15th August 2023

Kia ora koutou


I'm sure you would have heard that isolation restrictions for those with covid were changed last night, with people no longer having mandatory 7day isolation if they test positive.  


We do have covid circulating in our school community and it is important that people still follow health advice.  For anyone testing positive for covid, the recommendation is that you isolate for at least 5 days, even if you only have mild symptoms.  Household contacts do not need to isolate, but are recommended to do a RAT each day for 5 days.  In order to protect everyone in our school community as best we can, we appreciate your support in following these guidelines.  Information about this can be found on the Covid NZ website.


Our practice continues to be that all children should stay home if they are sick.  If children are sick at school, we will continue to send them home.  We appreciate the effort everyone makes to reduce the risk of infection in our school.


Ngā mihi

Kaylene Macnee



This email was sent: 12:32pm Tuesday August 15, 2023

13th September 2022

Masks and Isolation Changes

You’ll be aware that New Zealand will move to a new, long-term approach to COVID-19. These changes have been made based on public health advice and reflect high levels of immunity and declining case numbers across New Zealand.

This new approach will only result in minor changes to the way we operate, with two key changes:

All the other recommended public health measures will stay in place as we know they reduce the spread of infectious illnesses including COVID-19. These include ensuring our indoor spaces are well-ventilated, maintaining good hand hygiene, encouraging everyone to cough or sneeze into elbows and, most importantly, staying home and getting tested if they have COVID-19 symptoms.  

Thank you for your ongoing support in protecting our community.

Ngā mihi 

Kaylene Macnee


This email was sent: 7:53am Tuesday September 13, 2022

22nd July 2022

Kia ora

I hope you are all keeping warm and that everyone has had a good few weeks.  The children seemed very tired at the end of last term and our staff were certainly ready for a break.  I know they will all be back on Monday eager to see everyone again!  

In previous years we have found there is an increase in winter illnesses at the start of Term 3 as students bring back infections after travelling and socialising during the holidays. This year cases of COVID-19 are increasing in most parts of the country, and we are also seeing high numbers of other winter illnesses.

For the start of Term 3, 2022, the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health strongly recommend that all schools and kura amend their mask procedures for the first four weeks of term to require mask wearing in all indoor settings.

This recommendation does not include any situation where mask wearing might not be practicable, such as while eating and drinking, playing certain musical instruments, indoor sport, where it will have a significant impact on teaching and learning (for example, students with particular learning needs), certain activities such as singing or drama performance on stage, and PE. In these situations, particular attention will be paid to ensuring there is good ventilation during the activity, and physical distancing where practicable.

Wearing masks can reduce new cases of the virus by as much as 53%. It works alongside other measures (ventilation, staying home when sick, and hand washing and other hygiene measures) to protect our students and staff. 

We know that that some are exempt from wearing a mask. If children have an exemption card or a letter from their health provider, or we have agreed that mask wearing is not practicable for them, we will support them to not wear a mask. 

Please make sure that your child(ren) in Years 5-8 come to school on Monday ready to wear masks indoors. Students should bring masks from home.  If students forget to bring their mask, there will be a limited supply of masks here at school.  Children younger than Year 5 can wear masks too if they wish to - they just need to be able to use them independently.  

Thank you for your support in protecting our school community.

Ngā mihi

Kaylene Macnee


This email was sent: 2:05pm Friday July 22, 2022

22nd April 2022

Kia ora koutou

I hope you had a lovely Easter break!  It’s pretty exciting here at school with the bike track development underway.  As promised, here’s an update on what you can expect at school under the Orange setting of the Covid Protection Framework.  

Hygiene Procedures

These all remain in place with the most important one being for everyone to stay home if they are sick - we will continue to send children home if they are exhibiting cold and flu like symptoms.  

Mask Wearing

At Orange, face masks are no longer a requirement at school, HOWEVER as we ended Term 1 in a peak of cases in our school community, we have decided to keep mask wearing in place for at least the first week of school.  It would be useful for us to understand your thoughts on mask wearing moving forward.  Please take 2 minutes to complete our survey on mask wearing requirements.  We will finalise mask wearing procedures and let you know before the end of the first week of term.  All visitors, including whānau, will continue to be required to wear masks on site.  

Pick up and Drop off

We look forward to welcoming you back onto the grounds this term and returning to our 3pm pick up for all children!  Hand sanitiser will be at entry to classrooms rather than at the gate.  At drop off and pick up times, you don’t need to sign in at the office as you are not staying.  Our children have developed high levels of independence in getting themselves to class and ready for the day (a covid silver lining).  It would be great to see this level of independence continue.  If you do choose to come on site with your child, please still allow them to let them get themselves organised for the day.  We also ask that you wear your mask at all times onsite and drop off quickly to avoid congestion.  

Isolation  & Learning from Home

The requirements for positive covid cases and household contacts have not changed.  This remains at 7 days, with household contacts testing on days 3 and 7.  If your child is a household contact, we will continue to provide learning for them to do at home.  

Other notes

Thanks for all your support with our covid procedures to date - it is nice to be facing a term with less restrictions in place.   

Ngā mihi

Kaylene Macnee

 This email was sent: 7:07pm Friday April 22, 2022

13th April 2022

Kia ora koutou

Many of you will have heard on the news that the country is moving to the orange setting of the Covid Protection Framework at 11.59pm tonight.  While this is welcomed news that will allow us to welcome whānau back to school, it is not easy timing for schools.

We have one day left of the term, still have a number of positive cases within our school community and haven't had an opportunity to carry out risk assessment plans for the orange setting.   For these three reasons, we have made the decision to keep our current settings in place tomorrow as it is the last day of term.

Procedures for drop off, pick up and other restrictions will change from the beginning of next term and we will send you an update on these changes before the term starts.

I appreciate your patience, understanding and cooperation with our current settings for one more day!

I'm now one day off a full term here at Discovery School and while it has been a challenging time to start, I have enjoyed getting to know the staff, students and some of you as I have settled in.  I look forward to meeting more of you in person next term.

From the team here at Discovery, have a safe and happy Easter break.

Ngā mihi


This email was sent: 2:29pm Wednesday April 13, 2022

4th April 2022

Kia ora koutou

I just want to let you know that today we've seen our largest daily reporting of household contacts and positive cases among our students.  For the first time, we have had positive cases reported in one day reach double figures and then additional household contacts.  These are across the school. 

As some families will be in a situation where they have been affected by Covid 19, a number have not and therefore it is really important that everyone continues to follow all of the procedures in place. 

Please remind your child of hygiene habits and if they are in Years 5-8, remind them that they still need to wear their masks inside at school, even if your family has already had Covid 19.  

If you notice any sypmtoms in any of your family members, even if it seems minor, please get a test done.  Thank you to those who are making sure all family members with flu like symptoms are staying home. 

We are currently going through a process of risk assesment and reviewing all procedures to that they reflect recent changes to the Covid Protection Framework.  Any changes to procedures will start next term and we will let you know how these affect you as soon as possible.  

Ngā mihi

Kaylene Macnee

This email was sent: 1:55pm Monday April 4, 2022

23rd March 2022

Kia ora koutou

I hope your week has been going well.  As per my previous communication, Wellington is seeing an increasing number of Covid 19 cases and we have seen that here at school with increasing numbers of households isolating which is affecting our students and staff. 

I very much appreciate everyone’s prompt action when households become affected - we have been informed quickly.  Please be assured that the privacy of individuals and families is one of our top priorities, along with managing the health and safety of everyone.  

With increasing cases, it is a timely reminder that we all need to act like there is covid in our community.  Our household contacts/cases are across the school, so regardless of which classes are affected, all of our community needs to be vigilant.  

Below is a piece from a previous newsletter, which is a good reminder for parents:

I know that with increases in cases in our region, anxiety levels can heighten and some people are concerned about sending their children to school ‘just in case they could get covid’.  It is important to note that when coding absences, we refer to guidance from the Ministry of Education and such absences will be recorded as explained, but unjustified.  

The Ministries of Health & Education have both assured us that the current measures in place (masks, physical distancing, ventilation, limiting visitors on site, healthy hygiene habits, use of hand sanitiser, separation of classes, etc) continue to provide high levels of protection from infection in a school environment.    There are also a number of additional processes in place with staff to limit the risk of spread within the staff.  

If you are still concerned about sending your child to school, please get in touch with me so we can discuss your concerns and work together to support your child to attend school.  

At the end of this update is a direct copy and paste from the latest Ministry guidance around isolation and when people can return to school for those of you who need it.  This guidance came yesterday and I’m hoping it is still the same following any government announcements made today.

Please take some time to remind your children of healthy hygiene habits.  If they are in Years 5-8, please check they understand how to wear their mask correctly.  

Take care everyone!  Please continue to let us know if anyone in your household tests positive for covid 19.  If you have any questions or concerns, please get in touch.

Ngā mihi

Kaylene Macnee


For households where someone has COVID-19, the Ministry of Health recommends you apply the following guidance.



Remember, Day 0 for isolation is the day symptoms began or the day the positive test was taken (whichever came first). You should then count your seven days from there.

This email was sent: 10:32am Wednesday March 23, 2022

17th March 2022

Kia ora koutou

As you may be aware, the Wellington region is seeing a rapid increase in the number of covid cases, which understandably, is reflected in our school community and local area.  We currently have around 20 active cases within our school attendees and are just beginning to see situations where there was a chance someone may have been infectious while at school. 

This still doesn’t mean anyone needs to panic or stop attending school.  Based on the information we have at this point, there is no evidence to suggest that the infections are occurring at school and for the vast majority of cases, they were in isolation as household contacts prior to testing positive.  We have a range of measures in place to prevent the spread of infection and still continue to implement all our red level procedures.  

We have had notification from the Ministry of Education that due to the peak in cases in the Wellington region, they will be making rapid antigen tests available to schools.  We have not yet received these, but when we do, we will be in a situation where we can send a RAT home with any children that are symptomatic - this will allow families to quickly be able to test their child.  We will only be giving these out to children that develop symptoms at school and we are in a situation where we need to send them home. We will NOT be administering the tests here at school and families are under no obligation to take up the offer.  

I want to thank you again for keeping children home if they are sick and following all the self isolation guidelines for household contacts.  This is a challenging time for many and I particularly acknowledge the families who have had to stay in isolation for longer than expected after family members testing positive part way through.  

A reminder that learning from home material can be found on our website.  If you have trouble finding it, or need more, please contact your child’s teacher.  

Take care and have a great weekend when it gets here!

Ngā mihi

Kaylene Macnee


This email was sent: 12:05pm Thursday March 17, 2022

10th March 2022

Isolation Changes

Kia ora 

I hope you are all keeping well.  We have been very fortunate in that so far, we have minimal impact from Covid 19 on our school operations.  Unlike some schools, at this point we have been able to continue with regular learning across all classes without disruption or partial closure.  

We  have a number of families who are isolating due to being household contacts, but only a very small number of positive cases within our student group.  All of these cases were isolated at home as household contacts prior to becoming infectious.  Thank you to everyone for following all the procedures, getting tested/isolating if needed and keeping children home when they are unwell.  I have no doubt that our commitment as a community to being vigilant and ensuring hygiene measures are in place, has helped us to reduce the spread of Covid 19 within our school.   

Most of you will be aware that effective from tomorrow night at 11.59pm, the length of time positive covid cases and their household contacts need to isolate reduces from 10 to 7 days.  Household contacts will need to test on Day 3 and Day 7 and can return to school as long as tests were negative and they are not symptomatic.  Positive cases can also return after 7 days as long as they are no longer symptomatic.  This includes any self isolation completed prior to 11.59pm on 11 March (e.g. if a child has already had 4 days at home and remains symptom free, they then only have to do a further 3 days).  Day 0 is the first day of symptoms or the testing date if symptoms didn’t show prior to a test.  If your child was already in isolation prior to the 11th and you need clarification on when they can return to school, please contact us. 

If you need to isolate as a household contact, or your child tests positive, please let us know.  This will enable us to make sure your child is well supported with learning as required.  

On a slightly different note, we held a fire drill this afternoon and all classes evacuated and were accounted for promptly.  The sirens are certainly pretty loud, so if your child is younger, they may be talking about it - always good for you as parents to know it was just a drill!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend when it gets here!

Ngā mihi

Kaylene Macnee


This email was sent: 2:50pm Thursday March 10, 2022

3rd March 2022

Positive Covid 19 Case in our School Community

Kia ora e te whānau

Today we received notification of our first case of covid within our school.  The person had been isolating as a household contact.  They had previously returned a negative test, which means that it is highly unlikely they were infectious while at school.

There is nothing to be concerned about - as I said yesterday, health measures in place continue to provide high levels of protection from infection within the school environment.  

Please continue to ensure you keep your child home if they are unwell and get tested.  If your child is not unwell, please continue to send them to school.  

As per my communication yesterday, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me if you need to.

Ngā mihi

Kaylene Macnee


This email was sent: 1:29pm Thursday March 3, 2022

2nd March 2022

Kia ora koutou

We’ve had a few queries about covid cases in our school community.  I know this is an uncertain time for many and I want to assure you that our processes here at school remain in place to keep everyone as safe as possible.  I have included the answers to a few frequently asked questions.

Do you have positive cases of covid at Discovery School?

At the time of writing this, I am unaware of any cases within our students or staff.  There are a small number of children learning from home due to being household contacts of a positive case.  These families have done everything right in terms of isolation, getting tested and keeping us informed.  

Will you let us know if there is a case at Discovery School?

If we get notification of a positive case, we need to balance the privacy of individuals, with the well being of our school community - both of these things are important to us.  With this in mind, we will inform our community of any positive cases within our staff and students.  However, we won’t be sharing which class or whether it is a student or a staff member.  This is to protect the privacy of individuals.  I know in some schools, individuals have shared the information themselves, which is entirely over to them. 

We all need to act like there is covid in our community and my understanding from colleagues who have had positive cases in their school is that if it is in one class, they very quickly find it is also in other areas of the school. So regardless of which class it is in, all of our community needs to be vigilant.  

What if I am worried about my child getting covid at school?

I know that some people are concerned about sending their children to school ‘just in case they could get covid’.  It is important to note that when coding absences, we refer to guidance from the Ministry of Education and such absences will be recorded as explained, but unjustified.  

The Ministries of Health & Education have both assured us that the current measures in place (masks, physical distancing, ventilation, limiting visitors on site, healthy hygiene habits, use of hand sanitiser, separation of classes, etc) continue to provide high levels of protection from infection in a school environment.    There are also a number of additional processes in place with staff to limit the risk of spread within the staff if we do get a positive case.  

If you are still concerned about sending your child to school, please get in touch with me so we can discuss your concerns and work together to support your child to attend school.  

Can I send my child to school if they have a running nose or a sniffle?

No - all children must stay home if they are sick.  This is particularly important at the moment, but should be our regular practice, even if we were in a non-covid environment.  

The Ministry of Education has reminded us that it is important that any students who are unwell stay at home until they are symptom-free and if a household contact, have returned a negative test result. It’s important that anyone with symptoms remain at home until they are symptom-free for at least 48 hours

If my child is a household contact, how do I access school work for them?

Our website has independent learning activities for each syndicate.  We keep a spreadsheet of children who are learning from home (marked as a justified absence) and will ensure a member of staff touches base with your child at some point during their time of isolation.  If it is an extended or second period of isolation, teachers will provide additional work and work with you to find ways to support your child with their learning.  Please be mindful that teachers are also teaching their classes full time (unlike last time we were in lockdown).  

We have attached a copy of the COVID-19 Isolation Clock that was supplied by the Porirua City Council. You may find this helpful if a member in your household returns a positive test. 

Please make sure you let us know if anyone in your household tests positive for Covid-19.  

If you have any questions or concerns, please get in touch.

Ngā mihi

Kaylene Macnee


25th February 2022

Covid-19 Move to Phase 3

Kia ora koutou

New Zealand’s COVID-19 response continues amid much larger numbers of daily cases.

You may well have seen the headlines in the media about the numbers of cases being seen in schools. Please don’t be alarmed by this.  It is only natural that as cases in our community increase, they will appear in our school.  We have really good systems in place to respond to this and to keep any spread of the virus – should it appear – to a minimum. 

You may have seen Dr Jin Russell in the media noting research from New South Wales about their recent Omicron outbreak showing that spread within the school setting is very low (less than 4% of cases at school infected someone else when at school).  We have seen that in New Zealand too. 

This is why we remain open at Red.  It’s great for a child’s wellbeing and learning to be at school with their friends and school staff, and we have very good systems in place to keep everyone as safe as possible. All our systems and procedures remain the same - there are no changes in the way school operates.  

Your job remains the same, too: please continue to keep a really close watch of your whānau for anyone with symptoms.  If unwell, please stay at home and get advice about getting a COVID-19 test. 

With Phase 3 of the Omicron response, the key change is that it is only confirmed cases and their household contacts who need to self-isolate.  Everyone else, including those who may have had close contact with the case but aren’t in the household, must continue to monitor very closely for any symptoms of COVID-19.

Rapid antigen tests (RATs) are now being used to diagnose COVID-19 as well as PCR tests. This means that you will get an almost immediate test result back if a RAT is used. 

If anyone in your family is confirmed as having COVID-19, you will be asked to notify your close contacts yourself.  Please get in touch with us as soon as you can if your child has tested positive for COVID-19 - phone us in the office or email km@discovery.school.nz.  If your child is required to isolate and is not unwell, we will be able to provide a distance learning programme for them.  Transmission of COVID-19 is still most likely to happen in your home – so please keep doing what you can to keep your whānau safe.  Wash your hands, get lots of fresh air, cover any coughs and sneezes, clean surfaces regularly, and seek advice if anyone is not feeling well. Please wear a mask when you are out and about. There is information online to help your family prepare to isolate if you need to. 

The most important advice we can give to keep your whānau safe is to act as if you have COVID-19.  More than a third of people who have COVID-19 will not have any symptoms if they have had three doses of the vaccine.  Please think about who you visit and what health measures you can put in place to keep everyone as safe as possible.

Finally, we know how hard the impacts on COVID-19 have been for many families in New Zealand.  If you know of a family in your community who is struggling, please encourage them to reach out for support for example to access food, medicine, or access financial support: Help is available – COVID-19 Health Hub.

If you have any concerns about sending your child to school, please do get in touch.  We are here to help.

Ngā mihi

Kaylene Macnee


This email was sent: 8:24am Friday February 25, 2022


28th January 2022 

Covid Protection Framework at Discovery School

Kia ora!

This newsletter provides information about our procedures within the RED level of the Covid Protection Framework. This letter has all you need to know, but there is a lot of information in it, so sub-headings are used to help you navigate your way through.  The first thing to remember is that all children can come to school, unless they are unwell or required to self-isolate in accordance with Ministry of Health guidelines. Our procedures are designed to prioritise everyone's health and safety, and have been developed in line with guidance from the Ministries of Health and Education.  

Key Health & Safety Strategies

The safety of students and staff is our priority.  All staff onsite are vaccinated and we have key strategies in place to minimise risk of harm:

Who can Attend School/Distance Learning


There are new guidelines for schools around the use of masks.  There are a range of procedures in place for staff with regards to wearing masks at school, and there are some requirements for students and visitors (including whānau).

Here’s a video you may find useful in helping children to understand how to wear a mask.  



Please ensure your child understands good hygiene habits (hand washing/drying, sneezing/coughing etiquette and not touching their faces).  Teachers will also remind classes.  In addition to our regular cleaning:

Physical Distancing

Contact Tracing

Procedures around contact tracing remain in place and are very important.  

Pick Up & Drop Off Procedures

In order to manage physical distancing and contact tracing, our pick up/drop off at the gate procedures remain in place.  


Meet the Teacher

As they are a curriculum event, we can still go ahead with these on Monday.  It is important that you get an opportunity to meet your child’s teacher.  Contact tracing is easily managed through our booking system.  All parents/caregivers need to:

Please also use the covid tracer app QR codes around the school.  If you would rather not attend onsite, please let teachers know and we can set up a zoom meeting for you at an alternative time.  


We are currently working with our providers and carrying out risk assessments to determine the status of both the Exploration and Discovery Syndicate camps.   These are two very different camps and programmes and need to be considered separately.  We will be in touch with you as soon as we know more about whether or not these can proceed.

Final points

We realise that with young children and those with additional learning needs, these guidelines can be difficult to adhere to.  In a school setting, there will be unavoidable times where children and staff come into contact.  All of these procedures together ensure we are providing a safe environment for all.  We are still operating within the requirements of the vaccination mandate for school staff and volunteers which provides an additional layer of protection for everyone.  


It would be a good idea to talk to your child about how school is a bit different again.  This includes helping them to understand healthy hygiene habits.  This resource has been created to explain omicron to children which you may find useful.


We know that some parents may be a bit concerned about their child attending school.   We do understand the anxiety of parents, but this is not a justified reason for your child not to be at school – if you are feeling anxious, please reach out and get in touch so we can work through your concerns with you and provide you with assurances to ease your concerns.  After my sign off on the newsletter, there are a few other questions that I anticipate parents may ask – please look over them as well.


Ngā mihi

Kaylene Macnee                                                    



Questions you may want to know the answer to:


How do I contact my child’s teacher?

If you need to contact your child’s teacher, please start by emailing them.  They can phone you, or set up a time to meet (this needs to be prearranged).  If a teacher makes a time to meet with you, sign in at the office and maintain physical distancing.


Will there be assemblies?

We have decided not to hold assemblies while living in RED. 


What if someone in the school community is exposed to Covid 19?

If a staff member or family is concerned about close contact with a confirmed or probable case of Covid 19, stay at home and inform the school immediately.  We will follow MOH/MOE advice to determine the best course of action.