COVID Information

Useful Links

Ministry of Health - for Locations of Interest, and COVID information 

Ministry for Pacific Peoples - Key COVID information in 9 Pacific languages

Ministry for Ethnic Communities - Level 4 Video Guidelines

Support Services - List of government and non-profit Support Services

Book My Vaccine - Book Vaccinations for yourself and children aged 12 and up here

Govt Info - FAQS -  on Vaccines for 12-15 yrs olds

SJC COVID Online Learning Portal


Listed below are all the school communications that have gone home:

10 November to Parents of Juniors

I am sure that you will have heard Minister Chris Hipkins announce that under Level 3, schools will be able to re-open for our junior students from Wednesday 17 November. This is great news to hear and we look forward to welcoming our Year 9 and 10 students back next week. The college will only be open for curriculum activities next week, there will be no sport/practices/extra curricular events.

 As all junior students are expected to be in school, distance learning will cease this Friday as teachers will be planning for the classes they will be teaching in school. No new online work will be issued at the start of next week, students will be expected to use time on Monday/Tuesday to catch up on any outstanding work. There will be limited online work available for those students who are unable to attend school due to health reasons from Wednesday

 When on site our students will need to adhere to all public health measures, which includes:

  • Wear a mask indoors at all times - this is mandatory
  • Wear a mask on all school/public transport - this is mandatory

Any further information will be sent to you as it becomes available over the next few days.

 The college will continue to follow all COVID-19 safety measures, good hand hygiene and sneeze and cough etiquette must be practised. Any students who are unwell should stay at home and if they exhibit any COVID symptoms, get tested and not return to school until a negative test result is confirmed.

We have changed the format of the school day for the remainder of Term 4. There will not be a form time first thing in the morning, your P1 teacher will read any student notices to you. Timings of the school day are as follows:

  •  Period 1 0850-0950
  • Period 2 0950-1050
  • Break 1 1050-1120
  • Period 3 1120-1220
  • Period 4 1220-1320
  • Lunch 1320-1400
  • Period 5 1400-1500

 Don't forget to bring your own water bottles (full) to school as there are no drinking fountains available for use under Alert Level 3. We can confirm that all buses are running as normal. Canteen services will resume normal operations from Wednesday.

If you borrowed a Chromebook during lockdown it is now time to return it to school so they may be used in classes. Please return them to Mrs Petrin in Student services next Wednesday.

In The Spirit of Saint John,

Shane Tong

Principal


1 November to Parents of Juniors

While it has been refreshing to have our senior students back in school for face to face learning, our online learning for juniors continues to roll on. You can view a summary of this week’s activities for junior students here. While this is frustrating for all involved it would appear that this will remain the case for the foreseeable future. You may have heard that there is a target for the return of other students for the 15th of November. This applies only to year's 1-8, there is no set date for years 9 & 10.

 Along with a host of events that have had to be cancelled this year due to COVID-19 we have had to make the hard decision to cancel year 9 activities week and year 10 camps, the last day of the academic year will now be Friday 10 December. As you will appreciate, providers are wanting certainty and we are in a time period where there would be financial risk moving forward with plans. Given the current situation in New Zealand it would appear unlikely that these could go ahead in their current format. Payments already made for these activities will be credited to your school account and can be used against charges coming up next year. If you wish to receive a refund, please email Mrs Murphy at [email protected] requesting a refund and providing your bank account details.

 Don’t forget that Junior exams will take place next week in Mathematics, Science and Social Studies, work will be set as normal for all other subjects. You will have already received communications about the exams, please encourage your son to check his Google classrooms as more information about how the exams will run will be sent out online.

Students in Year 9 and 10 who requested a device and have not yet collected one need to come in collect from reception. If you have not yet requested a device and still require one, please email Miss Smith ([email protected]).

 There will be a wellbeing survey emailed out to all junior students on Friday, this will be happening weekly. Please ensure that he does complete this, we only had 35% of students complete the last survey.

 Support for Mental Well-being Available

Staying in Alert Level 3 is frustrating for everyone. Feelings of apathy and anger are common. Uncertainty about the future often leads to palpable physical and emotional stress. Ongoing stress can lead to low mood, sleeping too much or angry outbursts. If you're concerned about your son, there is support here at school, through online meets or over the phone, if preferred. Please just get in touch with our Head Guidance Counsellor, Ms. Carolyn Morris, or encourage your son to make contact directly with her or with Mr. Rob Macdonald;

[email protected] 07 856 7091  extension 2747

[email protected] (Available Wed-Thurs-Fri)

In The Spirit of Saint John,
Shane Tong, Principal

28 October to Parents of Juniors

Dear Parent/Caregiver

It has been great to see our boys progressing with their online learning during these trying times. The plan continues to be teachers setting work early in the week with a minimum of one Google meet subject.

Important survey for everyone to complete

ALL families need to please complete this form relating to access to devices. We need this to be done by 12pm Friday 29 October (tomorrow). A separate survey needs to be completed for each student in Year 9 and 10 please.

Junior Exams

Week 4 (8-11 November) will see junior exams and assessments taking place online. All examinations will be facilitated via normal subject based Google classrooms. There will be 2 x 2hr examination sessions per day 0950-1150 & 1305-1505. Each year group will only have 1 examination per day, either AM or PM. 

Note only three subjects will be running exams – Mathematics, Social Studies and Science. These teachers will send out clear instructions to students about how these will run online sometime next week. All other subjects will set normal work at the start of the week as per junior online learning expectations. The other subjects have chosen not to offer exams at this stage as they have sufficient evidence from work across the academic year and feel that assessing the work in an examination slot online would not be appropriate. We are also mindful about managing student health and well-being, overassessing is counterproductive at the best of times.

 

Monday 8 Nov

Tuesday 9 Nov

Wednesday 10 Nov

Y9

AM

SST (1hr)

 

MATH (2hr)

PM

 

SCI (2hr)

 

Y10

AM

 

SST (1hr)

 

PM

SCI (2hr)

 

MATH (2hr)

When students are not in an exam they are undertaking set work/exam revision.

These exams will be accessed during their normal Google classroom link. However, the exam will only be available during the time indicated above. If the student does not sit the exam during this time there will not be another opportunity for them to sit the exam.

Access to Devices

We are aware that some families do not have suitable devices (chromebook/laptop/desktop PC) for students to engage in these exams and/or access the online learning that has been taking place. We are prepared to lend school IT devices for those students that need them, please make sure that you respond accordingly in the survey. 

22 October

We received information from the Ministry of Education yesterday informing us that students who live in a level 2 area (Morrinsville, Te Aroha region) are unable to cross over the border into level 3 to attend school.  This is frustrating and disappointing however we will continue to offer online work and hope for a change in circumstances soon. We expect affected students to be connecting in live to each of their timetabled lessons, so they will be spending a full day in front of a device. Whilst this is more challenging for students it does allow them to engage with the lessons that are being delivered in school. Note that there will be no itinerant music lessons taking place.

 Thank you if you’ve already completed the return to school survey, we’ve had about half complete so far. If you haven’t completed it yet please make sure this is done ASAP (refer yesterday's message below).

 Please remind your son to bring in his evidence of vaccination to school on Tuesday for his form teacher to check so that this information can be added to the student vaccination record that schools are now required to keep. 

 Please note, should non-compliance of mandatory mask wearing at all times on site become an issue we may send students home.

 A very different Labour weekend for us all, I hope that you manage to do something enjoyable and rewarding and get a well deserved break.

21 October to  Parents of Seniors

In order to prepare for the return of senior (Y11-13) students to school on Tuesday can you complete this online form for each child that you have in the senior school by Friday 5pm. It is imperative that we get a 100% return to inform our planning.

Can you please ensure that he brings with him appropriate evidence of his COVID-19 vaccination status to school Next Tuesday so that we have sighted the documentation and can confirm the status. His form tutor will ask to view this information during form time on Tuesday. 

 We are also waiting on a formal response from the Ministry to get some clarity on whether students who live in a Level 2 area can travel to a school that is in Level 3. We will send this information out as soon as we have had a response. This includes information on the Te Aroha/Morrinsville bus too.

 If you have any specific questions that you would like to ask the college around NCEA/COVID19 you can submit them here.


20 October - Open to Y11-13 students from Tue 26 October

I am sure that you will have heard Minister Chris Hipkins announce that under Level 3, schools will be re-open for students in Year 11-13 only from Tuesday 26 October. This is to ensure that they are able to complete their courses and, where appropriate, prepare for exams. We look forward to welcoming back our senior students next week. Distance learning will continue for all students in Year 9 and 10. The college will only be open for curriculum activities next week, there will be no sport/practices.

When on site our senior students will need to:

  • Wear a mask at all times - this is now mandatory
  • Wear a mask on all school/public transport - this is mandatory

Any further information will be sent to you as it becomes available over the next few days.

The college will continue to follow all COVID-19 safety measures, good hand hygiene and sneeze and cough etiquette must be practised. Any students who are unwell should stay at home and if they exhibit any COVID symptoms, get tested and not return to school until a negative test result is confirmed.

Important Update on NCEA

Due to the additional disruption of COVID-19 all our students now qualify for the support available to students who have missed 20 or more school days. This includes eligibility for a larger number of Learning Recognition Credits and amended thresholds for endorsements and University Entrance:

  • For every 5 credits a student earns towards their NCEA through assessment, they would be entitled to one extra Learning Recognition Credit to acknowledge the disruption to their learning.
  • Students undertaking NCEA Level 1 would be eligible for up to a maximum of 10 additional credits, while those at Levels 2 or 3 would be eligible for up to a maximum of 8 additional credits.
  • For Certificate Endorsements, this would mean achieving 46 credits at Merit or Excellence level, instead of the usual 50.
  • Course Endorsements would require 12 credits at Achieved or Merit or Excellence level in a course, rather than 14 – though students would still need to achieve at least 3 credits from external assessment and 3 from internal assessment (where these requirements usually apply).
  • To be awarded University Entrance, students would need to achieve 12 - rather than 14 - credits in each of 3 University Entrance Approved Subjects. Students would still need to attain NCEA Level 3 and meet literacy and numeracy requirements.

NZQA have confirmed that the Unexpected Event Grade (UEG) process has been invoked for schools in Auckland, Waikato and Northland. Students who cannot attend an exam because of a specific COVID-19 disruption will receive their Unexpected Event Grade. Where students do attend the exam, they will receive the better of their exam grade or their Unexpected Event Grade. We are in the fortunate position to have already run our practice exams and have already sent our UEG’s to NZQA.

NCEA Examinations

These will run as scheduled, students have worked hard this year and it is important that they have the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned. Many students will be tempted to do very little preparation towards their exams, knowing that UEG’s will be used. I encourage all students to do their very best and work hard to better themselves to secure the grades that reflect their hard work and achievement rather than just getting over the line. We all still have a few more weeks of hard work ahead.

14 October - Email to Junior Students and Parents (scroll below for Senior Student info)

Year 9 and 10

Dear Parents and Students,

 I hope and trust you and your whanau are well and coping in the current environment.  

 As you know, Government made the early decision to shift our region to Alert Level 3 while health authorities quickly track down contacts, and test and isolate confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our community. Yesterday, Minister Hipkins confirmed we will remain at this level for a further five days until 11.59pm Monday 18 October.

 We are therefore open on Monday for only the small number of year 9 and 10  students who are the sons of essential workers.  All our usual safety precautions for Alert Level 3 will be in place which include following all the recommendations from the public health experts.  Students in Years 9-13 are also now required to wear face coverings when at school in Alert Level 3, as are the staff. Face coverings are now also required to be worn on school transport for students in Years 9-13. 

 Our contact tracing systems will be in place, which includes our attendance register and visitor register, and we will be limiting staff onsite with the majority of our team working from home. 

You can also assist everyone’s safety by keeping your son at home if they are feeling unwell and please do contact your GP or Healthline, to seek advice about getting tested. 

 Our staff on-site at level 3 will have been tested for COVID-19 before they get back to work and we are moving toward having 100% of our staff vaccinated – so we are all playing our part in keeping our community safe. 

It is also now legally required that we hold a COVID-19 vaccination register for all eligible students and staff. 

 If we were to have a case of COVID-19 in our school, public health authorities will want to know if we are a school with a high vaccination rate. This information will then be used as part of the local health authority’s risk assessment.  The more highly vaccinated we are (staff and eligible students), the less likely it will be that we will have to close down for a long period of time, or we might not need to close at all.

 We will therefore need to know if your son has had their first or second vaccine dose or is exempted from being vaccinated. This information will be held by us in accordance with the Privacy Act and will only be shared with public health authorities.  We are therefore getting our data collection system in place and will get in touch with you again very soon.  

 We will continue to support all children who remain learning from home, through our distance learning programme which will start on Tuesday 19th October.

 If you are an essential worker and have no other option but to send your son to school it is essential that you complete this survey by 5pm on Friday so that we are able to plan student supervision accordingly.

 We acknowledge and appreciate your continued support through these challenging times, we do recognise that so many changes can cause stress and anxiety for our young men so please do not hesitate to get in touch with your son’s dean if you have specific concerns or queries.

 We are proud of how our community has responded to this outbreak, but the mahi isn’t yet done. Please continue to follow all the alert level requirements including staying at home, getting tested for COVID-19 if you are feeling unwell, and for your own sake and for the health of your whānau, please get vaccinated. The Ministry of Education has urged us to encourage our school communities to get vaccinated, while this of course remains a personal student/family choice this is clearly the way forward for a safe learning environment for us all. I’ve included some information about vaccinations to support decision making. 

 We are aware that being at anything other than level 1 may impact on our end of year programme of events, including prizegivings, Year 10 camps and Year 9 activities. We will provide more information regarding these events in due course.

 We will be in contact on Monday evening after the update from Government as to alert levels going forward.

14 October Email to Senior Students and Parents

Dear Parents and Students,

 I hope and trust you and your whanau are well and coping in the current environment.  

As you know, Government made the early decision to shift our region to Alert Level 3 while health authorities quickly track down contacts, and test and isolate confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our community. Yesterday, Minister Hipkins confirmed we will remain at this level for a further five days until 11.59pm Monday 18 October.

 We are therefore open on Monday for only the small number of year 9 and 10  students who are the sons of essential workers.  All our usual safety precautions for Alert Level 3 will be in place which include following all the recommendations from the public health experts.  Students in Years 9-13 are also now required to wear face coverings when at school in Alert Level 3, as are the staff. Face coverings are now also required to be worn on school transport for students in Years 9-13. 

Our contact tracing systems will be in place, which includes our attendance register and visitor register, and we will be limiting staff onsite with the majority of our team working from home. 

 Our staff on-site at level 3 will have been tested for COVID-19 before they get back to work and we are moving toward having 100% of our staff vaccinated – so we are all playing our part in keeping our community safe. It is also now legally required that we hold a COVID-19 vaccination register for all eligible students and staff. 

 If we were to have a case of COVID-19 in our school, public health authorities will want to know if we are a school with a high vaccination rate. This information will then be used as part of the local health authority’s risk assessment.  The more highly vaccinated we are (staff and eligible students), the less likely it will be that we will have to close down for a long period of time, or we might not need to close at all.

 We will therefore need to know if your son has had their first or second vaccine dose or is exempted from being vaccinated. This information will be held by us in accordance with the Privacy Act and will only be shared with public health authorities.  We are therefore getting our data collection system in place and will get in touch with you again very soon.  

We will continue to support all children who remain learning from home, through our distance learning programme which will start on Tuesday 19th October.

 We acknowledge and appreciate your continued support through these challenging times, we do recognise that so many changes can cause stress and anxiety for our young men so please do not hesitate to get in touch with your son’s dean if you have specific concerns or queries.

 We are proud of how our community has responded to this outbreak, but the mahi isn’t yet done. Please continue to follow all the alert level requirements including staying at home, getting tested for COVID-19 if you are feeling unwell, and for your own sake and for the health of your whānau, please get vaccinated. The Ministry of Education has urged us to encourage our school communities to get vaccinated, while this of course remains a personal student/family choice this is clearly the way forward for a safe learning environment for us all. I’ve included some information about vaccinations to support decision making. 

 We are aware that being at anything other than level 1 may impact on our end of year programme of events, including prizegivings, Year 10 camps and Year 9 activities. We will provide more information regarding these events in due course.

We will be in contact on Monday evening after the update from Government as to alert levels going forward.

15 September - Updated info from NZQA on LRC's (Learner Recognition Credits)

Just a quick update on how the Ministry of Education/NZQA are supporting learners through COVID-19 in 2021. The Government has decided that students disrupted by 16 days of COVID-19 lockdown this year will be eligible to receive Learning Recognition Credits (LRCs) at a rate of 1 LRC per 5 credits achieved through assessment, up to a cap of 8 LRCs at NCEA Level 1, and 6 LRCs and Levels 2 and 3. This means that all students at St John's College will be eligible for these credits.

However, please note that currently students will not be seeing reduced thresholds for endorsements or University Entrance. These will only come into play if school is closed to students for at least 20 school days due to COVID-19.

Students still need to get at least 50 credits at Merit/Excellence for a Merit endorsement and 50 Excellence credits for an Excellence endorsement. Subject endorsements still stand with a 14 credit threshold and for students in Year 13, they will still need to get 14 credits in a university approved subject for it to count towards University entrance.

I hope that you and your whānau are well as we move towards the end of a challenging term 3.

7 September - Return to school under Level 2 - Thursday 9 September

Kia Ora Koutou 

Dear Parents and community of Saint John’s College

On Monday the Prime Minister announced a move to level 2 from Wednesday 9th September meaning that schools can now open from Thursday.  This is great news for our boys and staff in that we are able to get back to classroom teaching and learning. We expect all students to be back in school from Thursday, teachers will be focused on delivering lessons in class and there will not be any new work set online. 

I fully appreciate that there will be a degree of anxiety for some families and their sons about returning to school after another COVID event, however we will be doing all we can to maintain a safe and supportive environment for our young men. As with last time we were open at level 2 we will have in place hand sanitiser and surface cleaners in every classroom and around the school.  Mask wearing, although not a requirement, is recommended and it is important that it is not seen as 'uncool' for students or staff to wear them, please have a conversation with your son in this regard.

In reading the responses from the student survey it is clear that the boys have had a range of experiences during this lock down period.  Most appear to have managed the on-line learning well however some have clearly struggled with the workload and there are also some who have shown little or no engagement. This could mean that some students will have fallen further behind their classmates when they return to the classroom and may struggle to catch up.  There are also boys who have struggled with the whole lockdown experience, our pastoral team have already been in contact with some of these students but please do not hesitate to get in touch with us through a form teacher, dean or one of our guidance team.

As of 1pm today we have yet to receive any additional information from the Ministry of Education, we will inform you of any updates.

RETURN OF SCHOOL DEVICES

A significant number of school chromebooks/laptops were issued to students. If your son had a device issued it must be returned on Thursday as they are needed for use in classrooms and the library.

WINTER TEAM PHOTOS

These were due to be taken on Thursday but will not go ahead as this involves many coaches and managers coming on site, something that is not allowed at level 2. We are looking to organise another date for these. 

MAJOR ROADWORKS

Unfortunately there are some major road works on Hillcrest road directly outside our site.  Please avoid our main entrance if possible. We would rather parents did not drive onto the site at Level 2, if you do please stay in your vehicle to collect your son. If you leave your vehicle you must sign in.  

TIMETABLE

We have had to make some changes to the timetable for the remaining 3 weeks of term:

  • Week 8 (commencing 13/9) - Week A [Senior Assessment Week]

  • Week 9 (commencing 20/9) - Week A

  • Week 10 (commencing 27/6) - Week B

PRACTISE EXTERNALS FOR SENIORS

These will run from Monday, the timetable can be accessed here.  These exams are very important for many reasons, not the least of which is that they are used to calculate grades in the event that students are unable to sit their NCEA exams later in the year.  Next week will be the only opportunity for students to sit these exams.  Because the original dates for the practise exams were set for week A and the exam timetable and supervision has been set next week will be flipped from a week B to week A, effectively we will have two week A’s in a row.  There will be boys who need to catch up on work in practical or internal classes, staff will be in contact with students and invite them in where possible.  

BUSES

A reminder that it is mandatory for all students who use public bus services to wear a mask. Be mindful that bus capacities are reduced and that students may need to get an earlier bus to ensure they get to school on time.

SPORT 

There will be no sports practices this week. This will be reviewed when we have official word from SportNZ and Sport Waikato around how School sport will look at the current alert level.

Other details about the management of COVID Alert Level 2:

  • Teachers will continue with online learning however, no new work will be set for year 9 today and tomorrow so that students can complete what they have been unable to get finished to date.
  • Students must stay home if they are sick. All other students are expected to attend school as of the 9th September. This day will start as any other with students in form classes where we will be welcoming them back and also carefully explaining to them the expectations and processes around hygiene.
  • As well as soap and water in the toilets, there will be hand sanitiser in every classroom and the Atrium and students will be encouraged to use this as they enter every room.
  • 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 are to attempt to maintain physical distancing 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.
  • Mass gatherings – educational facilities and school transport are not considered mass gatherings because they are managed environments. This means there are no restrictions on numbers of people indoors or outside at schools and early learning services other than what other public health or health and safety measures require.
  • There are no restrictions on the number of students attending assemblies however we will be extra vigilant around students not being too close to one another. Full school assemblies and mass will not run at Level 2.
  • Rural buses will run. There is no minimum physical distancing required but students should follow the guidelines as above.
    • There the seating configuration on the bus has passenger seats in close proximity to the driver, these seats are not to be used and will be barriered off.
    • Hand sanitizer is available to drivers and students.
    • Cleaning regimes are to be maintained throughout by the driver.
  • We have robust systems ready for contact tracing, but every visitor to school adds complexity to that. We encourage parents to make enquiries by phone and email where possible, and only call into the School office for essential business. Parents must not enter the school site during school hours without signing in at Reception. We also ask that parents remain in vehicles in the carpark, even after hours.
  • Most importantly students must take responsibility for their own personal hygiene, both at school and at home. We will be regularly reminding them of what this means at school.

2 September - Changes to NCEA in 2021

NZQA has just released information to schools about changes to NCEA that will be applied due to COVID so I wanted to get this information out to you as soon as possible. Please note that changes will only come into effect if our school is in Alert Level 3 or 4 for a total of 20 or more school days this year - they do not apply to us yet.

Changes to NCEA for 2021

Because being in COVID-19 lockdown has affected learning and assessment, changes have been made to NCEA, NZ Scholarship and University Entrance. These changes help give students a fair opportunity to gain the qualification they are aiming for.

What does this mean for students?

The more credits you achieve the more you are entitled to.

  • For every 5 credits you achieve through internal or external assessment, you are entitled to 1 extra credit. These extra credits are called Learning Recognition Credits (LRCs)

    • Up to 10 of your LRC’s earned this year can be used towards the 80 you need for NCEA Level 1.

    • Up to 8 LRC’s earned this year can be used towards the 60 you need at Level 2 and Level 3.

Endorsements are still achievable.

  • To get a certificate endorsement you will need 46 credits at Merit or Excellence level, instead of the usual 50.

  • To get a course endorsement you will need 12 credits at Achieved or Merit or Excellence level in a course, rather than 14. You still need to achieve at least 3 credits in externals and 3 in internals.

  • Your LRCs don’t come with Merit or Excellence, so they can’t count towards an endorsement.

University Entrance has been adjusted.

You’ve got more time to study.

  • Most portfolio due dates and exams for NCEA and Scholarship have been moved later, to give more time for students to learn and prepare.

What do I need to do?

Keep working to make sure that you achieve as many standards as you can. Your teachers will help you to track your progress. You don’t need to do anything else to get your LRCs. NZQA will do the calculations before you get your results. Make sure that you know when your portfolios are due, and double check the new exam timetable. If you need any more information, talk to your Dean, Mr Tester or ring NZQA on 0800 697 296.

30 August 

Dear Parent/Caregiver/Student,

Through our recent student wellbeing survey our students have told us that they are feeling overwhelmed with assignments, assessments and email notifications.  Our students are struggling to balance the workload.

With the latest announcement today that we will be in an online environment for at least another week, we have decided to have this Friday 3rd September as a ‘clear’ day where no online work will be set by staff and no online meetings will be had with classes.  This will enable students to catch-up and study without the distractions they currently face.  This will also enable staff to focus on the difficult task of marking and setting work on digital platforms. 

Whilst we learnt a great deal from the last lock down, this time we had little warning and the lack of clarity around how long we will be in this position has made it much more difficult to forward plan course work, particularly so late in the academic year when exams and assessments loom large.  I remain impressed with the stoic manner in which staff and students approach these demanding times and the way in which they so readily adapt to testing circumstances.  

Thank you to the community for your ongoing support and let us pray for those directly affected by COVID, and that we are back at school as soon as we can.

In The Spirit of Saint John,

Shane Tong,

Principal

27 August - Letter to Senior Students

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Students,

I hope and trust you and your whanau are well and coping in the current environment.   I have been impressed with the way in which students and staff have engaged and quickly got up to speed.  As we move deeper into this lockdown period I am conscious of the pressures of living 24 hours a day in a household for all of us, staff, students and parents alike.  It is important that we reach out to others to keep our sense of connectedness with our community and friends.  Everyone's experience will be different so let's look after each other as well as we can.  Thanks to staff who were able to get around 70 laptops out to boys who needed them on Wednesday. 

The government has just announced that we will move to Alert Level 3 on Tuesday 31 August at 11:59pm. Online learning in its current format will continue for all Y11-13 students. As a college, we continue to invest heavily in your son’s online learning. I give you our assurance that this will continue throughout Alert Level 3 for all students. We will of course keep you posted with any new information as and when it becomes available.

You will already be aware that NZQA has moved the start date for NCEA exams back by 2 weeks - the new examination timetable has now been published online. Please destroy all copies of the existing timetable and download the new one. We have made a number of strategic changes to the remainder of the year in response to this;

  • Y11-13 students will be staying in school for longer in term 4 - now in school until Tuesday 16 November

  • Changing our closing mass and senior prizegiving to Tuesday 16 November (Alert Level permitting)

  • Leavers dinner will now take place on Wednesday 17 November.

  • Senior students will be sitting their practice externals immediately upon their return to school

  • All internal assessment will need to be completed by the end of week 2 in Term 4 rather than the last week of Term 3

What is most unfortunate is that the Ball will need to be cancelled. It is set for six days from now and we would need to be at level one to run the event. Wintec have informed us that there are no other suitable dates available. Refunds will be organised in due course. I am sure that you can appreciate that there will be other consequential changes that we need to work through, we will keep you updated as decisions are made. We acknowledge and appreciate your continued support through these challenging times, we do recognise that so many changes can cause stress and anxiety for our young men so please do not hesitate to get in touch with your son’s dean if you have specific concerns or queries.

27 August - Letter to Junior Students

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Students,

I hope and trust you and your whanau are well and coping in the current environment.   I have been impressed with the way in which students and staff have engaged and quickly got up to speed.  As we move deeper into this lockdown period I am conscious of the pressures of living 24 hours a day in a household for all of us, staff, students and parents alike.  It is important that we reach out to others to keep our sense of connectedness with our community and friends.  Everyone's experience will be different so let's look after each other as well as we can.  Thanks to staff who were able to get around 70 laptops out to boys who needed them on Wednesday. 

 The government has just announced that we will move to Alert Level 3 on Tuesday 31 August at 11:59pm. The key message for you is that if you can, you should continue to keep your children at home whilst we are at Alert Level 3. Online learning in its current format will continue for all Y11-13 students and for the vast majority of students in Y9-10 whilst we are at Alert Level 3.

As a college, we continue to invest heavily in your son’s online learning. I give you our assurance that this will continue throughout Alert Level 3 for all students. We will of course keep you posted with any new information as and when it becomes available.

Whilst school will be opening in a very limited capacity to accommodate Y9 and 10 students of essential workers who need to be here from Wednesday 1 September, you should only physically send your child to school if you need to, not because you want to. If your child has a health condition that means they are at a greater risk of a severe illness you must keep them at home regardless. The same applies if there is an individual who identifies as high-risk in your bubble. A summary of the key details as to how education operates at Level 3 can be found here.

If you are an essential worker and have no other option but to send your son to school it is essential that you complete this survey by 5pm on Monday so that we are able to plan accordingly.

We acknowledge and appreciate your continued support through these challenging times, we do recognise that so many changes can cause stress and anxiety for our young men so please do not hesitate to get in touch with your son’s dean if you have specific concerns or queries.

25 August

If you do not have a paid internet service at home (broadband/fibre) and rely on your mobile phone as the only way of getting the Internet please complete this survey before 3pm Thursday 26 August. The Ministry of Education is wanting to identify all families that do not have internet access so that they can work on putting a solution in place.

24 August

As we start another week I hope that you have managed to get things organised as we adjust to having another working week in lockdown. From personal experience of having 2 young children at home I know how challenging it can be as a parent trying to balance work as well as doing the best you can as a parent.

Only 2 weeks ago I remember saying to the boys in assembly that term 3 is the term where most of the mahi is done to see them achieving success this year. I know that the current circumstances provide us all with challenges but knowing that we are nearly half way through the term is a harsh reminder of the boys need to show towards their online learning. Senior students who are sitting externals should continue to put time into revision and preparation for their exams alongside the work that they are being set by their teachers.

In the same assembly I also reminded the boys as to how important the exams are in providing a baseline of assessment that can be used to assess final results (emergency/derived grades) if NCEA exams cannot run, for whatever reason. I am mindful that if we remain in lockdown at level 3 or 4 the practice externals cannot be completed either. With no assessment baseline the work completed during lockdown becomes much more important and significant.

Please support us in ensuring that your son sets himself up to see success with his NCEA qualification this year. He needs routine and structure, a quiet place to work and to be free from distraction when he is working. Unfortunately there are students who have still yet to engage with their school work, if there are genuine reasons for this we are here to help and support, so please reach out and connect with a member of staff. If not, then please keep emphasising the importance of getting into a work routine, showing commitment/effort and engaging with all the work/opportunities that he is being provided with.

Dominic Tester

Deputy Principal

23 August

Dear Parents, students and community,

Now that we know that we are staying at level 4 for at least the week it is important that your sons are working consistently on the work set.  For boys, routines are important so having him work at the same time of day in the same place can help (minus his phone!).  We now also know that winter tournament week has unfortunately been cancelled.  

Whilst some of our boys will be managing well, from history we know that others will struggle not just with the work but also the isolation.  Please do not hesitate to contact Carolyn Morris [email protected]z,  Rob MacDonald [email protected], or Marcel Bormans [email protected] to seek support.

On that note we will conduct a wellness survey of our boys on Friday to see how they are coping.

Thoughts and prayers with you all and our families

20 August

Dear parents, boys and community,

You are probably aware that the Prime Minister has announced an extension to the lockdown until 11:59pm Tuesday 24 August, this was not altogether a surprise given the new cases. As far as we are concerned it is business as usual for the boys and while some temporary work might have been set for this week by teachers, we cannot afford to get behind in our programmes of work going forward.

Online Learning

Therefore you can expect that for juniors you will carry on with where you were in class with your subjects, or possibly begin something new that suits the online environment better.  

For senior boys this will mean continuing with work towards assessments. For external boys your exams will be pushed back by at least a week as many of you have indicated that you need texts and work that is at school to study.  Given the importance of these exams counting towards grades, if you are unable to sit the end of year exams it is important that we give you every opportunity to succeed. 

Half an hour on each subject should be sufficient, however for those who are behind with assessment work this is the ideal time to catch up and then stay ahead.

Devices at Home

I ask that all students or their parents complete a very quick survey to tell us if you have sufficient devices at home for online learning. We will prepare to lend school IT devices for those students that need them, but we need your information for that to happen. Device loans will only happen if the lockdown is extended beyond Tuesday 24th, but tell us now so that we can be prepared for a fast rollout if that happens. Senior students will be prioritised. The link is here, and assumes one response per student.

Senior Assessment Week

I know that many of our senior students will be wanting to know what is happening with exam week. These are important exams are a priority for us once we return to school. Should we return to school at some point next week we will be looking to run the exams from Monday 30 August. Students will need to balance their preparation for these with the online work they need to complete.

Options for 2022

A reminder that all Y10-12 students should have completed and confirmed their subject choices for next year on Schoolpoint by the end of today please.

IT Support

Students having issues connecting with any school based online services (email/google classroom etc) can contact our IT Manager, Silas Burton - [email protected] or on 0223069785.

Vaccines Available for 12-15 Year olds

Of significance is the Government’s decision to make the Pfizer Vaccine available to 12 to 15-year-olds from Wednesday 1 September (with bookings open from tomorrow). Vaccination dates are now available for all people over the age of 40. There is no shortage of vaccines and more sites will be available over the next few days, now is a good time to get vaccinated – you are allowed out, even during Alert Level 4 to get vaccinated! Make your booking online. 

Stay safe, we have been here before and managed well last time.

 "Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always" - Chronicles 16:11

In The Spirit of Saint John,

Shane Tong

Principal

17 August

Dear parents and students,

You will be aware that a confirmed case of COVID-19 has been identified in the community in Auckland. As a result, and because of the much greater risk associated with the possibility of the Delta variant, New Zealand is moving to Alert Level 4 at 11:59pm tonight. Auckland and the Coromandel can expect to be at alert level 4 for seven days. The Alert Level 4 setting for the rest of NZ will be reviewed at 72 hours.

 The move to Level 4 means online learning kicks in again for our young men. Whilst not a new experience for the majority of our students, this will be the first time for our year 9 families. I would encourage the parents of year 9 students to look through the COVID Online Learning portal that Mr Tester put together last year.

 Students should be checking their classes via Google Classroom later on tomorrow morning as they can expect to have tasks to complete at home over the next 3 days. At this stage we are planning for senior exam week to go ahead although this may be with a revised timetable. Obviously this is a great time for you to revise for these, more information will follow. Moving into lockdown is a timely reminder of the importance of these examination results as they could end up being used as emergency/derived grades for the real examinations if we end up not being in a position to sit them later in the year!

Your son will not have a set timetable as in school, he will have the flexibility to choose what gets worked on and when. Your son will be encouraged to develop his own work routine. In this initial phase of online learning the key to success is ensuring that all students engage and remain connected. Teachers will be setting work through Google Classroom, planning learning events rather than single lessons. They will be online and available to students 11am-1pm Mon-Fri. At other times they may be running tutorials or 1-1 conferences through Google Meet, planning lessons, marking/reviewing work and giving feedback to students.

 As a community we have managed this situation well in the past and we will again.  

 God Bless

In The Spirit of Saint John,

Shane Tong
Principal