Update 6 COVID-19 – Pandemic declared/those at risk

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Whanau

 COVID – 19 (Coronavirus) Update 6

12 March 2020

For all COVID-19 Updates see the school website:

All new information …

You may have seen that the World Health Organisation has now declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic. As noted by the Minister of Health, this doesn’t change what New Zealand is doing to respond to coronavirus.

The Ministry of Health has been working through its pandemic plan since January. You will also know the Government has already implemented a range of measures to minimise the impacts to New Zealand. This includes border restrictions, a requirement to self-isolate on arrival in New Zealand from China, Iran, Italy and the Republic of Korea and immediate and detailed contact tracing of any confirmed cases. It is important to note those four countries account for more than 90% of cases globally and China and the Republic of Korea have significantly declining numbers of new cases.

We have 5 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand and it is pleasing to know they are all doing well and are at home.  Their children, four students at Auckland schools, continue to be well and show no symptoms. While we expect that more cases will arise, the Ministry of Health says that with continued vigilance the chance of widespread community outbreak is expected to remain low in New Zealand. We all have a role to play in this.

For our school, our pandemic plan is also ready to be implemented if needed. In the meantime, we will continue to focus on good hygiene practices. Hand washing and good cough etiquette are very important tools in preventing the spread of illness including colds, flu and COVID-19.

With that, there is a good video clip from Nanogirl that will help your children to better understand the virus – YouTube clip – Nanogirl
You may have also seen the Prime Minister sat down with Dr Michelle Dickinson (aka Nanogirl) and the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor, Juliet Gerrard, to talk about coronavirus:

One other action we can all take is to be vigilant about our own health and the health of our children. I will be encouraging my staff to stay away from school if they are showing signs of illness such as coughs and colds. I ask that you please do the same with your children. Colds and flus are common in schools and by staying away, seeking medical attention and practicing good hygiene, we can all keep any spread of illness to a minimum.

As a school we are offering our staff the influenza vaccination earlier than usual (before the end of term 1) to also support the health and wellbeing of our staff and wider community.

Can I reassure you that any staff or students (domestic or international) who are currently attending at Middleton Grange, who have recently travelled or returned from overseas have been asked to self-isolate for the 14 days required by the MOH.  Can I also remind us all to be respectful of all cultures when dealing with this issue and to show the ‘love of Christ’ to each other during this unprecedented time.

Who are most at risk:

People who are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness are:


  • The elderly: People who are over the age of 60 are at a higher risk of developing a severe case of COVID-19, according to data collected by the WHO and
  • People who have serious chronic medical conditions like:
    • High Blood Pressure
    • Heart disease
    • Lung disease
    • Diabetes
    • Cancer

Children, on the other hand, don’t appear to get as sick.  Very few develop the disease in the first place, and if they do, only a small group develop severe or critical disease.

Thank you again for your understanding and support with this matter.  Please continue to pray for those affected and for those managing and co-ordinating our nation-wide response.

Joshua 1:9

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.


If you wish to contact myself or Colleen Steyn, International College Director, please do so via

In Christ

Mike Vannoort