful students are at home in a variety situations ie: Sick, looking after siblings that are sick. Please encourage your child to learn when able and keep in touch with teachers. If you have any concerns regarding your child’s online learning, please contact their Year level Dean in the first instance. 

Athletic Sports 

We are still planning to proceed with Athletics on Thursday 31 March. Year 12s are to attend (ie: it is NOT a rostered day home). A decision will be made by 9am Wednesday 30 March.  

Update on Mr Wooster

I am pleased to share Mr Wayne Wooster (Deputy Principal) has made pleasing progress since the beginning of the year when I advised he was quite unwell.
While remaining hospitalized for a period, I am pleased to report he is due to head home in the next week. I have visited him several times, sharing gifts and messages from school and he has enjoyed keeping up to date with all our news and stories.
We are unlikely to see him return to school in the immediate future and therefore Mr Tom Blake and Miss Tash Crawford will continue in their roles of taking over next level pastoral issues. 

Please keep being kind, safe, and look after each other.  

Arohanui   

Dionne Thomas
Mrs Dionne Thomas
Principal

COVID-19 update - 17 March 2022

Tālofa Lava

This week we have seen a steady increase in staff and student positive cases, as well as absences for isolation. For this reason, we have made the decision to continue the year level rostering home for the remainder of Term 1. We thankyou for your support in this to enable us to continue to offer face to face learning for most students. 

A reminder each year level is rostered home one day a week and students can access learning online through our online digital platform Microsoft Office ‘Teams’. On a 

Monday: Year 13 stay home
Tuesday: Year 10
Wednesday: Year 11
Thursday: Year 12
Friday: Year 9

Some Year 9’s (due to their age) are being supervised in a Year 9 bubble at school. They do not have their usual classes but have online work to complete and these students have indicated their attendance to their Year Level Dean. They are to report to the Hall at 8.35am on a Friday with their laptop fully charged and their PE gear.

When students are rostered home, they must stay at home and be engaged in the online learning set by their teacher. They are not to take up additional hours of part-time work or arrange to meet with friends. This increases the risk of contracting Covid, which we are trying to minimize. We know whanau will support us with this.

Should you have any concerns regarding your child’s online learning please contact their Year level Dean in the first instance. 

If students have co-curricular practices any day afterschool they are still to commit to these if possible.

Positive Cases  

Please continue to advise the office on 06 8787139 when a student tests positive for COVID-19. Please also advise when the student is likely to return to school. Day 0 is the day symptoms began or the day a test was taken (whichever came first). Cases must isolate for a full seven days and are free to return to school on Day 8, if they are not symptomatic. 

Household contacts  

Household contacts are also required to isolate for the same seven days as the case. They can return to their normal activities on the same day as the first case in their household, so long as all test results have been negative, and they are not symptomatic. Household contacts should continue to self-monitor for symptoms up to Day 10. Household contacts are required to take a self-administered rapid antigen test (RAT) on Day 3 and Day 7 of the case’s isolation period. Please advise the office of these absences via the absence line 8706143, Karamu App or KAMAR App. Please advise when the student is likely to return to school.

Athletic Sports

We have postponed Athletics to Thursday 31 March and are hopeful to be able to run our event in a safe manner on this day. Year 12s are to attend (ie: it is NOT a rostered day home). A decision will be made by 9am Wednesday 30 March. 

Please keep being kind, keep safe, and look after each other. 

Arohanui   

Dionne Thomas
Mrs Dionne Thomas
Principal

COVID-19 update - 15 March 2022

Afternoon,

As you will be aware from last Saturday isolation requirements for positive cases of COVID-19 and their household contacts have been reduced from 10 to seven days. This change has been made due to up-to-date public health advice as there is a decline in infectiousness of Omicron over time and in most cases, transmission occurs within seven days.

This reduction in the isolation period will ensure we maintain a balance between controlling the outbreak effectively and minimizing the impacts of isolation requirements on people’s lives. 

Evidence also shows that the risk of re-infection within the first three months after someone has had Omicron is very low, therefore for this reason, recovered cases are not required to isolate again if they become a household contact within 90 days of having the virus. 

Positive Cases
Please continue to advise the office on 06 8787139 when a student tests positive for COVID-19. Day 0 is the day symptoms began or the day a test was taken (whichever came first). Cases must isolate for a full seven days and are free to return to school on Day 8, if they are not symptomatic. 

Household contacts
Household contacts are also required to isolate for the same seven days as the case. They can return to their normal activities on the same day as the first case in their household, so long as all test results have been negative, and they are not symptomatic. Household contacts should continue to self-monitor for symptoms up to Day 10. Household contacts are required to take a self-administered rapid antigen test (RAT) on Day 3 and Day 7 of the case’s isolation period. Please advise the office of these absences via the absence line 8706143, Karamu App or KAMAR App.

Advice for anyone who is unwell:

  • Anyone who is sick should stay home until they are well;
  • When a child has respiratory symptoms, they should stay at home and seek advice from their GP or Healthline. Staying home is key to controlling the spread of any virus in a school setting;
  • Many children will have a long-lasting runny nose or cough after viral infections. If it is over 10 days since the onset of COVID symptoms and they are no longer feeling unwell, they are very unlikely to be infectious and can therefore return to school;
  • However, if they are continuing to feel unwell or their symptoms are worsening after 10 days, they should not return to school and a GP review, or a call to Healthline, is recommended.

Keeping Safe On-line
With us returning to a combination of face to face and online learning it is timely to remind ourselves around keeping safe online. Technology is great whether it’s for information, learning, keeping connected or for games, music and videos. However, we need reminders about how to keep young people safe in an online world where, unfortunately there are some predators. We encourage you to discuss internet safety with your children - of all ages. Please have some agreement about what they can do online including sites they can visit and appropriate behaviors including:  

  • reviewing and approving games and apps before they are downloaded 
  • reviewing privacy settings of sites and applications 
  • checking children’s profiles and what they are posting online 
  • check the sites your child is accessing 
  • reminding children that anything that is posted online will be permanently on the internet 
  • taking the time to understand what sites they are visiting and who they are talking with and check in regularly 
  • some social media sites have age restrictions to join, check these before letting your child use them or join them 
  • monitoring a child’s use of the internet and consider having them use it in an open, common area of the house 
  • making sure your children know to report any activity they don’t feel comfortable with to parents and caregivers straight away. 

Netsafe continues to be available to provide support for online safety. They have information for parents and caregivers and have pulled together a great list of top tips for online safety during the lockdown.  To report an incident To Netsafe - Report an Incident
If you think a child in your care is the victim of online exploitation or abuse, report it to Police - if you or a child are in danger or a crime is being committed, call 111 or visit your nearest Police Station immediately.
If we all work together to make sure children are safe online, we can make the internet a great tool for people of all ages.

Students working during school hours
It’s important that young people remain engaged in their learning during this unsettled time, and therefore students should not be working more when rostered home.
For students under 16, it is actually illegal to work during school hours under Section 54 of the Education and Training Act 2020. For students it is essential that they remain engaged in their learning so that their future opportunities for work or learning are not impacted.
If parents and caregivers need assistance to ensure their child is engaged in learning rather than being in paid employment during scheduled learning hours please contact me. 

Sport and Vaccination
Changes to school sport came into effect through the COVID-19 Public Health Response Amendment Order from Sunday 13 March 2022.
All children and young people, regardless of their vaccination status, can participate in school-organised teams and groups, or as an individual representing the school in a competition or event. This applies whether on or off the school site, and to registered schools only.
School organised teams, groups and individuals are to be treated as if they are vaccinated and cannot be required to show a My Vaccine Pass.
Support staff, including coaches, managers, teachers and parent volunteers continue to be required to be vaccinated. This includes student coaches, both when they coach teams from their own school, and those from other schools. They will still be required to show a My Vaccine Pass if the external venue or facility requires. 

Wellbeing Resources
The following website have some wonderful information and tools available to support your own and others’ mental wellbeing and where to get help if you need it: https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-health-advice-public/covid-19-mental-health-and-wellbeing-resources

Keep safe and be strong, kia kaha  

Dionne Thomas
Mrs Dionne Thomas
Principal

COVID-19 update - 9 March 2022

Kia Ora 

The health and wellbeing of our children, staff and community continues to be topmost priority and we have carefully been monitoring absences this week. 

As with most schools in the Hawkes Bay/Tairawhiti region we have seen a steady increase in the number of cases this week and a growing number of households with cases (which of course means students need to isolate for 10 days – or 7 Days from Friday 11.59pm). We have been very fortunate to only have a couple of staff needing to isolate. And a reminder as we are now in Phase 3 positive cases and their households isolate and are responsible for notifying close contacts. 

As we have more cases I will no longer be notifying you of these, as we are all taking responsibility for following good hygiene practices including: 

  • Washing our hands often and drying completely; 
  • Washing our hands when we’ve been in a public place or after blowing our nose, coughing or sneezing; 
  • Avoiding touching our face if our hands are not clean; 
  • Coughing or sneezing into our elbow or covering our mouth with tissues;  
  • Staying home if unwell. 

We are monitoring the cases in the school, the number of staff and students isolating at home and staff absences to determine when or if we may move from Stage 3 to 4 in our Omicron Management Plan. 

The rostering home, however, has come at a good time to give both staff and students a change in pace, when staff or students are not safely able to face to face learn. We will review this at the end of next week.   

If your child should test positive please make contact with the school office so we can advise the Ministry of Education. 

Noho ora mai

Dionne Thomas
Mrs Dionne Thomas
Principal

COVID-19 update - 7 March 2022

Morena Whanau, 

From today we are in Stage 3 of our Omicron Management Plan. So as communicated on Friday that therefore means a year level is rostered home a day due to increasing numbers of staff and students’ absences.

However, we do appreciate households are busy places with other children, parents working from home or heading out to be essential workers, so we would like to provide some support around the expectations for the day your child is home: 

  1. Routine 
    Routines are reassuring and promote health and physical wellbeing. Encourage your child to have time set aside for learning, but also exercise, chores and freetime. Asking them to unload the dishwasher, hang out a load of washing or mow the lawns is about contributing to the whanau – equally important as completing 30min of Science 😊
  2. What if I your child does not understand?  
    • Get them to re-read the instructions
    • Watch any video information together
    • Ask ‘have they done something similar before’? (ie: Link back to prior learning)
    • Get them to ask or check in with a classmate
    • For any on-going issues around a course please email the Year level Dean. 
  3. If it gets too much, just take a breather and come back to it later.  
  4. Staff Availability 
    Please be aware staff will still be at school when year levels are rostered home teaching or may themselves be isolating or unwell, so students should just wait until they return the next day if they have tried all other avenues of support 

COVID SUPPORT 

I know you are probably feeling bombarded with information now, but the following numbers and links are from our DHB Nurse, are deemed the most useful for the general public of helplines servicing different parts of the Covid response, including a link for ordering RAT tests and a YouTube link on how to upload results online. 

Once a RAT test positive result has been uploaded, it initiates Welfare support ie, if you indicate on the questionnaire that you need support with accessing food or medicine, it will send this request through to a local Covid Community Hub to action.    

  • 0800 358 5453 This is the number for the general COVID helpline. It’s run by Healthline and is the general go-to.  It is also the helpline for members of the public undertaking the case self service tool, or needing support to provide this information. 
  • 0800 512 337 This is the COVID Welfare Phone Line.  The number can be given out to anyone isolating with welfare concerns. It’s open seven days a week. Run by the Ministry of Social Development. 
  • 0800 222 478  This is the helpline for anyone in the public needing support to upload or notify a positive RAT test.  
  • You can upload your result online yourself; This video gives an overview to upload RATs to My COVID Record: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGifSro0rf4   
  • www.healthy.org.nz is also a simple, convenient and accessible portal website.  From there you can easily get to Healthpoint, Ministry of Health or Unite Against Covid.  
  • You can always call 1737 for help & support.  
  • And to order RAT tests: https://requestrats.covid19.health.nz/. Once you have completed the online information you are sent a code which you then take to one of the distribution sites and can pick up RATs tests. There are links to the distribution sites. These RATs are free. 

Keep safe, stay strong, til we meet again
E noho oranga, noho kaha, noho ora mai  

Dionne Thomas
Mrs Dionne Thomas
Principal

COVID-19 update - 4 March 2022

Kia Ora Whanau

Our response to the Omicron outbreak has up to this point been guided by the Ministry of Education and Health, but now is being guided by both staff and students' absences. This last week we have carefully been monitoring these and forecast from next week we will be at a stage where we will no longer be able to safely offer only face to face learning to students. We appreciate up until this point we have been able to continue to mostly offer a ‘normal’ Karamu relationship-based learning experience for our students, but growing absences from staff and students make this no longer a safe or viable option.

Therefore, from Monday 7 March we will be rostering a year level home one day a week and students can access learning online through our online digital platform Microsoft Office ‘Teams’. On a 

  • Monday: Year 13 stay home
  • Tuesday: Year 10 
  • Wednesday: Year 11 
  • Thursday: Year 12 
  • Friday: Year 9 

We appreciate some Year 9’s (due to their age) may need supervision, and this will be available in Year 9 bubbles at school. They will not have their usual classes but have online work to complete. All Year 9s unable to be supervised at home are to report to the Hall at 8.35am on Friday 11 March.

When students are rostered home, they must stay at home and be engaged in the online learning set by their teacher. They are not to take up additional hours of part-time work or arrange to meet with friends. This increases the risk of contracting Covid, which we are trying to minimize. We know whanau will support us with this.

If students have sports or cultural (ie: Kapa Haka) practices any day afterschool they are still to commit to these if possible. 

We will review this arrangement on Friday 18 March.

Thank you for your ongoing support as we navigate this. If you have any concerns regarding your child’s engagement with online learning, please contact their year level dean:

Year 9: [email protected] or [email protected]

Year 10: [email protected]  or [email protected]

Year 11: [email protected]  or [email protected]

Year 12: [email protected]  or [email protected]

Year 13: [email protected]  or [email protected]

Should you have any other queries please contact [email protected]

Khsomicronstage

Ngā mihi nui

Dionne Thomas
Mrs Dionne Thomas
Principal


COVID-19 update - 3 March 2022

Kia Ora

We can now confirm we have further student cases in Year 12 and 13. It is pleasing to note both students had followed correct procedures and were home with symptoms before testing positive.  We have also had our first staff member test positive. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 

  • A new or worsening cough
  • Sneezing and runny nose
  • A fever
  • Temporary loss of smell or altered sense of taste
  • Sore throat
  • Shortness of breath

Less common symptoms include diarrhoea, headache, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, malaise, chest pain, abdominal pain, joint pain, or confusion/irritability. 

For more information, go to https://covid19.govt.nz/health-and-wellbeing/about-covid-19/covid-19-symptoms/

If your child should test positive please advise the school as soon as possible by ringing the Office on 06 8787139.  

We remind you in Phase 3 of the National Health Plan, that you should get a COVID-19 test if you have two or more of the symptoms, or if you are a Household Contact (Living in the same household as a confirmed COVID-19 case). Households are also now responsible for isolating and notifying close contacts (NB: this is not the schools responsibility as was the case in Phase 2). 

We are monitoring the effect of cases daily and our response will be guided by the absences of both staff and students.

Help for Whanau Isolating

If you yourself or know of any whānau who need extra support while they are self-isolating because of COVID-19, Work and Income may be able to help.
Visit the Work and Income website and use their online form to let them know how they can help.
Many people will be able to self-isolate with help from whānau, family and friends, but there is help available for whānau who need it.
If help is needed, they may be able to get: 

  • money to pay for urgent and essential costs, like food, medicine, and some bills
  • things that are needed to be delivered.

Please contact us on [email protected] if you have any questions. 

Noho ora mai

Dionne Thomas
Mrs Dionne Thomas
Principal

COVID-19 update - 2 March 2022

Kia Ora

The health and wellbeing of our children, staff and community continues to be a top priority.  

We’re sending this letter as we now have a further confirmed case of COVID-19 in our school community. Both cases are in Year 11 and both students have been away from school isolating since last week.

Phase 3 of the National Health Plan, that has been implemented from 11.59pm on Thursday 24th February, means that you should only get a COVID-19 test if:  you have symptoms, or if you are a Household Contact (Living in the same household as a confirmed COVID-19 case). Households are also now responsible for isolating and notifying close contacts (NB: this is not the schools responsibility as was the case in Phase 2). 

Our response to Omicron | Unite against COVID-19 (covid19.govt.nz)

Therefore if your child is well they can still continue to come to school.

What you need to do 

  • You and your whānau should watch for symptoms 
  • If any develop, get tested immediately 
  • Then, stay at home until you receive the result 
  • If the result is positive please advise the school
  • If your whānau hasn’t been vaccinated, please do so as soon as possible. You can book on-line at bookmyvaccine.nz or by calling 0800 28 29 26. It’s free.

What we’re doing 

  • School will stay open 
  • We have appropriate public health measures and cleaning procedures in place

Symptoms of COVID-19 

  • A new or worsening cough
  • Sneezing and runny nose
  • A fever
  • Temporary loss of smell or altered sense of taste
  • Sore throat
  • Shortness of breath

Less common symptoms include diarrhoea, headache, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, malaise, chest pain, abdominal pain, joint pain, or confusion/irritability. 

For more information, go to https://covid19.govt.nz/health-and-wellbeing/about-covid-19/covid-19-symptoms/

Please contact us on [email protected] if you have any questions. 

Noho ora mai 

Dionne Thomas
Mrs Dionne Thomas
Principal

 

COVID-19 update - 1 March 2022

Kia ora

The health and wellbeing of our children, staff and community is a top priority.  I wish to confirm one of our students has tested positive for COVID-19.
As we are now in Phase 3 this student and their household will isolate and be responsible for notifying close contacts.

I urge our community to continue to follow good hygiene practices including:

  • Wash hands often with soap for 20 seconds and dry your hands completely.
  • Wash your hands if you have been in a public place or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your face if your hands are not clean.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or cover your mouth with tissues.
  • Stay home if unwell

If your child should test positive please make contact with the school office so we can advise the Ministry of Education.

Noho ora mai 

Dionne Thomas
Mrs Dionne Thomas
Principal


COVID-19 update - 25 February 2022

Kia ora koutou,

New Zealand’s COVID-19 response continues amid much larger numbers of daily cases.

You may well have seen the headlines in the media about the numbers of cases being seen in schools. Please don’t be alarmed by this. It is only natural as cases in our community increase, they will at some stage appear in our school, but we have really good systems in place to respond to this and to keep any spread of the virus – should it appear – to a minimum. 

You may have seen Dr Jin Russell in the media noting research from New South Wales about their recent Omicron outbreak showing that spread within the school setting is very low (less than 4% of cases at school infected someone else when at school). We have seen that in New Zealand too. 

This is why we remain open at Red. It’s great for a child’s wellbeing and learning to be at school with their friends and school staff, and we have very good systems in place to keep everyone as safe as possible. 

Your job remains the same, too: please continue to keep a really close watch of your whānau for anyone with symptoms. If unwell, please stay at home and get advice about getting a COVID-19 test. 

With Phase 3 of the Omicron response, the key change is that it is only confirmed cases and their household contacts who need to self-isolate. Everyone else, including those who may have had close contact with the case but aren’t in the household, must continue to monitor really closely for any symptoms of COVID-19.

Rapid antigen tests (RATs) are now being used to diagnose COVID-19 as well as PCR tests. This means that you will get an almost immediate test result back if a RAT is used. 

If anyone in your family is confirmed as having COVID-19, you will be asked to notify your close contacts yourself. Please get in touch with us as soon as you can if your child has tested positive for COVID-19.

Transmission of COVID-19 is still most likely to happen in your home – so please keep doing the following to keep your whānau safe:

  • Wash your hands
  • Get lots of fresh air
  • Cover any coughs and sneezes
  • Clean surfaces regularly
  • Seek advice if anyone is not feeling well; and 
  • Wear a mask when you are out and about.

There is information online to help your family prepare to isolate if you need to. 

The most important advice we can give to keep your whānau safe is to act as if you have COVID-19. More than a third of people who have COVID-19 will not have any symptoms if they have had three doses of the vaccine. Please think about who you visit and what health measures you can put in place to keep everyone as safe as possible.

Getting three doses of the vaccine will really help you to do that. Ministry of Health research has shown that compared with being unvaccinated, three doses of the vaccine will mean you are 67% less likely to be infected with Omicron and 97% less likely to get Delta. If you can’t get COVID you can’t pass it on.

Finally, we know how hard the impacts on COVID-19 have been for many families in New Zealand. 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 – COVID-19 Health Hub.

If you have any concerns about sending your child to school, please do get in touch.  We are here to help.

Aku mihi,

Dionne Thomas
Mrs Dionne Thomas
Principal

COVID-19 update - 24 February 2022

Morena Whanau,

Fortunately, in the last week we have still managed to continue with school-based teaching and learning. We value the opportunity to keep forming relationships between teachers and students.

So thankyou, for keeping students at home if they have been unwell or needing to isolate. We appreciate these are challenging times and therefore your resilience and agility to adjust is appreciated. However, we still need to be prepared for the changing landscape, whatever that may look like in the future. Therefore, the Ministry of Education have recently sent two support ideas:

1. Positive parenting during COVID-19

To support the mental health, resilience and emotional wellbeing for our tamariki and rangatahi, the Ministry of Health has partnered with Whāraurau to offer parents, whānau and caregivers free online versions of the Triple P: Positive Parenting Programme across the country.

Find out more about Triple P and register for programmes.

There are three free Triple P online programmes available to help positively support children to reduce anxiety, build emotional resilience and life skills and cope with challenges:

  • Fear-Less Triple P Online – for parents and caregivers of children and teenagers (aged six to 14 years) who have significant anxiety
  • Triple P Online – for parents with toddlers to 12-year-olds
  • Teen Triple P Online – for parents with ‘tweens’ or teenagers aged 10 to 16 years.

These programmes will also provide whānau a toolkit to help them to guide behaviour positively and encourage children’s learning.

2. Digital training for whānau and parents

Microsoft are also running two free training sessions for whānau and parents who want extra tips on online safety and how they can support their children moving to hybrid learning.
Find more information and registrations here. These sessions are scheduled in the evenings from 7.30-8.30pm and will be hosted on Microsoft Teams.

  • Wed 23 Feb Introduction to Microsoft Family Safety
  • Wed 2 March Back to School for the Remote Classroom: Teams for Families

Damage to School Property

Unfortunately, last evening the school suffered considerable damage in the form of graffiti. This is extremely disappointing considering we have such a wonderful school site that our whanau, students and staff take such pride in. It was heartwarming to see the students and staff first thing this morning rally round to clean and restore it as promptly as possible. However, commercial cleaners and painters are needed for most of the restoration work. This comes at cost that could otherwise be used for learning and/or sporting/cultural activities. The individuals responsible are taking away valuable assets and experiences from our community and our rangitahi. We seek our community’s support in helping us make sure this doesn’t happen again.

He waka eke noa
We are all in this together

Ngā mihi

Dionne Thomas
Mrs Dionne Thomas
Principal


COVID-19 update - 21 February 2022

Morena Caregivers

While over the weekend there have been an increase in confirmed cases in Hawkes Bay, there are NO CONFIRMED CASES at Karamu High School. If there are I know we will be advised and supported by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education in a timely manner.

However, please remember the symptoms of Covid-19 include:

  • a cough
  • a high temperature of at least 38°C
  • shortness of breath
  • sore throat
  • sneezing and runny nose
  • temporary loss of smell;

These symptoms do not necessarily mean you have COVID-19 as the symptoms are like other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu. However, if you or any member of your household have these symptoms please call Healthline for free advice on 0800 358 5453.

Ngā mihi nui,

Dionne Thomas
Mrs Dionne Thomas
Principal

COVID-19 update - 18 February 2022

Kia ora Whanau

With the move into Phase 2 of the Red Setting of the COVID-19 Protection Framework (CPF), we are continuing to see the impact of positive cases on schools in our region. It is therefore important we continue to update you with the preparations we are making for positive cases and close contacts within our school community should the need arise.

The aims of the CPF are to keep schools open, where possible, with health measures in place that are appropriate for each setting. There was an update to many of our Covid-19 protocols in response to health measures at the Red setting, including the wearing of masks and avoiding large gatherings inside. Like the change in the daily times we continue to update our school processes as the Ministry of Education provides new health advice.

Contact Tracing at Phase 2
Due to the high number of Omicron cases now occurring in the community, the Ministry of Health will rely on us to carry out contact tracing and communications related to positive cases within schools. The Ministry of Education has supplied schools with a step-by-step guide and toolkit that guides us through the process of dealing with positive cases. The process involves:

  • Verification of a positive case (via caregivers or Ministry of Health).
  • Confirming when the case was infectious at school.
  • Contact tracing to identify close contacts of the positive case.
  • Sending the list of contacts to the Ministry of Health so that the National Contact Tracing System logs the contacts and follows up.
  • Communicating with close contacts and caregivers to provide instructions about self-isolation, testing and where to find further advice and support.

 Please note that the Ministry of Education allows schools time to complete the above process because contact tracing is a time consuming and complex process depending on the movements of the positive case. This may mean we take a ‘circuit breaker’ (ie: Close the school) for some online learning while we complete the process. 

Absence
If you are keeping your child at home because they are unwell and waiting for a negative result or because you have been advised by the Ministry of Health that they are a close contact, please contact the school via the absence line on phone 8706143. Your child can then communicate with their teacher through Teams or you can contact their Dean via email. All contacts are on the website and the App.

If you have been advised by the school that your child needs to isolate, we will ensure their teachers place learning on Teams.

Isolation periods in Phase 2
In Phase 1 of the response to Omicron, close contacts of people with COVID-19 were required to self-isolate for ten days. In Phase 2, the isolation period has been reduced to seven days. This means that close contacts can now return to school on day eight if their test day five was returned negative and they are symptom free.

There is no requirement for casual contacts or household members of close contacts to isolate at Phase 2 of the Red setting.

For more information about the different Phases of the Covid Protection Framework Red setting, please visit the covid.govt.nz web site: https://covid19.govt.nz/prepare-and-stay-safe/about-covid-19/our-response-to-omicron/

Updating Contact Details
Given the current situation we face with COVID-19, it is vital that we can contact you in a fast and efficient way if required. If any of yours or your child’s emergency’s contact details have changed (home phone/cell phone/email), please send an update to [email protected] Please put your child’s name in the correspondence.

Mask Use and Exemptions
Thank you for ensuring your child is continuing to bring a face mask to school every day. A cloth mask that is washed every day is a great way to manage this current situation. The students are doing very well with mask wearing and we have been particularly impressed with how they have managed on some of the warmer days.

A handful of students are exempt from wearing a mask and have seen me to wear a sticker identifying themselves so classroom teachers therefore do not need to ask students why they are not wearing a mask. If your child need an exemption please get them to pop in and see me.

Swimming Sports Friday 4 March
We are looking towards this day with some innovative thinking. We are hoping to hold a house based water event at school, but possibly in a different style (intriguing without a pool I know!). However, as with all other large school events on site, I regretfully advise that we are not able to host parents, visitors or whanau. Students will get more information in the coming days.

We trust this update provides you with the reassurance that we have clear processes in place to respond to Covid-19 cases in our school should they occur. We will continue to maintain regular communication with you as we aim to keep the school open for on-site relationship-based learning. 

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Ngā mihi nui,

Dionne Thomas
Mrs Dionne Thomas
Principal

COVID-19 update - 14 February 2022

Kia Ora 

As you will be well aware Covid has now made it’s presence in a number of local schools in the last week. Lindisfarne College, Te Mata Primary and just over the weekend Taradale High School. 

My colleagues have had to move rapidly into being contact tracers, communication specialists, health experts and implementers of hybrid learning and timetabling. NZ community cases are now also close to 1000.

There are number of key learnings from the current school cases: 

  • Correctly marked attendance is ESSENTIAL for contact tracing, please support us at school by ensuring your child arrives at school on time and notifying absences (via the absence line on phone 8706143) promptly if your child cannot attend due to COVID related concerns (or for usual absentee reasons);
  • Students wearing masks significantly reduces the risk of transferring infection within classrooms. They have had very few students contact the virus from another student in class. Please keep sending your child to school with a mask and we will continue to educate and support the students around mask use, but if they need a break (and us too!), we will go outside for 2 or 3min.
  • Ventilation also reduces the spread. This is as simple as opening windows. We will use the Air Conditioners if needed also, as well as, having windows and doors open.
  • Guidelines are changing very fast as we move closer to the second phase of response and I will keep you abreast as quickly as I can. 

Be Prepared 

I urge you therefore to be prepared in the following ways:

  • Have your whanau prepared for isolation as covered in my January 25 Update; 
  • Have your child prepared for Hybrid or online learning as much as possible by making sure their laptop or chrome book is bought to school and charged everyday and they know how to access Teams; 
  • Have a space at home ready for home learning if needed. 

Symptoms

We have asked our Nurse and First Aid staff to be very mindful of students presenting with any of the following symptoms: 

  • a cough
  • a high temperature of at least 38°C
  • shortness of breath
  • sore throat
  • sneezing and runny nose 
  • temporary loss of smell;

These symptoms do not necessarily mean your child has COVID-19 however with a large population that we want to keep learning onsite, we will be taking a high precaution approach and asking whanau to pick up students that present with two or more of these symptoms. 

If you have any questions or concerns please let us know. We have travelled this path together and will again, but “to be prepared is half the victory” 😊

Ngā mihi nui,

Dionne Thomas
Mrs Dionne Thomas
Principal


COVID-19 update - 10 February 2022

Kia Ora Whanau

Thank you for your continued support in keeping our community safe during these uncertain times.

Your continued support in:

  • ensuring students maintain good hygiene practices (ie: washing/sanitizing hands, always use good cough/sneeze etiquette) at school;
  • scanning in using the NZ COVID Tracer app; and
  • students who have cold, flu, or COVID-19 symptoms, staying home and calling a doctor or Healthline on 0800 358 5453 to see if a test is required

are all very much appreciated by us here at school.

However, we have been called apon by the Ministry of Education to ensure we are continuing to reflect and review our practices at school with the Omicron variant now being in our community.

One way is to ensure we are reducing the amount of time we are together in large groups. Hence, we are removing assemblies on a Monday and Friday, and shortening our lunch break.

That means from Monday 14 February we will be adjusting our timetable. A new timetable while we are in the ‘Red’ Covid Protection Framework setting is as below/attached. All students will be given a copy and it is important for whanau specially to know school finishes at

· 2.40pm for Year 9 and 10

· 2.50pm for Year 11-13

We are working with the bus companies in conjunction with the other schools who are also looking at their timetables.

However, if students cannot be safely supervised our library is always available as a safe venue until 3pm.

We know whanau appreciate our efforts in keeping school operating as a safe and consistent venue for students and we hope this adjustment to the timetable will allow us to continue to do this, even if a cases or close contacts were to arise at Karamu.Period Times 2022 Feb

Ngā mihi,

Dionne Thomas
Mrs Dionne Thomas
Principal


COVID-19 update - 28 January 2022

Kia Ora Parents and Caregivers,

Further information regarding the health and safety requirements under the Red traffic Light Covid Protection Framework settings in schools are transpiring each day and while I appreciate this may feel like ‘information overload’ your health and safety is of our concern. 

Mask Use
There is strong evidence that the correct use of masks decreases the risk of Omicron transmission, and that some types of masks are more effective than others in decreasing risk.
The Government has therefore strengthened the requirements and recommendations for use of masks.
Whenever masks are required to be worn (for example, by Year 4-13 students when indoors at school, at supermarkets, retails stores, cafes, public transport, school transport) they must be the type that attaches to the head either through an ear loop or a head loop.
Bandanas, scarves or t-shirts pulled up over the mouth and nose are no longer acceptable to be used in the settings which require masks to be worn.

Masks Exemptions
We recognise that some adults and children will be exempted from wearing a mask, including those who have a disability or health condition. If a student has an exemption card or a letter from their medical practitioner or health provider, we will support them at school to not wear a mask.
 For any student who is failing to comply with the legal requirement of wearing a mask, and who is not exempted, we will support them with education and manaakitanga to wear a mask, to support the health and safety of everyone in our community.

Vaccinations
Further to the last update please note boosters are only available four months after second doses for those students over the age of 18 years. 

Powhiri – Tuesday 1st February
As previously advised this event will still go ahead, but only students and staff will be in attendance.

Sound Splash Festival (Hamilton)
We are now aware that the Sound Splash Festival (Hamilton) that occurred last weekend is a place of interest. If your child attended this event, please refer to the instructions on the Ministry of Health website, regarding self-monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms.

As students return to school around New Zealand in the coming weeks, there will be both vaccinated and unvaccinated students re-joining their school communities. There will be varying degrees of anxiety amongst students as they prepare for the start of school, but in keeping with our school values, it is my expectation that all students will treat each other with whanaungatanga, demonstrating respect, kindness and consideration.

I thank you for your support and look forward to seeing everyone back at school very soon.

Ngā mihi,

Dionne Thomas
Mrs Dionne Thomas
Principal

COVID-19 update - 26 January 2022

Morena Whanau,

Further advise has been received from the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education regarding operations under the Covid Protection Framework ‘Red Traffic Light’

Events and activities
Large hui and gatherings, especially when indoors continue to be one of the riskier activities we can undertake. We have therefore reviewed all our events and activities for the upcoming term to ensure we meet the health guidance for Red. This therefore means we will not be able to have parents or caregivers on site for our Powhiri on Tuesday 1 February.
We appreciate this is disappointing but the safety of our students and staff is essential. This important occasion will take place outside and students will continue to wear masks and be spaced where possible. We will take video footage and photos to share with whanau.
We ask parents entrust their child into our care on Tuesday morning, dropping them at the Hall or front of school for a quick farewell.

Ventilation
We have used the Ministry of Education self-assessment tool to review all our ventilation in readiness for the start of the year. Providing good old fashioned fresh air remains the most important thing we can do in our learning spaces to minimise risk for ākonga and kaiako (and the same goes for you at home). We will also be receiving a CO2 monitor in the coming weeks to further support our ventilation plan

School Practices

  • · We will be continuing a staggered end to our school day:
    - 2.50pm: Year 9 and 10
    - 3.00pm: Year 11-13
  • · Students must maintain good hygiene practices (washing/sanitizing hands, use good cough/sneeze etiquette) at all times at school;
  • · Visitors must scan in using the NZ COVID Tracer app if they can or use another method. This helps with rapid contact tracing if it is required;
  • · All students or staff who have cold, flu, or COVID-19 symptoms, should stay home and call their doctor or Healthline on 0800 358 5453 to see if a test is required. Students and staff should not return to school until a negative test is returned.

Omicron and testing

We have all seen the very large numbers of cases overseas and we will very likely see much larger numbers of cases in Aotearoa than we have previously experienced in the last two years. While Omicron is more transmissible than previous strains, most people who get COVID-19 will have a mild to moderate illness and will fully recover in their own home.

However, some of our community who are immune compromised, are ill or have other vulnerabilities, even when they are fully vaccinated, could be more affected by Omicron. So, we all need to continue to play our part to minimise the spread of the virus.

In regard to testing, the health system currently has capacity to process 40,000 PCR tests a day. PCR testing is the most accurate test for COVID-19 and will continue to be used while New Zealand is in the stamp-it-out phase. 

Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) will begin to be used more widely over time. They are not as accurate as PCR tests and this means that some people who do have COVID-19 will get a negative test result back. There are currently 4.6 million RATs in the country and 10s of millions ordered. 

If you are symptomatic or need to be tested to access a workplace or service, you will be guided at the time on which test is best for you.

Face coverings
Staff and children in Years 4 – 13 must wear face coverings when inside at school when we are at Red.   

Public health advice is that an appropriate face covering will fit snugly and seal well around facial contours. This can include single use, disposable masks (medical masks) and re-usable fabric masks with three layers. 

The Unite Against COVID-19 website also has information on how to make a face covering.

All students need to bring a mask with them when they return to school and wear it when inside. Teachers will support students when they can remove it for specific activities ie: Physical Education or Food Technology classes. 

Vaccinations
Vaccination including a booster shot, remains an important tool to help prevent the most serious harm from the COVID-19 virus. If children and young adults who have been vaccinated do develop COVID-19, they are far less likely to get seriously ill and less likely to transmit the virus to others. 

The free five- to 11-year-old vaccination programme is now underway and more than 100,000 children in New Zealand have had their first dose. Boosters are also now available four months after second doses.

Managing cases in our school
We have a good contact tracing system in place so that if there is a confirmed case who has been at school while infectious, we can quickly identify who was a close contact of that person.  We will then quickly advise those contacts of what they need to do.

Only if the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Education advises to do so, would we consider closing and moving to distance learning for everyone. At Red we will keep everyone learning onsite for as long as we can. 

Please make sure your contact details we have on file are up to date, so we can get in touch with you if needed. 

Preparing for COVID-19

You can also prepare for COVID-19, making sure you and your household have a plan and know what to do. This will mean your whānau and community can help each other if needed. Find out more here: 

Self-isolating at home because of COVID-19

Many people will be able to manage self-isolation with help from friends and whānau, but there is help available if you need it – both with health support and access to food and other essentials.

If you know anyone in your community affected by COVID-19 and who may need help, such as food and other financial assistance, Work and Income has a range of supports available for individuals, families, employers and self-employed people affected by COVID-19.

Work and Income support
The beginning of the year can be a tough time for parents who are faced with many costs and it is important you are aware of what assistance you may be able to get from Work and Income. These are available to people on a low income as well as those on a benefit.

Check what you might get here

Use the links above or call 0800 559 009 to find out more, or to apply. 

MoneyTalks can assist with free budgeting and debt help

You can also contact your local community provider. Please find more information here.

Getting ready to return to school
The Ministry of Education has some helpful information on their Parents and Whānau website to support your tamariki to get back to school. There is also a very important reminder about how you can take care of yourself.  

While this might all feel a little overwhelming at times, we know that all these measures will help our children return to school, reconnect with whānau and friends and do what they enjoy. 

We are also here to help. Please get in touch if you have any concerns or need help in any way.

We look forward to seeing the students return in good spirits next week.

Ngā mihi,

Dionne Thomas
Mrs Dionne Thomas
Principal


COVID-19 update - 24 January 2022

Kia Ora Caregivers,

He mihi mo te tau hou.

As you will be aware the Prime Minister announced yesterday that the whole of New Zealand has now moved to the COVID-19 Protection Framework (Traffic Light) Red setting from midnight Sunday 23 January. The intention is for schools and kura to remain open at all settings of the Covid Protection Framework.

However, all students, caregivers, and visitors who are visiting school this week for Course Interviews and uniform collection/payment need to wear face coverings when inside buildings and on the school site at all times. All students will be required to wear a mask on return to school next week so please prepare for this in your ‘Beginning of Year’ preparation.

We will continue to update you as we receive more information from the Ministry of Education related to the Covid Protection Framework Red setting during the week. This includes how the health measures will impact on some of our upcoming events, including our Powhiri scheduled for next Tuesday 1 February.

For now, we ask for your patience and understanding, as we work through the implications of this shift in Covid Protection Framework settings. Please be reassured that we will continue to make our decisions based on the latest advice and guidance from the Ministry of Education/Ministry of Health and in the best interests of our students and staff.

Ngā mihi nui,

Dionne Thomas
Mrs Dionne Thomas
Principal


Visit our COVID-19 archive for previous updates