COVID-19 Update May 17 #10

Kia ora e te whānau

We are looking forward to welcoming your children back at school tomorrow. If you have not already done so, please makes sure you have read the guidelines shared with you on Thursday for returning to school.

With a huge focus on good hygiene, wellbeing and ensuring everyone is safe, school at Level 2 is not a return to normal. We appreciate your patience and understanding during this time.

It is certainly a great opportunity to reinforce our school value of kotahitanga – a strong focus on unity and inclusion where everyone can work together for a shared purpose.

Here is a second update on 2 areas where clarification has been sort from parents and caregivers, pick-up & QR codes.

Drop-Off & Pick-Up

  • We know that there are both children and parents who will find a gate drop-off difficult, especially on the first day.
  • As such we are not stopping parents from entering the school grounds but it is preferred that you stop at the gate. To help us manage risk and to limit contact tracing if ever required, less people on site will make it easier. Hence our request encouraging parents to stay off school grounds.
  • However, the expectation is very clear, if you walk through our school gates you must check in and have your details recorded in our Contact Tracing Register (accessed via a QR code).
  • As such we can’t have a designated pick-up or drop-off zone anywhere within the school grounds where parents don’t need to check-in.
  • Some classes eg. our new entrants class, may contact you with additional pick-up and drop-off expectations. Please follow these carefully.
  • Remember there are 3 entrances to the school that can be used to drop-off and pick-up your children.
    • Tyndall St Gate: The alley way is not school property so it is fine for parents to wait there.
    • Russell St Carpark Gate: The front carpark is not school property so it is fine for parents to wait there.
    • Russell St Driveway Gate: Both the pedestrian and traffic gates will be open to support physical distancing entering and leaving this area.

We are asking for everyone to be patient, work together in keeping our children as safe and recognise that school routines are not the same during Level 2.

Drop-Off & Pick-Up Advice

  • Talk to your children about what school will be like in Level 2
  • Discuss how drop-off and pick-up will work for your family
  • Make sure your children know who is picking them up at the end of the day
  • Agree on a pick-up location where you will be waiting for them, eg. on the far side of the Russell St pedestrian crossing; on the corner of Russell St and Rongopai St, etc.
  • Be patient and respect other people’s space

Pre-planning, especially for the end of the day pick-up, will ensure that your child knows exactly what to do and where to find you at 3pm.

QR Code Check in & Check out

We have been using the QR code check-in/check-out system for a few days now with staff and visitors.  Here are some learnings:

  • Be prepared – if you know you are coming on the grounds, make sure your phone is set up to scan QR codes
  • While you can use our SchoolStream app to access the form, the app does not always set the date and time automatically
  • The most reliable way is through scanning the QR code.
  • Some staff have gone to the form, and then booked marked it or added a shortcut to their home screen. This has made checking in & out quick and easy.

School iPads Borrowed during Level 3 & 4

Please send these back to school on Monday with the charging cord.

Ngā mihi


COVID-19 Update: May 14

Kia ora e te whānau

There has been a real energy at school today as staff are busy preparing our site for Monday. Most teachers will be in again tomorrow preparing and as such their ability to post remote learning will be limited. They will communicate with you via Seesaw about what is likely to be posted online if anything.

I appreciate you making the time to read through the following guidelines for students and parents returning to school next week. It is a long list but it is vitally important that you understand what is going on. If you are able to it would also be greatly appreciated if you could sit with your child and explain what the expectations are.

Overarching Level 2 Priorities

  • Ensure people with COVID-19 symptoms or feel generally unwell stay away from school
  • Maintain physical distancing (in schools this means children and staff maintaining a physical distance so that they are not breathing on or touching each other)
  • Enable good hygiene practices
  • Keep track of people that enter your school

Our School Priorities

  • All of the above, and;
  • Wellbeing of students and staff.

Arrival at school

  • On Monday May 18, students should arrive at school between 8:40-8:55am. We do not want children wandering around the grounds without first being taken through the Level 2 health and safety expectations. This will take place in classes through out the day.
  • From Tuesday May 19, students can enter the school grounds from 8:30am. Please do not drop your child off earlier. If you need before school care, Kelly Club can look after your children. Please contact them directly.
  • All school gates will be open to use.
  • School ends as usual at 3pm.
  • There are no staggered start and end times to the school day.

Parents on site

  • Parents are encouraged to stay off school grounds at all times.
  • Parents entering grounds must check in and then check out using the provided QR code link found at each gate entrance and around the school. This is not optional, it is a Contact Tracing requirement under Level 2 (more info on QR codes below).
  • If entering the grounds, parents should avoid entering classrooms. Please email teachers to arrange any required meetings.
  • Parents should observe physical distancing of 2 metres from people they don’t know, both in and out of the school grounds.

Where you can go or not go around school

  • As above, we would prefer that parents remain off site (and remain outside buildings if on site).
  • The school office is open however we strongly encourage you to phone (3586671) or email ( rather than turn up in person.
  • No children are allowed in the admin foyer/office/staffroom areas.
  • Students (and parents) should not use the main office doors as an entry point to school. Please go directly to external classroom doors.

Keeping safe

  • Good hygiene practices are vital and will be followed and reinforced over and over again.
  • Anyone who is sick will not be allowed at school and will be sent home immediately if they turn up.
  • Physical distancing will be in place so that staff and students are not breathing on or touching each other. Our general guide is – if you can smell the person’s breath or feel that you are in their “moist breath” zone, we will move a little further away.
  • Hand washing after toilet, before eating, before morning tea/lunch play, after morning tea/lunch play, before & after using any shared equipment… in other words, everyone at school will be washing their hands a lot!
  • All other good practice such avoiding touching eyes, mouth, nose etc, coughing/sneezing into elbow, using and disposing tissues appropriately will be followed and reinforced over and over again.
  • Daily routines will also include all hard surfaces (desks, door handles, switches, devices etc.) in learning spaces being cleaned and disinfected at least twice during the school day, followed by a full school clean after school by our contractors.
  • Drinking fountains are not switched on so named drink bottles are required for all children.

QR Code Check-In & Check-Out

  • QR codes are a quick and easy way to get info and a set of instructions into your phone.
  • It also avoids sharing pens and clipboards and having to sanitise when using paper and pen each time someone signs in.
  • Scanning our check in/out QR code will take you directly to a simple online form for you to complete entering and leaving our school.
  • Many phones can scan a QR code by using the camera app and clicking the pop-up link.
  • Or… you can download a dedicated QR reader app
  • Or… if you have Google Chrome app on your phone, open it and click in the search bar at the top and a QR code scanner icon appears above your keyboard.
  • Or…. the form is also in our School Stream app in the Forms category
  • Or… you can bookmark this web page and just go directly to the form when you come in and out of school
  • Remember, if you come on site check in is compulsory not optional.

We are still developing our approach for those learners who are not returning to school in Level 2. We will communicate this with you as soon as it is confirmed.

There is a lot to take in here and no doubt I have forgotten something! Rest assured I will communicate anything further with you before Monday.

Ngā mihi, Nick

COVID-19 Update May 12 #8

Update: May 12 #8

Kia ora e te whānau

Here is an update regarding yesterday’s announcement on the shift to Level 2.

The most important being of course that we look forward to welcoming all students back to school from Monday May 18. To assist with our planning for next week, please complete the form below to signal if your children will be attending school during Level 2 or not. At this stage we are expecting everyone here next week.

Right now we are refining our Level 2 Safety Plan to ensure all of the health and safety requirements are in place for Monday. We have yet to receive full guidance from the Ministry regarding this.

Rest assured we will communicate all necessary information to you as soon as it is finalised. It is likely that;

  • Parents and caregivers stay away if sick or feeling sick – no exceptions!
  • Parents and caregivers enter the school grounds only if absolutely necessary
  • If parents and caregivers do come on site they will need to sign-in/check-in and avoid entering classroom spaces
  • All parents and caregivers entering the school grounds will model good hygiene practices

We will also be continuing with other practices that were already in place pre-lock down including;

  • Students staying away if sick or feeling sick – no exceptions!
  • Expectation of good personal hygiene at all times (washing hands after toilet, washing hands before eating, washing hands before morning tea/lunch play, washing hands after morning tea/lunch play, avoid touching eyes, mouth, nose etc, coughing/sneezing into elbow)
  • No assemblies or team meetings etc
  • Drinking fountains off so named drink bottles required
  • Hand sanitiser and hand washing facilities in all classrooms
  • Regular disinfecting/sanitising of hard surfaces and shared equipment

Thanks for your continued cooperation!

Ngā mihi nui, Nick

Please complete the form below as soon as possible. (NB available in our SchoolStream app)

COZVID-19 Update: May 8

Kia ora koutou

No doubt you followed with interest the announcements made by the Prime Minister yesterday. With a likely move to Level 2 soon, here is a quick update for you with more to come after Monday’s announcement from the Prime Minister.

Under Level 2 there are some key messages regarding schools;

  1. Early learning services, schools and tertiary education facilities are all open.
  2. Schools and early learning services are safe environments for children, young people and staff. Additional public health control measures are in place to prevent the spread of disease and to support contact tracing.
  3. Distance learning is available for those unable to attend school, for example who are self-isolating.
  4. When the decision is made to move levels, schools won’t open midweek – whenever the decision is made – they will open at the beginning of the following week.
  5. Where possible physical distancing is a good precaution. We know it is near impossible in an early learning environment and challenging in schools. So good hygiene practices and regular cleaning are even more important here.
  6. In schools, physical distancing means children, young people and staff maintaining enough distance so that they are not breathing on or touching each other. And maintaining good hygiene practices, and regular cleaning. As is regular cleaning of equipment.
  7. And all schools and early learning services will collect information about who’s there, so Public Health can contact people quickly if they need to.

We continue to implement effective health and safety approaches here at school and we will be ready to welcome all students and staff back to our school site. The earliest possible date that we will be might able to accept students back is Monday 18 May, apart from the ones who are already attending under Alert Level 3. We will all await Monday’s announcement with anticipation!

If you have any questions about returning to school, or have a child who might be vulnerable to serious illness and would like to discuss a plan for them, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

We will send out more information next week to update you on our plans and also get an indication from you whether your children will be returning to school under Level 2 or not.

Ngā mihi nui


COVID-19 Update April 21 #6

Kia ora whānau

With the change to Level 3 and school being open from Wednesday April 29 for those who need it, please find below how this is being managed at Russell Street School and what you need to do.

Key Messages

Beyond what the Prime Minster communicated with with everyone yesterday, the Ministry of Education has provided the first instalment of advice for schools. There is more to come in this space, especially clear guidance on managing the health and safety of students and staff while at school. In the meantime, the key messages continues:

  • Stay home. If you are not at work, school, exercising or getting essentials, then you must be at home, the same as at Level 4.
  • Work and learn from home if you can. We still want the vast majority of people working from home, and children and young people learning from home.
  • At-risk students and staff should also stay at home, and they will be supported to do so. Early learning centres and schools will physically be open for up to Year 10 for families that need them.


  • “The expectations on parents and caregivers that keeping children at home and continuing distance learning is the first priority.”

Key Messages from School

  1. We will have a reduced capacity to look after children due to a number of staff either with underlying medical conditions or their home bubble includes elderly at risk family members.
  2. Those children attending school will be engaging in the same learning in Seesaw that children at home will be completing. There will not be a different learning programme in place at school.
  3. Please note that Kelly Club will not be operating during Level 3. We do not have the capacity to provide any before or after school care.
  4. The school grounds remained closed for everyone at all times.

Do your children NEED to attend school during Level 3?

If you need your child/children to be at school for all or part of the day or week during Level 3, you MUST complete the form at the bottom of this post. Any other communication to school staff, both current and previous will not be taken into account.

For those who can continue to look after their children at home…

  • Learning will continue as it currently is, via activities in Seesaw. Please continue to communicate with your child’s teacher any questions you have or any support you require.
  • Please email Troy if you would like to borrow a school device and we will do our very best to arrange this for you.

For those whose children will be coming to school, read on…

The steps put in place before Lockdown will still be place.

  1. Physical distancing at all times. This includes bubbles of 10 learners maximum.
  2. Hand washing facilities and hand sanitiser in every classroom and across school.
  3. No drinking fountains operating, children need a named drink bottle.
  4. Sick staff and children should not attend school and will be sent home if they show any symptoms.
  5. Disinfecting and cleaning surfaces daily.

Beyond those actions, there are likely to be many more. These are likely to include the following steps or similar.

  • Staggered start and end of the school day for different bubbles of children.
  • Staggered morning tea and lunch times for different bubbles of children.
  • Restricted access to school for everyone except staff and students.
  • Handover at school gate to child’s bubble teacher.
  • Sign in on arrival by nominated parent/caregiver/whānau member for pick-up/drop-off.
  • School office only open for phone and email communication.

Information will continue to be shared with you as it comes to hand. Thank you for your cooperation and patience as we work through these uncertain times.

Ngā mihi nui

Yes, this is the form you must complete if you NEED your child to return to school!

(Please access the form via the SchoolStream app under the Leadership Pānui category)

COVID-19 Update April 20 #5

Kia ora koutou

We hope that Term 2 and our distance learning programme in Seesaw has been a success for you so far. We know there will have been any number of challenges for you to deal with but we have been getting some great feedback about the learning that is happening and thank you for all your support. A huge thanks to our teaching staff too!

Today the Government decided that we will move into Alert Level 3 on 28 April.  That means we will be open to receive students from the 29 April.  We will start to prepare the school from tomorrow.

The key message for you is that if you can, you should keep your child at home. You should only physically send your child to school if you need 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.  If your child is sick please also ensure you keep them at home.

In order to ensure the safety of those children and our staff who do come to school, we will be operating with strict enforcement of health and safety measures.

For those children not attending school in person, I want to assure you that we will continue to support your child’s learning at home.

We will contact you tomorrow to find out whether you can keep your child learning from home, or need your child to attend in person. Please keep a look out for another post tomorrow with these details.

The Ministry of Education has advised that they are working closely with health experts to develop clear guidance that will support schools to safely re-open their premises to students and staff. This will help us work through the public health requirements that we all need to meet. We want to be sure that what we do will keep our community as safe as possible.

For now, we will continue to support your child’s learning through Seesaw while we work on our planning for what Alert Level 3 will mean for you and Russell Street School. We will be in touch again soon with more information. As you have been doing, please keep connecting with your teachers with any questions you might have.

Ngā mihi nui

Nick Rate

Tumuaki – Principal
Russell Street School

COVID-19 Update April 17 #4

RSS Remote learning will continue online through learning tasks on Seesaw. If you still need to connect to your class Seesaw activities please click the link below which will take you to a slide with QRCodes for each class. If you need any further assistance, please email your child’s teacher.

Remote Learning set up

The Ministry of Education has also provided robust distance learning through…

  • more online resources for schools and kura, parents, ākonga and whānau available through the Learning from Home and Ki te Ao Mārama websites
  • providing insurance cover for devices your schools and kura send to student homes
  • PLD to support teachers and kaiako, tumuaki and leaders to work remotely with their students, ākonga and whānau
  • TV channels in English and te reo Māori offering learning programmes for learners from early learning to year 10. You will see at least one channel will be for accessing educational content from 15 April. This will cover a broad curriculum.
  • Extending access to the Virtual Learning Network.

Free internet safety filter for parents

While children are learning from home, they are away from the online safety and security services provided by Network for Learning (N4L) at school. So together with N4L and Netsafe, we have launched – a free way to block the worst of the web for students and teachers.

COVID-19 Update March 24 #3

Kia ora e te whānau

The purpose of this update is to clarify the processes and systems for continuing learning at home.

Here is a time frame so you are aware of what we are doing and when:

  • Tuesday & Wednesday March 24 & 25: Teachers are at school supervising the children of essential workers and finalising plans for setting up remote learning in Seesaw.
  • Thursday & Friday March 26 & 27: Teachers will share one or two simple learning activities for children to complete in Seesaw. This is to test the approach and address any issues that may arise and to build familiarity of supporting this as you are able with your children. It also gives you the opportunity to sort any technical issues at your end.
  • Monday March 30 – Tuesday April 14: School Holidays including Easter
  • Wednesday April 15: Remote Learning commences via Seesaw.

Each teacher has prepared a slide to give you a heads up of what the remote learning will look like for their class. The slides also outline the apps that we use and links to some suggested web sites. We require you to download the Seesaw Class app. This is to prepare you for learning at home before the actual learning is shared via Seesaw.

What about devices and Wi-Fi?

  • We have a limited amount of devices that we can lend out to families. If you need a device please email before 12pm Wednesday March 25. Decisions will be made on a case by case scenario and parents will need to sign an agreement accepting liability for the device.
  • If you have no wi-fi, please contact your child’s teacher, or phone the school office before 12pm Wednesday and together you can try and work out how this can work.

What else do you need to know about learning from home? Here is a guide for you.

  1. Teacher’s will put their and their family’s health first! Arrangements will be made for the learning to be communicated by another teacher if the teacher has a higher priority.
  2. We will use only one consistent platform (Seesaw) for communicating learning expectations and sharing learning activities.
  3. Teachers will only use other apps and online sites that your children have used before in class. We will not be introducing new apps and sites with your learners.
  4. Teachers will provide learning that is familiar e.g. a follow-up or extension of the current class and/or personal goals of your children. They will not be introducing new concepts.
  5. Learning will come from across the curriculum – this is not just about numeracy and literacy.
  6. Learning will up online by 10am at the latest each day (unless the learning/project is to be continued over several days
  7. Teachers will not be available all day! They will monitor, respond to and approve student learning as it is posted back to Seesaw, 2 to 3 times a day.
  8. Classroom teachers are only to communicate learning with you.
  9. School leadership will communicate updates on school closure/opening and all other relevant information.

Digital Citizenship

Working online provides a great opportunity for everyone to practice being a great digital citizen! The characteristics of a successful digital citizen closely align to our school’s values and are driven by our vision of Empowering Agency, Innovation and Leadership.

We think a good digital citizen is someone who;

  • is a confident and capable user of ICT
  • will use ICT for learning as well as other activities
  • will think carefully about whether the information they see online is true
  • will be able to speak the language of digital technologies
  • understands that they may experience problems when using technology but can deal with them
  • will always use ICT to communicate with others in positive ways
  • will be honest and fair in all of their actions using ICT
  • will always respect people’s privacy and freedom of speech online
  • will help others to become a better digital citizens.

We appreciate your support in modelling and supporting these characteristics with your children.

COVID-19 Update March 23 #2

Further to the notice sent out late this afternoon here are some further updates from the Ministry of Education relating to school closure.

Clarification of whether your work is viewed as an essential service can be found here:

If you need to have your child cared for by someone else you will need to identify that person or people as part of your self-isolated group. This will need to be done by midnight Wednesday and the group must remain the same for the whole 4 week period. The caregiver’s own group (eg, their partner and children), your child and your own group (eg, your parents and other children) become one group. This group needs to be limited to minimise any risk of spread and should be no more than 20 people.

Your children will be looking to you for guidance about this decision. 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

School holidays are being brought forward so that they are completed within the 4 week period. Holidays will now begin from Monday 30 March to Tuesday 14 April inclusive. At the end of the school holidays, schools will be open for distance learning but not physically open for staff to work at the schools. Please note the instruction to stay home (Alert Level 4) will continue beyond the new school holiday period but schools will be technically open for distance instruction. Teachers will be working offsite.

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 here to slow the spread of COVID-19.

We will continue to communicate with you over the coming days. Tomorrow morning we will communicate with you the process for continuing learning from home.

Thank you for your ongoing support of our school staff and school community.

COVID-19 Update March 23

As you are all aware the Prime Minister announced today that schools will be closed from tomorrow.

Here is what you need to know:

  • For situations where both parents work in essential services areas*, we will cater for your children for Tuesday and Wednesday.
  • For all other children, school is closed from tomorrow.
  • From midnight Wednesday, school is closed for all learners.

Teachers are ready to continue learning with your children at home. Information regarding this and how to access the learning will be communicated with you tomorrow (Tuesday) morning.

*the Ministry of Education will be providing a list of what it deems as essential services areas. We will communicate this with you when it is received.