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19 August 2021 – Level 4 Update

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Kia ora koutou,

It was great to hear that some students were able to link in with their teachers this morning on the Google Meets. Sitting alongside my own child as he joined in reminded me that now may be a good time to pass on some advice to students (and parents supporting them) on online meeting etiquette. Meeting online can be challenging when everyone talks at the same time, or decides to sing a song, or maybe haven’t checked if they have placed themselves and their device in a good spot not to catch Dad coming out of the bathroom in just his towel! 

Below is a good simple infographic that covers some of the good tips we can all use to make these meetings a positive, successful experience. 

Switch on Safety

When students learn from home, it’s important to make sure they stay safe online. 

The Ministry of Education Network for Learning offers a FREE filter to block the worst of the web. The Switch on Safety filter was launched during Aotearoa’s first Level 4 lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it remains available for whānau to continue to use to keep their children safe online.

To find out what’s blocked, read here

Safety can’t be provided by technology alone – it requires a holistic approach. For tips and advice to support online safety conversations with your whānau check out Netsafe.

It’s important to note that setting up Switch on Safety may not be as easy as ‘set and forget’. When a Windows or Mac OS device has the Switch on Safety settings applied, they may conflict with the school’s network settings when your child returns. If this is an issue, we will need to seek advice from the school’s IT provider upon return to school. It’s also important to understand that the filter doesn’t allow you to manage the device, prevent applications from being installed, or control who has access to the device.

To Switch on Safety, you need to change the ‘DNS’ setting on your child’s device. Instructions on how to do this can be found on this site 

Agencies you can contact for assistance in Level 4

Many families may find it tough going back into Alert Level 4. It can be challenging having children at home, being cut off from family and friends, trying to make ends meet and having high stress levels.

For people with disabilities or autism and their support people, the Explore 0800 000421 phone service is available to provide advice or support. This includes advice or support around challenging behaviours. To access this service, you don’t need a referral and it doesn’t matter whether you’re new to Explore, currently on their waitlist or you’ve worked with them previously. The service is available Monday to Friday 9.00am–5.00pm. When you phone the 0800 number you will be connected with an administrator who will then book you an appointment with one of the specialists.

If you or anyone you know wants some advice or support over this time here are some further options that might be useful. Support services that remain open:

  • Women’s Refuge 0800REFUGE or 0800 733 843
  • Shine 0508 744 633
  • Alcohol and Drug Helpline 0800 787 797
  • Oranga Tamariki call centre 0508FAMILY
  • CADS 0800 367 222
  • Narcotics Anonymous 0800 628 632
  • Alcoholics Anonymous 0800 229 6757
  • Lifeline 0800 543 354 or free text 4357
  • Youthline 0800 376 633 or free text 234
  • Samaritans 0800 726 666
  • Outline (LGBT) 0800 688 5463
  • Depression Helpline 0800 111 757
  • Suicide Prevention Helpline 0508 828 865
  • The Fono West (Social Services) 09 837 1780
  • Counselling Free Call or Text 1737
  • Healthline for COVID-19 health advice: 0800 358 5453
  • School nurses Call 0800 153 042, e-mail [email protected]

Work and Income services centres are closed. However, you can apply for assistance via MyMSD or phone the contact centre on 0800 559 009.

If you know someone who needs financial assistance, please tell him/her to call the free government helpline 0800 779 997 (8am–1am, seven days a week). 

If you know someone is feeling anxious, frustrated or needs a listening ear, they can call or text 1737 to talk with a trained counsellor. It is free 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Here is the link to the Ministry of Health NZ Mental Health and Wellbeing resources site. It has a number of links to useful sites and resources for people of all ages.  

Take care and look after yourselves.

Stay safe and warm.

Do make contact if we can help in any way. 

Michelle Tate


Te Horo School

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