Latest Update: Covid-19 Alert L3 - Letter to Parents, Caregivers (27/08)
Dear parents and whanau,
Thank you for supporting our students over the last two weeks as we all navigated the return to Alert Level 3. They made a swift change of direction to remote programme learning and most have stayed engaged and on track. Seniors are well placed in the build-up to the TGS examinations in Week 9 and 10. They need their teachers and you to continue to guide and encourage them to keep them focussed and purposeful.
It was helpful that on Monday afternoon the Prime Minister advised the next steps in the national COVID-19 response. Staff at TGS are planning up to and anticipating beyond the government review of Alert Levels on 6 September. We intend to help students retain their motivation and assist them to deliver their best academic outcomes this year. We hope that the current national COVID-19 response will result in Alert Levels reducing soon, but are planning for different options that may be necessary.
The tone set by the staff and leaders in the school will influence student motivation for learning and achieving. With your support alongside the schools, our students will be advantaged educationally in these extraordinary times. We want our students to achieve their best academically even though COVID-19 has challenged the way we deliver our learning programmes. The opportunities emerging from this include building resilience and optimism about living with uncertainty and constant change. You have been doing a great job supporting the school throughout the year in different Alert Levels. Together we have set our students up well to flourish in the remaining weeks of 2020.
Please reassure students there is a considerable amount of time left in the year for them to complete learning, assessment and revision. Although COVID-19 has disrupted learning programmes, TGS has planned an approach that will lessen any disruptive impact. Students should plan some valuable study time in the September break as well as some holiday downtime. In Term 4 there are four weeks of school before senior NCEA students leave for one week’s study leave. NCEA examinations commence in Term 4, Week 6. IB2 students leave for a week’s study leave at the end of Week 1 on Friday 16 October. Their examinations commence on Tuesday 27 October following Labour Weekend.
Staff will continue working with their students over the coming weeks to help our students achieve their personal best.
Teachers will provide directions for the next few weeks to help students manage their workload and maintain their focus on the goals relevant for each step along the way.
This week is Week 6 (Week ending Fri 28 Aug).
The current focus for seniors is preparation and practice for the school examinations in Week 9 and 10 and any assessment tasks that are scheduled. Assessments planned for Weeks 5-6 may be re-scheduled and staff will advise students about this. Students should not deviate by making personal choices such as choosing to do only some of the Standards. Senior leaders, HoFs and Deans have carefully planned pathways to ensure students can achieve personal excellence academically and also develop a sound knowledge base for flexibility throughout their lives.
Senior students are asked to follow their teacher’s advice and instructions for each subject. They can ask their teachers or deans about any concerns. Parents can also contact teachers or deans. Juniors should continue to do the work set by their teachers. They too are building a broad platform of knowing and opening doors for their future pathways.
Other things you should know:
When do students return to school?
All students are expected to be on site at school from Monday 31 August. This is the start of Week 7.
What if a student is unwell?
Our students have already had a considerable amount of time undertaking remote learning programmes off site and this has helped reduce the spread of COVID-19 in New Zealand. It is really important from now on that people do not pose any risks to our school community where this can be avoided.
We ask our families to take their share of responsibility to assist TGS to operate at the lowest Alert Levels possible for the rest of 2020. Everyone can help by being aware of any signs of family members and students being unwell and following the national and TGS guidelines.
• Students who are unwell must not come on site to school. Students will be sent home if they come when unwell.
• Students who are identified as close contacts of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 should follow the advice of the health professionals, which may include getting tested and staying at home until cleared.
• Parents are asked not to send students directly to the school nurse for a health check. If students have any symptoms of being unwell such as a sore throat, runny nose, coughing, loss of smell or a temperature above normal they should stay at home until they are well. Students can access learning via Google Classroom.
• Students who are unwell and concerned about assessment should contact their teacher or dean or Mr. Will Scovell to discuss.
Are there any adjustments to the usual weekly schedule in Weeks 7-8?
We know that families have been making lots of adjustments to their lives with remote learning programmes and everyone working from home. There will be other challenges as you re-adjust to being back at Alert Level 2, so we have made some slight changes to the days next week. We trust having a little extra time in the morning helps.
Students who need to may come at the usual times and go to the library until the school day commences.
Week 7: Monday 31 August – Friday 4 September
• There are no assemblies planned for Week 7.
• The school day will commence at 9.00am on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
• Tuesday, Thursday and Friday will commence with Period 1.
• On Wednesday students start school at 9.30am as usual with Period 2.
Week 8: Monday 7- Friday 11 September
• In Week 8 the usual daily routine resumes.
• Year level assemblies will be scheduled so students can be given important information about examinations and other matters. More information will be provided next week.
What is the current focus for students?
For senior students and accelerate junior classes:
Weeks 6-8: the focus is preparation for the TGS examinations for NCEA, Scholarship and IB.
Weeks 9-10: TGS examinations are in Weeks 9-10. The last two days of Week 10 will include extended in-school sessions for seniors doing project work for practical subjects, Scholarship tutorials and extra revision at school for invited students. Other senior students will remain at home.
Some assessments that were scheduled for Weeks 5-6 are being re-scheduled. If a student has any conflicts such as two subject assessments being on at the same time, they should talk to the subject teachers to re-arrange one of these.
For junior students:
Weeks 6-10: the focus is continuation of class work.
A two-day junior conference is scheduled for Thursday and Friday of Week 10. More information about this will be provided nearer the time.
What work are teachers expecting students to be doing?
• All students need to do the tasks teachers set them in Google Classroom. This gives teachers evidence of what students know and need to know. This information helps teaching and revision to be directed to meet students’ needs.
• For senior students, teachers can use current and recent work plus the results from the TGS examinations to inform derived grades if required.
• Assessments that were scheduled during the current Alert Level 3 lockdown may be re-scheduled or done differently. NZQA has provided alternative assessment methods to reduce overloading students and staff. There is a risk that shifting assessments will increase the pressure around examination time and we will avoid this as much as possible.
• Senior students should also prepare for external Standards by doing practice examination questions available via the website called StudyIt. The link for these resources is studyit.govt.nz which has been sent to students by Deputy principal Mr. Will Scovell.
• If parents have concerns about their student’s engagement or work habits please contact the class teacher, Head of Faculty or a Deputy Principal. There are tutorials and support networks available for extra support.
What about students sitting Scholarship?
There is considerable time for Scholarship preparation from now through to the middle of Term 4. The year has been interrupted but the TGS response has focussed on minimising any effects from disruption. Students are encouraged to keep working hard to achieve the aspirational goals they have set. There are lots of students who are capable of achieving success in this prestigious qualification. We encourage them to make this a special focus in a year when they have missed out on other opportunities because of COVID-19.
• The Scholarship tutorials originally planned for Weeks 5-6 will be re-scheduled for a time following the TGS examinations. This means students can prioritise their current focus on the TGS examinations.
• Scholarship students should continue to work with their Scholarship teachers and participate in the practice Scholarship examination(s) during Weeks 9-10. Each student should arrange a time, that fits with their TGS examination schedule, with their Scholarship teacher, to sit their Scholarship examination(s) .
When school returns on Monday 31 August Auckland is at Alert Level 2 with some extra restrictions. What does this mean?
• We encourage our students to wear masks on all buses. Masks are not mandatory on school buses but are on public transport, including for secondary school students.
• For people who are not members of the school community, there is a limit of 10 people being on site at TGS.
• Activities such as performances that involve audiences and groups of outsiders are not likely to be permitted. If assessment is involved alternative methods will be put in place as recommended by NZQA.
• Any visitors will need prior permission from Deputy Principal Brian Wynn for general purposes and from Deputy Principal Mary Pottinger for student services.
• Visitors must enter via the TGS main entrance to reception and follow the school’s protocols.
• All visitors will need to use the QR Contact Tracer on entry to the school to enable contact tracing if required. They will need to abide by any other school protocols to keep the school community safe.
• Physical distancing is not required while at school, but this is encouraged where manageable.
• Groups participating in activities where there is a greater chance of fluids transfer between members should space themselves apart from each other to reduce this. E.g. choir practice.
• Students should be dropped off and picked up outside school. Parents are not to come on site without specific permission.
Can co-curricular activities resume?
The school is endeavouring to keep our community safe and we are mindful that we are now at the business end of the year. We will work to manage student activities and be mindful of not adding pressure to staff and students at this busy time.
• Co-curricular activities held on-site for TGS students can resume trainings from Week 7, but people from outside the school such as coaches, will need permission to attend from Will Scovell for sport and Brian Wynn for other activities. Outsiders will need to use the COVID-19 Tracer App and be registered at the activity they are assisting with.
• We are waiting for the authorities from the different codes to see if competitions will resume.
Is the TGS ball still on?
TGS is required to follow Alert Level restrictions required for events in Auckland so we have currently pressed pause on the ball. This will be reconsidered when the decision is made by the government following their review of the COVID-19 situation scheduled for 6 September. We will update you when we have more information.
I realise this is a long communication but hope this information is helpful and answers any questions you have.
Please email the office if you do have anything further you wish to ask.