Education and Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins on Wednesday announced that the students studying in year 11 to year 13 will be able to return to school from October 26, in regions where alert level 3 is ongoing.

However, students must wear a mask and keep a record of their whereabouts, and staff must have evidence of a negative test before they return. Moreover, teachers must have had their first dose of Pfizer by November 15, as per the education vaccine mandate. 

Schools in Auckland have been closed ever since the lockdown was announced on August 17'2021 after the Delta variant of COVID-19 was discovered in the community. It has been more than nine weeks that students in Auckland have not been able to attend school.

Indian Weekender spoke to parents to find out what they feel about sending their children to school during alert level 3

Loveleen Gaur: As a parent, I am not comfortable sending my son Gursewak, who studies in year 13 at Aorere College, even though he is fully vaccinated, to school as of yet. That is because the number of COVID 19 cases that are coming each day is worrisome. I would send my child to school when Auckland is alert level 2.

Manjit Kaur: I think this lockdown has adversely impacted the studies of so many students, and it is good that the government has finally decided to reopen the school. We can't be keeping schools closed forever as Covid is not going to go anywhere. As a mother, I will instruct my son Karanjeet, who studies in year 13 at Macleans College, to be extra careful while he is at school and follow all the hygiene protocols.

Jagjeet Sidhu: My son Japman is a Year 11 student, and my daughter Prabhleen studies is a year 13 student at Ormiston Senior College.  I am worried about their well-being. I, therefore, feel it is not a good idea to reopen school at alert level 3 and when increased Covid 19 cases are being reported every day in the community. For me, the safety of my kids s paramount, and hence I am not comfortable sending them to school during alert level 3.

Raman Kaur: My daughter, who studies in Year 13, is fully vaccinated, and I have no problem sending her to school provided the staff is fully vaccinated. I would ideally also want all her classmates to be fully vaccinated as well. That's because if staff and her classmates are vaccinated, it will ensure that the risk of Covid-19 transmission is minimum.