Coronavirus: Auckland schools expecting low roll call amid 'alert level 2.5'

Auckland schools are expecting a low roll call amid fears of the growing COVID-19 cluster in the super-city. 

Classrooms in Auckland reopen on Monday as the super city moves down from COVID-19 alert level 3.

Secondary Principals' Association president Deidre Shea says schools are prepared for reopening.

And secondary school students are being urged to return as NCEA exams rapidly approach. Shea said it's okay if pupils feel anxious about returning.

"We've got all the relevant products for cleaning hands - at entrances to classrooms and in the bathrooms - and we've given advice to our families around physical distancing," she told Newshub on Sunday.

"It [COVID-19] really is close to home and schools understand that and we'll work with families to ensure that learning continues as much as possible, and students will return when they're able to."  

Manurewa High School principal Peter Jones said his students are being encouraged to wear masks if they feel comfortable doing so.

Jones told The AM Show on Monday while it's not compulsory, masks have been ordered for all students and staff.

Peter Jones.
Peter Jones. Photo credit: The AM Show

"We're providing disposable masks for all our staff and students who want to wear them and we've actually ordered washable masks for the whole school - which hopefully will arrive later this week to give the option," he said. "We're going to try and create that culture where if people feel comfortable wearing a mask then they're fine to do that."

Jones is also not expecting full classrooms on Monday. After the last alert level 3 lockdowns were lifted, he said there was about 60 percent attendance.

"Our community's feeling anxious - it feels a lot closer this time," he said.

"I think some people will wait [to return]. They'll feel anxious, they're not sure - they want to wait and see how things are going before they decide."

Auckland is transitioning to "alert level 2.5" on Monday, while the rest of the country remains at alert level 2.  Auckland is subject to tighter restrictions around gatherings - which are limited to 10 - while the rest of New Zealand is allowed gatherings of 100.