Schools getting creative in preparation for level 2

Schools have an extra few days to prepare for an influx of students - classrooms will open to the masses next Monday.

But those preparations don't go quite as far as in other countries.

A sigh of relief - level 2 on the horizon.

At Wellington's Newlands Intermediate School, the past few weeks have been a practice run.

"There is hand sanitiser everywhere and every student is using it without even thinking," principal Angela Lowe tells Newshub.

The school is already beyond capacity - so space is a challenge.

"We are going to have to take advantage of every space and we're just going to hope for fine weather," Lowe says.

The school's getting creative. Desks for four will become desks for two, and some students will have to sit outside the class.

Water fountains remain off-limits, and kids will be encouraged to walk instead of catching the bus. Numbers in shared spaces like the library will be limited.

"Wherever there's a cushion, you can sit, because the distance between them is absolutely perfect," Lowe says.

Schools are following Ministry of Education advice, which doesn't go as far as places like Taiwan. It's had no new local cases of COVID for 28 days in a row - while schools have been open.

Ryan St Onge teaches intermediate-aged kids in Taiwan.

"They have to have their temperature taken immediately upon entering the school, mandatory masks all day, washing hands relentlessly," he says.

New Zealand is taking on some of these measures - like hand washing - but not mandatory masks.

The move to level 2 and the return to school will mark the end of a memorable time for parents and their children - a return to something like normal.

But schools will need to see good public health leadership to keep the ship sailing smoothly.