A letter to parents and whānau from the Ministry of Education regarding the new Orange Traffic Light setting. The Minister of Education, Chris Hipkins, confirmed the move to Orange for all of New Zealand at the end of the last term.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. We are seeing that cases are declining. Here is an update on what Orange means for schools:At Orange, face masks are no longer required at school. However 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 schools, including parents and whānau, wear a mask whenever they are indoors on school grounds. We also ask that your child (if they are Year 4+) continues to bring a mask to school every day. There may be times that they’ll be asked them to wear a mask, too – for example, when there is 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 in schools that we know slow the spread of COVID-19. These include ensuring our indoor spaces are regularly ventilated, maintaining good hand hygiene and cough and sneeze etiquette, appropriate physical distancing whenever we can and, most importantly, staying home if you are sick. Current isolation regulations ask for 7 days when positive. Please continue to report positive cases to your school. Attendance patterns for students should now return to the normal expectation of at least 90%. Attendance at or above 90% is known to improve and maintain student achievement. Overall, we are looking forward to fewer restrictions and returning to school life that is a bit closer to normal.