Non-education farce in Auckland must end

The Government must today announce a swift reopening of Auckland and Waikato schools to arrest the decline in students’ education and mental health after more than two months out of the classroom, National’s Education spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.

“As modellers, public health specialists and some principals think of endless reasons why schools shouldn’t reopen, more than 200,000 Auckland students are increasingly disengaged from learning.

“This needs to stop now.

“The risks of kids not going back to school – the disengagement, the loss of social connection, the forgetting of how to do maths – outweigh the risks of reopening schools.

“It is becoming a farce in Auckland.  The roads were busy all weekend as Aucklanders tried their best to get on with their lives, yet schools remain shut for most kids.

“The Government’s education decisions make no sense whatsoever. Why is it safe for years 11-13 to go back, but not for years 9 and 10, who equally have had two months to get vaccinated?

“Of course, under-12s can’t be vaccinated, but other countries aren’t keeping schools closed until they can be. Is anyone suggesting we should keep schools shut until all kids are vaccinated?

“On current settings, it looks like we’ll just drift along until it’s not worth going back at all this year, and students will end up being out of the classroom for more than five months.  

“That would be a tragedy.”