Once again schools have had the task of transitioning to online learning, and once again they have stepped up to the challenge.
North Otago Primary Schools Principal Association president Kate Mansfield said many schools felt better prepared for lockdown this year, despite its short notice.
For many schools, it started as a waiting game until last Friday’s announcement lockdown would be extended.
When it was, teachers worked through the weekend to get online learning ready for the start of the week, Mrs Mansfield said.
Between getting devices to those who did not have one or had multiple children in one family, and creating a learning plan and activities for pupils, schools were up and running again by Monday morning.
For many pupils, online learning involved Zoom classes with teachers and self-directed tasks such as baking, that required the practical application of maths.
“They are engaging with online learning and enjoying it,” she said.
“[And] a lot of our parents are loving spending time with the children.”
For now, Mrs Mansfield’s message to pupils and families was “just do what you can”.
“As a community, we have just got to relax and enjoy what we can out of a lockdown, and just take it day by day.”
Waitaki Boys’ High School principal Darryl Paterson echoed Mrs Mansfield’s message.
“We are realistic about how much schoolwork the boys will be completing during this time. Our mantra is what you can when you can’,” Mr Paterson said.
“The boys have been great. They have nearly all been online at some stage in the past two days.”
Luckily, the school loaned devices to pupils who did not have them earlier in the year, he said.
At present, the school knew of only 25 boys out of 386 who did not have access to devices, and hard material packs were delivered to those pupils to continue their learning from home.
“We have been here before and are better prepared this time, having had that experience,” Mr Paterson said.
St Kevin’s College principal Paul Olsen was impressed by how quickly pupils had adjusted to lockdown learning.
Though pupils were disappointed by cancelled sporting events and school trips, their general response to lockdown was pragmatic as they knew it was necessary, Mr Olsen said.