October 1, 2020

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Long term news

Coronavirus: Auckland schools brace for life under alert level 3 lockdown

Schools were eerily quiet in central Auckland on Wednesday morning, just hours before the region was due to enter alert level 3.

One single student – not the child of an essential worker – had shown up to Newton Central Primary School in Grey Lynn and no activity could be seen outside nearby Auckland Girls Grammar School.

On Tuesday night, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Ministry of Health Director-General Dr Ashley Bloomfield confirmed four people in one household had tested positive for Covid-19.

STUFF

Health Minister Chris Hipkins says Auckland is in lockdown three over a Covid-19 outbreak.

It prompted the Government to put Auckland back into alert level 3 and the rest of the country into alert level 2 from midday on Wednesday.

READ MORE:
* Coronavirus: Auckland’s Mt Albert Primary linked to confirmed Covid-19 cases
* Coronavirus three-day lockdown: what it means for Auckland and the rest of NZ
* Coronavirus: Aucklanders should be wearing masks, experts say

Under alert level 3, students are encouraged to learn from home. Schools can safely open but will have limited capacity.

Two teachers stood outside the closed Newton Central School gates under umbrellas donning masks, in case anyone arrived to the school of 300 students.

Auckland students will be kept home from school for the rest of the week after the region was placed in alert level 3. (Photo taken in April 2020)

Abigail Dougherty/Stuff

Auckland students will be kept home from school for the rest of the week after the region was placed in alert level 3. (Photo taken in April 2020)

But the only visitor, shortly before 9am, was the Anchor milk van.

Principal Riki Teteina said some staff members had been on site since 7am to ensure the school was ready to receive any children of essential workers, but that this had not been the case.

No students could be seen on Karangahape Rd to Auckland Girls Grammar School either, and though the gates were open, no-one was there.

Auckland’s Mt Albert Primary School, meanwhile, will be closed for 72 hours from Wednesday morning as a pupil lives in the house where four people have tested positive for coronavirus.

The Mt Albert Primary School community was informed of the positive tests in a letter from Auckland Regional Public Health Service dated August 11.

“A child at Mt Albert Primary School lives in a household where a number of people have been confirmed with Covid-19,” the letter read.

Only children of essential workers are able to go to school from Wednesday. (File photo)

Jason Dorday/Stuff

Only children of essential workers are able to go to school from Wednesday. (File photo)

“The school will [then] reopen according to the Alert Level 3 guidance, unless there may be new advice for the school to remain closed,” it said.

In south Auckland, Kia Aroha College staff will be on-site on Wednesday morning distributing laptops and wifi modems to students so they can learn from home.

The school would then close at midday with a karakia.

Meanwhile, The Gardens School in Manurewa was going for a full, immediate lockdown “until further notice”.

In a message uploaded to Facebook, the school said principal Susannah Fowler would be at school on Wednesday morning but no other staff would be in attendance.

The post said it was “our genuine hope that you will be able to find alternative care for your children” but households where all adults were essential workers were urged to contact the school.

Western Heights Primary School, in Henderson, West Auckland, said it was also closing for “almost all children” for the rest of the week, providing supervision only for children of essential workers.

At Waimauku School in Auckland’s rural north-west, the normal roll of 775 was down to 17 on Wednesday morning, which the principal Gary Parsfield said were pupils whose parents had to work.

A pupil who attends Mt Albert Primary School has tested positive for Covid-19, as part of a family with the illness.

Abigail Dougherty/Stuff

A pupil who attends Mt Albert Primary School has tested positive for Covid-19, as part of a family with the illness.

“We are asking parents to get hold of us if they are essential workers, so we can manage the numbers,” said Parsfield.

Waimauku School numbers fluctuated between 7 and 25 pupils during the previous alert level 3, he said.

Other pupils were arriving back from a school camp during the morning, before the midday closure.

The first of the four Covid-19 cases is a person in their 50s, from south Auckland, who had symptoms and has been tested twice.

At least one child has the virus.