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Coronavirus: Update 16-3-2020

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You may have seen that the World Health Organisation has now declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic.

The Ministry of Health has been working through its pandemic plan since January.

You will also know the Government has already implemented a range of measures to minimise the impacts to New Zealand. This includes strict border controls.

The following information is from https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-novel-coronavirus-health-advice-general-public/covid-19-novel-coronavirus-countries-and-areas-concern

The government has announced temporary restriction on travellers arriving in New Zealand from Category 1a countries and territories as a precautionary measure to protect against the spread of COVID-19.

The restrictions prevent foreign nationals travelling from or transiting through Category 1a countries and territories from entering New Zealand.

All New Zealand citizens and permanent residents (and close family members) inbound from Category 1a countries and territories are requested to register with Healthline

(0800 358 5453) and to undertake 14 days self-isolation starting from the date of the departure from that country or territory.

Category 1b countries and territories do not have travel restrictions in place. People who have been in Category 1b countries and territories (excluding airport transit) are requested to register with Healthline (0800 358 5453) and self-isolate for 14 days starting from the date of departure from a Category 1b country and territory.

If your whanau or tamariki have visited these counties we ask that you please follow the guidelines and self isolate.

For our school, our pandemic plan is also ready to be implemented if needed. In the mean time we:

  • Will continue to focus on good hygiene practices. Hand washing and good cough etiquette are very important tools in preventing the spread of illness including colds, flu and COVID-19.
  • Have stopped holding assemblies to reduce large gatherings of students.
  • Have increased our school cleaning practices.
  • Are reviewing each class or school trip to weigh up the risks.
  • Are investigating methods of e-learning should the Government close schools.

At this stage the Ministry of Education has stated that the most likely scenario for school closures is if a student or staff member is confirmed with COVID-19. The Ministry of Health may require a school to close for a day or two, to undertake tracking and tracing of close contacts.

As part of our safety measures I would like to encourage all families to make sure that children have a drink bottle at school to limit the possibility of any colds / flu / virus transferring through drink fountains.

There is a good video clip from Nanogirl that will help your children to better understand the virus – YouTube clip – Nanogirl

You may have also seen the Prime Minister sat down with Dr Michelle Dickinson (aka Nanogirl) and the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor, Juliet Gerrard, to talk about coronavirus:

  • Watch on the PM’s Facebook page
  • Read and watch on the Newshub website

One other action we can all take is to be vigilant about our own health and the health of our tamariki. I will be encouraging my staff to stay away from school if they are showing signs of illness such as coughs and colds. I ask that you please do the same with your children. Colds and flus are common in schools and by staying away, seeking medical attention and practicing good hygiene, we can all keep any spread of illness to a minimum.

The symptoms of the Coronavirus are:

  • a cough
  • a high temperature (at least 38°C)
  • shortness of breath.

Please contact the Healthline 0800 358 5453 or visit your GP if you or your children have any of these systems.