Wellington secondary school students who attended a ball at Te Papa have been told to monitor their health after a Covid-positive traveller from Sydney visited the museum earlier on the same day.
Queen Margaret's College held its Year 13 ball at Te Papa on Saturday, June 19, from 7pm.
The infected traveller attended Te Papa's Surrealist Art exhibition between 4pm and 5.45pm on the same day. Anyone who visited the exhibition at the same time has been asked to self-isolate for 14 days.
A spokesperson from the all-girls private school said it had "issued guidance" to parents and students to stay home if they experienced symptoms.
Because the ball started at 7pm, attendees were considered casual plus contacts of the infected traveller.
Queen Margaret's Year 13 class has approximately 100 girls, and it is likely many brought dates to the ball; however, it could not be confirmed how many people were in attendance.
Other schools in the Wellington region are concerned about students and staff possibly contracting the virus at Te Papa over the weekend and bringing it to school.
Whitby Collegiate closed today as a precaution after also having a ball at Te Papa on Saturday.
Eight staff had been at the museum setting up the senior school ball at the time when the Covid-infected tourist visited. The school plans to re-open on Monday.
"Due to the fact that eight staff were at Te Papa prior to 5.45pm these staff are considered to be casual plus contacts and have gone home to be tested and self isolate until there is a negative result," the school said.
"Staff will be tested tomorrow (Day 5) and we will be carefully monitoring the situation."
While the Ministry of Education said the school did not need to close it was "appropriate" to do so "due to the reduced staffing numbers".
Over 2500 people visited the national museum around the same time as the infected traveller. It is one of 16 potential exposure sites in the Wellington region identified so far (see the full list below).
Berhampore Primary had five of its students attend Te Papa on Saturday.
A spokesperson told the Herald the school has cancelled all assemblies for the week and is ensuring all other activities are kept under 100 people.
Central Regional Health School Principal Jane Wells said it is operating under Covid alert level 2 protocols but otherwise carrying on as usual.
No staff or students had visited any locations of interest, but they had been reminded to be alert and take a cautious approach.
Janelle Wickstrom, a Lower Hutt mother of three, said she is confident her children's schools are prepared and are doing everything they can to keep their staff and students safe.
She is hopeful that the greater Wellington community will do the right thing and avoid any further lockdowns.
The infected traveller arrived in Wellington from Sydney on June 19 and left on June 21.
He is thought to be infected with the highly infectious Delta variant of the virus.
Four close contacts of the man have been tested and two have so far returned negative results. The man's partner is awaiting test results.
Alert level 2
Earlier today, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced that the greater Wellington area, including Wairarapa and the Kāpiti Coast up to Ōtaki, would move into alert level 2 at 6pm today.
Under level 2:
• People can still go to work.
• Schools and daycares remain open.
• Gatherings restricted to 100 people.
• Public and hospitality venues can open, and sports are allowed, subject to limits on gathering numbers and other provisions.
• Social distancing in public with strangers required.
The alert level will be reassessed on Sunday.
* This list will be updated as more information becomes available.