Schools won't re-open as soon as lockdown lifts

Author
Jason Walls, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 9 Apr 2020, 12:44PM
Education Minister Chris Hipkins warns schools will not re-open immediately after the lockdown ends.
Education Minister Chris Hipkins warns schools will not re-open immediately after the lockdown ends.

Schools won't re-open as soon as lockdown lifts

Author
Jason Walls, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 9 Apr 2020, 12:44PM

Education Minister Chris Hipkins is warning parents it would be wrong for them to assume that all schools will reopen as soon as the lockdown ends.

"That's not going to happen," he told the Epidemic Response Committee this morning.

Hipkins said parents would need to prepare to have their kids at home for longer than the four-week lockdown period.

"It's going to be a progressive reopening of the system, rather than a big bang all at once."

The same went for tertiary institutions and early childhood centres as well.

Although Hipkins said that at level 3 there would be more flexibility, it would take a while for most schools to reopen.

New Zealand is just past the halfway point in the four-week lockdown period – however the Government has always maintained that the lockdown can be extended.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has so far provided no confirmation as to whether level 4 would be extended.

Hipkins said the key measure as to when schools would reopen would be based on health advice.

The Government was working on a number of different packages and initiatives in this area for when New Zealand goes back down to level three.

Hipkins thanked the entire educational community for "keeping the system running" over the lockdown.

"It's been incredibly difficult," he said.