New Zealand will move out of alert level 4 lockdown at 11.59pm on Monday which means early childhood centres and schools will be able to reopen for children whose parents will be returning to their places of work.

Liz Wylie talked to Whanganui educators from early childhood to tertiary providers to discover how they have managed under level 4 and what they are expecting as we move to level 3.

Te Heti Kohanga Reo manager Lisa Reweti said the early childhood centre in Hinau St will not open next week.

"We have decided that it is safer to remain closed as we have our elders living in the kaumātua flats nearby and we are heeding the Government's advice about keeping bubble sizes as small as possible," Reweti said.

"Some of our parents will be going back to work under level 3 but they have whānau to care for their tamariki."

Noah's Ark early learning centre in Tawa St will be open from Wednesday and manager Liz Heap anticipates there will be a number of children attending.


"A number of our whānau are essential workers and others will be returning to work.

"We are prepared to keep children within two separate bubbles within the centre."

The centre has two designated age group areas and Heap said numbers will be limited to 10 children in each area.

She said the centre has good strategies for mitigating risk and robust health and safety procedures in place.

Durie Hill School principal Geoff Simes said distance learning during the past two weeks had presented both challenges and delights.

"Teachers have thought carefully about the home learning that's been given to children," he said.

"We've been aware that circumstances vary, so we've included tasks and activities that do not require a computer or electronic device, along with tasks that utilise electronic and online opportunities.

"Teachers are adapting home learning activities all the time now and a new way of working has definitely presented challenges but it has also stimulated divergent thinking and creativity."


Simes said he suspects there won't be many children turning up to school next week.

"There were only a few children of essential workers at Durie Hill School on the two days prior to lockdown.

"This week, the situation is different, with more people permitted to work under level 3 but I suspect the vast majority of children will remain at home.

"I'm confident we're ready to cater for those children who do come to school."

Whanganui City College deputy principal Val Rooderkerk said the school is prepared for some Year 9 and 10 students to return but does not know how many there will be at this stage.

"We are prepared to welcome them back and manage safe distancing procedures.

"It is embedded in the kaupapa of the school to practise care and kindness and our students have been brilliant at supporting each other during level 4."

Rooderkerk said the school had been collecting cans of food for charity donations and it was decided to distribute them to school whānau when the lockdown was announced.

"We asked that only those who needed them most take them home and they were really good about that.

"Head students have been really good at keeping in touch with their peers and organising things like online assemblies with their peers."

With two teenaged children of her own, Rooderkerk said she appreciates that the hardest thing about lockdown for Whanganui City College students is missing their friends.

UCOL communications director Christine Beech said most students will continue distance learning but a small number will be returning to the Whanganui campus this week.

"The exception will be for students who are due to finish their qualification this semester and need to complete practical learning, or an on-site assessment in order to qualify.

"This includes observing rules for physical distancing and recording systems to contact trace everyone on campus. Students will be put into groups of no more than 10 people, including staff, in any one group bubble."

The number of students taking part is likely to be very small, with the majority of them being students in the trades and applied technologies faculty.

Beech said all staff and students not involved in these select programmes will remain off campus until the current restriction level is decreased.