Kerre McIvor: How are senior school students feeling about going back to school?

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Thu, 21 Oct 2021, 1:19PM
(Photo / File)
(Photo / File)

Kerre McIvor: How are senior school students feeling about going back to school?

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Thu, 21 Oct 2021, 1:19PM

So yesterday’s special announcement sees senior school students being told to go back to school after Labour Weekend.  

Education Minister Chris Hipkins says this will allow them to sit exams and finish NCEA assessments, something that has been worrying the many thousands of teenagers in Auckland and Waikato who've been locked out of their classrooms and attempting to study online.  

All senior students will have to wear masks at school and teachers and staff must get a negative test before returning.  

But the Post Primary Teachers Association says it has been blindsided by the decision — PPTA president Melanie Weber says the government seems to have gone from acting out of an abundance of caution to a reckless disregard for consequences in the blink of any eye.  

She told Mike Hosking on the Mike Hosking Breakfast that there are myriad issues to work through to get kids back to school safely.

But these are issues that could have and should have been worked on by Education Ministry officials and teaching organisations.  

They must have known the schools would open again ONE day — I don't know why I expected there to be a plan given nobody else in any government department seems to have a plan — but I really did think that the issues of how to actually teach in a Covid environment would have been worked out before the announcement was made to go back to school.  

Not in a mad rush in the days after the announcement.  

Schools have reopened around the world — were there not learnings that could have been taken from other countries?  

Has being locked down robbed us all of any kind of impetus and initiative?  

Or just the government department and government officials?  

I can understand some teachers and students being reluctant to return — when the messaging has been to stay home and save lives, when NZ's largest city has been shut down to save lives, when people's emotions have been used cynically to make them obey draconian rules, then of course there is going to be hesitation from some people about skipping back into the classroom.  

How are you feeling about going back if you are one of the young people affected?  

If you're in front of the class, are you ready to go back?