Flat Bush

(09) 274 8279 20 Flat Bush Rd Otara, Auckland

This page has information that have been sent to our school by the Ministry of Education.

It will be updated as new information becomes available.

School Special Bulletin – COVID-19

2 April

Term Two

The start date of term two has moved to Wednesday 15 April. Currently the COVID-19 Alert Level 4 is due to remain in place until Thursday 23 April. Schools and kura will open for instruction from 15 April with instruction taking place remotely.

Online support for distance learning
The Ministry has launched its Learning From Home and Ki Te Ao Mārama websites which provide advice and resources to support parents, whānau and teachers. The websites will help early learning centres, schools and kura to develop online learning plans that they can share with their parents and whānau.

We have set up a Connected Learning Advisory helpdesk to assist leaders, teachers, kaiako and whānau to make full use of the online environments and resources, as they provide for a continuity of learning for their students and tamariki. CORE Education, which runs the helpdesk, will provide this and other online support from 8 am to 5 pm on business days.

  • To contact the Helpdesk, call 0800 700 401.  To speak with the Helpdesk in te reo Māori, call 0508 294 462
  • The Helpdesk numbers are available on  https://learningfromhome.govt.nz/updates/helping-you-distance-learning and https://www.kauwhatareo.govt.nz/mi/news-holder/support-with-distance-learning-at-home/
  • Technical advice for teachers and whānau in response to their Helpdesk enquiries
  • Online supportto assist:
    1. whānau to understand how to use the IT tools they have and how to engage safely in collaborative spaces
    2. principals, leadership teams and teachers to select and use appropriate tools and strategies to communicate, maintain learning programmes effectively across their community, and manage online safety
  • Community liaison: connecting early learning services/school/kura leaders and whānau with networks and resources.

Wellbeing information updated including new tip sheets for families, caregivers and whānau

We have slightly updated the wellbeing information on our website to better reflect how the COVID-19 response has changed over the last weeks. Included in there are three new tip sheets for parents, caregivers and teachers:

If you know someone who might be struggling in your school or early learning service community, there are a large range of supports in place that may be able to assist including:

Information in languages other than English:

If you believe a child is in immediate danger, call the Police on 111
If you are worried about a child and want to make a referral or report of concern, call Oranga Tamariki using 0508 EDASSIST (0508 332 774) or Email edassist@ot.govt.nz

Improving internet connectivity
Our IT team has put together some tips for improved connectivity at home.
For home internet connections
 It is important to eliminate performance/speed issues with the home wifi setup first, rather than assuming there is an issue with the connection from the house to the internet. To check this:

  • Run a speed test at www.speedtest.net to establish a baseline, and repeat after making any change below to check for improvement
  • Power off home router every morning, leave off for 30 secs before powering back on (don’t press the reset button this will reset the device settings!)
  • Turn off, or disable Wi-Fi on, unused devices where possible, especially older devices that run at slower Wi-Fi speeds
  • Decrease the physical distance between your device and the Wi-Fi router, line of sight is best
  • Use an Ethernet cable on devices where possible, to reduce Wi-Fi load (especially smart TVs, gaming consoles) – plug these into a spare LAN port on your router

Data Allowance/Cap issues

  • Check you are not already on an uncapped data plan as previously communicated in the bulletin (applies to Spark, Vodafone, Vocus/Slingshot, and 2Degrees, Trustpower). If unsure contact your provider
  • Some providers have made uncapped offers to rural and remote customers for off peak (night time hours only). Consider shifting non time critical downloads such as computer patching to these time periods
  • Check what options are available for the address at https://broadbandmap.nz/ and if not on the cheapest/best option suggest changing provider as an option (this is covered as an essential service)

 In some remote areas speed of connection AND the amount of data is a hard technical constraint based on the capacity of the technology used such as satellite or “point to point” wireless.

  • As a very rough indicator if it requires an externally mounted antenna or dish it probably falls into this category
  • If this is the situation for a teacher delivering distance learning, consider non-digital alternatives in the short term
    For mobile phone connections
  • The data plan on mobile phones is NOT covered by the removal of data caps
  • Individual data plans vary significantly – high data usage on some plans over the allowance is very expensive
  • For personally owed phones consider changing to a different plan that better reflects new usage patterns. Often this can be done at no/little additional cost
  • Use the app provided by your mobile phone supplier to track usage
  • “Hot spotting” from a mobile phone is less efficient than using home Wi-Fi (aerials are smaller) so this will be slower
  • If using for voice calls and running out of minutes consider alternatives where possible such us email/messaging systems.

Additional COVID-19 update 

Tuesday 31 March

Technology is great whether it’s for information, learning, keeping connected or for games, music and videos. This bulletin provides a reminder about how to keep young people safe in an online world where, unfortunately there are some predators.

We have also covered managing a suspension process during the lockdown, some more information about access to school and kura sites and the addition to the list of essential services for aspects of education; namely those providing services to support online and distance learning – our printer of curriculum material for example.

Keeping on line safe
  You may want to encourage your parents, caregivers and whānau to discuss internet safety with their children - of all ages. They should agree with their children what they can do online including sites they can visit and appropriate behaviours including:

  • reviewing and approving games and apps before they are downloaded
  • reviewing privacy settings of sites and applications
  • checking children’s profiles and what they are posting online
  • check the sites your child is accessing
  • reminding children that anything that is posted online will be permanently on the internet
  • taking the time to understand what sites they are visiting and who they are talking with and check in regularly
  • some social media sites have age restrictions to join, check these before letting your child use them or join them
  • monitoring a child’s use of the internet and consider having them use it in an open, common area of the house
  • making sure your children know to report any activity they don’t feel comfortable with to parents and caregivers straight away.

There is a unique opportunity during the lockdown of families going out together, albeit it close to home, but if your child is going out on their own it’s still important to check where they are going.

If we all work together to make sure children are safe online, we can make the internet a great tool for people of all ages.

Suspension process in a lockdown
There have been a number of queries about the suspension process and how you can manage this in an environment where face to face meetings cannot take place.

Because of the difficulty with face to face meetings and as students are currently unable to be enrolled elsewhere it would be best practice to allow the suspension to lift until after the lockdown.

If Boards do want to continue with the suspension process then they will need to ensure they can meet via tele/video conference and that the student, their parents/caregivers and advocates can dial in. It should also be noted that even if a student is excluded from your school just prior to or during the lockdown, as the excluding school the student remains on your roll and you remain responsible for providing distance learning to that student during this period.

Learner access to assistive technology
When Ministry of Education funded assistive technology has been allocated to a student for use to access their learning curriculum, schools are able to decide if the technology is able to be used at home. During this unusual time, and where possible, you are encouraged to enable students to continue to use the assistive technology to access their learning. This equipment is already included in your insurance.

We are aware some students may not currently have their assistive technology at home with them. If this is the case please contact your local Assistive Technology Coordinator.

As noted yesterday by the Ministry of Health, Flutracking is an online survey which asks if you have had a fever or cough in the last week and which can help us track COVID-19. Registering online will help our surveillance efforts by providing early detection of community spread of the flu and also of COVID-19 symptoms.

We encourage people to register online at https://info.flutracking.net/

This is a practical thing everyone can do to help us monitor flu and COVID-19 symptoms throughout NZ.

Update on access to school sites
Alert Level 4 means New Zealanders not working in essential services must stay at home and stop all physical interactions with others outside of their household. Schools and early learning services are not considered essential services under Alert Level 4.

We have responded to a number of requests for access to school property. Now that the Secretary for Education has established the appropriate boundaries for acceptable decisions, she has delegated this to the regional Directors of Education. If you need emergency access to school property, please fill out the request form [Word Doc] and send to your local Director of Education who will make a decision and get back to you.

Because of the seriousness of Alert Level 4 it is essential that access to school property is very tightly managed. We are doing this both to encourage people to stay at home by placing school property off-limits, as well as ensure as much as possible that school property is secure.

 A reminder that the only circumstances where the Directors will consider approving access are for:

  1. Securing the site
  2. Access to IT servers
  3. Essential contractors in the event of damage at a school
  4. Removing fire hazards
  5. Use of school’s site for health purposes relating to COVID-19

Such access must be essential and cannot be precautionary. Requests for grounds and or pool maintenance, and school cleaning for example do not meet this criteria.

Other essential services
In addition to the specific approvals delegated to the Secretary for Education as noted above, there are already a number of essential services listed on the Covid19 website which may apply to those wanting to access school sites for other reasons (please read through the additional decisions and exemptions list which is updated regularly). For example under Public safety and national security, NZ Police and Fire and Emergency can access a school site without having to gain permission from the Secretary for Education. Further examples relevant to schools include:

Security - we have had questions about situations that need immediate attention. Security is considered an essential service, even if security services are being provided in relation to a premise for a non-essential service (i.e. a school). This includes night patrols or usually contracted security providers. An example of this would be an alarm that has been activated in the middle of the night.
We have clarified with MBIE the situation for schools which don’t have contracted security services to respond to alarms. If your alarm is activated, a principal or designated staff member can enter school grounds to shut off the alarm system. In doing so you must take the necessary health measures, comply with any region-specific travel measures and should not have to travel far to get to your school (i.e. travel locally).

Locksmiths - can undertake essential work on emergency call-outs and essential activity to maintain the security of premises/personal properties.

Travel to look after animals - is allowed, as long as you take the necessary health measures and comply with any region-specific travel measures.

Turf maintenance, on the other hand, is not considered an essential service and should not be undertaken at this time.

Only essential people to go on site
Remember in any situation only essential people should go onto the site. They must stick to the rules around physical distancing (ie 2m from anybody) and good hygiene and they must do so only when absolutely necessary.

For health and safety risks to do with construction that occur during the lockdown period, schools should contact their Property Advisor in the first instance for advice.

Essential Service providers for online and distance learning
Over the weekend the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment added to the definition of entities providing essential services:

At Alert Level 4 under Education this comprises:
“Any entity or individual determined by the Secretary for Education as required to provide distance or online learning (e.g. printers, devices, IT)”. This includes supply chains.

The Secretary for Education has made determinations that a number of providers fall into this category. For many this will be for a particular purpose only and will not mean that they operate the same way as they would outside of Alert Level Four. The letters from the Secretary for Education to these essential service providers remind them that if they need to access school property, permission will need to be requested through the request form [Word Doc] process.

What these decisions do mean is that those essential service providers will be there to support your school with preparing for and delivering online and distance learning.

If a provider is unclear whether they can operate during Alert Level Four they can find more information on the COVID-19 website. If they are still unclear after that they can email essential@mbie.govt.nz or call 0800 22 66 57 (9 am to 5 pm). MBIE will refer any questions to do with the education sector through to the Ministry.

Healthy Relationship Education (HRE) survey reminder
In the 16 March Bulletin, teachers and leaders responsible for delivering or making decisions about years 9 – 13 HRE were invited to complete the HRE teachers' survey.

This was due to close on 3 April, but has been extended due to Covid19. The survey will now close 24 April – although we would be grateful for responses from you as soon as possible.

The survey is being coordinated by the Ministry on behalf of the Sexual Violence Prevention Advisory Board, a cross government initiative, to update curriculum resources and guide support for schools/kura to tackle New Zealand’s high rates of sexual violence.

The survey should take about 15 minutes to complete. If you have any questions please email Kara Scally-Irvine (kara.scallyirvine@education.govt.nz) who is the researcher for this project

Travel restrictions
 Under Alert Level 4, international students cannot take a domestic flight to connect with an international flight. If students have a confirmed booking on a commercial international flight and can be driven to the airport by car in five hours or less, they may travel by car to the airport, as long as their “bubble” is maintained. We are aware that a few countries might look to repatriate their citizens by making special flights and have been in contact with students directly via email. At present, no repatriation flights have been approved by the New Zealand Government. We will update you if this situation changes. With no repatriation flights approved, students should remain with their homestay or accommodation providers and not attempt any travel.

 26 March

The following information is directly from the MOE for our community.

Kia ora koutou

We have started into a new phase of New Zealand’s response to COVID-19 and it is very different than anything most of us have ever experienced.  I wanted to reassure you that our school staff and Board of Trustees will continue to be available to support your child’s learning and wellbeing in the next weeks. 

You will understand the importance of routine for your family. If your routine has been shaken up, like you’re now working from home, it’s good to structure your time. Routines are reassuring, and promote health and physical wellbeing. The below timetable (targeted at children) could be something your household adapts to use over the next weeks. A school holiday version will likely look a little different, but some form of routine will still be important as we go through the lockdown period.

Daily Schedule

Before 9:00am

Wake up

Eat breakfast, make your bed, get dressed, put any dirty clothes in the laundry


Morning walk

Family walk with the dog, bike ride,
 Yoga if it’s raining


Learning at home

School-led learning or Sudoku, books, flash cards, study guide, journal etc


Creative time

Legos, magnatiles, drawing, crafting, play music, cook or bake etc.

12:00 pm

Lunch :)


Helping at home

# wipe all kitchen tables and chairs
# wipe all door handles, light switches and desk tops
 # wipe both bathrooms - sinks and toilets


Quiet time

Reading, puzzles, nap, radio NZ stories


Learning at home

School-led learning or iPad games, Prodigy, Educational show


Afternoon fresh air

Bikes, walk the dog, play outside


Dinner :)


Free TV time

Kids shower time



All kids



All kids who follow the daily schedule & don’t fight

*Adapted from a resource developed by Jessica McHale Photography

Some good news to support you either working at home and/or studying at home - Spark, Vodafone, Vocus/Slingshot, 2Degrees and Trustpower have all advised they have removed their data caps and the possibility of any extra charges based on usage.

For our Pacific families, if you are not aware the Ministry for Pacific Peoples’ has been working to ensure useful information is available to Pacific peoples. A one-hour special will be aired on Tagata Pasifika’s segment on Saturday at 9am; and on Sunday at 7.35am, Tagata Pasifika will share messages from community leaders. The Ministry is asking you to reach out to all your family members, community groups, friends and group chats to ensure our Pacific community groups are watching the programming on both days.

A big thank you to all of you for taking the lockdown so seriously. As the Prime Minister has noted staying at home will break the chain and save lives; breaking the rules could risk someone close to you and if the rules are not complied with, this could risk the lock down period being extended or could risk the virus being spread to thousands


We appreciate how much you have had to respond to and adjust for in the last weeks building up to the commencement today of a New Zealand-wide lockdown. There has been a lot of information to absorb and from a range of providers. Today will be bringing new challenges for you as parents, family and whānau adjust to supporting your child’s learning from home.

Today’s Bulletin is therefore primarily focused on wellbeing for your school community.
Key dates reminder

26 March            Alert Level 4 commenced
28 March School holidays begin
10 – 14 April Easter including the Tuesday after Easter
15 April Term 2 begins (through distance learning)
22 April Current date for ending of lockdown period
27 April ANZAC Day observed

Key lockdown messages from the Prime Minister (Select Committee Media Briefing 25 March)

  • If the virus is left unchecked it will have an unacceptable toll on New Zealanders
  • Staying at home will break the chain and save lives
  • Breaking the rules could risk someone close to you
  • if the rules are not complied with, this could risk the lock down period being extended or could risk the virus being spread to thousands
  • Success will not be instant. The benefit of actions taken today will not be felt for many days to come. People need to expect the numbers to continue rising, because they will. Modelling indicates that New Zealand could have several thousand cases before today’s measures have an impact. However, if everyone sticks to the rules there will be change over time
  • Act like you have COVID-19. Every move you make could be a risk to someone else. That is how New Zealanders must collectively think now
  • All New Zealanders are urged to be calm, be kind, stay at home
  • if people have no explanation of why they are outside the Police will remind them of their obligations and can take enforcement actions if they feel it is necessary
  • New Zealanders will want to do the right thing. The Government is being as clear as they can on the guidance and Police will be working with people to help them understand
  • Government’s goal is to keep people connected to their employer through the wage subsidy, and said if that was not happening then they have the backup mechanism of the welfare system
  • In regard to those overseas - even under the most difficult of circumstances - New Zealand is their home.

Wellbeing for all

We have information focused on wellbeing and supporting a child’s learning at home for parents, caregivers and whānau. It may also be useful for teachers. This resource adds to the information we have previously provided supporting conversations with children about COVID-19 - http://education.govt.nz/school/health-safety-and-wellbeing/pastoral-care-and-wellbeing/talking-to-children-about-covid-19-coronavirus/.

Further information to support wellbeing
The Ministry of Health’s website includes Top ways to look after your mental wellbeing during the Covid-19 lockdown.
https://www.iamhope.org.nz/ - I AM HOPE is the youth and community focused support group run by The Key to Life Charitable Trust, started by Mike King.
https://www.facebook.com/nathanwallisxfactoreducation/ - Nathan Wallis has some helpful videos on his Facebook page for parents and whānau
https://www.mentalhealth.org.nz/get-help/covid-19/ - tips on looking after mental health and wellbeing during COVID-19 from the Mental Health foundation
https://depression.org.nz/covid-19/ - a website by the Health Promotion Agency to help New Zealanders recognise and understand depression and anxiety. `
25 Mental Health Wellness Tips during Quarantine from Eileen M Feliciano, Psy.D. – although overseas-based this is a good list and highlights some things particularly important for children. Remember the rules of New Zealand’s level 4 lockdown still apply.

Remember, be kind to yourself and others.

We’ll add more resources to our website. This week we’re developing tip sheets to support parents to navigate common challenges they may have with toddlers, children and young people through this time – for example, a tip sheet on getting a good night’s sleep.

If you have any ideas for wellbeing and learning at home resources and tip sheets that would help others please contact learning.supportmailbox@education.govt.nz or phone the Learning Support Enquiries line at 0800 622 222.

Removing data caps for internet

In addition to Spark, Vodafone, Vocus/Slingshot, and 2Degrees, Trustpower has now also advised they have removed their data caps and the possibility of any extra charges based on usage - Ask.Trustpower.co.nz – “we've removed data limits for all fixed-line broadband customers to make sure everyone can stay connected. You'll be able to keep in touch with family and friends, work or study from home, and receive vital updates without having to worry about exceeding your data limit”.


25 March

Marist School in Auckland

You may have seen that Marist School in Auckland has had a number of cases confirmed this week. Our regional staff have been working with regional health authorities to provide support to the school with communications going out from the school to all their families and whānau this week. Our thoughts are with them.

State of Emergency declared

A nationwide message will go out to all of New Zealand between 6pm and 7pm this evening. It is vital that all your community understand how crucial it is that they self-isolate within their group, minimise travel, practice physical distancing when outside their group and outside, and practice very good hygiene for the next 4 weeks.

There will be no tolerance for people who don’t self-isolate.

Schools are closed

After 11.59pm Wednesday the 25th of March , no one is to go on site to schools during the lockdown. If there is an emergency Police and/or Fire services will respond.

Government announcement about children aged 0 – 14 of Essential Workers
Further to our Bulletin content about self-isolating groups (circles of care), Government has confirmed the following arrangements today. You may wish to forward this to your community immediately.

Where possible, essential workers need to make their own arrangements for childcare from Thursday 26 March until the end of the lockdown, due to limited capacity.

Where this is not possible alternative arrangements have been made so essential workers can continue to work.

What essential workers need to know when making their own arrangements
Essential workers will need to use their existing networks for in home care, for example a neighboor, relative, friend or current carer/nanny who can come to their house, or provide childcare in their own home. There are Public Health rules that must be observed:

  • The person caring for your child becomes part of your self-isolating group
  • This group must remain the same for the whole period
  • The carer must not care for children from other households (other than their own) over the same period
  • If a child or carer becomes unwell, they must stay at home
    If essential workers do not have access to childcare through their own networks
    If essential workers are unable to access childcare to perform their essential service, the government will fund other licensed childcare providers (for example through PORSE, Barnados and Edubase / Home Grown Kids) to provide in home care to the children aged 0-14 of essential workers. The carer would be subject to the same Public Health rules as set out above.

    For the purposes of providing care to children of essential workers, the in home carer will be classified as an essential worker in both cases.

    Initial list of contact details for providers
  • Barnados website - email covid19enquiries@barnardos.org.nz or call 0800 BARNARDOS (0800 227 627)
  • Edubase / Home Grown Kids website or call 0508 44 54 37 or email info@hgk.co.nz


Staying at home may present its own challenges, but there are things you can do to make it easier: 

• You can go outside for a walk, but you need to avoid contact with others. Stay 2 metres away from others. 

• If you are a vulnerable or high risk person, please stay at home and ask friends or family and whānau to drop off anything you need, or you can order supplies online. 

• Make sure any deliveries are left outside your home for you to collect. Many New Zealand companies are now offering a ‘contactless’ delivery option, where they notify you when they have delivered your order, but remain nearby to ensure you receive it. 

• You can keep in touch with friends, family and whānau over the phone, or through other means of contact like video or chat services. 

• Physical exercise is good for your wellbeing. Look for online classes or courses to help you take light exercise in your home. 

• If you have a garden, it is a good idea to do gardening, as you aren’t in close contact with other members of your household. 


  • Children look to adults for guidance on how to react to stressful events such as COVID-19. 
  • Parents, caregivers and whānau will have a particularly important part to play in reassuring children at this time. 
  • Help children cope with anxiety by providing accurate information. Children look to adults for guidance on how to react to stressful events such as COVID-19. 
  • Parents, caregivers, whānau and teachers will have a particularly important part to play in reassuring children at this time. 
  • Children will react to and follow your verbal and non-verbal cues. If you are able to stay informed and realistic, it will be easier for you to reassure children effectively as well. 
  • Children need factual, age-appropriate information about COVID-19 so that they can also feel informed and in control. 
  • They need to know how they can play a part in avoiding infection and the spread of virus. They also need to feel that any fears that they may have can be talked about and addressed.


  • If no one in your family has COVID-19 nor has had close contact with anyone with COVID-19, emphasise to your children that they and your family are fine. Evidence shows children are less susceptible to COVID-19. 
  • Parents and caregivers should follow standard guidelines to prevent the virus spreading by: 
  • covering coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or elbow 
  • washing hands for at least 20 seconds with water and soap and drying them thoroughly: 
  • before eating or handling food 
  • after using the toilet
  •  after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose 
  • after caring for sick people. 
  • Let your children talk about their feelings, and help reframe their concerns into the appropriate perspective. You know your children best. 
  • If they have a lot of questions, consider how much extra information would or wouldn’t be helpful for them to know before replying. 
  • Dr Michelle Dickinson (Nanogirl) has great information for kids about COVID-19.