Covid 19: School bubbles experience most lockdowns.

RNZ could find one of the largest bubbles in the country – Wanganui College School, which allowed about 100 students and staff to stay on site during the lockdown.

Members of the Civilway Girls' College Bubble.

Members of the Civilway Girls’ College Bubble.
Image: Provided

At least 19 boarding schools are in the same position, and during Alert Level 3, these unique schools will remain in the bubble.

Van Brown, principal of Wanganui College School, said the school, which has on-site housing for staff and their families, is taking full advantage of its unique situation.

“We’ve got our online education that we do, we have activities in the afternoon, we make sure we do some fitness, we have some games, we have some time opportunities, night Has movies, and we obviously have a dining hall for dinner, “he said.

“We have a great opportunity to connect with each other, there is fun, there is space and we are very lucky.”

He thought it was probably one of the biggest bubbles in the country, and the decision to allow some students to stay was necessary.

“Apart from rest houses, hospitals and prisons, I definitely think we’ll probably be there for one of the biggest bubbles in the country last year and this year,” he said.

“For our domestic students, under the direction of the ministry, they had to go home. We have only students here who are unable to go home and these are students who live abroad.”

Janeten Topia, principal of Masterton Civilway Girls’ College, has temporarily moved out of her home to help the boarding staff take care of the other 10 students.

He said it was the right decision when the country went into rapid lockdown.

“Sitting there and hearing that we were going into a sudden lockdown that night, my immediate thoughts went to our boarding students, and I knew they would be concerned about this news.”

Wanganui College College.

Wanganui College College.
Image: Provided

“So I hurried back to some work clothes, came back to school and I got the message to the students, families and the boarding team that I was coming back to school and I would meet all the students in the dining room. We assured them that we Keep a bubble open so all students are taken care of and no one in the family needs to be upset.

“I met the girls in the dining room and assured them that we would take care of them no matter what.

I had to make decisions on the spot, so I said my kids and I would move here, we would take care of you.

From nine to three, students spend their day attending online lessons, and on weekends they host a live assembly on the zoom from the school hall.

During last Friday’s assembly, Topia’s idea was to work in a slightly different way by arranging an amazing flash crowd for his friends who watched the students online.

“So I started the assembly as I usually do and said we had a special award to start the assembly and it was going to be an award for an extraordinary scholar of our civilway bubble.

“I said, ‘The recipient is Miss Few,'” he said, “and then we highlighted her with the camera when she came to receive the award, and then we all burst into a flash mob.”

When she was deprived of the comfort of her family and her bed, there was nowhere else to go, said Sella Emily Fue Pova, boarding supervisor at Civilway Girls’ College.

“It’s different and I miss home, but it’s also home,” he said.

“At the hostel we try to make it away from home for them. It’s a big responsibility but it’s really beneficial because you get to see the development of these girls.”

Fue Pofa is involved in activities such as movie nights, campfires, and treasure hunts.

She also stars at school. Bubble jump video., Which he recently posted on his Facebook page.

The school is urging other boarding schools to lock down together so that they can post a jump-jam video of their own as a friendly challenge.

As Flash Crowds and Sports Nights continue, the arrival of Level 3 has given these Masterton students something to smile on.

Principal Jenin Topia has promised to feed them to celebrate.


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