More than half a million children returned to classrooms today as schools outside Auckland reopened.
The students told RNZ that they are happy to return to Alert Levels 3 and 4 after learning the lockdown for three weeks.
Zack, 11, from Berhampur School in Wellington, said he was literally jumping for joy.
“I was really happy. I was walking around the house very excited. It’s much better at school than at home.”
Greta, 10, said she had mixed feelings.
“I was disappointed in a way because I enjoyed being at home but then when I went to school I was kind of excited,” he said.
Chloe, 10, said she would miss sleep.
“I couldn’t believe we were really going back to school. I’ve gotten into the habit of going to bed all the time and now I have to get up at 7 o’clock to go to school,” he said.
Josephine, 11, said she was happy to be back at school.
“I was so excited to come back and see all my friends and also because learning in lockdown is kind of a difficult task because we have all these projects together and it’s hard to communicate,” he said. “
Teacher Michelle McCracken said it was nice to be back in the classroom, even though it wasn’t normal at Alert Level 2.
“It’s a little weird because you’ve got that extra layer of vigilance where you have ‘oh coffee hand sanitizer and social distance.’ But it’s always nice to be back with the kids,” he said.
For the first time, the government has recommended that students 12 years of age and older wear a face mask at school.
At Wellington College, Principal Gregor Fountain said the Ministry of Education has made it clear that wearing a mask is an unavoidable decision and that schools do not put pressure on students or staff in any way.
“Teaching in masks and learning in masks is going to be a challenge so it will be interesting to see where people fall for it and I have no idea, but Delta is different. Masks compared to this morning during last year’s Alert Level 2 ۔ “
Most of the boys who arrived this morning were not wearing masks, but most said they would wear them later if they had them.
Alert Level 2 schools have three-and-a-half weeks to handle pre-school breaks for the school holidays in early October.
Schools in Auckland remain closed under Level 4 Alert.