COVID-19: Papatoetoe High head students ask people not to judge school

The head students at Papatoetoe High are asking people not to pass judgment on the school at the centre of Auckland's latest COVID-19 cluster.

Three new community cases of coronavirus were announced on Tuesday night - all siblings from Papatoetoe High School.

Four students at the school have now contracted COVID-19 including one of the first cases in the cluster, case A, who tested positive on the weekend of February 13 and 14 along with their parents.  

All students and staff were asked to isolate and undergo testing last week but health officials are now trying to retest 1500 staff and students.

But health officials have struggled with some. Papatoetoe High School principal Vaughan Couillault revealed on Wednesday several students had made a "conscious choice" to not get a COVID-19 test as requested, and instead self-isolate at home. 

School head boy Flo Akauola says students need support right now and is appealing to New Zealanders not to judge.

"We didn't ask for this," he told The AM Show. "It's nobody's fault - we shouldn't be blaming anybody. We can't imagine how bad the family and the student who have COVID are feeling on top of battling the sickness."

He said the school community is holding up but admits it's been a tough time.

"I can't really say that it's that easy because it's not.

"A lot of our students are really bummed out because we had just started school and then we stopped and everybody went into lockdown.

"Then we came back again on Monday and then we're out again."

COVID-19: Papatoetoe High head students ask people not to judge school
Photo credit: Newshub.

Appearing on The AM Show alongside Akauola, head girl Rhonda Nguyen is also asking people to be kind.

She said no-one chooses to get COVID-19.

"We really do thank everybody because we're super grateful for the support that we've already had," she said. "We just hope that everybody can remember to be kind.

"COVID doesn't discriminate - it can happen to anybody."

The source of Auckland's latest outbreak, which currently stands at 11 cases, remains unknown.