Schools partially reopening today

Schools reopen today, but just for children of essential workers, and only for children up to year 10. It is expected that most children will keep working from home under Covid Level 3, with less than 10% predicted to go back to school and some schools expect no pupils.

It’s a tricky time for principals and teachers, but at least they all have jobs and full pay.

Stuff: Reopening schools as safe as ever, health experts say

Otago University associate professor Tony Walls, a paediatrician and infectious diseases researcher, said it was “really unusual” for a child to spread the virus.

“Generally children, if they do get the infection, have very mild infection and generally don’t spread it about,” he said.

“Kids going to school are probably as healthy as they’ve been, in terms of respiratory viruses.”

But most parents are playing it safe, or don’t need to send their children to school.

ODT: Few pupils expected to return to schools today

Fewer than 10% of pupils are expected to return to school today, an informal survey of Otago and Southland schools shows.

Otago Primary Principals’ Association president and Tainui School principal Shelley Wilde said some Otago primary schools would not have any pupils today, but most would have 6% to 7% of their pupils returning.

However, Otago Secondary Principals’ Association president Linda Miller said significantly fewer — between zero and 15 pupils up to year 10 — would be returning to secondary schools.

The numbers appear to be similar in Southland as New Zealand schools reopen under Level 3 restrictions.

Only about four of the 1077 pupils at Southland Girls’ High School were expected to return today, and Riverton Primary School principal Tim Page said just two of the 150 pupils at his school were returning.

NZ Herald: Schools reopen after lockdown – but one in six don’t expect any students

Principals’ Federation president Perry Rush says parents have got the message that they should keep children at home in alert level 3 if they possibly can, and many are still worried about the health risks of sending them to school.

Some small schools have also decided not to open because teachers are unavailable due to health concerns or, in one case, not having up-to-date first aid certificates.

A Principals’ Federation survey with responses from 620 schools found an average of only 6 per cent of students expected back at school this week, with 16 per cent of schools not expecting any students to turn up.

It looks like returning to school will be a gradual process.

Newshub: Principal urges teachers to ‘be positive and get on with it’ as schools set to reopen

Iain Taylor, principal of Manurewa Intermediate School, says although personally he would have preferred to wait until level 2 until reopening schools, he says teachers now need to get on with the job.

“I would much rather be opening under level 2 because level 2 is less complex, it’s less complicated, but this is the way it is,” Taylor told The AM Show on Tuesday.

He said his school was expecting around 70 of the school’s 900 children to return, and despite the fact teachers were “literally babysitters” the children coming to classes “clearly need to be there”.


The principal of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s former high school Morrinsville College condemned the Government’s decision, saying it was “surprising” and could end in “potential disaster“.

In a three-page newsletter, principal John Inger said he was “surprised” and concerned by the rules and warned students returning so soon could end in a “potential disaster”.

“As things currently stand, it seems to me that Government wants to pass on to teachers all around the country the responsibility of child-minding, in our case Years 9 and 10 students, so that more parents can go back to their workplaces,” he said in the email obtained by The Herald.

“This ignores the potential disaster that this could result in, with our schools possibly becoming incubators for the virus.

Not surprising to see mixed feelings and views on reopening.

Education information at Alert level 3

Under Alert Level 3 it will be safe for Early Learning/Education Centres and schools to open for children up to and including year 10, with appropriate public health measures in place. All young people in years 11–13 will continue to learn at home.

Where possible, students should remain at home and continue distance learning. Where parents or caregivers need to, they can send their children to school. Schools will be a safe place for children to go to learn if their parents need to return to work, or the children cannot learn at a distance.

Play centres and playgroups will be closed.

Schools will look different under Alert Level 3. There will be far fewer students on the grounds, and they will stay within their small groups. The small groups will help to maintain physical distancing.

Some teachers will be teaching students at school, while others will support distance learning. For those small number of children attending school, the learning experience will be different to “normal” school.

Can my child go to school at Alert level 3?

At Alert level 3, all children and young people who can stay at home, should stay at home. This will support physical distancing and reduce the number of people in close proximity in schools.

Schools will be open for children and young people in years 1-10, who are not able to stay at home. All children and young people will still have access to distance learning from home.

Primary and intermediate schools will be open. Secondary schools will be open for years 9 and 10 only. All young people in years 11-13 will continue their learning at home, and will not be able to go to a school site.

Public health control measures will be put in place in schools including children and young people staying home if they are sick, physical distancing (1m inside and on school transport, and 2m outside), contact tracing, and hygiene requirements.

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