Rangiora High School forced to shut on Monday after COVID-19 outbreak among staff members

A large Christchurch high school has been forced to shut its doors on Monday as dozens of staff members have tested positive for COVID-19.  

Rangiora High School, located about 30 minutes north of Christchurch City, said in a statement there would be no classes on Monday.   

"Regretfully, the number of staff who have now tested positive for COVID means we are unable to staff classes tomorrow," principal Bruce Kearney said on Facebook.   

Kearney expects the school to be back open on Wednesday.   

"This decision was not taken lightly. This is not our normal practice. We hope Tuesday’s public holiday allows us to reset. Thank you for your understanding," Kearney said.   

New Zealand Herald reports about 39 teachers and 10 support staff have contracted COVID-19 over the past few days.  

Kearney told the Herald he believes the outbreak stemmed from the school's teacher-only day.  

The outbreak comes as New Zealand is grappling with a fifth wave of COVID infections.  

In the week to January 28, Te Whatu Ora Health NZ reported 258 people were in hospital with COVID and 20 people died.