Covid-19 Best Wishes from principal Ross Sinclair

Good afternoon everyone

This message is just to be sure that our community understands the current processes around the national Covid 19 lockdown.

The school site is officially closed as of midnight tonight (Wednesday). That means no part of the school facility, including grounds and hard court areas, is available for use. The Ministry of Education have asked principals to make very clear that school grounds/playgrounds/sports grounds are part of the national lockdown and may not be used.  Security patrols continue and our site will have all its usual protections.

We have held a digital meeting this morning and all Learning Areas report that messages have gone out to students primarily centred on completing existing work and assignments during the next days until Friday. Hutt Valley High School has had digital learning programmes built progressively over the last five years, so this is mostly familiar country for us, and the switch to home study is mostly a change of setting, rather than plunging into the unfamiliar. That varies across our courses, with the greatest challenges being those that involve off-site core components (such as Gateway) or workshop subjects. 

For senior classes, NCEA assessments will be causing a degree of stress; that is entirely natural. I repeat the earlier message that these are circumstances that demand flexibility and staff have been asked to ensure that students are not disadvantaged by the present circumstances. 

Existing school work continues for the remainder of this week. The official school holidays now begin next Monday 30th March and go for two weeks. After that, students are expected to work each day on the material sent through by staff. We recognise that households will vary in their domestic arrangements and access to study space and to the internet will vary, particularly as many parents/caregivers will be working from home and access will vary. Teachers have been asked to moderate the usual work expectations, focusing on core material where there is a choice. The key thing is that students remain engaged and retain a regular work routine during the lockdown period. Staff remain available for contact during regular school hours, with the caveat that many have young children and message turn-around times will vary considerably. Please be understanding of the very different working conditions that will apply for both students and staff. 

Guidance services remain available and can be accessed through the lockdown period. A message has been posted on the school app today giving a link to contact guidance staff.

Hutt Valley High School is a community, and these next weeks are crucial for the wellbeing of us all. Please treat the lockdown with the commitment asked of us by the Prime Minister. We hope everyone remains safe in the coming weeks. 

Ross Sinclair