Auckland principal says students need to make up for lost time during lockdown

Auckland students are urging the government to provide compensation after the COVID-19 lockdown as they prepare for their end-of-year exams.

Around 250,000 children were expected to return to school on Monday, but many were still too scared to attend.

Steve Hargreaves, president of the Auckland Secondary Schools Principals' Association, says students need to have some compensation to make up for that lost time.

"A lot of students have situations where they can't work at home because of connectivity issues, family stress and things like that and to just say 'suck it up' is totally unfair."

Extra credits were given last lockdown in March, this time - nothing.

Avondale College had a positive case just two weeks ago, but a year 12 student says social distancing is impossible.

"You couldn't even probably get 10 centimetres distancing from other people when you're all crowding out, let alone two metres," said Jack Mcgregor.

The year 12 is among other high school students concerned about his exams due to time lost during lockdown.

"I think there's just an unrealistic expectation on everyone for the amount we can actually do," Mcgregor said.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins said in a press conference on Monday parents need to send their kids back to school because "their future depends on this".

"While I understand the anxiety, my message to parents is that it is safe to send your kids back to school," he said.

"Schools are doing the extra things we need them to do in order to keep kids safe. And we do want to see kids back at school because it's important for their futures that they're engaging in their education."