MoE Update – March 2020

Information supplied from Ministry of Education in their March Bulletin 2020.

As you will know, the Ministry of Health’s Director-General announced the third confirmed case of COVID-19 in New Zealand.  

The parent of two students – one at Westlake Boys High and one at Westlake Girls High – has been confirmed with coronavirus (COVID-19). While this is concerning for everyone, there is no risk to students, staff or others at the schools.

We want to reassure you that we will continue to update you with the latest information.

Some people have been asking when an early learning service or school might close. The answer is that we are a very long way from that situation. At this stage, there is no reason that children should not be going to their service or school. Our Directors of Education will be discussing some key notification and planning protocols with the local medical officers of Health over the next day or so – we will be working very closely together as the situation evolves.  Yesterday in Auckland was a very good example of the speed with which we can mobilize to support you, if and when it may be needed.

A decision to close a service or school if that became necessary, would be made by the local medical Officers of Health. 

As for the current situation in Auckland – there is no risk to students or staff in either of the schools.  The two students have not been infectious while they have been at school, and are not considered infectious now. 

The letter that both schools sent to their parents explains this, you can read a copy through the link below. 

Auckland Regional Public Health Service [DOCX, 117KB]

In the meantime, we can provide you some further facts from the World Health Organization.

  • Evidence from China shows that only 1% of reported cases do not have symptoms, and most of those cases develop symptoms within 2 days.
  • Young people 18 years and under represent less than 2.4 per cent of those who have contracted the virus. 
  • From the data we have so far, COVID-19 does not transmit as efficiently as influenza.

It continues to remain that the best thing to do is to practice good preventative measures, particularly good hygiene:

  • Washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before and after eating, after helping children blow their noses, as well as after attending the toilet.
  • Covering coughs and sneezes with clean tissues or with an elbow. Followed up with washing of the hands, and sometimes arms, for 20 seconds using soap and water.
  • Putting used tissues in the bin.
  • After assisting in cleaning up a child, you must ensure that you and the child wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds.
  • Encouraging staff, parents of children and students to stay home if they are unwell.