There has been significant media coverage regarding the COVID-19 (Novel Coronovirus). We are monitoring the situation closely, getting advice from both the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education.
In line with advice received, any member of our school community who has passed through mainland China, northern Italy (specifically the provinces of Lombardy, Veneto and Emilia-Romagna), the Republic of Korea, or Iran, or has been in close contact with someone confirmed with COVID-19, is required to self-isolate, and stay away from school and school or public events for 14 days from the date they arrive in New Zealand. They should also register using Healthline’s dedicated COVID-19 number 0800 358 5453.
The Ministry of Health’s expert advisory group has also recently advised the case definition for health professionals by adding Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Thailand to China, as countries of higher level of interest when diagnosing patients. Anyone who has visited those countries in the previous 14 days who develops symptoms of fever, cough and / or shortness of breath should self isolate and seek medical advice by phoning Healthline’s dedicated COVID-19 number 0800 358 5453 or contacting their GP by phoning ahead prior to a visit.
Although New Zealand has its first cases of COVID-19 confirmed, the Ministry of Health has stated that the likelihood of a widespread outbreak in New Zealand is low. Should this situation change we will follow our pandemic plan for management of the disease as we would for other infectious diseases.
The Ministry of Education is working closely with the Ministry of Health to ensure that we have the most relevant information to inform our community and our own school procedures in regard to the potential risks associated with COVID-19. They continue to provide clear and timely communications to school Principals and the information on their website is regularly updated – Information about COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) for the education sector, and parents, caregivers and whānau of learners. We will continue to update you of any additional relevant information becomes available.
We are now approaching the time for the seasonal influenza and it is useful to remind ourselves of good practices to reduce the spread of any infectious diseases. With this in mind we would ask that you:
- Maintain person hygiene through washing hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds and drying thoroughly or using alcohol-based sanitiser
- Keep a close eye out for any symptoms
- Students that are feeling unwell should stay home from school and events
- Covering coughs and sneezes with clean tissues or sneezing into your elbow and washing hands afterwards
- Putting used tissues in the bin
- Avoid close contact with people with cold or flu-like illnesses.
More information can be found on the Ministry of Health website and the World Health Organisation website.