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Back to school … finally

Rathkeale College school grounds came alive yesterday with students back at school. PHOTO/FILE

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Excited Wairarapa school children were shaking the cobwebs off their school uniforms and bags and pulling their socks up ready to walk through the school gates yesterday.

Momentum has been building for both pupils and teachers as Wairarapa schools were washed down, and hygiene protocols were finalised in time to reopen.

Rathkeale College principal Martin O’Grady said his team was dusting off the sports gear too.

“There are many comments to teachers about the boys missing their sports,” O’Grady said.

“It has really highlighted how important the engagement with team members in sports teams is to the students.

“The boys are constantly asking us when their first sports team practice is.

“We will do rugby training but don’t think we can do the contact game yet. But hockey, cross-country running, and football will get under way with practices this coming week.”

O’Grady said the teachers “stepped up” to hold virtual classrooms during lockdown.

“I miss the buzz of activity, the constant action at the school created by over 400 children,” O’Grady said.

But he would be warning everyone that the work to get to Level 2 was “hard-earned” and needed to be protected.

“Social distancing and being ‘stand-offish’ is not only a good thing, it is now required to ensure we don’t overturn the good work done so far.”

More than 100 boys arrived back at the boarding school on Sunday.

Not all Wairarapa children were expected back on to the school grounds yesterday to mingle with others because some are part of families who have members more susceptible to covid-19.

Carterton’s South End School principal, Clare Crawford said she had a couple of families with these circumstances.

Greytown School has been running with three ‘school bubbles’ for about 23 children over the past couple of weeks, and principal Patrice O’Connor said the staff and children were “well and truly ready and were all getting excited about being back at school and learning in person”.

The school intends to run a “whole of school zoom conference” this week where children attend with their classes remotely from their classroom.

In the mix of settling pupils into learning, the school planned  to add lots of special and fun events.

Friday May 22 is a scheduled mufti day.

“For staff, we have set our staffroom up ‘cafe style’ to add a bit of fun to our social distancing, and for the board meeting I will be supporting a couple of local cafes by ordering coffee and morning tea for staff on-site to kick start Level 2,” O’Connor said.

UCOL Wairarapa director Berni Pothan said her team was “flat tack” preparing for its adult students to come back on to campus and education ministry guidelines would be followed.

Many of the students were encouraged to continue their tertiary course remotely because it had been working well for them.

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