Students flock back to schools
Welcoming smiles greeted many east Kaipara students who made their way back to the classroom with varying degrees of enthusiasm on May 18.
Following government public health measures, and in line with schools nationwide, Kaiwaka Primary, Mangawhai Beach School (MBS), Rodney College and Otamatea High School opened their doors once again for the first time in seven weeks.
To minimise the number of adults passing through the school, MBS adopted a ‘no loitering’ policy allowing no access to classrooms. Parents and caregivers were asked to not enter the school grounds unless absolutely necessary, encouraged instead to deliver their children either through the drive in, drop and drive out ‘Kiss & Drop’ zone, or say goodbye at the ‘Waharoa’, the only entrance for walkers, and bike and scooter riders.
Adults who did need to access the school were required to sign in, sometimes multiple times, for contact tracing purposes as were students arriving via bus on both entering and exiting the vehicle. Similar rules were also followed for the end of day exodus from the school.
Parents and caregivers were informed of the changes via email, Facebook post as well as video, featuring MBS principal Aaron Kemp who described the new guidelines. Due to an expectation of high levels of congestion and delays, ‘it is essential we all work together to ensure our children can safely return to school’ he says.
Despite the changes, Kemp says ‘it was a fantastic first day back’.
“We have had two brilliant days [at time of writing] and I would like to thank the parents of MBS for their support and cooperation around traffic management, contact tracing and hygiene,” he says. “Staff and students were excited to see each other and parents were happy to have their children back at school for some normality. Thank you for all your continued support.”
Welcoming smiles as school gates opened after seven weeks. PHOTO/JULIA WADE
MBS principal and senior constable Rob Cato manned the ‘lollipop crossing’, ensuring the safe delivery of students and parents. PHOTO/JULIA WADE