Saturday, November 27

School is (almost) back: ‘Ongoing restrictions have been incredibly harsh on kids’

After three months at home, Auckland students will be able to return to the school gates next week.

Examination with student in school uniform doing educational stress test in classroom 16: 9 style

Photo: 123RF

But many elementary and middle schools will only open part-time to minimize the risk of Covid.

The government says that with the safety measures in place, the benefits of the children returning outweigh the risk of spreading Covid-19.

It has been three months since middle student Julia was in school. She is excited to return.

“It feels like a million years ago,” he told RNZ.

The real school is much better than the computer school, he said.

“I find it easier to learn things in physical school, because you’re not sitting at a desk all day, on your butt all day, and it’s boring.

“Meanwhile, at school, you are experiencing things with other children, with other people.”

Their mother Rachel said that learning their children from home has not been particularly easy for anyone in the family.

“Hit or miss. It’s a struggle when you have two working parents and you try to find a way to balance helping your children with school and also with your job.”

She is happy that they can return.

“I think they miss their friends, their teachers, being in a classroom, so anything we can do to get them back there safely is fine with us.”

The long routine that took its toll was part of the decision.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said the call was made in part for the welfare of the people, and not solely for educational purposes.

“The ongoing restrictions have been incredibly harsh on children, youth, and their families as well. Going back to school, interacting with their friends and their teachers, and returning to face-to-face learning will have a positive impact on their well-being as well as their learning, as they head towards the Christmas holidays. “

Returning students are safe, he said, as long as there are safeguards.

“Public health councils support a return to on-site learning,” Hipkins said.

“Some additional measures need to be put in place … which includes wearing masks for the fourth year onward, ventilating classrooms, which will be much easier during summer break, limiting the number of students on site, and making sure that groups of children distance themselves from each other. “

Year 9s and 10s, who are over 12 years old and can be vaccinated, can go back to school full time to join high school students already back.

But years one through eight will only return part-time, with a cap on the number of students allowed on the site at one time.

Going back to school was what the National Party wanted. Education spokesman Paul Goldsmith made the announcement of his schools a few hours before the government update.

“There are always risks when returning to school. We believe that the risks of not returning are greater, due to the risk of disengagement and the fact that if they do not return before the end of the year, it will be five months that the children will have had out of the classroom When you are 8 years old, that’s a lifetime. “

It will be up to the elementary schools how to limit the number of students, but Hipkins suggested that different groups could attend on alternate days.

Auckland Primary Principals Association President Stephen Lethbridge said it will be up to the individual school to decide how they will handle that, which is a good thing.

“In the Auckland region, Covid is in the community, so it’s about managing the risks … There are a lot of ideas and thoughts out there, and I think what the minister has given us is the flexibility to be able to take on. [the decision] for our own communities. “

By next Monday, before these students return, all teachers who want to continue teaching must have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Hipkins said this further reduces risk.

“So what is clear is that the risks of reopening schools are outweighed by the benefits of having children re-engage in their learning in a face-to-face context.”

So the countdown is on, just four more days of online school for Auckland kids.

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