Te Kowhai School - To Be Our Very Best

Coronavirus Update – Events

Level 1 Update, emailed and Facebook 9th June 2020

Changes with the move to Alert Level 1.

The announcement to change to Alert Level 1 is something to be celebrated. We have all done what needed to be done and have left our country in an envious position internationally. Thank you for being so supportive during Levels 2, 3 and 4.

From today (9th June):
1. We will still staff our school entry points before school to meet your children. So our 'kiss and go' approach will remain. Drop off is any time from 8:15 - 8:55 am.
2. If you want to come on site in the morning, you are welcome to - no contact tracing is now required before or after school.
3. Our usual sign-in procedures will resume if you want to come on site during school hours.
4. Our pick-up times will return to 3:00pm for now. We do ask however, that you only assemble outside classes from 2:55 pm to enable our students to maximise their learning time.
5. We will continue to staff our pick up points if you still wish to collect your children at the gate.
6. Our hand-washing and general hygiene protocols will continue.

Level 2 Information for Families,  emailed 12th May 2020

 Click link to see email

Preparation for Level 2, Update #6 8th May 2020  (emailed )

Kia ora koutou,

Like me, I am sure you have followed with interest the announcements made by the Prime Minister.

It is reassuring to hear how well our country has done at minimising the impacts of COVID-19. Alert Levels 4 and 3 have not been easy and I thank you for your ongoing support for the work we are doing.

The Prime Minister advised that in Alert Level 2 schools are safe environments for children, young people and staff and that additional public health control measures are in place to prevent the spread of disease and to support contact tracing.

The good news is that when we are able to, we will be ready to welcome all students and staff back to our school site.

The key Public Health approach is 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 is infected.

As we have done in Alert Level 3, you can be assured that in Alert Level 2 we will know who is at school, who our staff and students have been in close contact with and take appropriate measures to keep everyone safe.

Physical distancing is a good precaution to prevent the spread of disease. We do however know it is challenging in schools, so good hygiene practices and regular cleaning are even more important here. This includes staff and students coughing into their elbows, handwashing and drying and regular cleaning of commonly touched surfaces.

Under Alert Level 2, we advise any students and staff to stay at home if they are sick, and we will send anyone home immediately if they show any symptoms.

Our school has safe and sensible practices to maintain the health and safety of everyone on the school site. As described by Dr Payinda in his NZ Herald article, “Covid’s not measles or chickenpox, it doesn’t hang in the air for hours waiting to infect passers-by. It travels on invisible drops of spit. You don’t have to cross the street to avoid anyone. Just avoid getting in their ‘moist breath’ zone”.

It’s important however that not just at school but at home, safe hygiene habits are practised by everyone, as this is essential to minimise the risk that someone gets infected with Covid-19.

For more information about the public health measures at Alert Level 2, you can visit the covid19.govt.nz website: https://covid19.govt.nz/

If you have any questions about our health and safety plan, or have a child who might be vulnerable to serious illness and would like to discuss a plan for them, please contact me.

We will be in touch again early next week update you on our plans.

Ngā mihi

Juliet Dickinson

Attendance intended and Remote Learning Use, 21st April 2020 (emailed, fB)

Caregivers to complete survey

Newsletter Monday 13th April (Website, fB, emailed)

Returning to School - possible timeframes 

The current information we have received from MOE indicates that we may be back at school in 'some form' from Wednesday 29th April.

  • This week we will receive more information on what Level 3 might look like
  • Cabinet will make a decision about leaving Level 4 on Monday 20th April
  • IF they decide to move to Level 3, then the anticipated start day would be Wednesday 29th April for 'some students' (unlikely to be all).  We have been told it would be wrong to assume all schools / early learning services will reopen at Level 3.
  • On 23rd / 24th April, some staff will be allowed back on site at school to do safety inspections, tidy up and do a thorough clean etc
  • Monday 27th is ANZAC Day (public holiday)
  • Tuesday 28th is a national teacher only day to enable teachers to get back on site and plan and prepare as necessary
  • A 'hybrid model' of both distance learning and on-site learning is very likely in the initial stages.  This could look like delayed start dates or staggered days to reduce the numbers on site at any one time.
  • Each school will potentially be directed differently depending on any local transmission or cases.

As you can see, there is a lot of 'may' and 'could' statements above which outlines the changing nature of the situation.  We will do our very best to inform you of any significant changes as they come to us and once we have considered how to manage these appropriately.  This communication will be mainly via email and our school facebook page.  

Emailed 25th March, Update #5

Good afternoon Parents and Caregivers,

I hope you are all managing to get everything in line before our midnight lockdown deadline tonight. A huge thank you from all of us for your positive messages of support whilst we work through things here at school. Our staff have been working really hard behind the scenes to finalise details so we can keep in touch throughout this time.

In terms of remote learning, teachers will be connecting with your kids (or you) over the next three days (until Friday 27th March). The main purpose of this is to ensure our communication methods work and that our students who are largely working online have the correct logins and passwords to the range of sites we will have available. We have some pretty engaged and excited learners so far! They will definitely keep their teachers busy. Your teachers are available this week via their email addresses.

To find out what this learning looks like, please see our Te Kowhai School Website. There is a yellow banner at the bottom of the page. Follow the link that says ‘Remote Learning Access‘. This will take you to a page with all LC links which you can follow to access a google doc that contains regular messages from the teachers (including their email addresses). 

From 30th March until 14th April, we are on school holidays (these have been moved to an earlier time). During this time, students are still welcome to engage with any of the learning sites we have provided. More of these links can be found on the ‘General Online Learning Links’ tab. Teachers won’t officially be available during this ‘holiday’ time to set any tasks, their availability will resume from 15th April.

We will be opening up a couple of additional Facebook pages associated with our school page in the coming days. One of these will be ‘Arts at TK’ where Esther Wilson and Marieke Nation will be sharing a few tips and ideas to keep the kids entertained at home. They will both be sharing a couple of video lessons each week that your kids might enjoy taking part in. The other is a ‘What TK kids are up to’ page. These may be a good place to visit during the holidays to help with ideas to pass the time.

In a time like this, it is really important for you and your children to still feel connected. We have a pretty awesome community here in Te Kowhai and support is not far away if you need it.

If you need to contact myself or Nikki for any reason, our emails are; julietd@tekowhai.school.nz or nikki@tekowhai.school.nz

Take care everyone, kia kaha.

Kindest regards

Juliet Dickinson and the TK Team

Emailed 23 March, Update #4

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

COVID-19 Update #4

Today’s announcements have quickly changed things for us. Our focus now is to implement our plan to support your child’s learning from home. We appreciate this is a sudden and significant change, and will be heavily disruptive to many people in our community.

For children of essential workers, we will see your child/ren here at school tomorrow morning between 8:15 am and 9:00 am. They are able to attend school for the next two days until the official lockdown comes into effect on Wednesday 11:59 pm. We would like them to assemble in the admin/office area when they arrive. Please email me ASAP if you fall into this category so we know how many children to expect. julietd@tekowhai.school.nz. You may wish to check if you are considered an essential worker - https://covid19.govt.nz/government-actions/covid-19-alert-system/ Effectively, these roles include doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers and police. We continue to ask that children of essential workers who are not well, do not attend school.   Also, please note, our bus service is not available tomorrow.

School holidays brought forward:
School holidays are being brought forward so that they are completed within the 4 week lockdown period. Holidays will now begin from Monday 30 March (next Monday) to Tuesday 14 April inclusive (a reminder that the Tuesday after Easter Monday is always a closed day for schools).

At the end of the school holidays (beginning Wednesday 15th April), schools will be open for distance learning but will NOT physically open for staff or students to work on site. This will still be during the lockdown period.

For all children, we will be supporting their learning remotely from this date.  Over the next couple of days all staff are working onsite to finalise this. 

Learning will take place in the following ways:

  • Through online learning which will be accessible via our Te Kowhai School website.
  • Teachers will be connecting with students regularly (the format of this will be shared via our website)

Please note, this learning will not be the same as on-site learning at school. We are also very aware that you will have a range of issues to attend to in your own home and lives. Therefore we encourage you to engage with as much learning as is practical for your family.

Tomorrow, from 1:00 – 3:00 pm and Wednesday from 10:00 – 12:00 am we will be providing an opportunity for you to come and collect some reading material for your children. If your child needs to collect their laptop, pencil case or other things they have left in class, this would be a good time to do so.

On our website, we have updated the ‘General Online Learning Links’ tab with some sites to visit if your kids are at a ‘loose end’ over the holiday period.

Ensuring our children’s wellbeing is probably the most important role we have as adults in their lives. Parents, caregivers, whānau and teachers will have a particularly important part to play in reassuring children at this time. If you haven’t already done so, you may wish to read the information put together by the Ministry of Education to support your conversations with your children – Talking to children about COVID-19.

As noted by the Prime Minister these restrictions are our best chance to slow the virus in New Zealand and to save lives. We all have a clear role and responsibility here to slow the spread of COVID-19.

 We will continue to communicate with you over the coming days. Thank you for your ongoing support of our school staff and school community. 

For any updates, please refer to the Te Kowhai School website.  There is a yellow banner at the bottom which takes you straight to:

  • Updates (regularly edited, as new information comes to hand)
  • Resources
  • Learning links (currently under development, this will be treated as the learning portal for each LC from 14th April)

We will continue to communicate updates via Facebook, however, our school website is our official platform for communication from the school to our community.

In the meantime, our thoughts are with you all.

Kia kaha (stay strong), we will be in touch again soon.

Kindest regards

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Juliet Dickinson and the TK Team


Facebook message 23rd March 2020

Dear Parents and Caregivers,


As you will be aware, the Government has moved to alert Level 3, and will be moving to alert level 4 in 48 hours.

Our school will be closed to students as of tomorrow and will remain closed until next term (or until further notice). The exception are the children of essential service workers (for the next two days). If your child falls within this category, please contact me ASAP. principal@tekowhai.school.nz as we will need to organise supervision for them for the next couple of days.

We will be in touch in regard to what learning at home for all of our students soon.

For now, take care of your families.


Emailed 22 March, Update #3

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

As you will have seen from recent developments, we are now at Level 2 of the new COVID-19 Alert Levels.

As a school, we continue to be communicated with on a near-daily basis by the Ministry of Education.  The directions to us are clear and give us comfort that we are responding appropriately and in line with Ministry of Health recommendations.  There are very clear plans for schools for every situation; (such as)
– If there was a case confirmed of someone in our school, we will be asked to close temporarily by the Medical Officer of Health. This will allow time for close contacts to be traced, appropriate testing to be undertaken, and a careful clean of the school to be undertaken.
– If there is wider community transmission, then schools will be required to close for at least 2 weeks.
– If we get to a situation where school closures become a reality then we will put into practice our plan for students learning from home. The implementation of school closures will most likely be a directive from the Ministry of Health or a rise in the nation’s alert level.

We can’t control these circumstances, but we can control what we do and how we support each other.  The health and wellbeing of our students, staff and community are of the utmost importance to us so we will make decisions in line with this.

We are getting some queries from families regarding keeping students at home.  This depends on your individual circumstances and general health obviously.  If your children are well and you don’t feel they have been put at risk of COVID-19  we would love to see them here.  There is currently no known risk in our area so we will be continuing our learning as normal.  We are in the process of getting our school website ready to be able to share online learning.  If your child is going to be away, please advise the school at your earliest convenience – this will help us with our planning and staffing.  If your child is currently away as they are unwell or in isolation, there will be links shared via our school website (by Tuesday).

Please rest assured that we are working daily behind the scenes to ensure that we are as prepared as possible and we will update you as we can on any changes.

Thank you for your understanding and support. We are really lucky to have such a great community.

If you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely
Juliet Dickinson

Emailed 20th March, 2020 #2

Dear Parents and Caregivers

With so much information and misinformation swirling around about COVID-19, I wanted to share with you what will happen if we were to have a case in our school community. We have been planning for this and are in a position to respond quickly.

Should a case be confirmed in our immediate school community (eg. a student, staff member, or member of their household), the Medical Officer of Health and Ministry of Education will inform me about this, and we will work together to get quick and clear messaging out to you

If there was a case confirmed of someone in our school, we will likely be asked to close temporarily by the Medical Officer of Health. This will allow time for close contacts to be traced, appropriate testing to be undertaken, and a careful clean of the school to be undertaken.

If our school does need to close temporarily, we have a plan in place to support student’s learning.

We know COVID-19 feels scary and of course people are concerned for the wellbeing of our children. Please be assured that with no case confirmed in our school, your children are safe here.

Good hygiene is a priority at our school, and we are reinforcing this regularly with all students and staff. We know that practicing good hygiene is still the best thing we can all do to prevent illness Further to this, while we are having drinking fountains hygienically cleaned daily, we encourage you to have your child bring their own water bottle.

We are getting the most up to date advice and guidance so that we can confidently make informed decisions about the safety and wellbeing of our school community.   

We have added to our school website an important notices banner, this will house up to date information to refer to.

Ngā mihi

Juliet Dickinson

Emailed March 17th, 2020 #1

Kia ora koutou,

As per yesterday’s guidelines and recommendations from the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education, I, in conjunction with our Board of Trustees have decided to respond to the current recommendations accordingly.

This response to the Coronavirus situation is based on what we believe are in the best interests of our students and community. We have a good handle of the current health and wellbeing of our students and by keeping big events that involve the wider community and other schools to a minimum, we can keep on top of this.

In line with this, the following events have been affected:

  • Top Schools – Cancelled – this has been mandated by the Government as this event hosts well over 500 people. The current raffle ticket sales and draw will proceed as normal, so please keep selling these. The events on 5th April will now not be able to proceed.
  • GRIP Leadership day – We have been notified this is not going ahead (scheduled for next Thursday)
  • Girls’ cricket day – cancelled
  • Interschool Swimming – cancelled
  • LC1 and LC2 Museum trips – postponed until later notice.
  • Harvest Festival – Cancelled. We have close to 500 at this event and in light of the current situation, we don’t want to unnecessarily expose our students or community to any risk (of any illness). We are looking to hold a lunchtime event in the next couple of weeks so that the kids can play the LC games. We would also like to do pumpkin creations, largest pumpkin etc. We will work with the PTA to figure out what this looks like and communicate with you as soon as we have details finalised. Therefore please don’t bring any pumpkins to school this week.
  • LC6 Camp – postponed until T4 (if possible). Class teachers are emailing about this directly.
  • Vanuatu – at this stage, it is HIGHLY UNLIKELY that we will do this. Affected families are being communicated with separately.
  • Assemblies – revisioned. Our full school assemblies are on hold until further notice.

Any other event cancellations or changes not mentioned here will be communicated by class teachers.

As per yesterday’s email, we will continue to keep up to date with Ministry of Health recommendations and guidelines and communicate any changes with you.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work through this very new and unique situation.

Juliet Dickinson

Important Notices