The President of the New Zealand Principals' Federation says roughly 25 to 40 per cent of students across the country have stayed home today.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is today under pressure to close schools as the Teaching Council calls for all schools to close immediately.
The call, made in an open letter to Ardern issued by Teaching Council chief executive Lesley Hoskin at 12.47am today, came as a surprise to the Principals' Federation and both teacher unions.
President of the New Zealand Principals' Federation (NZPF), Perry Rush, of Hastings Intermediate, said schools should remain open while health experts suggested it was wise to do so.
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But he said parents that choose to make the choice to keep kids at home were "well within their remit as the primary caregiver for their children".
Immune compromised teachers and teachers over 70 were taking time off school on leave with pay, he said.
"That's something they've moved on very quickly".
"Principals are always the community leaders in challenging times, and I am proud that principals have once again risen to the current COVID-19 challenge," he said.
"We have been successfully following the very clear nationally and internationally sourced expert advice from Government and the Ministry of Education and will continue to do so," he said.
"We have the appropriate guidelines and are managing COVID-19 cases in our schools competently and confidently as they arise, whilst allowing students to continue their studies with minimal interruption," he said.
"The Government and the Ministry of Education will only make the call to close schools should the COVID-19 level be raised to 4, and that will be a decision of Cabinet based on the very best evidence and scientific advice available," said Rush.