As the new school term approaches, teachers in Whanganui are preparing to teach remotely, utilising various online programs to stay connected with their students.
With the level 4 lockdown still in place, and schools required to remain empty in level 3, the next eight weeks will be "uncharted territory" for teachers and students.
Whanganui Collegiate School head of commerce Chris Buckley said "kids these days are pretty good with technology", and was confident that his students would adapt to online lessons "in no time".
"The school has been transitioning to using a program called Schoolbox, which is an online learning platform," Buckley said.
"It's a place where teachers, students, and parents can all coexist if you like.
"Ideally we use it when the students are still in front of us, but in this current situation we're confident we can run an entire course remotely."
Buckley said Schoolbox was "almost like a social media account", with a class page, a communication panel, and all resources for lessons uploaded to the site.
Students will be required to submit some course work at the end of each week, Buckley said, so he would know if students were "dodging" any school work.
Buckley teaches economics and said he had changed some internal assessments during term one to include lessons relevant to the Covid-19 threat.
"I wanted to teach the students about the economic ripple effect of Covid-19, and the students talked about job losses and how economic receipts will dry up.
"New Zealand is a country that relies heavily on trade, so it's really important for our students to learn about how Covid-19 will impact this type of thing.
"First and foremost we're trying to communicate the essentials to the students, and the students and teachers alike are learning these new e-learning methods."
Whanganui Intermediate maths teacher Robbie Power said he expected to be teaching remotely for the "majority" of term two.
"For us, it's pretty serious uncharted territory," Power said.
"We're lucky at our school that we've got members of staff who have experience in online teaching, and we're having regular Google meetings to plan out the next few weeks.
"We've got around 600 kids, so one of the big issues is making sure all our students are kept in the loop and have access to the internet."
Power said "it was looking like" the school would be issuing devices to all students who needed them, and teachers would remain in regular contact with parents through email, Facebook, texts, and phone calls, through a large student spreadsheet.
"Google Drive will be used, as that's what we have at school and the kids are familiar with it.
"Our online classrooms can be set up there, and we can assign tasks to complete, have interactive meetings and stay connected on a daily basis.
"We also use a program called ClassDojo, where we can interact with parents and inform them of what goes on during normal school days."
The students were usually able to fix any computer problems in the classroom, Power said, so he was confident they would "get up to speed pretty fast" with any new learning processes.
"It's important to keep the students engaged and learning, and not doing things during the lockdown that perhaps aren't appropriate.
"The tricky thing is making sure students are learning from their own homes, but we're confident we have structures in place to make sure that happens."
Mosston School teacher Tarryn Cleveland said the Seesaw remote learning program would be implemented to remain connected with her junior students.
"We very mindful of the fact that parents could be essential workers or working from home, so we're trying to make the learning process as independent for students as possible," Cleveland said.
"We're beginning our program on Wednesday next week.
"We were lucky to get in touch with all our parents before the lockdown to make sure they had the necessary technology to access the program, and if we needed to get some work packs together for them.
"Those who didn't were allowed to take a computer home from the school."
Cleveland said Zoom would be used to host meetings and workshops that would normally take place in the classroom.
"We're using Zoom in the place of the small instructional groups we run, and we'll be touching base with parents on Monday to make sure they know how it all works and what the expectations are.
"There are whiteboard applications that are great to use, and we can bring stuff up on the screens for the kids to see.
"We are focusing mainly on the three core curriculum areas at this time; maths, writing and reading.
"It's also important, particularly for our younger students, to continue to engage in the principles of play-based learning, like social and imaginative play and other hands-on activities."