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Schools put health, wellbeing first

Student health and wellbeing is the priority for Gisborne schools which closed earlier this week ahead of the lockdown now imposed on the country.

School holidays have been brought forward to begin on Monday, March 30, and primary schools are advising parents to treat this like any other holiday.

Mangapapa School principal Paul Sadler said it was a surreal situation.

“The number one priority for all schools is managing and supporting the hauroko/wellbeing of the students, parents and whanau.

“At this point the priority is for families to be together and transition into a new world of being in lockdown.”

“Our Mangapapa kids and their parents are responding to this challenge in different ways.

“We are mindful of this and doing our utmost to be as supportive as we can.”

Gisborne Girls' High principal Jan Kumar said they were aware of students' different situations.

“Some will be needed for childcare and supporting in the home.

“The main message for our students is not to worry about their NCEA assessments. They are to keep up with the learning as much as they can. I am sure that NZQA will ensure they are not disadvantaged.”

Year 9 and 10 students at Gisborne Girls' High School took home packs of learning materials covering each of their subjects for the next two weeks.

Senior students constructed their learning with their teachers and were mostly working online with Google Classroom or with email contact.

Gisborne Boys' High School principal Andrew Turner said it was important people stayed positive.

The school had been preparing for several weeks and had rolled out an online plan and hard copy learning packs for junior students.

“I guess the positive is staff and students will be safe at home and hopefully relaxing with whanau,” he said.

“Online learning will kick into gear after the holidays (April 15). We have prioritised our NCEA learners and allowed Chromebooks to be borrowed from school for them to use at home if they do not have their own device.”

Ormond School principal Jonathan Poole said they were advising parents to not rush into online learning but to use the next few days and the brought-forward holiday break to spend time with their children and come to grips with the implications around the Covid-19 lockdown.

“Our normal has changed,” he said. “We will be providing an online/distance approach from April 15.”

Te Hapara School principal Linda Savage said they all had the same concerns for their children and whanau.

“It's great to see the aroha shared at this time within schools and between schools as well as across the community.”