Schools decision wrong and misguided

The Government is wrong to keep most children out of school in Auckland, possibly for the rest of the year, National’s Education spokesperson Paul Goldsmith said today.

“While we welcome a return of senior students, the risks of continuing to deny 5-14 year-olds a proper education outweigh the risks of returning.

“Auckland’s kids have become the collateral damage from our slow vaccination uptake and poor Government planning.

“After two months out of the classroom, more and more students are disengaging, and this has the potential to blight the prospects of tens of thousands of kids.

“With only three out of five kids in New Zealand attending school regularly at the best of times, we cannot sustain further disruption and loss of momentum. 

“While many schools have put a huge effort into online learning, for far too many students it is just not working. 

“Some parents and students will worry about the risks of returning during an outbreak, especially for the unvaccinated under-12s, but my sense is that far more parents and students are worried about the risk of not returning – the loss of interest and enthusiasm, the loneliness, the mental strain.

“The Government is misguided in being ultra-cautious in reopening schools.  Waiting for nearly everyone to get around to getting vaccinated is too slow.

“Ensure the teachers are vaccinated, open the windows, put on the masks and get on with it.

“Keeping kids out of schools for longer is doing more harm than good.”