NBHS Covid-19: Returning to School Under Alert Level 2


Dear Parents and Caregivers

We are excited and relieved to learn that schools can re-open fully under Alert Level 2.  Firstly, we are extremely mindful that this is not “business as usual”.  The experiences of lockdown and online learning have been markedly different for each of us. It would be wrong to expect that learning will simply pick-up where we left of in August. There will be an adjustment period as we get classroom learning back up to speed. Our focus will be on re-establishing teaching relationships and the routines and expectations that go with them. Your sons will be keen to reconnect with friends and groups.  We also want to reassure you that we will have all the measures in place, as outlined by the Ministry of Health Guidelines for Alert Level 2, to make school safe.

Can I remind our community that school does not open for face-to-face learning until Thursday 9 September.  We want to be ready for the boys return and so please help us by not sending your boy(s) to school on Wednesday. The only students who are able to attend school are those that have been attending at Alert Level 3.  There will be no online learning tomorrow Wednesday, 9 September.

The following are key points from the Ministry’s public health statement for education:

  • The two key public health principles that support our approach at Alert Level 2 are first, to minimise the risk that someone gets infected in the first place, and second to ensure we can identify and contact anyone who has been in close contact with a person if someone in a school or early learning centre is infected.
  • Any children, young people and staff should stay at home if they are sick or should be sent home immediately if they show any symptoms.
  • Physical distancing is a good precaution to prevent the spread of disease. In an Alert Level 2 school environment, this means children, young people, and staff maintaining a physical distance, where possible, so that they are not breathing on or touching each other, coupled with good hygiene practices (coughing into your elbow, handwashing and drying) and regular cleaning of commonly touched surfaces.)
  • There are situations where physical distancing is not possible, such as some sporting activities. In these situations, extra emphasis on handwashing and drying (or cleansing with hand sanitiser) before and after activities and regular cleaning of equipment is recommended.

For NBHS, under Alert Level 2, we can advise you of the following:

  1. We are excited that we will be fully open and operational on Thursday, 09 September, this includes our hostel. Thursday will start with a tutor time for all students. Please advise your son that this is Day 6 on the school timetable.
  2. We expect all students to be back at school when we open under Alert Level 2 unless there are health issues. Only those who are unwell in any way should be absent. Please notify your son’s absence through the attendance line.
  3. We will not be running online real-time classes from today. Wednesday, 08 September will be a TEACHER-ONLY DAY where staff can meet and organise and prepare for the students return to school. There will be no online lessons.
  4. Students who are unable to attend due to illness or other legitimate reasons will be provided with work to complete. This will be via the TEAMS platform or email. This will be our distance learning at Level 2. Students who come to school when clearly ill will be sent home.
  5. School will start at the normal time 8:30 (Wednesdays 9:00am) but finish at 2:50pm. Lunch times will be shortened to 40 minutes as students will not be able to play games during lunch.
  6. For at least the next week Year 13 students must be at school during their study periods and cannot leave the grounds at lunchtime.
  7. Students who would normally go to Trades or Gateway on either Thursday or Friday this week must instead be at school.

We can assure you of the following:

  1. Hygiene requirements will be front and centre, both in terms of our message(s) to your son and in terms of expected practice. We do have a system for students to use hand sanitiser as they enter / exit classes. This is provided by the school. However, your son can bring their own sanitiser to use through the day.
  2. Contact tracing is in place through period attendance checks, assigned seating and set groups in practical classes.
  3. Face coverings are not mandated for use when in schools. It remains an option for individuals and a decision for the individual and whānau. Whatever decision students and teachers make, it is their own, and needs to be respected. Where an individual chooses to use a face covering, they should supply and wear their own, and to do so safely.
  4. PE and sports activities will occur subject to handwashing / sanitising before and after, cleaning of equipment between activities and contact tracing of all groups.

What else do I need to know right now?

  1. Bus services will be running – both Ministry and contracted; more information will come on how fares will be collected.
  2. The canteen will operate but it will only be selling drinks, pies, wraps and not extras such as ice creams. We are setting the canteen up for pre-ordering and paying so that lunches are collected by the boys. This will be cashless. We will aim to avoid queuing. Boys should try to order their lunches before school.
  3. Water/hydration: all water fountains will be disabled; however, we have replaced them with bottle filling stations on a 1:1 basis. All students should have their own water bottle for the school day.
  4. Student Wellbeing & Support: we anticipate that for most students there will be excitement to be back onsite and seeing friends face-to-face. However, it is important to acknowledge that for some individuals this is mixed with apprehension. Please do let the school know if you have any concerns. This can be by contacting your son’s tutor, dean or the school counsellors. The staff contacts can be found here. As mentioned in earlier communication, our support team can be accessed if the need arises. Rob Silver or Tracy Courtney can be contacted on 021 1094820 or by emailing wellbeing@nbhs.school.nz
  5. Visitors: we would ask that where possible you communicate via email or phone; essential visitation should be through the front office only. The visitor’s register must be signed.

If you are not sure what the rules are for Alert Level 2 when you are out and about, then the following information may be useful to you:

Please do not hesitate to contact the school if there is something you need assistance with. We will update this guidance following the Government’s announcement on Monday, 13 September, or as further information becomes available.

Collectively, we look forward to welcoming your son(s) back onsite.

Kia Kaha,

Jarred Williams

Follow us