Auckland high school seniors prepare to return to class

Source: 1News

Auckland Year 11 to 13 students can go back to school from Tuesday - for the first time in 10 weeks.

Strict public health measures must be maintained, but not all secondary schools have welcomed the move, with some opting to remain closed.

Younger students in Auckland will continue learning from home, but it’s understood Cabinet will review if a return to school is possible for them before the new year.

Feelings are mixed at Onehunga High School, with some students and teachers excited to go back, while others are feeling anxious.

Head prefect Dallyn Tafiti says he is nervous to return because cases are still rising but is excited to see his friends.

With final exams approaching, the pressure is mounting, and prefect Acura Chukau says she’s relieved to go back.

“I work better in a school environment,” she said.

Year 13 dean Sofia Kaur says there are concerns among the students, staff are finding ways around it.

“Teachers are kind and caring but also pretty courageous and resourceful and smart so we have ways in which we can work through things around NCEA, around assessment, to make things work for our kids,” she said.

But other schools aren’t as sure.

Kia Aroha Collage principal Hayley Milne says she’s worried and angry.

“We’ve gone from being frustrated to angry about the fact the Government decisions seem to be privileged for particular communities.

“If we think about our young people coming to school then going home to those intergenerational homes, the impact is quite large. If somebody did happen to be a positive case that would rush through our community.”

The Ministry of Education says given the higher levels of vaccination and low risk in school environments, it is safe for senior students to return to school if strict public health measures - such as social distancing, contact tracing and adequate ventilation - are in place.