Masks in class the new normal

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EVELYN.THORN@cluthaleader.co.nz
Being cautious . . . Senior pupils of Romahapa Primary School follow the rules by wearing their face masks inside their school library last week. PHOTO: EVELYN THORN
EVELYN.THORN@cluthaleader.co.nz
Being cautious . . . Senior pupils of Romahapa Primary School follow the rules by wearing their face masks inside their school library last week. PHOTO: EVELYN THORN

EVELYN.THORN@nullcluthaleader.co.nz

Primary school pupils are adapting to life with masks as they begin their first term of the year.

The Government has mandated that pupils from year 4 and up must wear masks indoors at school.

The policy is part of nationwide restrictions spurred by the Omicron variant, and the back›to› school ‘‘new normal’’ comes no

t long after vaccinations began for 5› to 11›year›olds.

It is hoped public health measures will reduce the risk of community transmission of the new variant, which is expected to make its way rapidly through the country.

The majority of people and organisations, including businesses, schools and social groups, have been following the Covid›19 protection framework’s Red traffic light rules, although some detractors remain.

Romahapa Primary School staff said pupils were taking the changes in their stride on their return last Thursday.

Principal Mark Preddy, who oversees the school’s 66 pupils, said staff were ‘‘taking precautions as needed but not overdoing it’’.

‘‘We’re being as positive as we can under the circumstances,’’ Mr Preddy said.

Cancellations of sports involving interaction with other primary schools, including athletics, had ‘‘put a damper’’ on things for pupils, but activities such as school camps would still be available for them to look forward to.

The school had not had any issues in regards to compliance with mask› wearing by pupils, or adapting to other Red traffic light rules.

Romahapa had not encountered children being taken out of school to be home›schooled specifically for mask›wearing and vaccination reasons, he said.

Although the spread of Covid›19 had been delayed by group actions such as mask›wearing, crowd management and social distancing, it was not completely halted. ‘‘We’re just trying to keep things as normal as possible, so we don’t rouse too much anxiety among pupils.’’