Advice for parents sending tamariki to school next week

By Jessica Tyson

From Wednesday next week schools and early childhood centres will reopen for tamariki up to year 10 who can't learn from home, or whose parents are returning to work.

Porrirua based general practitioner Dr Sarah Sciascia says it could cause anxiety not only for the tamariki and parents, but also the teachers heading back to school.

“But it’s really important to note that there has been a lot of thought put into this in terms of the safe return of tamariki to kura.”

She says many parents would have heard from teachers about the plan ahead.

“Obviously, safety is number one, the importance of staying at home if your tamariki are sick - same with the teachers.”

Hygiene will be a major priority and surfaces at the school will be cleaned.

“For our particular discovery school here in Porrirua, they’re moving in bubbles of 10 and having family members within the bubbles and staggering breaks, she says.

“I guess the stink thing for tamariki is that they won’t be able to play on the playgrounds outside and it is important that there’s the two metre distancing outside as well.”

Sciascia says it is going to be difficult for our tamariki but parents should also think about kaiako as well.  

“If there’s going to be one kaiako for 10 I don’t expect them to be following them around the school to see what they’re doing outside, she says.

“I guess that’s the importance of us at home, parents, to making sure that we’re educating our tamariki about the importance of safety, the distancing, and the hygiene as much as you can. I know it’s harder for our younger tamariki but we can only try, whānau.”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says attendance for children up to Year 10 to return to childhood schools is purely voluntary, and for children who are able, distance learning is still the best option.