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Why are schools being advised to stay open?

Source: New Zealand School Trustees Association newsletter with advice for Boards of Trustees

There are a number of reasons why it is important for schools to remain open as long as possible:
  • Continuity of learning
    Distance learning can be a useful backup, but for most students, most teachers and most schools face to face learning is more effective. It is important that students can keep accessing the best education we can offer them for as long as possible. That means continuing to attend school until there is good reason not to.
  • It’s safer than being somewhere else
    One of the biggest concerns for health authorities is untraceable social contacts. Students who are not at school are highly likely to congregate in other places where it is not possible to identify who they may have been in contact with. When students (and staff) are in school it is much easier to trace any potential contacts they may have during the school day, and notify them if any of those contacts is suspected of contracting the virus
  • Keeping calm and carrying on
    Maintaining normal routines and social contacts is important for the emotional wellbeing of students, staff and the wider school community.
  • Pastoral care and peer support
    the relationships between students, and between students and their teachers are an important emotional support in times of uncertainty. Peer support for adults in the school can also be an important source of emotional and practical support.
  • Social cohesion
    Although it’s at the bottom of our list, the consequences of a school closing can be severe for the whole community. While we need to be ready to manage this when it becomes necessary, there is no advantage in prolonging the disruption beyond what is needful.