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Covid-19 Omicron outbreak: Auckland primary school has all teaching staff isolating, delays start date

Reremoana School in Auckland. Photos / Google

An Auckland primary school has been forced to postpone the start of term until next week, due to all faculty members waiting for their Covid test results.

Thousands of children across the country are expected to return to classes this week at the start of the school year.

In a letter sent to the school community yesterday, the Board of Trustees of Reremoana School, in Wattle Downs Auckland, said all faculty are now in isolation.

The letter read: “All of our faculty have been deemed to have been in close contact with a positive Covid-19 case following a staff training day on Thursday.”

“They are all getting tested and awaiting results and further instructions, but they will all be asked to self-isolate until at least next Sunday.”

Principal Julie Kwan said 27 of the school’s faculty attended a professional development day at another school last Thursday.

She said: “All attendees wore masks, doors and windows were opened and all requirements were followed at RED.

Thousands of children are expected to return to the classroom this week.  image / 123rf
Thousands of children are expected to return to the classroom this week. image / 123rf

Based on advice from Healthline and the Department of Education, all employees have been tested and are now in isolation.

“This has required adjusting the start date to ensure our teaching staff is available to give our students the best start to the school year after so much turmoil last year.

“We know this is frustrating and disappointing to our community and students and we are all looking forward to the start of the school year.”

Kwan said she suspects the isolation requirements will be something schools are still struggling with over the coming weeks and months, as Omicron has spread throughout the community.

The school advised that the office will remain open this week, as office staff have not been exposed to Covid-19.

With schools returning amid the Omicron outbreak, the government has made changes to how schools handle Covid, including increasing isolation time for confirmed cases, eliminating casual contact in addition to contact, and treating confirmed vaccinated and unvaccinated cases the same way.

It also introduced mandatory reinforcements for qualified teachers by 1 March. They must have received two Covid-19 vaccines plus a booster dose by this date, provided that at least 183 days have passed since they received their second vaccination

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