Papatoetoe High School says it has been inundated with support since three students caught coronavirus - including a $500 donation to the two families involved.
Students at the school report generally positive feedback, in contrast to Auckland's August Covid outbreak when Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon called out a "mob mentality" against a South Auckland Pacific family who were the first to catch the virus.
School principal Vaughan Couillault said a woman donated $500 on Wednesday and asked for half of it to be given to each of the two families in the eye of the latest storm - a Year 9 girl and her parents who tested positive last weekend, and her classmate and the classmate's Year 12 brother and another household member who tested positive yesterday.
"We have received one heck of a lot of emails from all sorts of people," he said.
"All of it has been full of praise from 'well done', 'done a good job,' 'you have made a real contribution to the economy', 'your team has been amazing'."
Director general of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said yesterday that 1159 of the school's 1522 students and staff had already returned negative results for Covid, with 363 (24 per cent) still outstanding.
A Covid testing station at the school is staying open through to Sunday to pick up any stragglers, but Couillault said many of the outstanding cases had probably already been tested and were just waiting for their results.
The feedback has not been entirely positive. Last year's deputy head boy at the school Nathaniel Muliaina-Papali'i, 18, said he saw "nasty comments" on social media after this year's head boy Flo Akauola appeared on TV3's The Project last night.
"A lot of people who live in South Auckland are defending all the hate that has been thrown not only at the Papatoetoe High School students but at the whole community in Papatoetoe," he said.
"I do feel kind of hurt by it because Auckland should all be one big family and defend each other."
But Year 12 student Leilani Kwan-Him, 16, said she did not feel the Papatoetoe community was being targeted.
"People have been glad that we have been doing all the testing and doing our job," she said.
"My family, when they saw it was my school, contacted me to see if I was okay. I just told them we are just getting tested."
Another Year 12 student Taranjot Dhaliwal, also 16, said: "The rest of Auckland would be a little scared because the Covid case was from Auckland, and people outside Auckland would also be scared, but everyone has been supportive - they have just been asking how have I been doing and how I have been isolating."
Papatoetoe High School is believed to have a bigger share of students of Indian ethnicity than any other NZ secondary school - 37 per cent at the time of its last Education Review Office report in 2018, followed by Pasifika students (27 per cent), Māori (16 per cent), Southeast Asian (9 per cent), Chinese (5 per cent) and Pākehā (3 per cent), with 3 per cent from other ethnic groups.
Couillault said health authorities had been careful not to identify the ethnicities of either of the two families who have caught the virus, and the students who spoke to the Herald did not know which students were involved.
Taranjot Dhaliwal, whose parents came from India before he was born, said he did not think the Indian community was too worried.
"Everyone is managing themselves by staying home, and the Indian community has also been doing food donations and food drives," he said.
Leilani Kwan-Him has a mix of Samoan, Chinese and NZ European ancestors and said she could not see any ethnic differences in the way the community was responding.
"I think our response has been more as a school and as a community rather than ethnic-wise," she said.
Cindy Nguyen, a Year 13 student whose family is Vietnamese, said the Vietnamese community was "really cautious over these things" and her family was worried at first because a cousin is in the same class as the original Year 9 student who caught the virus.
"Her family had to get tested, but everybody came back negative so we are pretty chill right now," she said.
The students said their teachers started online classes from Tuesday despite the long queues of students and staff who were then waiting to get Covid tests. Leilani Kwan-Him said classes went straight into teaching without much chat about the crisis.
"I guess everyone knows anyway what we are all doing and the situation," she said. "We usually just start learning."