Covid-19 Alert L3 - Letter to Parents, Caregivers (18/08)

Dear parents and whanau,

The Secretary for Education has advised last evening (Monday 17.08)  that the government has agreed to some flexibility for schools to allow certain Year 12 and 13 students to attend school at times under Alert Level 3. This is a sudden, significant change as students in Years 11-13 have not previously been able to attend school at Alert Level 3. There are legal requirements that still need to be confirmed at the government level that will inform the details of what will be permitted.

The senior leadership team is meeting today to discuss what we will implement at Takapuna Grammar School over the next period of time in light of this shift. I will send you more information once we have been advised of the details about what is allowed and we have been able to make appropriate plans. There will be strict rules including establishing specific bubbles of students, social distancing, hygiene and other requirements that the government or school think are necessary. We want to keep the risk of community transmission as low as possible while helping our students achieve their academic objectives.

We anticipate most staff and students will continue learning through remote programmes from home. Some flexibility for on-site learning will allow practical subjects and other areas that require specialist equipment to progress. This could not have been done in any alternative way. On-site learning is likely to be by invitation or application only to keep numbers low and ensure manageability. More information should be able to be given to you in the next day or so.

Below are some frequently asked questions that I trust will keep you informed about the remote learning programmes for the next week or so and update you about the school’s upcoming events schedule.

1. What is the current focus for remote learning programmes?

The week commencing 17 August is Week 5 of Term 2. Teachers are posting an outline of each week’s work by class for their students to see. Teachers will also endeavour to share this with parents.

Senior students will focus this week on learning subject material being tested in the TGS examinations being held in Weeks 9-10 of Term 2. Students need to learn and study seriously for these examinations as results may be used as evidence to generate derived grades if external examinations in Term 4 are COVID affected.

Junior students will focus on learning set by teachers and posted online through Google Classroom. Students who engage and work hard will have a wider range of choices for options for 2021.

Teachers are posting an outline of the week’s work each week for students to see. Teachers will also endeavour to share this with parents.

2. What is happening with assessment while students are not able to attend school?

Teachers are currently focussing on the TGS examinations. There were some NCEA and IB assessments scheduled in Week 6 but these have been rescheduled to take place in Week 7 when all students hopefully return on site. Students will be kept informed about this by their subject teachers or the Head of Faculty. Students and parents can ask subject teachers about assessment queries via email.

3. What if my student needs extra support to pass NCEA or IB?

Staff have been monitoring students throughout the year and teachers have provided predicted grades to Deputy Principal Will Scovell. Students who are likely to need support are being identified and an appropriate plan will be put in place for each of them. This will be advised to students and parents in the next couple of weeks.

There will also be specific support for students to attain numeracy, UE literacy and University Entrance if required.

If you have concerns about a student please contact Will Scovell on [email protected]

4. Are the junior parent-teacher interviews being held this week on 19 August?

These interviews have been cancelled due to the current workload of staff at Alert Level 3. Parents who have specific questions or concerns about important matters related to their son/daughter may email their student’s subject teacher or dean.

5. Is the school closed on Monday 31 August?

The school will not be closed on this day. There has been further disruption to teaching and learning with the return to Alert Level 3 in Auckland so staff will now work on this day for the benefit of our students.

6. Has the grand re-opening of the Main Building been rescheduled?

Not yet, as we do not know when we will be at an appropriate alert level to hold this function. The school will advise a date when this is possible. We have waited a long time for the completion of the renovation and look forward to celebrating the re-opening, whenever that can happen.

7. Has the community open day with tours of the Main Building been rescheduled?

Not yet. The school will advise a date when this event can be rescheduled, but this event will not be possible until Auckland has no alert level that limits gathering numbers.

8. Will there be a TGS ball this year?

The school has pressed pause again for the ball. Auckland will need to be at Alert Level 1 for the ball to be permitted. We are hopeful this will be the case by the date scheduled for this event of 26 September, but currently we can make no predictions. In the meantime, we can all do our best to assist in reducing the community spread of COVID and maintain our academic focus.

9. Is the enrolment evening scheduled for next Tuesday 25 August still on?

No, we will reschedule this for Tuesday 1 September in Week 7, when hopefully we are at Alert Level 2 or lower. We want to meet students new to TGS in 2021 and their families face to face and there is time to allow for this.

10. Are there any other school events that are cancelled?

The following events are cancelled: Shave for a Cure, Culture Evening and the Junior Social. We understand how much our students and staff enjoy these events and the contribution they make to the wider community. Sadly, there is insufficient lead in time to plan and prepare properly for these events as a result of the school being at Alert Level 3. We are also concerned about the extra workload for the students and staff involved when they are already adapting to remote learning and the focus is on managing academic priorities. We will keep you informed about other events nearer the time they are due to happen.

We trust you will discuss with your sons and daughters the reasons for prioritising our core business at the moment. This makes a difference to their understanding and resilience. We know there will be more opportunities for them to have these kinds of events. We value their acceptance and willingness to put the right things first at the moment, even though there is disappointment in not having some of the fun stuff.

Thank you to all of our parents for the magnificent response you have demonstrated in supporting the school and our staff and students over recent days. The COVID scenario and national responses continue to evolve quickly and often without precedent. Your optimism and reassurance at home is beneficial to the wellbeing of our students. We know you are dealing with lots of unexpected situations at home and many complexities arising from having children and partners at home.

Thank you for all you are doing. Please contact your student’s teachers or dean if you have any concerns, and the office with any general questions.

Ngā mihi nui

Mary Nixon

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