Schools back in session for Auckland

Author
RNZ,
Publish Date
Wed, 17 Nov 2021, 10:49AM
Kids have gone back to school after 12 weeks of lockdown. (Photo / 123RF)
Kids have gone back to school after 12 weeks of lockdown. (Photo / 123RF)

Schools back in session for Auckland

Author
RNZ,
Publish Date
Wed, 17 Nov 2021, 10:49AM

Two primary schools in Manurewa are taking different approaches as pupils return for the first time in three months. 

All Auckland students from new entrants to Year 10 - about 200,000 children - are now allowed back but with rules including separate groups that do not mingle, and having face masks for Year 4 and up.' 

Within these guidelines, it is up to each school to decide the best way to keep children and staff safe. 

Randwick Park School in Manurewa will split the roll in two, and have half the pupils in class for two days of the week, the rest for the next two days, and a fifth day of online earning for all. 

Principal Karen McMurray said the school would make sure children from the same whānau could be at school on the same day. 

"Our parents are tremendously supportive ... I know the children are quite excited, along with the teachers." 

At Finlayson Park School, principal Shirley Maihi was expecting only about a third of children to attend on the first day back. 

The school will be open to any whānau who want to send their children to class, she said. 

"We've had several issues around trying to contact our parents. 

"We've got a number of transient parents, parents who've moved out of the area while Covid has been on. We've put messages on Facebook and our school website and we will see today how many do turn up." 

About 35 per cent of children returned after last year's lockdown and Maihi was expecting about the same this time. 

McMurray said the school had managed to get in touch with all but about seven parents, and administration staff had been calling them to make sure they were aware of the arrangements. 

"Some of them are a little bit wary, I think they just want to wait and see and get confidence in the systems we've put in place before they're going to start sending their children back." 

She said parents were generally supportive of the arrangements, such as mask-wearing for Year 4 children and above, and she was expecting more pupils to return next week. 

Meanwhile, the Early Childhood Council is still waiting to gauge the impact on members of the vaccine mandate as children head back to centres this week. 

In a survey carried out on Monday, 31 per cent of members who responded expected to lose one or two teachers and another 10 per cent said they would lose between three and five. 

Council chief executive Simon Laube said it was not clear yet whether any centres have had to send children home due to staff shortages.