Coronavirus: Concern over how kids from low decile schools have coped through lockdown

As schools prepare to open tomorrow some low decile schools are worried about the hardship alert level 4 has put on their students.

Across the country only 4 percent of students are expected to return to school under level 3 - that puts more pressure on those stuck at home.

The gates will roll open on Wednesday but at Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate middle school they wouldn't be surprised if not a single student walked through them.

And that's exactly how they want it. Organising what teaching looks like at level 3 has been a challenge says principal Kallie Ngakuru. 

"It's an unknown for us and we weren't sure how we were going to do it."

But it complicates things as a decile 1 school - only a third of students are able to tune in to online classes. 

"That's the handicap our families don't have devices or they do have devices but they have to share them because they have larger families."  

Ngakuru says the school is like a family - vital for many of her students - and the impact of level 4 has made it more important than ever. 

"It's hard for them at home like food-wise and just things like that. It's very difficult for them."

Ten minutes down the motorway and there are the same concerns at Manurewa Intermediate.

Principal Iain Taylor says it won't have been a pleasant break for everyone. 

"Some of our kids won't have had a nice experience over the past five weeks.."  

Almost 70 students have indicated they'll be returning and the school is encouraging anyone who's struggling to turn up.

"We'd rather not have them there, we'd rather be opening properly at level 2 I reckon, but the ones that are coming clearly need to be there." 

The Ministry of Education says around 4 percent of the total number of students will be back on Wednesday. That works out to 28,000 school students.

And another 14,000 pre-schoolers will return to early childhood education centres.

For those who've been unable to learn from home because they simply can't access online classes, getting back to school is more important than ever before.