26 Oct 2021

Covid-19: Government worked hard to make school opening safe - Robertson

From Morning Report, 7:20 am on 26 October 2021

Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson is confident it is safe for senior students to return to school on Tuesday.

Students in years 11, 12 and 13 living alert level 3 areas will be able to go back to school from Tuesday as NCEA exams fast approach.

Robertson told Morning Report it is understandable some students will be anxious about returning, but the Government and schools have worked hard to ensure it is safe.

"A lot of work has been done to make sure that not only have we got staff who've been tested, that there's adequate ventilation, that the rules about mask wearing and so on are clear.

"But many of those principals and schools have been saying to us they need the year 11 to 13 students to get back, they've got the end of a very important part of their schooling in front of them, and it is possible to do it safely."

He's not expecting any big change to the reproduction rate from the current outbreak as a result.

"Looking at where we got to on cases it [the R rate] will be sitting just around that 1.2 area.

"In terms of schooling, the advice we've had is not that it would add significantly to that, particularly because of the precautions and also the number of people involved. But obviously everyone needs to continue to be vigilant and abide by those level 3 rules whilst going about their business."