Some parents are apprehensive about children returning to school after the second round of Alert Level 3 lockdown
Steven Hargreaves, principal of Macleans College and president of the Auckland Association Principals Association (ASSPA), says it is understandable that some parents are nervous about sending their children to school while there is still some Covid-19 community transmission.
“A few parents have contacted us directly with this concern. We have been able to reassure them that school is safe,” he told the Times.
“Schools are well prepared for the return of students. Sanitiser is available, hygiene protocols are reinforced and all schools have support structures to help students who may be feeling anxious.
“We have observed very few absences today (Monday).
“Students are pleased to be back – to resume their learning, resume their regular routines and enjoy social interaction with their peers.”
Alan McIntyre, principal at Owairoa Primary, says that there were lots of eager young faces waiting to enter the school grounds on Monday morning.
“Around 767 of the 898 students [85 per cent of all students] returned to school. This is a more positive return to school than after the previous lockdown,” he says.
He was pleased with the fact that parents were abiding by the school’s health and safety protocol of not entering the school site – to keep staff and students safe.
The principal of the biggest primary school in east Auckland, McIntyre says that there appears to be a better trust model and confidence in the school being a safe place.
“Parents were more inclined to let their children be independent and let their children enter from the school gate.”
“All people on-site are required to sanitise. Face masks are optional but a number of staff and students are wearing masks which is totally acceptable,” he says.
“We are managing the school in a responsible yet practical way to maintain some form of social distancing and top hygienic practices to lessen the anxiety of students, staff and parents.”
A letter to parents earlier in the week stated: ‘No parental access will be allowed onsite in the afternoon unless you have an exemption. Please note that the following procedures around pickup vary from the previous Alert Level 2 procedures we had in place. We will be having a staggered afternoon release of students to avoid congestion’.