Several schools have shut their doors amid New Zealand's COVID-19 outbreak, with a number of education officials calling for widespread closures.
The novel coronavirus has now reached three Auckland schools as New Zealand's case toll climbs to 66.
Marist College for Girls in Mount Albert will be closed for three days after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19. The school has a maximum roll of 800 students.
Co-ed public school Glendowie College confirmed its closure after a pupil became a confirmed case on Sunday. The school has around 1250 students enrolled. Principal Richard Dykes has acknowledged the support of parents and the wider community amid the closure.
"We've been working with the ministry and the public health service to notify parents, we're going to start tracking, tracing students and be in touch with all close contacts," Dykes told Newshub.
A parent of a Mount Roskill Grammar pupil has also contracted the virus after travelling back to Auckland from Europe. His child attended school until Thursday but is not showing any symptoms, according to a letter to parents and caregivers. It's unclear whether the school will close.
A student at Randwick Park School in south Auckland is considered a probable case. In a letter supplied to Newshub, the Ministry of Education informed parents, caregivers and staff that the student is "highly likely" to be infected.
The Auckland Regional Public Health Service has recommended Randwick Park School to close until the student's test result is returned.
"If the result confirms that the person has COVID-19 infection, the school will continue to be closed for a total of 72 hours, for the purposes of confirming contact tracing and for cleaning the school," the letter reads.
Dunedin's Logan Park High School was closed for three days last week following the positive diagnosis of one of its students. Testing was carried out for 150 fellow pupils deemed as close contacts, but all tests were negative.
A staff member at Auckland's Green Bay High School has tested negative for COVID-19 and will be back to work this week. The teacher went into self-isolation after their flatmate's relative became a confirmed case of the coronavirus.
A student at Pukekohe Intermediate was tested for COVID-19 last week. The school confirmed via its Facebook on Sunday that the student does not have the virus. The intermediate will be closed on Monday but reopen on Tuesday.
A member of the community at Selwyn School in Rotorua has also been tested.
Auckland's Herne Bay Playcentre and Opunake Playcentre in Taranaki are also closed as a precautionary measure.
Numerous teachers are imploring the Government to shut down all schools as panic continues to spread throughout their communities.
The Teaching Council of Aotearoa has written an open letter to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, calling for alert level four to be declared.
Chief executive Lesley Hoskin says if the Government doesn't act now, teachers will struggle to see how students can be sufficiently protected.
"As the voice of teachers, the council, on behalf of all teachers, implores you to act now and to move to alert level four, closing early childhood centres and schools," Hoskin wrote.
"The council supports you and your leadership of Aotearoa, but please - help us keep our tamariki and rangatahi safe. We can only do that, if you allow us to keep ourselves and our loved ones, safe too."
NZ Principals' Federation President Perry Rush says the Ministry of Education has been clear.
"They would not want to put our young people at risk, nor our staff. I think the strategy is appropriate at the moment for the degree of spread in our community," Rush told The AM Show.
Schools with a COVID-19 case
- Marist College (staff member)
- Glendowie College (student)
- Mount Roskill Grammar School (parent)
- Logan Park High School (student)
- Randwick Park School (student "highly likely" to be positive, awaiting test results).