Updated: 08.06.2020

LEVEL One 🙂 🙂

Kia ora Upper Hutt School,

I am sure you were as pleased as I was, to hear the Prime Minister’s announcement about moving to Alert Level 1.  For us, there will be no major changes to what we are doing. Our school continues to be safe to attend, including any staff and children who are considered more vulnerable to COVID.

We will continue to have a thorough cleaning routine in place and encourage children with good hygiene practices every day.

We continue to ask children who are sick/ unwell to stay at home. Thank you for your support with this.

Upper Hutt School will continue to follow all key public health measures - Golden Rules  - https://govt.us3.list-manage.com/track/click?u=2f59fcd18a691d315b5a045cb&id=d2907ac4a2&e=440126cef8

We encourage parents to drop off and pick up children at the gate if this is working for you. We have been so pleased with how settled the children have been and how it has helped their independence.

All parents are welcome back inside the school grounds if you want to come in to drop off or pick up your child.

If  you do come into the school grounds outside of the normal drop off and pick up times, we ask that all parents and visitors go to the school office and sign in/ out on our visitor ipad.

We are supporting contact tracing by having QR code posters at our entrances – so if you haven’t already downloaded the NZ COVID Tracer app the Ministry of Health’s NZ-COVID Tracer app page has information to help you do that.

We look forward to a range of inter-school and community sport starting again, cultural events and performances and to welcoming all of our school community on site for these activities.

Thank you for being part of the team of 5 million who worked together to keep New Zealand safe.

Ngā mihi,

Jo Grant
Principal/ Tumuaki

Updated: 13.05.2020

Welcome back to school at Level 2

Dear Parents /Caregivers,

We are very excited to be able to welcome ALL children back to school on Monday 18th May.  This email outlines key information about our Level 2 plan and expectations for returning to school. For many weeks you will have had your own family bubble. Level 2 is where our school becomes one whole bubble (the 100 limit does not apply for schools). Our whole focus in the first two weeks back will be children learning about the Level 2 school rules and how to keep themselves and our school bubble healthy (physically and mentally).

Key bullet points (further detail below)

We will be strictly adhering to the Ministry of Education & Health Guidelines. The overriding principles for our Alert Level 2 plan and our school bubble are:

  • Maintain physical distancing ( for staff/ chn this means not breathing on or touching each other.  Parents /visitors must maintain 2m spacing)
  • Enable good hygiene practices (personal hygiene and strict school cleaning)
  • Keep track of people entering school
  • We strongly encourage all parents to drop their children off at one of our eight gates (refer map at bottom). The gate you drop off chn at in the morning will be the gate you pick up your chn from at the end of the day. We are trying to ‘spread’ families out to avoid congestion and support you to adhere to the 2 m distancing rule for parents in or around school
  • Please return all school loaned devices (and the cord) with your child on Monday

It is essential that we all follow these guidelines which keep all children, staff and families safe. We appreciate that during Level 3 & 4 your family will have got into their own routine. We encourage you to support them back into the routine of ‘school’ times again, which may mean getting up earlier in the morning again to help them transition back to school next week. We have also made a video: Welcome back to school at Level 2. This is shown above this notice and on our school facebook page.

Further Level 2 information:

Ensure people with COVID-19 symptoms or feeling unwell stay away from school

  • All students are expected to return to school at Alert Level 2 ( with the exception of students who are sick or have high health needs)
  • All students/ staff, parents and visitors who are not well will not be permitted to be at school
  • If chn or staff become unwell, they will be sent home immediately
  • Anyone who is unwell is encouraged to be tested immediately.  Please follow the advice of your GP in terms of self isolation expectations
  • If someone else in your household is unwell and being tested, please follow the advice of your GP in terms of self isolation expectations
  • If there is a case of Covid at our school, the school will be closed and we will follow all MoH expectations and guidelines

Maintain physical distancing (for staff and children this means not breathing on or touching each other. For parents/ visitors, the expectations is 2m spacing inside and outside the school)

  • Select a gate to drop off and pick up your child that suits your family (see map below)* We are wanting to ‘spread’ families out across these gates - if you arrive on Monday and it is very busy - consider moving to another gate)
  • Please drop off children between 8:30 and 8:50am in the morning 
  • If you need to enter the school grounds to drop off children (e.g young children) - you must sign a contact register at each of the gates (please bring your own pen). No parents can enter the school buildings (other than the Office) or any of the school decks, and all parents/caregivers MUST adhere to 2m physical distancing (New Entrant parents and children will be given guidelines for visiting Ruma Tahi and Preschool Sessions)
  • Teachers will be at every gate to welcome. At the end of the day, teachers will then walk the same group of chn back to the gate where they will wait inside the gate until a parent arrives. They will then be released by the teacher.
  • Please pick up children from the same gate between 2:55 - 3:10pm
  • Children and staff will maintain a physical distance so they are not breathing on or touching each other in the classroom and out in the playground (PRIDE wings will guid children about how close they can be - watch video)
  • There are NO restrictions around where children sit at school, use of playgrounds and shared equipment
  • At this stage we will not be having school assemblies or our Powhiri (we are exploring a digital powhiri)
  • If children do not follow all guidelines, and staff feel that the safety of others is endangered, parents will be asked to pick up their child. The safety of all children,  families and staff is paramount at this time.

Enable good hygiene practices

  • All appropriate indoor surfaces will be cleaned or sanitised daily
  • Outdoor surfaces such as door handles and railings will be sanitised daily
  • Children will revisit daily the expectations of good hygiene including good cough/sneeze etiquette and hand washing
  • Sanitiser will be used on entry and exit to school and before eating, in every classroom
  • Soap is available in all bathrooms and all chn will wash their hands regularly
  • Drinking fountains will be closed and all children will require their own water/ drink bottle
  • Children will be encouraged to take all their food rubbish home
  • There will be hand sanitiser and soap in every classroom. You are welcome to bring your own named bottle if you would like

Keep track of people entering school

  • Contact tracing will be through attendance registers, student details and visitor registers
  • All visitors during the day must sign the contact register at the Office (1 in, 1 out rule)

Further Information:

    • YMCA will be operating from Monday morning
    • Other care providers will meet their children at an agreed gate
    • Breakfast Club will begin on the 25th May and will adhere to all alert level 2 guidelines. It will be open in the hall on Mon, Wednesday and Fridays
    • We encourage any communication with the school to be through email or phone calls

  • We ask that all school devices (iPads and Chrome books with their chargers) are returned promptly to class teachers on the first day back at school. These will then be cleaned and redistributed to classes.
  • Distance Learning will be available for sick children and those children who are needing to self isolate
  • We encourage all children to bring a raincoat on wet days as the entry and exit from school may be slower and require chn to wait
  • Please do not bring any dogs into school

We will continue to review our Level 2 plan and update it as we get further information from the MoE and MoH. If you have any questions or concerns please contact us. 

Contact Numbers:

Office: 04 5286541, Ali Boyd / Office Manager:  admin@upperhuttschool.nz, Donna Jones/ Office Support:  donnaj@upperhuttschool.nz, Claire Martin (Junior focus): claire@upperhuttschool.nz, Lee Ewington (Senior focus): lee@upperhuttschool.nz, Jo Grant / Principal: principal@upperhuttschool.nz

We can’t wait to welcome all children back to school on Monday. 

Ngā mihi

Jo Grant   
Principal/ Tumuaki

Please select one of our 8 gates to drop off your child between 8:30 - 8:50am and pick them up between 2:55 - 3:10pm.

We are trying to ‘spread’ families out to avoid congestion and support you to adhere to the 2 m distancing rule for parents in or around school (we strongly encourage parents to drop off at the gate and not enter the school unless you have to).


Updated: 08.05.2020

Kia ora koutou,

  • Level 2
  • Stress
  • Party
  • Preschool
  • Mothers Day

One of the many things I am grateful for over the last six weeks is the amazing weather we have had! I hope you have all been able to enjoy some of it.

Staff are feeling very excited about the possibility of being able to open the school for all children at Alert Level 2. Like you, we will be waiting for the decision to be made about when that may happen on Monday.

I have received preliminary information about what level 2 will look like for schools and am currently creating a level 2 plan for our school. It will follow EVERY guideline and will do everything we can to keep your children healthy! Once I have received all information, this plan will be sent out to you all along with all the information you will need about coming back to school (whoop whoop).

I just want to reiterate a point I made in my email last week with you. A number of you have noticed that your child has not been as engaged with their learning in the last week or so. Some children have found it hard from the start, and others have loved it. Please do not worry if they are not interested. All you can do is to encourage your child, BUT if it causes stress, upset and anger - then leave it. Teachers look forward to welcoming children back and supporting their learning from day one. 

PRIDE Online learning programmes will continue to be provided next week by the amazing teachers at Upper Hutt School. Claire Martin has also developed an online programme for our preschoolers - it is fantastic! So is Mrs Martin!

We thank you for all the teaching you have done with school learning and life learning! 

Perhaps we might need to have a BIG Teacher Only Day in the future where all the school teachers and the home teachers have a BIG P A R T Y!!

I wish all Mums a wonderful Mother's day this Sunday. Mothers are very, special people!

I will be in touch next week with a plan if we are moving to level 2 🙂 🙂 🙂

Ngā mihi nui,
Jo Grant
Principal/ Tumuaki

Updated: 01.05.2020

Kia ora families,

How are you? It feels like a long time since I have seen you all!

I appreciate that level 3 has meant a change for many people's bubbles. Some of you have returned to work. Many of you continue to work from home whilst trying to 'teach/ support' your child/ren. For some this has been easy, for many it has been really hard. For some children, the novelty of lockdown has worn off. Many are missing social connections - just like we are! Some children have loved every minute of level 3 & 4 and some have not! In one way or another, we have all experienced a rollercoaster over the last weeks.

I have been asked when I think school may return. I would probably have better luck predicting the next winning lotto numbers, but this is the information I have so far.

11th May is when the next decision will be made about 'alert levels' and if we will go down to level 2. At this stage, my information states that schools will be given a week to prepare for level 2 once the decision has been made. So school may open for some, or all children, during the week beginning the 18th May. However this is dependent on so many variables! I guess my point is - we are probably still several weeks away from fully opening (best case scenario).

So….we want to hear from you about what is working and the bits that are really hard. Teachers will continue to get in touch with every family. Teachers are trying really hard to find the 'balance' between not being annoying, but trying to connect to see what they can do to support your child and their learning.

We continue to offer PRIDE Online to our 'home' learners and our 'at school' learners. The ‘at school learners’ are helping and teaching us a lot! During this time we are refining and further developing all our Covid 19 plans and systems, finding out what works best, especially in terms of health and safety. All this information is helping us to plan and prepare for when all the children return. We can’t wait 🙂

Please get in touch with us for anything you want to discuss (the good, the bad and the ugly). Enjoy your first weekend at level three. Follow the guidelines, take care and be kind - to yourself and others.

Ngā mihi nui,
Jo Grant
Principal/ Tumuaki

Updated: 24.04.2020

Kia ora koutou,

Just a quick update as we head into Anzac weekend.

Huge thanks to you all for completing the information we required for Level 3 schooling. We greatly appreciated your quick responses which enabled us to plan for Level 3.

This Tuesday 28th April will be a TEACHER ONLY Day. The Government called this day to allow schools to prepare for Level 3. This means teachers will not be online giving feedback or setting specific learning this Tuesday. There is, however LOTS of work up on PRIDE Online (including See Saw and Google Classroom) for the children to carry on with 🙂

On Wednesday 28th April, learning will continue. Most of the children will continue with PRIDE Online from home. Some children will be at school in our school formed bubbles. During Level 3, school will remain closed for everyone else.

We have 6 teachers who will be working with the bubbles at school. Please be aware that this may impact on how quickly teachers are able to respond to 'distance' children or parents over the next few weeks. These teachers are working at school as well as running their PRIDE Online distance learning. Thank you for your patience and understanding that they may not be able to get back to you immediately. My huge thanks to these teachers.

Our school office will be running (from a distance). Whilst you are not able to come in to school, you can contact the office for any queries. Ali, Donna and myself will be at school during level 3 as well as the wonderful Mr Yarrall (someone is going to need to sweep up all the acorns and leaves)!

I hope you all have a lovely Anzac Weekend.

Apart, but together as one. We will remember them. #StandAtDawn

Ngā mihi nui,
Jo Grant
Principal/ Tumuaki

Updated: 21.04.2020

Kia ora families,

As you will be aware, New Zealand is moving to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 next Tuesday 28th April.

The Government advice is that parents and caregivers keep their children at home and maintain distance learning where that is possible. For children of parents and caregivers that will return to work under level 3, schools will be open from Wednesday 29th April.

We are asking that ALL FAMILIES complete this survey (link below) so we can plan for our return to Level 3 School for SOME children. If you could please respond to this survey by Wednesday 3pm (tomorrow) so we have all the information required to enable us to finalise planning.

We are thrilled to be able to continue to support every family with either PRIDE Online (distance), or PRIDE Online (at school) learning.

The survey link outlines the guidelines for how our school will operate under Alert Level 3. If you have any questions or would like to discuss this further, please contact the Deputy Principals: either Claire Martin (claire@upperhuttschool.nz) or Lee Ewington (lee@upperhuttschool.nz).

Fill out the survey now please - click here 🙂

Ngā mihi nui,
Jo Grant
Principal/ TumuakiNgā mihi nui,

Updated: 20.04.2020

Kia ora koutou,

We hope that Term 2 and our distance learning programme has been a success for you so far. We know there will have been any 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.

Today the Government decided that we will move into Alert Level 3 on 28 April. That means we will be open to receive students from the 29 April. We will start to prepare our site from tomorrow.

The key message for you is that if you can, you should keep your child at home. You should only physically send your child to school if you 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.

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.

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

We will be in touch with you later this week to find out whether you can keep your child learning from home, or need your child to attend in person.

The Ministry of Education has advised that they are working closely with health 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.

For now, we will continue to support your child’s learning by distance while we progress our planning for what Alert Level 3 will mean for you and for our school. We will be in touch again soon with more information. As you have been doing, please keep connecting with your teachers with any questions you might have.

Ngā mihi nui,
Jo Grant

Updated: 17.04.2020

Kia ora families,

Let me start by thanking all of you for the positivity and support shown towards our school in these first three days of distance learning. Our goal for this week was to connect with every child/ family and for the children to understand what learning was available for them. You all did a great job - the wonderful teachers who have worked so hard, and you, the wonderful parents helping and supporting the children with what to do, logging in and passwords etc. An awesome team 🙂

You will no doubt have heard the Prime Minister outline the high level descriptions of COVID-19 alert levels, with a focus on alert level 3. Please note: We are still at alert level 4.

At this stage, we are awaiting further detail and information as to what level 3 will look like, specifically for schools and when the country will go into level 3.  We hope to have that information next week.

I want to assure you that once we have this information, we will be in touch to inform and consult with you about a plan moving forward.

What is clear, is that school at level 3 will not be a return to ‘normal’ schooling as we knew it. The emphasis continues to be on students staying at home if possible. It is also clear that it will be many days before we have a plan in place. This will be to ensure that our pandemic planning is thorough (with the latest guidance and information) and to ensure the school is cleaned and any maintenance required is completed (we have some broken fences, gates, water damage etc).  As always, our focus will be on the safety of staff, students and families.

I will be in touch when I have more information next week.

Take care everyone.
Jo Grant - Tumuaki

Updated: 14.04.2020

Kia ora e te whānau,

Key info in this email:
 * Tomorrow is the start of Term Two
 * When will we be allowed to go back to school?
 * Keeping your kids safe while they are using their devices
 * Link to NZ TV learning
 * Accessing PRIDE Online

Tomorrow is the start of Term Two!
Here we are on the eve of Term Two!  This is the start of a new chapter in education. This is a huge learning curve that students, school staff and parents/caregivers will be navigating together! Let’s not make the mistake of thinking this is business as usual for teaching and learning albeit from home rather than school. To do so would be to miss the significance of our current reality.

We are experiencing an international health crisis of a magnitude unheralded in our lifetimes. It has the potential to change the way we live forever. Focusing on keeping teaching and learning going as it always has, is the wrong approach. To do so would be to miss understand the emotional and psychological impact of this crisis on people.

We feel our job at this time is to infuse any home learning plan with a deep sense of humanity.
We have gone back to our school’s vision, values and local curriculum, to help us drive a plan moving forward. Our number one goal of ‘schooling’ currently is to nurture wellbeing and learning.

As we embark on these new methods of teaching and learning through PRIDE Online, I ask for your patience, your partnership and your empathy.  Students, school staff and parents/caregivers are about to navigate uncharted waters with minimal prep time, a rapid technological learning curve, as well as very little certainty as to what exactly they are preparing for. There are many challenges for families and staff.  Now more than ever we need the ‘A.R’ part of   P.R.I.D.E C.A.R (adaptability and resilience). I want to thank the teachers who have worked hard over the last two weeks preparing for Term Two. It has pushed many out of comfort zones - but WE ARE READY. Not only are we ready, we are excited about the possibilities and opportunities! Will we get everything right and perfect at the start - we won't!   Will your teachers be working hard every day to try and make this work for every family - you bet we will!

T H A N K  Y O U so much for your feedback through the survey we sent out last week. Your feedback about how things have been going for you family, what has been working, what has been hard and how we can best support ‘distance learning’ through P.R.I.D.E Online, has been used to plan for the first week of Term Two, starting tomorrow. Here is a link to the summary. Our plan after reading your feedback is to keep it simple; and not overcomplicate it. A few tasks each day that build routines that the children themselves can manage. You will receive an email from your teacher today about the start of Term Two.

When will we be allowed to go back to school?
Many of you will have seen differing reports in the media about when and how schools will reopen once we move down from Alert Level 4. There is a lot of misinformation out there so I thought it best to clarify for you, what I know from the Ministry of Education.
The four main points are:

1. No decision has been made yet about when schools will reopen. This decision will be made based on data about the spread of Covid-19 and how we are going about stamping it out. It is unlikely that a decision will be made before 20 April.

2. The very earliest schools would open would be 29 April. This would likely only be for SOME students, not all.

3. The Ministry (and we) are preparing for several possible scenarios - opening only for staff, opening for essential workers' children, opening in shifts so that children can stay 2m apart, opening for just senior students, a combination of distance and on-site learning, staggered opening, not opening for a number of weeks etc. We want to be prepared for whatever the decision is, once the data becomes clear.

4. There will be ample notice before schools open. They will not be closed one day and open the next. We will be given ample time to ensure that the school has a deep-clean, that our planning for the term is completed and that we put in place any H&S regulations.

Chris Hipkins is, this week, working on guidelines for what Alert Level 3 could look like for schools. We look forward to his guidance on this matter.

Keeping your kids safe while they are using their devices:
At Upper Hutt School we have significant ‘firewall and filtering’ systems that keep your child ‘safe’ while they are online. Most of you will not have these systems at home. However one of the MoE systems we use (N4L) have now provided a filter system that you can have at home too.

FREE N4L safety filter for all students
We've set up a safety filter that parents can set up on their child's learning devices from home. Just go to switchonsafety.co.nz to find clear instructions on how to do this.

The free N4L safety filter (by global cyber-security leader, Akamai) blocks websites containing known cyber threats like phishing scams, malicious content and viruses, while also protecting children from content deemed the worst of the web (like adult sites).

It is an extension of one of the many safety and security services we have in place at schools and is a valuable layer of protection to help keep children safe online. Please remember that technology is not a silver bullet and the filter should be used in combination with Netsafe's online parent safety toolkit.
How does it work?

Once a child's device is set up, all internet search requests will go through the safety filter which checks if the website they are trying to visit is safe before allowing access. If it's a website that's known to be unsafe, then it will be blocked. The safety filter is applied to the child's device, so parents' devices are not affected.

Link to NZ TV learning:
You may have heard that the Ministry of Education has launched a TV Education Learning channel. Here is the link with all the key information. https://www.education.govt.nz/…/tv-edu…  Learning TV

Accessing PRIDE Online:
Some of you may have seen on facebook that we have videoed teachers saying our start of day and end of day karakia. This is so your child can start and end the day the same way they would if they were at school. Here is a video from Miss Retter explaining how to get into and use our School PRIDE Online portal. Enjoy 🙂https://youtu.be/pumNlDJG_Wc.  The links to the start and end of day karakia and everything you will need are up on PRIDE Online.

We are ready for Term Two! Lets do this together 🙂

Ngā mihi nui,
Jo Grant

Updated: 3.04.2020

Kia ora families,

A week and a half into the lockdown! Hope you are all happy and well <3

Next week teachers are meeting for a 'virtual teacher only planning day'. This is where we will be planning the shape of learning support for Term Two. What we know, is that for some of Term Two at least, this will include distance learning (learning from home). We are calling this distance learning 'PRIDE Online'.

Before we finalise the design of PRIDE Online, we need some more information from you please. Two weeks ago I sent out a survey asking if you had internet, digital devices and what you perceived the barriers might be to home learning. Now we need the reality from you. We want to be able to continue to support your child in their learning, but we want it to be manageable for you. We are keen for this to be fun and supportive, not stressful. We don't want to spend days planning a whole lot of learning for your child that isn't going to work for your family.

Our questions include: what is working, what is hard, and how we can best support you and your child at home.

PRIDE Online can be true partnership... designed by parents, families and children together (woohoo).

Link to survey: https://forms.gle/5HqQbjgxtdCRUKha6

If you still do not have a device or 'good' internet, please email me again principal@upperhuttschool.nz.
I think we have connected with nearly all families, but there are still a few we have been unable to contact.

I hope you are all settling into a new 'bubble routine'.

Kindest regards,
Ngā mihi nui,
Jo Grant - Tumuaki


Updated: 27.03.2020

I have been thinking of you all over the last few days. I hope you are all safe and well in your bubbles.

Key information in this email:
* clarification of school holiday dates
* launch of 'P.R.I.D.E Online' learning space
* how we will be connecting with you
* a learning devices for your child at home?
* wellbeing links

The school holiday dates (and key dates) are:
28 March School holidays begin
10 – 14 April Easter including the Tuesday after Easter
15 April Term 2 begins (through distance learning)
27 April ANZAC Day observed

For the next two weeks teachers will be working hard designing the 'new way' of teaching and learning. It is important to me, that teachers also have time to be with their families and create their 'new normal'. I have asked them to set their emails onto 'auto response' to say they are on holiday and will be in touch with you at the start of next term. If you have something important or urgent over the next two weeks, please contact me directly at principal@upperhuttschool.nz

P.R.I.D.E Online:
'P.R.I.D.E Online' is the name we have made up to capture the 'new way' that teaching and learning will be delivered to your children during the school closure. Teachers will be connecting with you/ your children through email or See Saw. There will be key learning, teaching, 1-1 connecting between children and their teachers, activities, challenges etc each school day. We appreciate that the learning will need to be flexible to ensure it works for your family. Teachers will be in touch with you just before the start of next term to share what 'Day One' will look like. We are all new at this! Thank you in advance for your patience, support and partnership as we design new and exciting ways to learn during a lock down.

Here is the link to our brand new P.R.I.DE Online webpages 🙂 🙂
I want to thank the teachers for all they have achieved this week - from 'paper take home kits' to a digital 'PRIDE Online' site. This 'site' has a list of the what we think, are some of the best online learning sites for your children. These are the sites teachers will be supporting them with. There are links about maths, reading, writing, wellbeing, Te Reo and Home PRIDE challenges etc (whoo hoo - start getting excited). A one stop space for you 🙂 All teachers will be emailing you the passwords needed to access all these sites.

How we will be connecting with you:
Over the next weeks we will primarily be connecting with you through email and See Saw. If you have not joined up to See Saw we urge you to do it now! Teachers will have sent you information about how to do this. If you are not sure how to do it, please email your teachers directly. It is really important that we have your correct email and you and your child are connected to See Saw.

A learning device at home:
Last week we sent home a survey (paper and email) and asked all of you to respond with whether or not you had internet connection and if you had a device your child could use at home for learning. For families who indicated they did not have a device, we loaned out a school device. If you do not have a learning device for your child, please contact me directly at principal@upperhuttschool.nz

Wellbeing for all:
Just want to finish off with some sites to support you and your family with you wellbeing. A lockdown is new for all of us, and we will all need support over the coming weeks.

Supporting conversations with children about COVID-19 - http://education.govt.nz/school/health-safety-and-wellbeing/pastoral-care-and-wellbeing/talking-to-children-about-covid-19-coronavirus/.

Wellbeing Resources/ Links:
The Ministry of Health’s website includes Top ways to look after your mental wellbeing during the Covid-19 lockdown.
https://www.iamhope.org.nz/ - I AM HOPE is the youth and community focused support group run by The Key to Life Charitable Trust, started by Mike King.
https://www.facebook.com/nathanwallisxfactoreducation/ - Nathan Wallis has some helpful videos on his Facebook page for parents and whānau
https://www.mentalhealth.org.nz/get-help/covid-19/ - tips on looking after mental health and wellbeing during COVID-19 from the Mental Health foundation
https://depression.org.nz/covid-19/ - a website by the Health Promotion Agency to help New Zealanders recognise and understand depression and anxiety. `
25 Mental Health Wellness Tips during Quarantine from Eileen M Feliciano, Psy.D. – although overseas-based this is a good list and highlights some things particularly important for children. Remember the rules of New Zealand’s level 4 lockdown still apply.

Remember, be kind to yourself and others.
Protect and stay safe within your bubble.

I will be in touch closer to the start of Term Two.  If you need to contact me, please do.

Ngā mihi nui,
Jo Grant - Tumuaki

Updated: 24.03.2020

Kia ora Upper Hutt School Families,

If you are like me, you will have received thousands of emails today!! Communication is great, but today has been a little overwhelming. I'm sorry for one more email. 

The most important thing at the moment,  is to focus on you and your family. Take time to talk with your children, brainstorm ideas about what you could do at home over the next few weeks, care for each other and access the many websites that have been set up to support families with the impacts of self isolation. Reading, writing and maths are not the most important thing at the moment. Learning to be adaptable, resilient, kind and caring are the skills that will set us all up for this new journey 🙂 

The format I have used in this email is: summary points at the top, then detail below if you want it 🙂

Summary of information in this email (read whole email for details):

* School holidays have been brought forward and start this Monday for two weeks 

* After the two week holiday period, schools will be providing 'distance learning'. 

* Details about what ‘Distance Learning’ will look like, will be designed over the next few weeks

* Learning Packs are available for Year 1-3 children at school tomorrow

* Learning Packs available for Years 4-6 children who don’t have internet or devices are available tomorrow 

Key information from the Ministry of Education is that schools are now closed (except for children of essential workers). Schools will close for all children at 3pm tomorrow.

School holidays are being brought forward. Holidays will now begin from Monday 30 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 the schools. Please note the 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.

Supporting learning from home:

We have put together Learning Packs for Year 1-3 children. We also have some resources for children in the senior school who may not be able to access digital learning spaces.  These ‘packs’ and resources will be available at pick up from the school between 9-3:30 tomorrow. 

If you would like a ‘pack’, please visit the school during this time. Junior packs on the Junior deck. Senior resources for those with no digital connections or devices, from the senior deck. Please wait in a line, with a distance of 2 meters. Teachers will place resources on a desk for you to pick up. Please be patient and kind to each other. We are open for hours, so you don’t need to rush.  

That is key information for today. We have a sense of excitement and possibility in terms of how we can best serve you, our school community in the coming weeks. We have lots of ideas. The days will not look like current school days of course, but our focus will be on learning (social, emotional and academic) and digital connection.

We have new opportunities and possibilities. Together we can do this Upper Hutt School!

Kia kaha school whānau,


Updated: 23.03.2020

Kia ora Upper Hutt School Families,

Below is the key information from the Government announcement today:

NZ has shifted to Alert Level 3 immediately and will move to Level 4 within 48 hours (by midnight Wednesday).

This means everyone needs to prepare for self-isolation over the next 48 hours. Schools and all educational facilities close tomorrow, except for the children of essential workers such as health staff. They will be fully closed from midnight Wednesday, along with businesses except essential services such as supermarkets, pharmacies, clinics, and lifeline utilities. Travel is severely restricted and only for essential services.

Alert Level 4 is expected to continue for 4 weeks at this stage. Schools will be closed for a 4 week minimum period.  Visit our website for in-depth information:


What this means for Upper Hutt School:
School is closed tomorrow and will only be open for children of 'essential workers'.

Over the next week, teachers will be designing and planning what 'learning at home' will look like. We are thinking of a range of learning activities that are engaging, flexible and enjoyable for all (including parents 😉 We appreciate each family will have different challenges and any learning needs to cater for everyone. Our goal with home learning is to help provide some 'normality and routines' for families to help them through the weeks ahead. More details to follow.

In the next few days we want your focus to be on your family, your wellbeing, and planning for self isolation. Here is the link to the COVID-19 Self Isolation Help page. https://covid19.govt.nz/how-were-uniting/self-isolation/

Please check the school website for regular updates. Here is the link: https://www.upperhuttschool.nz/covid-19/

Updates will be via the website or email. If you have questions, please email admin@upperhuttschool.nz and staff will get back to you as soon as possible.

Take care of yourself, your families. Be KIND and patient.

Kia kaha & arohanui,
Jo Grant
Principal/ Tumuaki

Updated: 22.03.2020

Just a few important reminders and updates regarding the CoronaVirus and what our school is doing:

- We are still open and all children are expected to attend school if they are well. If they are not well or you are keeping them home for your own reasons PLEASE ring us to let us know.

- At this stage we will not be able to provide 'home-learning' for children who elect to stay at home. This is because teachers are focused on the learning of the children attending school. If the school closes in the future, we will be providing home learning for everyone in various forms.

- PLEASE ALL Parents and Visitors to our school MUST report to the office first if you are planning to stay at school beyond the normal drop off. For normal school drops off- you do not need to check in to the office. We want to limit the contact external adults and children have in our school and so we will require you to be checked for signs of illness, and if cleared will be expected to sanitise your hands and sign in. Please this is about our students and staff being safe and nothing else.

- PLEASE promote healthy and safe practices at home ... washing hands, sneezing and coughing into your elbow and limiting touch or interaction when not needed. Also stay away from people in self isolation and those that have returned from overseas.

- PLEASE avoid large gatherings of people numbering more than 100. Even things like shopping centres please be careful.

- PLEASE be mindful and look after our older people in our community especially those that are 70 plus years old. They are very vulnerable to infection and must be kept safe.

- Please keep up to date with advice from the government - we have this link on our website. https://covid19.govt.nz/latest-updates/prime-minister-to-make-a-statement-to-the-nation-at-12-pm-today/

Not only am I a principal, I am a Mum, a daughter and a sister too. We are all worried and anxious about the CoronaVirus and I promise you that as a school we are doing everything possible to keep your children and our staff as safe.

He aha te mea nui o te ao. He tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata
What is the most important thing in the world? It is people, it is people, it is people.
Ngā mihi
Jo Grant - Principal

Updated: 20.03.2020

Kia ora koutou
With so much information and misinformation swirling around about COVID-19, I wanted to share with you what will happen if we were to have a case in our school community. We have been planning for this and are in a position to respond quickly.

  • As soon as a case is confirmed in our immediate school community (eg. a student, staff member, or member of their household), the Medical Officer of Health and Ministry of Education will inform me about this, and we will work together to get quick and clear messaging out to you
  • If there was a case confirmed of someone in our school, we will likely be asked to close temporarily by the Medical Officer of Health. This will allow time for close contacts to be traced, appropriate testing to be undertaken, and a careful clean of the school to be undertaken.
  • If our school does need to close temporarily, we have a plan in place to support student’s learning.

We know COVID-19 feels scary and of course people are concerned for the wellbeing of our children. Please be assured that with no case confirmed in our school, your children are safe here.  I strongly urge you to keep sending your children to school if they are well. If they are not at school, we are required to mark them as an 'unjustified absence'. COVID19 could last for months. We will not be able to provide 'home learning' for children if you elect to keep them at home. If they are at school, we will be working every day on their learning with them 🙂
Good hygiene is a priority at our school, and we are reinforcing this regularly with all students and staff. We know that practicing good hygiene is still the best thing we can all do to prevent illness.
We are getting the most up to date advice and guidance so that we can confidently make informed decisions about the safety and wellbeing of our school community.   
Ngā mihi
Jo Grant - Principal

Updated: 19.03.2020

I have updated the above buttons to include the newly developed New Zealand Government website called Unit Against COVID 19. This has accurate, up to date information. 

Updated: 18.03.2020
I am receiving daily information and advice from both the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health in terms of supporting our school through Covid-19. As a result of the latest information and decisions at the Board of Trustees meeting last night, the following changes have been made which focus on the health and safety of all:
  1. School assemblies will be cancelled for the rest of the term. We still plan to celebrate individual successes with our PRIDE awards at class and team level (and at home with you through See Saw).
  2. Kia Eke Te Maunga (Fun Run) and School Hangi have been postponed. This is in keeping with the latest advice and guidelines around gatherings of more than 500 people. Please contact the Office to organise your refund.
  3. The Senior School trip to Wellington Museum on 2nd/ 3rd April has been postponed. We are exploring what aspects of this trip can be experienced through different avenues (eg drone footage of the Hutt river etc).
  4. Touch rugby at Heretaunga College has been cancelled.
  5. The Hutt Fest (formerly Polyfest) in Term 2 has been cancelled.
  6. New cleaning measures have been put in place in keeping with Ministry advice. Increased frequency of cleaning with appropriate cleaning chemicals on all hard surfaces etc.
  7. Soap will be put in every classroom so children can wash hands regularly throughout the day (and not have to go to the bathrooms).
  8. We are modelling and discussing regular hand washing, good cough and sneeze etiquette with all students and staff.
  9. We are modelling and discussing not touching faces (mouth, nose, eyes) visuals around school also.
  10. Teachers are discussing proper use of drinking fountains (visuals around school also). Please send all children with a named drink bottle.
For Upper Hutt School,  it is business as usual - a calm focus on learning and well-being. Our Pandemic Plan is up to date and we are reviewing it regularly with the updated information we are receiving. Our school P.R.I.D.E.  C.A.R will help drive us through times of challenge and change.
The feedback from you about online learning (via the survey sent out yesterday) was invaluable in terms of us starting to plan for possible school closures. Thank you! Our staff are committed to supporting our school to keep 'learning' with a sense of routine and 'normality' through any closures. It was fantastic to hear staff brainstorming possible ideas about how we might make this work for every family through inclusive, flexible and responsive planning. Watch this space 🙂
To finish I wanted to share a quote I saw last night...
You can't calm the storm...so stop trying.   What you can do is calm yourself.  The storm will pass.
Children are watching us all carefully, to learn about how to cope with new and uncharted territory. Modelling calm and care of ourselves and others, will help teach them real life resilience and adaptability (as well as our school P.R.I.D.E values).
I will provide you with regular updates as they happen, so you are informed of what is happening for your tamariki.

Ngā mihi maioha,
Jo Grant
Principal / Tumuaki

Updated: 17.3.2020

Information about Covid19 is changing rapidly. The purpose of this page is to keep you updated in terms of how Covid19 might impact on the school and your children. Following the advice from the Ministry of Health it is important:

  • Limit your child’s exposure to social media. Children often receive very mixed messages about events such as Covid19, and they often don’t have the maturity to understand the issues.
  • Children need your guidance to minimise their fears, while being supported to make choices to keep themselves healthy and safe.
  • Hand washing is essential. Wash for at least 20 seconds in hot water with soap, and dry hands properly.
  • Also avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose.

It is important to remember that we are heading into the cold and flu season. As always, if your child is feeling unwell, please keep them at home. Teach your child how to cough into their elbow and throw away their used tissues.

The Ministry of Education have asked us to be prepared for possible future school closures.

We require some information from you TODAY, in order for us to plan for this possibility. The use of online learning is an effective way for us to continue to offer learning in the event of a school closure.

Can you please click on the link above which has three questions about online learning.

We have also sent home a paper copy if you would prefer to give us your information that way.