It’s been almost three weeks since we entered the COVID-19 lockdown, and we have experienced both School Holidays and Easter in lockdown. I hope things have gone well over this period in your ‘bubble’, and that you have found ways to collectively care for the wellbeing of yourself and your loved ones. As we move into Term 2, I’m sure you will be gearing up to support your sons over the next period of the lockdown, which for schools begins Wednesday 15 April.
My last email to you had your son’s Term 1 School Report attached. I hope this provided you with feedback on how your son has started the year, and provided some feedforward as to what he needs to work on to improve further.
For the start of the term, students and staff will be learning and teaching from home. Of course, this will bring a range of challenges. Teachers will be delivering lessons and work for students on-line via the on-line tools we use at school to keep up-to-date (GOOGLE Classroom and GOOGLE Drive). They will be communicating with students using email (your son has a @my.rongotai.school.nz email address), and interacting through zoom and/or GOOGLE Meet. Teachers will be setting routines for teaching and learning in their digital classrooms. Our team of teachers did some great work ahead of the lockdown to prepare us for this new on-line school environment, and the last 4 days of Term 1 showed that our systems worked well; feedback from staff indicated most boys engaged with the learning provided by staff.
We do not know how long the Government imposed lock-down or self-isolation will last, nor do we know when we will be able to return to school to continue the 2020 school year on-site. I have been working with the Ministry of Education in an effort to provide all our students with the resources they need to work in the on-line environment, for however long we are off-site. In the weeks prior to the lockdown, we surveyed our students to ascertain the ability of families to provide an on-line learning environment at home, and the boys who indicated to us they did not have access to suitable learning devices at home should have devices delivered to them by the Ministry of Education as soon as possible.
Students in Year 11-13 and their parents may have concerns regarding the potential disruption to national qualifications. We are fortunate that NCEA is flexible, and we will to do everything we can to ensure our students gain access to the qualifications they are working towards. I have asked our staff to undertake no new assessments over the next weeks, until we are in a better place to gauge the longer-term situation.
Rest assured, we remain focused on the learning and well-being of our students, and will continue to do so over the coming weeks.
Thank you for your ongoing support of your sons and Rongotai College and wish you well as Term 2 progresses.