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The Government needs to step up and provide better support and communication to schools and tertiary providers who are dealing with unexpected extra costs and losses due to coronavirus, National’s Education spokesperson Nikki Kaye says.

“Our thoughts are with the schools dealing with additional coronavirus risks. We are concerned to hear a report about a school that felt they were not able to inform their parents prior to media notification of additional risks.

“It is important to ensure information is accurate but parents have a right to be informed in a timely manner and before the wider public where possible.

“Due to the travel restrictions brought about by the coronavirus outbreak, many current and prospective students are unable to come to New Zealand to study. Ensuring these students are still able to continue their studies via distance learning has become a significant and unexpected cost.

“A number of schools and education providers across the country have spent thousands in costs and some tertiary providers are estimating tens of millions in losses. Providers have been dealing with costs covering alternative student accommodation, supervision, isolation, refunds and a reduction in students.

“International students play an incredibly important part in our economy, contributing about $5 billion a year. The Government needs to step up and show their support.

“The Government has been silent over what support it will offer to our schools and education providers. The Government needs to urgently work with schools and tertiary providers to ensure they have adequate financial support to be able to deal with the effects of coronavirus.”

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