Covid-19 Updates

Essential Update – 13 April 2022

You’ll be aware that Minister of Education Chris Hipkins has announced the move to Orange at 11:59pm tonight.

The decision to move to Orange has been made on public health advice and reflects that we are moving past the peak of cases and our health system is able to cope.

At Orange, face masks are no longer required at school. However due to the higher-than-average number of positive student cases reported to us this week, our current mask expectations (worn inside at all times and highly recommended outdoors) will remain in place for all staff and students tomorrow (Thursday 14 April).

Public health advice is that masks continue to be strongly encouraged when indoors. Wearing a mask is a key health measure that slows the spread of COVID-19 in indoor settings. For that reason, we ask that visitors to the school, including parents and whānau, wear a mask whenever they are indoors on school grounds.

We also ask that your child continues to bring a mask to school every day. There may be times that we’ll ask them to wear a mask, – for example, when we are having an assembly. If there are a high number of cases at school or in the community, we may ask that masks are worn in classrooms for a time.

At Orange, students aged 12 and above are still required to wear a face mask on school or public transport.

We will continue to keep all the other health measures in place at school that we know slow the spread of COVID-19. These include ensuring our indoor spaces are well-ventilated, maintaining good hand hygiene and cough and sneeze etiquette, appropriate physical distancing whenever we can and, most importantly, staying home if we are sick.

We are looking forward to a few less restrictions and returning to a school life that is a bit closer to normal.

Best regards

Essential Update - 24 March 2022
Rostering Home

Due to the ongoing impact of Covid on staff and day relief teachers, we will continue to roster home year levels next week as per the below schedule:
· Monday 28 March: Y13 online from home.
· Tuesday 29 March: Y10 online from home.
· Wednesday 30 March: Y11 online from home.
· Thursday 31 March: Y12 online from home.

The college library will be open for independent study. If your child is unable to stay at home, they can come to school and be supervised in the library. Please notify our Attendance Officer by emailing if your child will be coming to school to be supervised on their rostered day home.

Please continue to notify the school if your child tests positive or is absent because they are a household contact.

Changes to NZ’s RED Covid Protection Framework (CPF)

Yesterday the Prime Minister announced that there will be changes to New Zealand’s RED CPF. From 11.59pm on Friday 25 March, please note the following:
· There is no change to masks in education settings from the existing RED setting.
· Masks will not be required outdoors. However, it is still highly recommended for students and staff at BDSC.
· Capacity limits will be removed for outdoor events and activities.
· Indoor capacity limits for extra-curricular activities increase to 200 people, or a maximum capacity based on the maximum number of people who could occupy the space if each person was one metre apart (whichever is lower).

From 11.59pm on Monday 4 April, the education sector mandates will drop as well as the requirement for My Vaccine Pass.
We will provide more information as it comes to hand.

Y9 and Y10 Meet the Subject Teacher Conferences (online only)

· Wednesday 6 April: 2:15pm to 7pm.
· Tuesday 12 April: 2:15pm to 4:30pm.

The Years 9-10 Meet the Subject Teacher conferences are an opportunity for families to meet the teacher for the first time. If you have already had significant contact with the subject teacher, this meeting may not be applicable to you. The interviews are only 5 minutes long, just enough time to make initial introductions and answer one or two questions. There is not much time to go into detail about current progress, therefore if you do have specific concerns about your child’s learning progress, please email the subject teacher to arrange a time to discuss these concerns.

Meeting etiquette:
· Both parties should have cameras on during the meeting.
· No recording either visual or audio is permitted by either party.
· We would like our students to be present at the meeting.
· The meeting will have to end on time, so it may end abruptly (in this case, please do not be offended).
· If either party is not satisfied with the meeting, for example technical problems make the meeting difficult to follow, you may politely and respectfully leave the meeting and if necessary, arrange a time via email for a follow-up.

In Week 9 you will be sent a link to the booking schedule via the School Interviews website. Once you have made a booking you will be sent a receipt to the email address you have provided. You will need to join the meeting at your scheduled time via the link provided in this email.

When you join the time of the meeting:
When you join the meeting in Teams, you will be asked to enter a name. Please enter your child’s preferred First Name and Surname as this is the name the teacher will most easily recognise. Then you will wait in a virtual lobby until the teacher is ready to accept you into the meeting.

Best regards

Essential Update - 17 March 2022
Rostering Home:

Due to the ongoing impact of Covid on staff and day relief teachers, we will continue to roster home year levels next week as per the below:
· Monday 21 March – Y10 online from home
· Tuesday 22 March – Y11 online from home
· Wednesday 23 March – Y12 online from home
· Thursday 24 March – Y13 online from home

The college library will be open for independent study. If your child is unable to stay at home, they can come to school and be supervised in the library. Please notify our Attendance Officer by emailing if your child will be coming to school to be supervised on their rostered day home.

Should your child test positive for Covid, please continue to notify the school of their absence and test date.

Our website has updated information on it regarding the new 7-day isolation period if you are Covid positive or a household contact

Best regards

Mrs Karen Brinsden

Essential Update - 4 March 2022
Rostering Home

Due to the impact of the growing number of staff requiring to self-isolate as a household contact or positive case, as well as the reduced availability of daily relievers, we will need to continue with the rostering home of Years 10-13 over the coming two weeks:

· Monday 7 March – Y12 online from home.
· Tuesday 8 March – Y11 online from home.
· Wednesday 9 March – Y13 online from home.
· Thursday 10 March – Y10 online from home.

· Monday 14 March – Y11 online from home.
· Tuesday 15 March – Y13 online from home.
· Wednesday 16 March – Y10 online from home.
· Thursday 17 March – Y12 online from home.

At this stage we will not roster home Year 9 but we may need to in the future if the covering of classes becomes untenable.

We will also have a new rotation on Fridays. Starting next Friday (11 March) we will swap Periods 1 and 5 over until the end of the term. This will allow our Years 12 and 13 students to leave at 1:30pm if they have a study period after lunch.

The college library will be open for independent study. If your child is unable to stay at home, they can come to school and be supervised in the library. Please notify our Attendance Officer by emailing if your child will be coming to school to be supervised on their rostered day home.

Please remember that our website has further information on it if you are Covid positive or a household contact

Unwell Students

It is alarming to see the growing number of students who are coming to school unwell and are having to be sent home by the school nurse. For the health and safety of other students and our staff, you must keep them home if they are sick.

Botany Bulletin

The latest edition of the Botany Bulletin is now available on the BDSC website and on our Facebook page

Best regards

Mrs Karen Brinsden

Essential Update - 21 February 2022

We continue to field queries from our community regarding COVID-19 and the associated requirements as set by the Ministry of Health (MOH).
I thought it important to overview MOH’s current requirements and our expectations as we continue to manage the inevitable increase in COVID-19 cases in the coming weeks.

Stay home, if unwell:

Firstly, now more than ever, it is important that students stay home if unwell. Please ensure you contact our Attendance Officer to let us know. It is particularly important that you let us know if your young person has been a close contact and when they are being tested (Day 5). You must contact us immediately if your young person has a positive COVID-19 test. You can do this by emailing our School Nurse (Mrs Karyn Wilson)

Students required to self-isolate or waiting for a test result will be encouraged to continue learning from home as much as possible while they are unable to attend classes onsite.

What happens if a student has been at school whilst infectious?

As soon as we are aware of a student or staff having COVID-19 we follow the Ministry of Education guidelines. This involves:

  • Ensuring the student or staff member remains at home.
    Ascertaining when they were infectious and identifying all possible close contacts.
  • We then contact all students and/or parents and caregivers of any possible close contacts and ask them to remain home and get tested (currently on Day 5).
  • The College remains open.
  • Teaching and learning continues from home for any students having to self-isolate. Students should email their subject teachers for work.

In Phase 2, cases of Omicron have spread in the community and we need to minimise and further slow the spread

Things you can do to protect yourself through all phases:
  • Get your COVID-19 booster shot.
  • Continue to wear your mask correctly, scan and pass wherever you go.
  • Maintain good hygiene and physical distancing.
  • Stay home if unwell.

In the meantime, please continue to look after yourselves and those around you.

Thank you for your continued support of the public health measures and prompt action in notifying the college of any close contact or positive case. Also thank you for continuing to be kind and helpful in your dealings with us.

Ngā mihi nui

Mrs Karen Brinsden

Essential Update - 14 February 2022

We are sending out this communication to provide an update on the COVID-19 case that we alerted you to yesterday by email.

To those who did not receive the update on Sunday 13 February, we sincerely apologise. We experienced a lot of technical issues sending this out due to the weather.

We currently have three positive student cases of COVID-19 in the College.  We have contact traced all students who were in the same classes and / or shared break times with the positive cases. All close contacts have now been identified and followed up by the Senior Leadership Team.  Close contacts will also be contacted by the Ministry of Health (MOH) if they haven’t already been. The health and wellbeing of our students, staff and community is a top priority.

Your child has not been identified as a close contact and can therefore still come to school.

What you need to do:

  • You and your whānau should watch for any symptoms.
  • If any develop, get tested immediately and stay at home until you receive the result.
  • If your whānau hasn’t been vaccinated, please do so as soon as possible. You can book on-line for a free vaccine at or by calling 0800 28 29 26.

What we’re doing:

  • Our school will stay open as per Ministry of Health guidelines.
  • We have appropriate public health measures and cleaning procedures in place.

The health and safety protocols we have in place are thorough and can significantly reduce the spread of the virus. These include:

  • Everybody being required to wear a mask when inside (it is also strongly recommended that all students wear their mask outside as well).
  • Ventilation (keeping windows open).
  • Sanitising when students enter a room.
  • Social distancing as much as possible.

In addition to this we have extra cleaning, with a focus on high touch surfaces. We have also stopped or modified any activities that are higher risk, for example:

  • No assemblies.
  • All physical activities are outdoors.
  • Singing etc. is outside.

Symptoms of COVID-19:

  • A new or worsening cough.
  • Sneezing and runny nose.
  • A fever.
  • Temporary loss of smell or altered sense of taste.
  • Sore throat.
  • Shortness of breath.

Less common symptoms include diarrhoea, headache, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, malaise, chest pain, abdominal pain, joint pain, or confusion/irritability.  For more information, go to

Please email me or a member of the Senior Leadership Team if you have any questions. Our email addresses are available on the College website.

Kind regards

Mrs Karen Brinsden

Essential Update - 13 February 2022

The health and wellbeing of our children, staff and community is a top priority. We have a potential case of Covid-19 at Botany Downs Secondary College.

The school will remain open for all students while we work with the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education. However, if your child is a member of 9K12, it is recommended that they remain at home from tomorrow (Monday 14 February) until the school makes contact with you. Distance learning will be provided for this class.

A further update will be provided to all the community tomorrow.

Advice on what you should do if you are considered a close or casual contact can be found our website For further information, please visit

Best regards

Mrs Karen Brinsden

Expectations of Students:

  • Put your health and your family first and continue to follow all government advice in order to stay safe.
  • Existing classroom platforms for sharing learning activities e.g. TEAMS, OneNote, email will continue to be used depending on individual subjects and the different tasks.
  • Students are to follow their standard daily timetable. They should log on to the appropriate learning platform at the beginning of each period for each subject.
  • Check your school email account at least once a day and reply if necessary.
  • Remember teachers may be with their families as well so know that they will respond to your emails and give feedback when possible.
  • Continue to uphold our College values (Our Way) in every context and support your friends and teachers.

Expectations of our Staff:

  • Teachers will provide valuable learning opportunities, engaging activities and work of value.
  • Teachers will place work online for each timetabled class and be available to provide more direct support, for instance through messaging / video on Teams, or by responding to emails at that time, or other modes of group communication. This ‘time’ should align with their timetabled class and students notified in advance. This is so that two teachers won’t be asking students to be in ‘live’ contact at the same time.

Concerned about your child’s emotional wellbeing?

Please do not expect your child to sit working on their device like a normal school day, i.e. 8:45am–3:15pm. This is not practical or healthy, nor is it expected. On average, you can expect your child to spend around 40-45 minutes on each subject. Students are expected to meet all homework, assignment, and assessment deadlines. Their Tutor Teacher will be their first point of contact if they are having any IT issues, concerns about their workload, or perhaps feeling anxious about the current style of learning.

We will continue to communicate with you over the coming days as more information becomes available.

Remember, be kind to one another during what can be a challenging time especially those essential workers on the front line.

Best regards

Mrs Karen Brinsden

Be kind.
Stay safe.
Stay home.
Wear a mask.

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