Canterbury police are investigating after multiple parents at Rolleston School received an email telling them to keep their kids at home - because "you Asians are virus spreaders".

"Our Kiwi kids don't want to be in the same class as your disgusting virus spreaders!" the email says.

The message - which has caused upset and disgust in the community - was from Protect Rolleston and used proton mail.

Parents at the primary school are also concerned at how the sender had access to their email addresses.

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A Chinese student who saw the email posted to the WeChat messageboard contacted the Herald, appalled at the attitude of the anonymous emailer.

The offending email was sent from an anonymous account and shared on WeChat. Image / Supplied
The offending email was sent from an anonymous account and shared on WeChat. Image / Supplied

Serena Han said all the Chinese people she knew were taking precautions including self-quarantining when returning from China, due to the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

"As the virus has become a worldwide concern, so many families [have] lost their loved ones due to this virus. Asians in New Zealand are aware of the current circumstances and have taken steps in self-isolation," she said.

"There is zero tolerance for any kid to be treated as a virus spreader just because they're Asian. They haven't seen or had the virus - how could they have the opportunity to become a virus spreader? It's totally nonsense.

"I'm really shocked, I never though that Asian racism to this level could be seen in New Zealand."

Police say they're aware of the email and are trying to identify the source.

They say unlawful, abusive or threatening behaviour targeting people in relation to the coronavirus will not be tolerated - and racism and xenophobia is taken seriously.

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Rolleston School principal Simon Moriarty said the board was aware police were investigating an email reportedly sent to a parent.

"We celebrate that we are a multicultural community and school, we do not and will not tolerate racist behaviour.

"We have been providing our community with the most up today information from the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health advisories and we are looking forward to welcoming back our students and families for the start of the school year.

"At times like this communities need to come together and support each other."