Covid 19 Delta outbreak: parents weigh on health and educational aspects of school closures

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There were 43 new Covid-19 cases announced on Tuesday, Brian Tamaki was called to court for an anti-lockdown protest and a past ‘vaxathon’ explosion was announced for Super Saturday. Video / NZ Herald

By Ella Stewart For RNZ

Parents of Auckland school students are divided over resuming in-person learning, with some fearing their children are falling behind in their education.

It comes after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that Auckland’s schools would not reopen next week, with students instead continuing to learn from home.

Some parents have to juggle full-time work while making sure their kids finish schoolwork.

Shannon’s son Maximus is in his freshman year of high school and she said the longer the lockdown, the more frustrated and lonely the teenager became.

“Like any other teenager, he really enjoys his social life and going out with his friends. He’s an only child, so it’s hard not to have anyone or kids his age in the household.

“If this continued and they were not allowed to go back to school and were not able to socialize with their peers, it would be damaging to anyone’s health.”

As the Auckland lockdown dragged on into its ninth week, Maximus also fears the 13-year-old is falling behind with his studies.

“He has to be really self-sufficient and I don’t know a lot of 13-year-olds who have developed this personality trait… I’m afraid he won’t acquire the knowledge that should be imparted throughout the school year in one. normal setting. “

But for Amber De Silva, the experience was quite different. The mother of four said the lockdown time had been invaluable to them as a family.

While lockdown had its challenges and face-to-face learning was always preferable, she was concerned about dismissing them before vaccination levels were high enough.

“We were really relieved that they made that call because we were really anxious. My husband even went so far as to say that I didn’t want to send them to school.”

All of her children have taken online classes at least once a day and completed school assignments.

She said she was impressed by their teachers, who went out of their way to make sure the students were well looked after and felt happy.

Covid

“Our little one, the first week he was in tears about it, then I contacted the teachers and I said, ‘I don’t know what’s going on’ and they explained to me that the class and the ‘school is not usually a part of the house. We have made these two separate areas. “

Sacha O’Callaghan is the mother of two teenage girls. She said that while nothing beats learning in person, she also wasn’t comfortable sending them back to school just yet.

“I wish the kids would go back there, not that I’m fed up with them or anything, but they want to see their friends. But I didn’t think it was safe. They both did. been fully vaccinated, but they can still pass Covid, they can get it and pass it. Social distancing doesn’t work in schools, it lasts about five minutes.

The stakes are high for senior students who are due to complete their NCEA exams within a few months.

Motivation a problem
Emanuela Hopkins, 17, is in her penultimate year of high school at Takapuna Grammar School on Auckland’s north coast.

She said she and her friends were nervous about the end-of-year exams.

“With the uncertainty of when the exams will take place, and if they will take place, it has been quite difficult to stay motivated to do the job and study for something, as it feels like it might not even be to arrive.”

She would also like to go back to school to see her friends again.

“Right now, during lockdown, I only talk to a few people who are my close friends, but when you’re in class you can talk to so many people that you don’t just write on Snapchat and stuff like this.”

Education Minister Chris Hipkins is expected to announce a path tomorrow for the reopening of Auckland schools.

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