Schools, early childcare centres closed from midnight on Wednesday

Schools, early childcare centres closed from midnight on Wednesday
Photo credit: Getty Images

All schools and early childcare centres in New Zealand will close from midnight on Wednesday in the fight to combat COVID-19. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the announcement on Monday, when she also said the COVID-19 alert level would be raised to level 3 for 48 hours, and then to level 4. 

Schools and early childcare centres will close from Tuesday, except for the children of essential workers to give them time to prepare. 

Tertiary institutions will close as soon as possible.  

Education Minister Chris Hipkins said funding for all educational providers will continue. 

"Funding for early childcare centres and tertiary institutions will not be clawed back or cut based on non-attendance," Hipkins said.  

"It is important the sector knows the funding will continue." 

The Minister confirmed all schools and early childhood centres will be closed from midnight, although steps will be taken to provide online learning where applicable.

Speaking later on Newshub's breaking news special Hipkins said the Government would ramp up online learning. 

 "We are looking to scale up online learning, some schools are well set up to provide that, and we will be working with the schools that aren't," he said.  

He acknowledged it will be hard for some parents to work from home while their children are at home. 

"I know that is a challenge for some people, we are all in this together. 

"Take some deep breaths and stay calm."