Getting ready for Monday

Friday 15 May

It’s been a fantastic couple of days working with the staff of Ao Tawhiti Unlimited Discovery. We’ve been hard at work making sure that school is ready for all of our students to return to school. We’re all excited about seeing you all again and transitioning back to learning at Ao Tawhiti.

Today’s message outlines the key messages that you will need to know for Monday. It deals with overarching principles and basic instructions. The specific detail will be shared with students at homebase. This is not to exclude you from any information. It’s instead to ensure that this document is useful and manageable.

We’re working on a principle of kindness, understanding and patience. We know that you will treat us in the same way as we work through this transition.

Key Principles

As I outlined, all schools are open for all students. The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health have clearly communicated that this is because schools are able to met the following key principles

  • to minimise risk through maintaining distance where practical
  • practice safe hygiene habits like handwashing and coughing into your elbow and most importantly to stay home when we are sick.
  • have clear contract tracing systems in place


The first big change that we are asking for you to support us with is not ensure that your child comes to school with prepared food. To manage shared spaces the kitchens will not be able to be used by anyone to prepare food. We appreciate that this is a significant change from how we have operated in the past. We do however need to be able to ensure that all shared spaces are kept clean. This simple support from you will ensure that these spaces remain a safe environment for all. in practice this means that students will not be able heat up food, or make noodles. Prepared food means that it’s ready to eat directly from their lunchbox. In addition to this students will not be able to go out of the building for at least the first week on trust licence trips. This means that no students will be able to go and purchase lunch for at least the first week.

Choosing to self isolate

The Ministry of Education has been clear that school is open for all students at Alert Level 2 from Monday 18 May. They have repetitively explained that schools are a safe place for all. Only students who must self isolate because they have an underlying medical condition or have been directed to self isolate (for example they have had a COVID-19 test have are awaiting the result), can continue to work from home. All other students are expected to come to school. Obviously at Ao Tawhiti we believe that students learn best where they learn best. Our school provides the flexibility for you to arrange offsite learning with your homebase Learning Advisor. I would strongly encourage you to work with your HBLA to establish an offsite programme where you feel it’s appropriate. Classes will be run from school, material will continue to be provided online and support will be given to students who need to self isolate.

Arrival and departure

We have had to make some significant changes to our timetable for the rest of Term 2.1. This includes how we arrive and depart from school. We are asking for your support by emphasising with your child that when they have finished they school, they need to head straight home. If you are dropping off / picking up your child from school, we are asking that you do so from room 1.2 (the dance studio on the ground floor). Learning Advisors will be there to support you with this process. Again we ask that you make your focus on picking up / dropping off and not hanging around for a conversation. To manage physical distancing we need your support.

Once your child has arrived at school they need to immediately go to their homebase space or their class. This allows us to know who is in the building (contact tracing)

Students at Y1-6 should aim to arrive at school between 8.45am and 9am.

Students at Y7-13 are expected to arrive when their first class or 1:1 begins. We are encouraging 7-13 arrive from 9am to allow the Y1-6 students the opportunity to arrive first.

No students will be able to enter the building before 8.45am. No student will be allowed in the building beyond 3.15pm. This allows me the time to ensure that the school is ready for students and then can be appropriately cleaned at the end of the day.

Monday will start in homebases at all Year levels

All students will start in homebases on Monday morning. This will allow the HBLAs to explain how we will operate on each floor and support students with the information they need to engage with their learning.


The Y7-13 timetable is outlined here. This timetable will run for the next two weeks. Term 2.2 will begin the week after Queen’s Birthday.

Buses and understanding

The bus company has clearly communicated that they will be operating at reduced capacity and that we can expect delays. We completely understand that this might mean that some students arrive later than we expect. Hopefully our graduated timetable with it’s staggered start and end, will help with this. The reality is that we’ll not know how much of an impact this might have until Monday. I assure you that we will act with kindness and care for all those all

Sickness during the day

If we notice that you child has become sick with flu / cold symptoms during the day, you can expect us to immediately contact you asking that you to collect them, contact Healthline / GP and arrange for a COVID-19 test.

Parents onsite

We want parents to continue to be able to work at school with students during the day. This is an essential part of our special character. The only three requests we have are that you ensure you have signed in (using the schoolapp process or with reception), that you maintain appropriate distance from the students and use and model good hygiene practices.

Any visitors to the school will continue to managed through reception

Trust licence

As a way to transition back to school, we will not approve any trust licence trips for the first week. This means that students will need to expect to work onsite for their learning. For those students who may have courses offsite that are still running at Alert Level 2, you will be able to attend these courses, as they are a normal part of your programme


We will continue to provide the best communication we can through our school website. We will continue to make sure that this information is as up to date as we can make it.

I do have another request however. Communication is only effective if it’s two ways. We need you to make sure that you promptly notify the office if your child is not coming to school because they are sick or have an offsite learning day already organised with their HBLA. If you have questions about your child’s learning programme, please contact your HBLA. If you have a query about our schoolwide processes or system, please get hold of me (

Steven Mustor – Director