Wānaka schools girding their loins for closure

Wayne Bosley:

Wānaka schools closing is now a very real possibility with the threat of the coronavirus moving ever closer.

The principal of Mt Aspiring College Wayne Bosley said there was a possibility of closing although the Ministry of Education said it was full steam ahead for the near duration.

“There is the possibility of closing so we are looking at and preparing for an online platform for remote teaching,” Bosley said.

“We are checking with students they have access at home to the necessary devices and checking with parents that they have the required online platform.

“We need this information before we can go further. Both students and teachers have to use the teaching programme - that’s Google Classroom -  which is used by most remote students.

“We need to ensure both students and staff are au fait with this as preparation for the worst-case scenario.”

Jodie Howard, principal of Te Kura O Take Kārara said the school was keeping in close contact with the Ministry of Education and it had been discussing how best to support the continuation of student learning if the school was to be closed. 

“If directed by the Ministry to close, we will be able to keep in close contact with our families through online platforms such as email, google apps and our student management system Hero,” Howard said. 

“We would use this platform for communication and as a way to provide learning material and support to children when they are not able to be at school. “At this stage, it is business as usual and we are being updated regularly by the Ministry of Education.”

Wendy Bamford, principal of Wānaka Primary School said she had started a newsletter to inform parents of the procedures should the school have to close,

“We have cancelled all our major events, including sporting events,” she said,

“Our message to parents is that if the school were to close we would continue digitally.

“There are three countries hard hit by coronavirus that have kept their schools open - Singapore, Taiwan and Korea- and we are taking their lead.

“We won’t close until directed by the Ministry of Education but teachers are planning units and work to provide digitally if this happens.”

At the time of going to print the Holy Family Catholic School had not responded to our request for information


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