27 August, 2021
Kia ora Aidanfield whanau
What does next week look like?
The end of the week and it seems like at least another week of very similar arrangements for your child/ren’s schooling. The Prime Minister’s announcement that all of the South Island remains in Alert Level 4 until 11.59 pm Tuesday night with an intended move to Alert Level 3 on Wednesday morning for at least a week, means we can plan for the distance learning programmes to continue as it is for all of next week at least. This is helpful as it gives some certainty for the coming week. We know what to expect and we have planned for just this occurrence.
At Alert Level 3 (currently Wednesday onwards) on-site schooling at ACS would only be available for children whose parents must work away from home and there is no other alternative form of child care available to the family. The Ministry of Education will provide more clarity to us as to the rules around Alert Level 3 between now and Tuesday and we are required to follow these rules. We do not make the rules at ACS in this scenario, we must follow the Ministry of Health instructions and Ministry of Education guidelines based on those instructions.
At Alert Level 3 there are very few children on site and they are from across the age groups. The teaching programme is exactly the same as if they were working at home on the distance learning programme and the teacher will not be the usual teacher of the children. Physical distancing between pupils and staff is maintained as much as possible. If there are two bubbles of children these are kept separate at all times with break times and lunches separate and coordinated and the playgrounds remain closed. Alert Level 3 is not school as we know it. I will contact you next on Monday to determine who may need the bubble on-site at ACS.
Work packages for next week
You can expect the work package for the week starting Monday 30 August to arrive on either Sunday night or Monday morning.
After a review of how this week has gone and based on feedback from teachers and parents we have decided to send out a work package for the full week and not the 2 day/3 day cycle that I originally told you about. Many people have indicated it helps to see the full weeks work and plan around that in homes. We hope this works for your family situation.
The issue of social media platforms
There is a lot to keep in mind and one of the aspects is watching what your child is doing on the social media sites available. The school has made available a couple of platforms that include the ability to chat or video chat or message. With these comes some great advantages and some big disadvantages. We are not able to monitor or turn off things like the video chat functions and we need each parent to work with their child/ren to ensure that they refrain from using these inappropriately. We have a clear expectation that absolutely no recording of pupils or staff is done without express permission and absolutely no posting of any recordings should ever be done (especially as no child should have such a recording in the first place). Please help us to keep everyone safe by keeping an eye on what your child is up to on devices. One way to help this is to ensure (where possible) that there are no devices in bedrooms or away from the sightlines of adults in the house. This is not always possible but it is surprising how many families allow children or young teens on devices in isolated places where there is no supervision. You would be surprised how many issues we deal with where this is the case and the parent was confident they could trust their child.
Staff availability – it’s the weekend (such as it is)
Distance learning has a different rhythm to it. Our staff are now on their weekend break and will next be available on Monday morning to respond to emails and questions. Feel free to email over the weekend but please do not expect a response until Monday. As many of you will know, doing the usual work of the day while having family life happen around you is challenging and our staff have the same dynamic at their homes as many of our school families.
Please have a read of the other attachment with this email. It is information provided by the Government for your consideration and considers some of the questions relating to 12 to 15 year olds.
Please feel free to contact me anytime if you need assistance or with feedback as to the programmes we are implementing. I am happy to listen. I know that Kaye Lawn, Teresa Thomson and Janice Phillips would say the same thing and each of our teaching staff and the Learning Community Leaders (Nikki McAven, Andy Bibby, Sharon Burt and Colleen Hoskin) are also very happy to have you contact them. If you have pastoral concerns for any one of your children feel free to contact their teacher directly or Ruth Richardson for Year 7 to 10 pupils, Toni Nasolo for Year 1 to 6 pupils or Mrs Judith Keir (our guidance counsellor at ACS).
Remember, our emails are all the same format firstname.lastname@example.org.
May you and your family have a real sense of the peace of God in your home this weekend. I pray that you find a place of rest and refreshment, even if briefly. May you be able to look up and know that your help is found in Him and the first step to knowing that help is to ask Him, talk with Him, find a moment of time to be in silence, to breathe and to reflect on just how vast our Heavenly Father is – there is nothing beyond Him and in this great vastness of creator God – He…cares…for…you!
Grace and peace.
Principal at home