The sudden shift to Covid-19 alert level 2 meant one Tauranga school had to cancel its sporting event involving hundreds of students with less than 12 hours' notice.
But school principals say the familiarity of level 2 restrictions helped take the pressure off and university leaders are confident of an easier transition to remote learning if need be.
Tauranga Boys' College principal Robert Mangan said the school cancelled a sporting event involving about 300 pupils on Wednesday - just hours after the level 2 alert was sent.
"There is increased anxiety and uncertainty and disappointment especially about our Year 13 school ball, which is in a couple of weeks.
"But we can't control that... I do think we need to be optimistic, hopeful and compliant. Our students need hope for the future."
Western Bay of Plenty Principals' Association president and Tahatai Coast Primary School principal, Matt Skilton, said there had been no spike in absences since level 2.
"People are nervous, obviously, but not in the way schools are operating."
Skilton said staff were refining practices from previous alert levels to help prepare for level 2 and a potential shift to level 3.
"That's helping to take a lot of pressure off."
He said communicating the level 2 rules with parents early on and "giving them a voice" was helping to ease any anxiousness.
"The decisions we make ultimately are to protect the students."
Fairhaven School principal Paul Hunt said having gone through alert levels before has made "a huge difference" and was a "steep learning curve".
"We now have a lot better idea of what the different alert levels mean and what the logistics are for our school."
Hunt said there had not been as many children staying away from school as last time.
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"I think people have a much better idea of what to expect."
BestStart deputy chief executive Fiona Hughes said staff were surprised to be back at level 2 but "swung into action having had prior experience".
"We are encouraging distancing, promoting good hand-washing practices and managing other health and safety expectations."
Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology chief executive Dr Leon Fourie said the polytechnic had a dedicated Pandemic Response Team which met daily.
"They are currently planning for the possibility of moving to level 3 and readying the business for this potential change."
He said he was confident Toi Ohomai would be in a position to easily transition many of its programmes remotely if need be.
University of Waikato senior deputy vice-chancellor Professor Alister Jones said classes were continuing at both its Tauranga and Hamilton campuses under Government guidelines.
Jones said the university had practices in place for all alert levels.
"We planned ahead for this trimester to offer flexible learning, smaller classes and remote learning options, to minimise disruption to students should alert levels change.
"We have confidence in our plans and preparedness at every alert level, and our focus is on ensuring we have the ability to move levels within a short period of time, should it be needed."