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Nau mai, haere mai, talofa lava, malo e lelei, bula vinaka, kia orana, warm greetings

We have had a great first week back at school. I have been very proud of the way staff and students have followed our sensible health and safety guidelines to keep everyone safe at St Thomas’. It has been fantastic to observe our students re-connecting and enjoying the company of their friends and teachers.

We have been very impressed by the level of progress we have seen from our students during lock down, especially our senior students in regards to their NCEA achievement. The level of engagement is testament to the fantastic relationship we share with our families, and the large amount of work undertaken over the last five years in curriculum change towards 21st Century learning skills and our integration of devices in our curriculum.

I have been made aware that currently there is a lot of misinformation doing the rounds on social media that the law passed on 13 May gives powers to Police and others to uplift children from school if they appear unwell and forcibly test for COVID-19, and administer medication including flu vaccinations. This is incorrect.

As we already know, neither Police, Oranga Tamariki nor anyone else have been given any such powers. If a child is unwell at school, our normal process is to contact their parents or caregivers in the usual way to collect them.

The purpose of the order is “to prevent, and limit the risk of, the outbreak, or spread of COVID-19 by putting in place obligations in relation to businesses and services, and gatherings”.

Schools and early learning services are excluded from the requirements of the Level 2 Order apart from having to have appropriate contact tracing, physical distancing (breathing space), and hygiene measures in place.

It has been very pleasing to see only one case reported this week, and that being in Auckland. We look forward to our Prime Minister’s review of Level 2 on Monday, to see if we will need to review any of our Health and Safety practices.

I trust we will soon be able to see our young men enjoying themselves in the many extra-curricular activities we see them excel in.

I would like to remind any families who may have siblings wanting to attend St Thomas’ next year to ensure enrolments are handed in, as we are experiencing a lot of demand.