18 March 2020
The Ministry of Health’s Director-General yesterday announced a case of COVID-19 in a school in
Dunedin. The Ministry of Health protocol in this case is; Health authorities have asked the school to
close for 48 hours while close contacts are traced and put in self isolation for 14 days. Casual contacts
will be provided with information so that they know of symptoms to be aware of and where to go to if
they become unwell. They do not need to self-isolate.
As a precaution, the school is undertaking a careful clean of their school so that all surfaces in
classrooms, door handles, bathroom surfaces etc. will have been cleaned in accordance with guidance
from the Ministry of Health.
What is happening at Kohimarama School
Kohimarama School has been liaising with our cleaning company to ensure that they are using the best
products to ensure as thorough a clean as possible of our learning areas.
School Drinking Fountains
Kohimarama School drinking fountains will be switched off from tomorrow. This is a precautionary step
to ensure that germs are not transmitted through use of these. Please ensure that you child brings their
own drinking bottle to school from Thursday 19 March onward and until further notice.
As you have been doing, please continue to focus on prevention of the spread of illnesses by including
● Washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds and drying thoroughly – before and after
eating as well as after attending the toilet. Using a high grade sanitiser as another option.
● Covering coughs and sneezes with clean tissues or with an elbow
● Putting used tissues in the bin
● Staff and students need to stay home if they are unwell.
Local sporting events and gatherings
Kohimarama School, as part of the Eastern Bays and Bay Suburbs groups, has stopped interschool
competitions including the Interschool Swimming, and all other events scheduled in Term 1. Again this is
on the advice of the Ministry of Health via the recent comments made by the Prime Minister.
Our first school camp in 2020 is scheduled for our Year 6 students in Week 5 of Term 2. At this stage the
camp remains booked and preparations are continuing. However, in light of COVID-19 we are adding the
● be aware of the symptoms of COVID-19 (which may be similar to other illnesses in the early stages)
● the importance of protecting those vulnerable to respiratory illness – knowing who in our staff,
in our group of volunteers and in our student population who may be at greater risk?
● If someone were to become ill with a serious illness, do we have the facility to be able to
respond to that, including the ability to isolate that person while we seek advice from public
● do we have appropriate personal protective equipment and the ability to clean hard surfaces if
someone were to become ill with the flu, gastro bug, COVID-19 etc?
Further information including possible cancellation will be notified as information comes to hand. As
you can appreciate this is a developing situation.
Education Outside the Classroom (School trips)
We have cancelled the remaining school trip for Term 1 in order to prevent the transmission of illnesses
across our student and teacher population.
The above decisions are made on the advice of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education. The
safety of our students, teachers and parents is our prime concern. Risk analysis against school activities
continues to be a focus.
Reminder – Who needs to self-isolate?
The Government announcement at the weekend requires anyone who has arrived from overseas after
1am on Monday 16 March to self-isolate for 14 days, and to register with Healthline (0800 358 5453).
The exception is people arriving from specified Pacific countries (“Category 2” countries as listed here),
who do not need to self-isolate if they are not unwell.
People who arrived from overseas before 1am on Monday 16 March are not required to self-isolate,
unless they have travelled from China, South Korea or Iran. Travellers from those countries need to
self-isolate for 14 days from the date of their departure and register with Healthline.
People living in the same house as travellers that are required to self-isolate, need to minimise contact
with them (avoiding being closer than 2 metres apart for more than 15 minutes). However, they are not
required to self-isolate themselves.
I thank the many parents of Kohimarama School who have been in contact with us, kept students who
are unwell at home, chosen to self isolate and clarified circumstances about travel and contact with
family members. Your proactive approach continues to prevent the spread of illnesses and ensures that
we are as prepared as we can possibly be in the circumstances.