Growing number of schools, daycares hit by Covid cases

Author
Dubby Henry, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 3 Dec 2021, 12:28PM
(Photo / AP)
(Photo / AP)

Growing number of schools, daycares hit by Covid cases

Author
Dubby Henry, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 3 Dec 2021, 12:28PM

More than 130 education facilities in Auckland have had a staff member or student contract Covid-19 since the start of the Delta outbreak. 

The Ministry of Education said as of December 1 it was aware of 56 early learning services, including kōhanga reo, and 75 schools in the city that had been impacted by Covid since the outbreak began in August. 

Among those were 45 primary schools and 30 composite or secondary schools, a spokeswoman said. 

The list was not exhaustive as there could have been cases they were not notified about, she said. Some of the affected schools may have also had more than one case. 

It included all schools that had had at least one staff member or student test positive. It did not include negative test results or extended whānau who had tested positive. 

On Wednesday night parents at Whenuapai School, a west Auckland primary, were told a student had contracted the virus, while in recent days cases have also been flagged at Te Papapa Primary in Onehunga, Marina View School in West Harbour and Farm Cove Intermediate in Pakuranga. 

And in November a Best Start daycare in Glen Innes was hit by the virus with at least a dozen adults and children infected, including young babies. 

For privacy reasons, the ministry was unable to provide information on schools outside Auckland due to the low number of cases in other regions. 

Such cases have been popping up at schools around the country, including at two Nelson schools, Broadgreen Intermediate and Enner Glynn School; Te Puna School, Mt Maunganui Intermediate and Te Ākau ki Pāpāmoa School in the Bay of Plenty; and Kaitaia Abundant Life school in the Far North. 

Three schools in New Plymouth have also closed today after two adults and a child tested positive. 

West End Te Kura Ō Mōrere posted to Facebook that the school was closed as a precaution after a person at nearby Devon Intermediate tested positive, while Marfell Community School also told parents last night it would be closed today due to a positive case. 

New Zealand's Covid case numbers are set to climb when Auckland's border reopens, but most of the eligible population - 93 per cent - is at least partially protected by one dose of the vaccine. 

However, children under 12 remain vulnerable as they cannot yet get vaccinated. MedSafe is processing Pfizer's application for 5- to 11-year-olds to get the jab at about a third of the strength of an adult dose. 

Officials don't expect to start vaccinating children beforelate January as more time is needed to carry out safety checks. 

Some have called for the rollout to begin sooner to protect children before they return to school next year. 

Overseas, children have made up a growing proportion of cases, including in England where the highest rate of positive tests last month was among young children.