The deputy principal of a Whanganui high school says students who refuse to wear a mask will need to be picked up and taken home by their parents.
Whanganui schools as well as businesses are preparing for stricter mask wearing protocols set to come into effect from 11.59pm on Thursday, February 3.
At the red setting masks must be worn when indoors from February 4, by students in Years 4-13, and teachers.
Whanganui Girls' College vice principal Nita Pond said she expected some push back over the mask wearing rules.
"There will be the odd kid that won't want to wear one, but there is the odd adult who won't want to wear one either. That's life, and that's just the way it is."
Children are back at schools around New Zealand from next Monday, January 31.
Discussions had been held about different possible scenarios around masks at the school, Pond said.
"If we can't convince them to wear one then their parents will have to come and pick them up, unfortunately. We are hoping that doesn't happen, but you've got to go through all those scenarios.
"We have to be flexible and ready to change at the drop of a hat now. You can do all the planning in the world, but that doesn't mean something will go ahead next week or even tomorrow."
Pond said most Whanganui Girls' College students had masks anyway because they had to go into shops.
Keith Street School principal Linda Ireton said mask wearing had now been mandated for Years 4 and up, along with all staff who were in contact with those age groups.
It was a really big change for primary schools, she said.
"What came out clearly from the Ministry of Education in the bulletin last night [January 25], was that the masks can be from the blue surgical masks upward to the N95s," Ireton said.
"For children, I would imagine the blue ones are more comfortable."
The ministry had provided a video on how to wear masks correctly and why students needed to wear them, Ireton said.
"Masks aren't required outside by staff or children, so obviously the more we do out in this beautiful weather, as long as we're sun-safe, the better."
She said staff callback days were on Thursday and Friday, and there would be discussions around how to mitigate the impact of mandatory mask wearing.
"One example would be taking regular breaks outside, where they can take their masks off, play a fun game, and get some fresh air. I think that's going to be really important."
Ireton said children were "really resilient and flexible" when they understood what was going on.
"That's going to be the really important thing for teachers - to be clear about what we are doing and why we are doing it.
"We have to be supportive and encouraging, and know that we are all humans and we're going to make mistakes. Like we always do as teachers, we differentiate according to student needs."
Masks will be needed at food and drink businesses and close-proximity businesses, events and gatherings.
The existing exception of when you are eating or drinking still applies.
Funky Duck Cafe owner Dave Hill said 99 per cent of his customers were already following the rules when it came to masks and vaccine passes.
"I've spotted two false [vaccine passes] so far, and I've sent them on their way. One had a false medical certificate, and the other one was really interesting.
"He said 'there are a group of us not getting vaccinated, and they are studying us'. He had something on his phone that looked very professional, but I just had to say 'sorry mate'."
Hill said the man became abusive before leaving.
Face coverings must now be a mask as opposed to scarves, bandannas or T-shirts, and all workers who are legally mandated to be vaccinated must wear a medical-grade mask.
Caroline's Boatshed owner Caroline Norton said the vast majority of customers had been following rules around mask wearing.
"We've got to concentrate on the 99 per cent of people who are lovely.
"Right now it's about having the time to keep gathering all this new knowledge, and keeping up with the information that's being put out."
Whanganui vaccination update
The Whanganui DHB has administered 815 doses to 5- to 11-year-olds since the rollout to the age group began on January 17.
At the moment, only Whanganui's Te Rito clinic on Victoria Ave has the child's version of the vaccine in the DHB area, with further rollout expected in the coming weeks.
The Whanganui DHB is just 633 doses away from the 90 per cent mark.
As of Monday 24,896 people were eligible for boosters in Whanganui. 15,260 of those people have received their booster, an uptake of 61 per cent.
A Ministry of Health spokesperson said there were 1870 forward bookings in the national system for the Whanganui DHB area.
That doesn't include people who may walk in to receive their booster shot.
On Tuesday, 598 people in the Whanganui DHB area received a booster.