An Auckland intermediate school has shut to onsite learning for two weeks due to the sheer number of cases and household contacts it's dealing with.
Henderson Intermediate in west Auckland has a case in almost every classroom, as well as several staff off sick.
On Thursday, with 169 students living in a house with someone who had Covid, principal Wendy Esera and the board chair made the call to close.
At the time, Esera told the Herald the virus was "oozing" into the school from the community but so far it did not appear anyone had caught it at school.
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She said the school was taking a stricter approach than required under phase 3 - teachers who are household contacts won't be allowed back in with RAT tests.
And she would keep telling parents if their child has a positive case in their classroom, though the Ministry of Education has said that's no longer a requirement.
As of 10.30am Thursday 549 schools or kura were dealing with at least one Covid case among staff or students - about one school in five nationwide.
Of those, 326 were in Auckland, including 29 intermediate schools, according to Ministry of Education data.
But that data doesn't show how many cases each school is dealing with. At Henderson, by Friday 24 out of 26 classes had at least one student with Covid, with four cases in one class alone.
There were also five staff who were Covid-positive including three who had tested positive between Thursday and Friday, and there had been a steady stream of parents taking their kids home to isolate after a household member tested positive.
It's no surprise that cases are appearing throughout the school as the virus is so widespread. There were 13,606 new cases revealed today, with more than 9000 in Auckland alone.
"Our processes have been excellent," Esera said. "All our children are wearing masks from the minute they arrive to the minute they leave, and all our staff all day long as well."
The school went through "truckloads" of sanitiser, staggered break times and limited playground numbers.
Nonetheless, the decision to close the school was made to protect the health of the school pupils and their families, many of whom had grandparents or other extended family at home.
It was hoped closing the school would act as a "circuit breaker" but the situation would be reviewed in the second week.
"We've got 14 days for our children to get well, for our families to collect themselves ... so that we can stop the spread, slow it down."
Friday was spent at school handing out Chromebooks and learning packs to students, with teachers dropping the rest off to hundreds of children who were at home isolating.
The school's online learning plan had worked well last year and parents had been highly engaged.
"I feel very confident that our children's learning will continue," Esera said.
However, she was concerned about the situations some parents were in - children were developing symptoms at school and saying "Oh no, I hope it isn't Covid - I'll be in real trouble because Mum has to go to work," she said.
"When we ring and say 'Can you come and pick up your child, they're as sick as a dog, coughing, sneezing, they've got a temperature' ... parents are saying 'Oh no, I really need to work, I can't'. That's incredibly sad for families."
A Ministry of Education bulletin sent out on Thursday night advised schools that rapid antigen tests (RATs) could be used as a last resort to allow teachers who were isolating to return to school, and schools no longer had to contact trace or inform people directly that their child may be a close contact.
"While you may want to keep your community informed of every case, there is no expectation that you do so. You will know your communities best and what works for them," the newsletter said.
But Esera said the school would keep telling parents when their child's classmate had tested positive.
"I have said to parents I can assure you I will let you know every time there is a positive case in the child's class, so they at least have the heads-up and can watch their child for symptoms ... I think that's critically important."
She was also not comfortable with staff who were household contacts returning to school with a negative RAT result - the risk of spreading Covid was too high. The school would find ways to cover those classes, she said.
"We're hearing all the time that everybody's going to get it ... well actually our attitude at our school is no, we're not," she said.
"We are going to do everything we can to keep our staff and our students and their families safe ... We're not prepared to just sit back and let this thing gobble everybody up."