Linda Rudolph-Maniapoto has more than just lesson plans to worry about before tamariki come back to school. She’s also collating information on kids' vaccinations for the parents of the school.
Mātihetihe School in the Far North is situated on the rugged west coast 77 km southwest of Kaitāia. Like the rest of the country's kura, it is preparing for tamariki to return and she’s taking it upon herself to ensure parents have access to reputable information as they decide whether or not to vaccinate their tamariki
“Mohio ana ahau pai noa ma nga mātua ki te whiwhi wero I konei. Engari tae rawa mai ki ngā tamariki rima ki te tekau ma tahi tau he rereke ano”
“I’m well aware that for the adults to receive their vaccine was ok, but for our young ones 5 – 11 that’s a different story again”
From yesterday parents of kids aged between 5 and 11 years old were able to get their children vaccinated. However, she says, there are still concerns in the community about vaccinating their tamariki.
“I te wā ka hoki mai ngā tamariki ki te kura, ka whakarite he hui mo ngā mātua ka pā atu ki etahi mātanga hauora ngā rata // 3.56 mā rātou anō e whakautu i ngā pātai o ngā mātua”
Bring in experts
“When the students return, a hui will be called - we’ll bring in health experts and doctors. They will be able to answer any concerns parents might have about the vaccine,” she said.
Health director-general Dr Ashley Bloomfield is acutely aware of the pressures put on schools to ensure safety for all tamariki. Speaking on Māori Television's Te Ao Tapatahi, he commends their efforts so far in the entire Covid-19 response.
“I'm sure there is a challenge in schools but you know, what I think we have seen as colleagues of education and across the education sector have done a really good job, of putting in place these measures around physical distancing,” he said.
With Mātihetihe School so remote and where access to the essentials isn’t always readily available, it's putting in the extra yards to ensure continuing health and well-being.
“Principals and teachers are other avenues to relay reliable information directly to parents,” Rudolph-Maniapoto said.