Anxious Auckland parents have kept their children at home today as the city begins a new level 3 lockdown for the next three days.
Schools across the city report that only a handful of students, or none, have turned up today even though all schools are open officially for the children of essential workers.
Shirley Maihi of Finlayson Park School in Manurewa said only two children out of a roll of 1050 have turned up today, down from about eight the last time the country was at alert level 3.
"Parents are very, very wary," she said.
"They are frightened to send their kids to school anyway and we have had issues even in the last few weeks to try and get the last kids to school. The information about it being in the district [South Auckland] has made them even more anxious."
Heath McNeil, principal of another big South Auckland school, Ormiston Primary, has only 12 students at school today, down from 40 to 50 out of a roll of 950 in the previous level 3 period.
"People are just waiting. I think they are more cautious because of what's happened in Melbourne," he said.
"They are making alternative arrangements for these three days and then just seeing how this pans out over the next few days in terms of contact tracing."
Balmoral School in central Auckland, which had four to eight children of essential workers out of a roll of 800 in the last level 3 period, has no students at school today.
Principal Malcolm Milner said he emailed all parents last night saying the school was closed except for the children of essential workers.
"We were prepared," he said. "One child was meant to come and hasn't turned up. It's pretty quiet here."
Fruitvale School in New Lynn also has no children at school.
"Parents seem to have taken it really seriously. No one has come in," said principal Donal McLean.
"Last time we had six to 10. It changed, more some days, less on other days."
Pt Chevalier School principal Stephen Lethbridge said five children turned up there, "a little less than last time".
"I think parents will be very cautious today. They are seeing how the rest of the week pans out," he said.
Despite phone alerts and school emails, some families still did not realise that the city had gone into lockdown again. Macleans College principal Steve Hargreaves said "at least 20 or 30" students turned up at the college this morning because they had not heard the news.
"We had our deans turning the students around at the gate," he said.
"Not surprisingly, many are well connected, but there are others who just rock up to school every day."
He said the college was open for children of essential workers, but last time only two turned up and he was not aware of any who have come today.
Most schools are taking a day or two before starting online teaching again. The country's biggest school, Rangitoto College, says on its website: "School is closed on Wednesday 12th August. The College will be in touch on Thursday regarding a teaching and learning plan. Be kind and look after one another."
Principal Patrick Gale is driving back to the school this morning from the Secondary Principals' Association conference in Rotorua and will have further information later.
Mt Albert Grammar School says on its Facebook page: "There is no school today, Wednesday 12th August. MAGS has online learning Thursday & Friday, 13-14th."
McNeil said today was "a bit of a holding day" at Ormiston.
"I think over the next couple of days the online learning will start, but again, refreshing everyone's memory around the number one thing was families and wellbeing," he said.
Maihi said 48 Finlayson Park students received free laptops from the Government last time, but those had all been returned to school and would have to be reissued if the lockdown continues beyond the next three days.
"If this goes on, we'll have to make some real big decisions starting Monday," she said.
McLean said Fruitvale was in a position to start online learning again, but was not rushing into it.
"We are thinking that probably we wouldn't because families will be sorting themselves out over the next two days," he said. "If we go to alert level 4, we will certainly set that up from Monday."
However, Milner said Balmoral School teachers have already started communicating online with Years 7 and 8 students this morning and all other teachers would start later today.
"We have flipped straight into it. Our hope is that we can get stuff under way pretty quickly."
Meanwhile the city's universities have advised staff and students to stay away.
Auckland University says on its website that it is "instructing all students and staff not to come into the university [today], but to study and work from home instead".
"If you need to visit campus to collect essential equipment, or to make arrangements for closure, you will need to do this before 12.00 noon," it says.
AUT says: "Due to Covid-19 Alert Level 3 there will be no scheduled teaching from Wednesday 12th to Friday 14th. Take care."
Massey University says: "Our Auckland campus will close from 12pm midday and there will be no on-campus classes. You can still access the campus to pick up essential items before the midday closure. Please make sure you scan into campus using the Covid-19 tracing app."