Congratulations - you are in the right place - type your ideas for continuing schooling in the unlikely event of an episode such as swine flu, here - click on Edit (look to the right of the screen for the button). Some questions we might face include:

1. If the teacher is absent due to illness, how will we ensure a reliever has the knowledge skills, planning and resources to continue the work of the class?
  • Teachers to leave planning folder with LTP for Term in classroom
  • Teachers to be in email contact with reliever through school - may involve having laptop or computer available for reliever. (important if planning is electronic and not in planning book!)
  • Teachers could fax in notes/planning etc if they have access to this technology at home
  • Could utilise relievers' curriculum strengths/talents and allow them to deliver a specialised programme for part of their relieving eg) music etc
  • Availability of a Reliever's Information pack in class including current reading/writing/maths/inquiry groups etc. Location of resources
  • Support for reliever from other classes in syndicate running same program

2. If children are absent and their parents/caregivers want their learning to continue at home how might/could we organise that?
  • Links on blog/wiki for parents to access at home that link to classroom programmes
  • Page on Wiki or post on blog outlining Inquiry topic goals/learning outcomes and detailing a few activities
  • Teachers gather email addresses of parents and send direct emails out
  • Use of blogs/Wikis as above. Room 3 already has homework blog, using Scribd multiple documents can be made available for students/parent to access.
  • Give parents in advance a list of generic learning opportunities they could be experiencing/doing with their child so they feel they have something to work on, eg) playing board games etc
  • Possibly access Correspondence School resources?
  • For younger children parents could collect from school a week's worth of reading books and support materials in form of photocopiable worksheet and teacher's notes.

3. If support staff or visiting specialists are absent how will we ensure continuation of learning for the children with whom they work?
  • Depending on circumstances Buddy systems using older children or capable/empathetic children in class.
  • For high need children if no TA was available family members could be asked to come in and assist. I know of a case where this is happening in Nelson but not due to swine flu.

    My comments:

    The likelihood of classes/schools being shut down for periods of time because of swine flu (or other pandemic), whether short term or long term, is a national issue and needs to be addressed at Ministry of Education level. .

    Re. Question 1 - It is highly unlikely that a teacher would be home with swine flu, or having been in contact with swine flu, and the class still be at school! The whole class and possibly the whole school would be shut down. If this is not the case, relievers would do what they currently do...read the planning workbooks, read the long term plans, or simply teach to the year level - no education is ever wasted, and learning will take place regardless - so what if the children do extra art and craft, or write longer stories, or have a game of soccer? that's fine!

    Re. Question 2 - Home schooling should be an expectation, however not through computers. Many children do not have access to on-line computers and would be disadvantaged. e.g. only about half my class can gain access to our classroom blog on their home computers. However, all children have access to a TV.

    My proposal is therefore that the Ministry of Education (through additional staff attached to the Correspondence school perhaps, or TVNZ resource personnel) has direct input into one of the TVNZ channels, and runs educational programmes during the day across all levels. There are already many good learning programmes on TV but these could be more specifically aimed at year group levels and with AOs and SLOs according to the national curriculum. In additon, topics such as hIgh interest Travelogues and Inquiry Learning projects can be shown and explained for independent work from each child at whatever level they slot into. Even PE aerobics/jumpjam can be followed from a television programme whether the kids are or 2 or 22! Parents, grandparents, older siblings, care givers or whoever is looking after the homebound children should find it easy to watch and follow television directions. A team of education providers for the nation - one lot of planning only, everyone covered. They could start being on air/screen at the commencement of Term 3. It is pointless every school, every teacher having to plan for every eventuality.

    Re. Question 3
    : - this would probably not be much different from now - the children miss out on specialist services (a child in my class has had only one visit from the speech/language therapist all year, no apologies, no accountability) or there are relieving teacher aides available to cover the most needy. I guess empathetic buddies could work, but continuation of their own education is important too, therefore should only be used as a last resort.

    Prevention
  • ensure that door handles/table tops are santised daily by cleaning staff
  • provide sanitising soap/moisturiser for all children. This requires no water, it is just rubbed in and for younger children the teacher could dispense a drop to each child. It would actually be easier than hand washing with one sink and cold water as we do now.