School return for Term 2 on Tuesday. Cira Olivier finds out what Bay of Plenty schools are doing to prepare for digital learning.
Schools are busy working with the Ministry of Education to develop e-learning and other distance learning options ready for the start of term.
The school holidays finish on Tuesday when schools reopen for distance learning. They won't be physically open for staff or students and teachers will be working offsite.
Ōtūmoetai College principal Russell Gordon said the impacts of the Covid-19 meant school was "not business as usual".
"Our young people are experiencing an extraordinary period of history.
"The economic turmoil created by Covid-19 will have impacted on a number of families, along with the consequent stresses and strains of being housebound for significant periods of time.
"These impacts cannot be understated."
The school's learning plans involve virtual face to face contact and online resources and activities. Students who did not have devices were contacted about collecting one from school before the lockdown.
Teachers, responsible for up to 150 students, will upload tasks and lessons to Google Classrooms a week in advance and students are expected to log in and work each day.
Students were given a guideline for distant learning highlighting the challenges of working from home and telling them to put their health and family first.
Gordon said it would not be a one size fits all approach and teachers would monitor the programmes and students to ensure appropriate progress was made.
He praised educators around the country for jumping to action and remaining "the glue that will keep our learning communities together".
"I am confident that our children will have learnt from their varied curriculums but they will also have learnt so much more about community, selflessness and life itself."
At Taumata School, teachers were working on the issue of equity as not all families had internet access.
Teachers made learning packs and delivered them to families without limited access, principal Gen Fuller said.
"We want technology to enhance learning, using it as a tool, not the be all and end all."
She said some families preferred structure, some preferred family-based projects, and others may still need space to grieve and process as they weigh up financial implications, employment, future business viability.
From next week teachers would connect with students regularly, provide activities to enhance literacy and numeracy skills and provide creative or passion projects.
Activities would include everything from the Harry Potter book club and online te reo lessons to baking scones or online art activities.
At Tauriko School, they'll be running "quarantine jump jam" allowing pupils to participate from home.
Principal Suzanne Billington said a mixture of online and offline learning would be the available for the school community.
She said parents were not expected to be teachers so should "be kind to themselves".
She said the circumstances were also new for staff, who would be faced with a challenge as they continued to manage pupils and help parents, on top of their own families.
Billington said ensuring children were still social with their peers was also important and internet safety was an important part of this.
The Ministry of Education has committed to ensuring digital inequity is not a barrier to learning.
It is working with device suppliers and the telecommunications industry to get equipment to households that need it.
They were also exploring delivery of learning plans and kits and broadcasting options, such as TV and radio, which could provide another way to reach students and whānau.
The Learning from Home and Ki te Ao Mārama websites also have resources for parents and whānau, teachers and leaders spanning early learning through to senior secondary, and new material will be added to these over the coming weeks.
Advice for parents
• Read: students can read, or be read to. They can also help, by reading to their younger siblings.
• Keep a journal or scrapbook: this can be anything - drawings, photos, plans and stories of things they've done, which creative, practical and helps their literacy skills.
• Cooking and baking incorporates maths, helping with housework teaches organisation, teamwork, co-operation and contribution.
• Critical thinking. Find news items or opinion pieces and discuss whether you each agree with what's been said. Why? Why not?
-Source: Ministry of Education