Saturday, November 27

Back to school, but still locked up for many

Nearly 400,000 children in Auckland, Northland and Waikato are starting the last school term of the year learning from home today.

Boy studying homework math during his online lesson at home, social distancing during quarantine.  Concept of self isolation and online education caused by coronavirus pandemic

Photo: 123RF

Schools in all three regions are remote learning because they are at alert level 3, although in Northland and Waikato that state was scheduled to change tonight.

Auckland principals told RNZ that re-engaging children and preparing teens for the NCEA exams were their priorities for the fourth quarter.

Carmel College principal Chris Allen said his school would start the fourth quarter with only one student on site.

The most important job ahead was to prepare seniors for the NCEA exams in November, he said.

“There aren’t many weeks left before the external exams start. How do we provide them with the review exercises? We haven’t been able to run drills. How do we give them the confidence to prepare for those exams? That is our biggest concern at the moment.”

Allen said schools also had to meet new requirements, including records of student immunization status, regular staff testing, and required vaccinations for them.

Also, schools had to be ready to reopen on short notice.

“The ministry is stating that they will give us 48 hours notice, but we have to get everyone who comes to the site with a Covid test before they are allowed to be on the site so that we can get everyone to get one. test., and you think of the thousands of workers across Auckland, it could be quite a challenge, “he said.

James Cook High School Principal Grant McMillan said it would be important to mark today as the beginning of a new school term to get the attention of students.

“One of the challenges of the confinement is that the days begin to blur and for our students it is also about their tranquility, their well-being and also their anxiety. It is also for the families to help us to get our students involved again and again. to learn the best we can, “he said.

The school wanted to re-engage all students who had been learning online and also those who had dropped out.

“We have learned that a large number of our young people are really involved in employment right now, many of them in the essential space. Some of them are in the meeting and they greet and direct the staff at the vaccination centers and things like good because of course they have other language skills. We know what it takes for our students. It’s about making that connection and getting them engaged again, “he said.

Auckland Primary Principals Association President Stephen Lethbridge said schools would resume remote learning with an eye on the possibility of reopening.

“We really need to be prepared in week-long blocks. We pretty much comply with Cabinet decisions and any decisions that come out of the Cabinet meeting on Monday and then go to alert level,” he said.

Schools in Waikato and Northland also started the quarter at Level 3 on Monday, although it could only be for one day.

Manaia View School principal Leanne Otene said it wasn’t easy.

“Organizing staff in a bubble level 3 school, as we call it, is very, very complicated. It is a day and we must make sure that all staff going to the school have been screened, have obtained a negative Covid test,” said. said.

Some staff members got their exams early last week and learned that they had to be done no more than five days before classes started, so they had to do it again.

Level 3 was scheduled to expire in Northland and Waikato on Monday night. If that happened, schools in the regions had 48 hours to prepare to reopen as usual, meaning many would not return to classes until Thursday.

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