Home learning still norm

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Pupils are back to school but the classroom continues to be the kitchen table and laptop for most, as the numbers of pupils physically attending school during Alert Level 3 are very small across the region.

Roxburgh Area School has about 12 pupils at school divided into junior and senior bubbles.
Principal Gary Pasco said they were taking part in their normal lesson plan, and the junior pupils were also taking part in additional activities in the school grounds such as scavenger hunts and other outdoor pursuits so they stayed active.
Year 11 to 13 pupils were using an online learning package that was already in place, and that had been supplemented by teachers conducting online lessons using video-conferencing platform Zoom, Mr Pasco said.

Maniototo Area School had about five pupils spread across years 2 to 10at the school.
Principal Joe Ferdinands said some teachers were working at the school and some from home.
‘‘We are working on the principle that the fewer people in school the safer the school is’’.
The school had been using online learning tool Google Classrooms for some time, and they were also using Zoom for live learning.
This had meant new learning for teachers as well as pupils, he said. ‘‘But because we have been a Google Classrooms school for years now, the switchover is not as difficult.’’

Dunstan High School has pupils from year 9 to 13 and principal Reece Goldsmith said there had been about two to three pupils at the school.
‘‘We haven’t been inundated.’’
Most teachers were ‘‘flat stick’’ working the same if not longer hours at home during the Covid-19 isolation period, he said.
‘‘Lots of individualised feedback, lots of Zoom meetings.’’
Pupils attending school were not just doing online learning, he said.
‘‘We are providing a varied programme, some of which is also focused on their physical and mental wellbeing.’’

Cromwell College has pupils from year 7 to 13 and about 10 pupils had been attending school.
Principal Mason Stretch said he was proud of how staff, pupils, parents and the wider community had responded with support, kindness and a strong sense of community and common purpose.
‘‘There was an enormous amount of mahi done over the holiday period to enable delivery of learning online.
‘‘Staff have supported one another with wellbeing, curriculum, with learning tools such as Zoom and Google Meet, Google and Hapara class platforms, teaching videos and activities as well as sharing recipes, daily exercise suggestions and sports challenges,’’ he said.
About 12 staff and teachers were providing supervision of two bubbles of 10 pupils, and they were ready to expand to a third bubble if more pupils arrived.

Mt Aspiring College had about 15 to 18 pupils from years 7 to 10 attending school, arranged into three bubbles.
Principal Wayne Bosley said each bubble had an allocation of three staff members, who stayed with the same bubble and same pupils every day.
Other teachers working from home were continuing the online programme.
The Ministry of Education had provided good advice on remote learning systems, and the school had created a set of expectations in order to keep pupils and teachers safe.
‘‘We’ve had no surprises. It has all gone to plan thus far, which is really, really satisfying,’’ he said.