Schools across the motu are deciding whether to open as communities struggle to get back on their feet in the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle.
Pat Newman, principal at Hora Hora School in Whangārei, said the majority of schools in Whangārei would likely remain closed on Wednesday.
“A number of schools have no electricity or water or both… you can’t run a school when you can’t flush the loos,” he said.
Newman said about half of his staff wouldn’t be able to make to work anyway, due to blocked roads across Northland.
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However, Newman stressed that in the wake of a disaster, school leaders are best positioned to make a call on whether to open.
“Schools will be making the best decision for their communities,” he said.
Whangārei Intermediate School, a six-minute drive from Hora Hora School, has been relatively untouched by the cyclone.
“The bottom of our field has flooded. We’ve lost plants and trees, but our school itself has been unscathed,” said principal Hayley Read.
Whangārei Intermediate School will open on Wednesday to provide a space with electricity, running water, and a sense of normality for students.
“Families are under pressure, they have no power. Some really need a break,” she said.
Tāmaki Makaurau is a different story, said head of the Secondary Principals’ Association Vaughan Couillault.
“For almost everyone, it’s back to business as usual tomorrow. Everybody is flicking the lights back on and getting on with things,” he said.
Couillault said the stilted start to the year has been “frustrating” for educators but he is looking forward to getting stuck back in.
“There may be a little bit of delays with damaged roads, but most of Auckland schools will be back to normal,” he said.
Wesley Intermediate School in Auckland’s Mt Roskill will remain closed on Wednesday out of “an abundance of caution”.
Two large trees have come down at the school property, and the school has shut its doors while the damage is assessed, according to its Facebook page.
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Further south, the full effects of Cyclone Gabrielle on schools are still emerging.
In the Coromandel, Tapu School, Thames High School will remain closed on Wednesday while Mercury Bay Area School is set to be closed for the remainder of the week.
Meanwhile, Karamu High School in Hawke’s Bay is closed for in-person learning, but running online classes.