Dozens of pupils were absent from school yesterday as some Rotorua parents chose to keep their children at home following the rise to Covid-19 alert level 2.
Principals say they are prepared for the new restrictions but supported parents' decisions to keep their children home and were jotting it down as "justified absences".
Ngongotahā Primary School principal Craig McFadyen said some families had decided to keep their children home during level 2 and yesterday 21 children were absent due to Covid-19 concerns.
"We thoroughly support their decision."
McFadyen said the school had reinstated its level 2 plan, including increased hygiene practices and social distancing, which had been in place since school returned after the last lockdown.
He said the school was aware lockdown was a "real possibility" and plans have been put in place.
"Our priority has always been the safety and wellbeing of the children."
Lynmore Primary School principal Lorraine Taylor said "five or six" students were not back at school in level 2.
"Those children have high health [risks]," she said.
Taylor said the school let parents decide whether to send their children to school or not.
"They know their children. We have just put it down as a justified absence because in this case we believe it is justified."
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She said staff had been reminded about the importance of hand washing and sanitiser and to be prepared for level 3.
"We don't know if we are going there but we have been there before ... and we are way more prepared than last time."
Education will be the least impacted in level 3 lockdown, she said.
"We can still bring students up to scratch. It is the social impacts that concern us."
Westbrook School principal Colin Watkins said the school had implemented the same precautions as before.
That included hand washing, sanitising, cleaning, communication, pick-up and drop-off at school boundaries and asking parents to sign in if entering school grounds.
Watkins said the impact on students at level 3 or 4 was dependant on parent support, students' attitudes and how long the lockdown would be for.
But he said it was important for schools to communicate clearly and regularly with parents to help them grapple with the difficult task of homeschooling.
John Paul College principal Patrick Walsh said nearly all students were at school except those who were immune or health compromised.
"There are heightened levels of anxiety for senior students about NCEA as they have already been disadvantaged. We will have to continue to monitor this space."
Walsh said the college was "gearing up and ready to go" for distance learning if level 2 upgraded to level 3.
"This includes all students having devices, access to the internet and being familiar with zooming.
"Teachers are also prepping their students about assignments and curriculum coverage while at home."
BestStart deputy chief executive Fiona Hughes said staff were surprised to be back at level 2 but "swung into action having had prior experience".
Hughes said its level 2 policy and procedures aligned with the Ministry of Education's expectations.
Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology chief executive Dr Leon Fourie said the polytechnic had a dedicated Pandemic Response Team which met daily.
"They are currently planning for the possibility of moving to level 3 and readying the business for this potential change."
He said he was confident Toi Ohomai would be in a position to easily transition many of its programmes remotely if need be.