Newsletters to parents

11th May 2020

Westbrook School Health and Safety Plan for Covid-19 Level 2

Kia ora,

The Government has made the decision to move our country to Covid-19 Level 2. Our response to this at Westbrook is based on the following key messages from the Prime Minister:

“Schools and early learning centres are safe environments for children, young people and staff. Additional public health control measures are in place to prevent the spread of disease and to support contact tracing.”

“ We (the government) also agreed that when we make the decision to move levels, schools won’t open mid week - whenever the decision is made - they will open at the beginning of the following week.”

This means that all schools, including Westbrook, will reopen for business from Monday, May 18th.

Thank you so very much for all that you have been doing to support your children and their learning over the past few weeks. Our teachers have reported to me that the vast majority of students have been actively engaged on a daily basis with on-line learning.

I hope that you have had the opportunity to spend time having fun as a family during this time also.

It does appear, however, that this daily whānau time is fast coming to an end. We look forward to welcoming our students back to school next week.

The following is important information for you to be aware of:

  1. All children will return to school on Monday, May 18th, unless they have existing or current health issues

  2. If all the parents or caregivers at home are returning to work on Thursday, May 14th or Friday May 15th, the children of these parents may return to school from Thursday May 14th, as long as the school is notified as to your intention to send them

Please complete the following questionnaire by 12pm on Wednesday, regardless of when your child is returning to school:

Parent Survey - Returning to School under Level 2

It is really important that we have this information from you for each child that attends Westbrook so that we can plan accordingly for their return.

Our plans under Covid-19 Level 2 are:

Prior to School Opening:

  1. The Principal has read and implemented the MOE guidelines on Property Preparation prior to Thursday, May 14th.

  2. All staff are aware of the MOE Managing Health and Safety guidelines.

  3. The school has been thoroughly cleaned prior to students returning.

Each School day under Level 2 - Staff requirements:

  1. All staff arrive at school between 8am and 8.30am daily. They sign in electronically  and sanitise upon arrival.

  2. After signing in, each teacher is to ready their class for the arrival of their students. This includes ensuring that the teaching space meets the Covid-19 Health and Safety requirements.

  3. Staff must regularly maintain the classroom to a high standard of hygiene. This will require regular sanitising of commonly used surfaces in particular, such as door handles, and table surfaces.

  4. Hand sanitisers and soap will be available in all classes.

  5. Teachers will endeavour to maintain a classroom temperature of around 18 - 20 degrees, as per MOE recommendations.

Each School day under Level 2 - Managing Students

  1. Parents are responsible for their child’s safe delivery to and from school. Staff will be available to meet children coming to school and guide them to class. Staff will also support students at the end of the day to exit school. We would prefer that students arrive between 8.30am and 8.55am.

  2. Parents are to please remain outside the school boundaries. We are accountable for Contact Tracing and are therefore limiting the number of visitors to the school.

  3. If you need, for whatever reason, to enter the school grounds please contact the school prior to your arrival and sign in at the office upon arrival. Parents must also sign out when leaving.

  4. Parents or caregivers uplifting students must please do so from the same place each day, so that students know where to find you. Please uplift your children between 3pm and 3.15pm each day.  Students remaining at school after 3.15 must be uplifted from the front of the school, on Malfroy Road.

  5. On day one, students will be taught handwashing, safe sneezing and coughing techniques. This will be regularly reinforced throughout Level 2.

  6. Students will be checked, by their teacher, upon arrival each day, to ensure that they are healthy enough to come to school. If a student presents signs of being unwell a caregiver will be required to uplift them from school.

  7. If a child is unwell they need to be kept at home. If a parent or caregiver is not sending their child to school, for whatever reason, they must contact the school office.

  8. If a family member is unwell with illnesses other than COVID-19, it is desirable for all school aged children to remain at home. Children are entitled to return to school after a medical clearance.

  9. If a member of your family is being tested for COVID-19, all school aged children are required to remain at home until a negative test has been returned. The school must be notified immediately if this is the case.

  10. We will endeavour to maintain appropriate Physical Distancing, both inside classrooms and in the playground. We cannot guarantee 100% success with this, however, we will be working with students to help them to understand the importance of this health and safety requirement

  11. We will not have larger gatherings indoors such as school assemblies or team singing under Level 2. We will try to keep gatherings no larger than class sizes.

 During the School Day the Following Guidelines will be Followed:

  1. Distance Learning will not be available from Monday, May 18th, as teachers will be teaching in class each day.

  2. Students will remain in their classroom throughout the day, having limited interaction with any other students outside their class, unless this is a break time or a planned activity.

  3. Children will eat their morning tea and lunch in their classrooms.

  4. At this stage, normal break times for students to have some free time will apply. Students must maintain Level 2 physical distancing at all times. 

  5. Staff will be scheduled to provide playground supervision, to maintain student safety. Physical distancing and Covid-19 Health and Safety requirements will be followed.

  6. At the beginning and conclusion of each break time, students must exit and enter their Classroom, maintaining physical distancing.

  7. Students must not share food or drink. They must bring their own lunch box and drink bottle, and be able to self manage any wrapping or packaging. Drinking fountains will not be available. They will also need to take any left over food and packaging home. Rubbish bins will not be available. 

  8. Our lunch ordering system will operate again under Level 2, from Monday May 18th.

  9. We will be operating our Breakfast and Lunch clubs from May 18th. All students are welcome to go to the hall before school for breakfast if they are hungry. Staff will be on site to maintain the Health and Safety requirements, and to prepare the food. Students needing lunch will also be sent to the hall at lunchtime by their teacher if they are in need of lunch. Parents are encouraged to contact the school office, to arrange this confidentially, at the beginning of the day. This allows us to prepare food in advance.

  10. If you have been allocated a school chromebook, your child will need to return this to the school office on their first day back at school.

Visitors to School

  1. Non-essential people will be discouraged from entering the school site

  2. Couriers will need to follow our sign in and sign out procedures

  3. Parents and visitors legitimately accessing the school office must remain behind the 2 metre line marked on the  office floor 

  4. Parents or caregivers of students wishing to collect their children outside the designated times must contact the school office to arrange this. The normal pick up arrangements will be observed, with a staff member supervising  from a safe social distance.

  5. Only essential tradespeople will be allowed entry to the school site and only with the Principal's authority.

Before and After School Care

  1. Under the conditions of Covid-19 Level 2, our school Before and After School Care programme is entitled to be open. Once we have details from our providers we will share this with you.

These guidelines will remain in place for two weeks. The government will be reviewing their position in two weeks, and we will release a new Health and Safety Plan once they have made their announcement after the review process.

If you have any concerns or questions please contact the school office:

Phone 07 347 6512

Once again, thank you for all that you have done to support your children's learning and we look forward to having our Westbrook family back together next week.

Kind regards

Colin Watkins


Covid-19 (Coronavírus) Update Number 5 - 6th May 2020

Level Two Approaches

Kia ora,

We do live in interesting times.

The vast majority of you, our students' parents, are doing a fantastic job of supporting your children with their learning at home. Over 75% of our students are engaged either digitally on Seesaw or with Google apps, and are achieving some excellent results considering the manner in which we have all been thrown into this new learning environment. Congratulations to our students, and to you our parents and whanau, for taking up the challenge and doing such a great job.

Next week we will learn when, as a nation, or as regions, we will be able to move back to Covid-19 Level 2.

What does that mean for us as a school, or for education in general? We don’t know yet. Tomorrow, Thursday, May 7, the Ministry of Education will be announcing what they consider the conditions will look like for schools at Level 2. This will be a public announcement, so we will all find out at the same time what these conditions will be.

In the meantime please consider the following:

  • Keep doing what you are currently doing to support your children's learning at home. At Level three, home is still the best place for us all to keep safe

  • Please also continue to have fun as a family. School work should be a small part of the day. Exploring new and fun ways to build relationships as a whanau, and to spend time together baking, walking, cycling, gardening, or simply talking or playing games is even more important

  • You may like to consider getting ready for Level two. We don’t yet know what this looks like in detail, but we can expect:

  • Most children will be expected back at school. There will be conditions around this, such as a limit on numbers in each class bubble, no large gatherings, perhaps a roster for break times, etc

  • Guidelines on how children should travel to and from school, in order to protect social distancing

  • Criteria around “At Risk” students and staff, and their attendance or otherwise at school

We can also expect that many of you will be encouraged back to work, particularly if you work in non essential service areas, which the conditions at Level 2 will probably allow for. This will make it more difficult for many of you to manage distance learning, as well as home and work obligations. 

Whilst we cannot speculate too closely what Level 2 will look like, or when it will be implemented, we can get ourselves prepared.

I know, through feedback from many of you, that most of our students, while they are enjoying the extra sleep-in time and fun at home, are missing their friends and teachers. The teachers are also breaking their necks to get back to school with their much loved students.

So we all wait, with anticipation for next Monday’s  announcement.

Until then, stay safe!

Colin Watkins


Covid-19 (Coronavírus) Update Number 4 - 21 April 2020

School reopens for some

Kia ora,

We hope that Term 2 and our distance learning programme has been a success for you so far. We know there have been quite a number of challenges for you to deal with but we have been getting some great feedback about the learning that is happening and thank you for all your support.


Yesterday the Government decided that we will move into Alert Level 3 on 28 April, beginning with a teacher only day for schools to prepare for this.  That means we will be open to receive students from Wednesday 29 April.   

The key message for you is that if you can, you should keep your child at home. Those who are able to work and learn from home should continue to do so. You should only physically send your child to school if you absolutely need to. If your child has a health condition that means they are at a greater risk of a severe illness you must keep them at home.  If your child is sick, please also ensure you keep them at home.


I want to assure you that we will continue to support your child’s learning at home.


The Ministry of Education has advised that they are working closely with health authorities to develop clear guidance that will support schools to safely re-open their premises to students and staff. This will help us work through the public health requirements that we all need to meet. As you will be doing, we want to be sure that what we do will keep our community as safe as possible.

In order to ensure the safety of those children and our staff who do come to school, we will be operating with strict enforcement of health and safety measures. 

We are needing to make quite a number of adjustments  to the school learning environment in order to cater for the children who return to us. These include:

  • Not all school staff will return next week. Only those who are able to safely return will do so. This means that not all children will be supervised by their own teacher if they return to school. 

  • We will do our best to keep students 2 metres apart throughout the day. That means that we can only accommodate a maximum of 10 students in one classroom, and they will each sit at a distance from each other.

  • Students will need to each bring food in a lunchbox that they can self manage. We will not be able to unwrap or open containers for them, as  we  too need to remain 2 metres away from each student. They will need to bring a drink bottle, as drinking fountains will be unavailable

  • Students will need to be delivered to school and uplifted from school by an adult in their bubble. We cannot risk students walking to and from school, as we cannot guarantee their social distancing safety

  • Break times and toileting will need to be staggered and carefully monitored, so as to maintain each student’s safety

  • We will be regularly cleaning all tables, desks, door handles, and any other surface that children may need to share throughout the day. Our cleaners will focus mainly on the classes that we use during this Level 3 time, and will make every effort to thoroughly sanitise all surfaces at the end of each day.

We will do our very best to create a welcoming and supportive environment, but please be aware that school will have the potential to be quite a lonely and strange environment, quite different to what your children are used to.

We need to know as soon as possible how many students we can expect to be returning to school from April 29.

We have a survey that we respectfully ask you all to complete for each of your children to help us to plan for our reopening. Please click on the link below. This will also be sent out to parents via our other channels of communication. Please complete the short questionnaire by Wednesday (tomorrow) at 3pm.

Parent Questionnaire

On a lighter note:

  • We have had over 100,000 views of the “Welcome to Term 2” video our staff put together for you. Keep an eye out on What Now this Sunday. There just may be a little segment of the video on the show.

  • We are loving the Seesaw items that children are sharing with their teachers, and some will be included in our regular “Assembly” videos that we are sharing with you

  • The feedback has been very  positive about how so many of you are using this time to have fun as a family and to all try out new things, or to take on new and exciting challenges. Don’t be afraid to share these with us, so we can include them in our upcoming “Assemblies.”

Once we know from you how many of our students are returning to us next Wednesday, we will be able to continue our planning. Further information will be shared with you as it comes to hand. Thank you for your patience.

Colin Watkins


25 March 2020

On 23 March we communicated to you that Westbrook School had a pupil and his family who were being tested for the Covid -19 Virus.  We are pleased to advise you the results came back  Negative. 
Could you please reassure those members of your Whanau who may have been concerned.

Colin Watkins (Principal) and Westbrook School staff

24 March 2020


Below is a quote from the Ministry of Education about when the school holidays begin and end.

"School Holidays are being brought forward so that they are completed within the 4 week period.  Holidays will now begin from Monday 30th March to Tuesday 14 April inclusive (a reminder that the Tuesday after Easter Monday is always a closed day for schools.)

At the end of the school holidays, schools will be open for distance learning but not physically open for staff to work at schools.

Please note any instruction to stay home (Alert Level 4) will continue beyond the new school holiday period but schools will be technically open for distance instruction. Teachers will be working offsite."

Teachers will be in contact with you with enough home learning for this week.  Following this, for the two week holiday period, students are welcome to continue with these learning suggestions but teachers will not be required to be in contact with them again until after 14th April (Easter Tuesday).  Distance Learning is likely to continue after this time but we will certainly communicate with you once we hear when school is open for instruction again.

Take care and we look forward to seeing you again sometime in Term 2.

Westbrook Staff

23 March 2020

Dear Parents/Caregivers

In accordance with the directive issued by the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education, we will be closing Westbrook School from 3pm today. We are now in Alert Level 3, and will move to Alert Level 4 within 48 hours. This means that all students will stay away from school, until further notice. If you are classed as a person who works in the essential services eg - doctors, nurses, part of the school supply chain etc, your child is able to attend school tomorrow, to give you time to make arrangements. Please contact us immediately by phone 3476512 or email if you are in this group and your child(ren) will be attending tomorrow. Schools will close entirely from 3pm on Wednesday, 25th March. 

We will be in contact with you to update you if the situation changes. Please make sure we have your current email address and that you have downloaded Skool Loop and joined our Facebook page, if you have not yet done so. We will communicate important messages and updates with you through these channels.

The decision to close schools is obviously to limit the spread of COVID - 19 and to prevent further community outbreaks.  We urge you to follow the advice from the government that has been given to keep you, your family and others safe. Visit the government website for up to date information:

We understand this is an unsettling and somewhat stressful time for you all. It is new for us as well. At Westbrook, we have spent the last couple of weeks trying to keep things as normal as possible for our students, and to reassure them if they have been worried or anxious about the situation. We have also spent some time planning ways of being able to communicate with students remotely and provide them with learning activities that they would have access to, while at home.

We have prepared a mix of online, digital learning options for those who have devices and access to the internet, as well as non-digital activities. It is important that your child has balance in what they are doing at home and that they have non-screen time each day. It is just as important at this time, to enjoy some quality family time together. Reading books together, playing board games or cards, doing household chores together, are all legitimate uses of your time at home. This could be the perfect opportunity to teach your children how to tie their shoelaces, bake cookies, make their bed, weed the garden, wash the car, plan and prepare a meal etc. 

Your child’s teachers will make contact with you, the parents, through Seesaw and/or your email address. They will set work for your child and communicate with them digitally, where possible. They will not be online all day so do not expect an immediate reply.  They too have families to look after. If you need any assistance or clarification of the work set, please email them or send them a message through Seesaw. They will respond when they are able.

We understand if your family situation does not lend itself to your child completing the work set.  We have put the remote learning plan together to help families and to cater for those who want work for their children to do. We will give you options and ideas to use with your children at home. We don’t expect that everyone will be able to do the work set and we understand if it does not get completed.

Lastly, and most importantly, we sincerely hope that you and your family get through this pandemic unscathed. Stay safe, be kind to each other and support those that need your help.  Reach out to other parents and friends remotely so that you can share your experiences and stay connected. We truly hope that life at Westbrook is back to normal in the near future. 

If you need to get hold of your child’s teacher, you can send a message to them on Seesaw or email them. All of our email addresses at Westbrook use the format of teacher’s surname and the initial letter of their first name, eg -

If you need to get hold of the school leadership team urgently while the school is closed, please email       We will be checking emails each day.

Colin Watkins (Principal) and Westbrook School staff

Covid-19 (Coronavírus) Update Number 3 - 23 March, 2020

Possible student COVID-19 contact at Westbrook

One of our Year 5 students, in Room 17, is currently being tested for COVID-19.

The boy's grandmother returned to England last week, after spending a month with the family here in NZ.

The grandmother was admitted to hospital over the weekend in England, and has apparently tested positive to COVID-19.

The boy and his family are in isolation and are being tested today.

I have been in contact with the Medical Officer of Health, and his advice is:

  1. School should operate as normal. As nobody in the family is showing signs of illness, the chances are relatively slight that any of the family has the virus.

  2. As nobody else in the class came into direct contact with the grandmother, there is no need for the children to self isolate, or for our school to close.

  3. I am liaising regularly with Paul Kinsella, our Board of Trustees chairperson, to ensure that we are making decisions based on the best interests of our students.

Having said that my advice to you all is:

  1. Please keep your children at home if they are unwell. Depending on their symptoms, seek medical advice.

  2. If your child has a compromised immune system please consider keeping them at home.

The Medical Officer of Health is following this case and will provide us with further advice once he has the test results back for this family.

We are entering uncharted waters and completely new ground with this virus.

If you are in any doubt about whether your children should continue to come to school, please seek medical advice. Wherever possible we would want all of our students here and to continue with a normal life at school.

*Teachers are busy preparing for distance learning, in case the schools close. If this decision is made, they will be in contact with you with ideas and activities for learning at home. In the meantime, they are still teaching those children who are at school, so  distance learning for those at home will not begin until such time as the schools close.

We are in regular contact with the Ministry of Education about how best to handle this pandemic. We are receiving updates at least twice each day, which provide up to the minute advice and guidance on what we need to be doing to keep our students safe. As information comes to hand, we will keep you updated. 

*We are regularly reminding our students about hand washing, nose blowing, coughing into their arm or elbow, and maintaining their own personal hygiene. We are sharing relevant information provided to us by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health, with our students. 

*We will avoid mass gatherings where possible. We will not have team gatherings, kapa haka, or assemblies, as these are large gatherings of over 100 students, until further notice. 

*We will postpone the Year 6 Marae noho, Year 5 camp and the Year 1 Picnic until later in the year. We will make a decision on the swimming lessons planned for next term, closer to the time. The Year 4 sleepover has been cancelled.

*Most local sporting events have been either cancelled or postponed, including the Mini Marathon and the CBOP Swimming Sports. The hockey and netball season are due to start early in May. We will let you know if there is any change of decision about these sports.

*Our students will eat morning tea and lunch in their rooms rather than as a large group on the school field.

Communication between home and school is really important at this time. We will continue to keep you informed; please also keep us in the loop with any developments for you and your family