All schools in the Auckland region have been directed by the Ministry of Education to close until next Tuesday, February 7.
Education Secretary Iona Holsted said the National Emergency Management Agency today asked the Ministry of Education to take action to help minimise traffic movement on Auckland roads while vital infrastructure is urgently repaired.
“With the possibility of further weather damage leading to more disruption, the Secretary for Education has directed that schools, kura, early learning services and Tertiary Organisations in the Auckland region (Wellsford to Pukekohe) to close for physical onsite attendance until Friday, opening after Waitangi weekend.”
She said schools and kura can open remotely for distance learning only.
“As few staff as needed can be onsite to prepare for distance learning, and to oversee hostels if required,” Holsted said.
“Tertiary organisations may also provide distance learning. Early Learning Services may allow the physical attendance of any child whose parent needs them to do so but must otherwise be closed.”
Early learning services will continue to be funded.
“Principals and education leaders have done a fantastic job of readying their schools for opening, and I know that this decision will be upsetting for some of them and for some parents. I know this is a late announcement that will cause disruption and I thank the sector in advance. We need to get Tamaki Makaurau back up and running as quickly as possible,” Holsted said.
One of the schools affected by the flood is Don Buck Primary School in Massey.
Principal Sandy Stirling told parents in a social media video the school had unfortunately been hit “significantly”.
“Three classrooms, a couple of resource rooms, the staff room and our library all have been flooded.”
Stirling said work started a few days ago to assess and clear the damage, but this may take a while.
He said opening next Tuesday will give them time to make the school a “safe and healthy” environment for students.
Auckland Primary Principal’s Association president Kyle Brewerton told the Herald about 20 schools across Auckland had been directly affected by the flooding.
Mayor Wayne Brown told reporters earlier that he had asked authorities to consider advising schools and businesses to stay closed tomorrow.
“Stay home, stay safe, and stay away from areas which might slip. And stay away from floodwaters. Follow instructions of emergency authorities,” he said.