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Returning to school after lock down

This page contains information about returning to school following COVID-19 lock down.

The return to school following Covid-19 lockdown may present extra worries for some whānau.

We can help put you in touch with the right supports.

Here's some ideas collated by our Connectors for places to start.

“I’m worried about my child’s increased health risks returning to School or Early Childhood Education”

Ministries of Health and Education will be giving very specific guidance about minimising health risks on return to School and Early Childhood Education, so start by checking that out.

Go to the Ministry of Health website (external website)

Go to the Ministry of Education website (external website)

Schools and Early Childhood Education Centres use different ways to tell their communities what they are doing so if you want to know more about your School’s plans check their website, Facebook page or SchoolStream. If you are still not sure call or email them directly.

If you want advice about your child’s specific health conditions and the risks to them contact the medical professional who knows your child best – this could be their GP, Paediatrician or Child Development Service professional.

If you’d like to delay your child’s return to school contact your School directly to talk it over and make a plan.

“I’m worried about how my child will cope with returning to School or Early Childhood Education”

Some young people need more help to understand what’s happening and feel safe. Social stories and resources to help explain things are being made and shared online.

Check out Parent to Parent's COVID-19 resources for families of autistic children (external website)

Kids Health has resources to help explain COVID-19 to children (external website)

If you think your child might need a personal plan to help things go smoothly as they return, contact the person you work most closely with at school or Early Childhood Education Centre. It might be their classroom teacher, key teacher, the school SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator), Guidance Counsellor or Principal. The person you contact doesn’t have to help you plan alone. Schools and teachers can ask for help from RTLB (Resource Teachers of learning and behaviour) or Ministry of Education Regional Offices.

If your child is already working with a Ministry of Education lead worker or an RTLB you can ask them to help you and your child’s school make a plan.

Find out more about RTLB clusters in New Zealand (external website)

Find local Ministry of Education contacts (external website)

“I’m worried about how to re-establish our routines at home”

Use the strategies that help to start a new school year as a starting point. Think about your old routines, what you want to re-establish and what will be different. Let everyone know the plan. If you use visuals or schedules to help your child understand get these ready.

Lots of families are facing the same challenges – check out what other people are thinking in online communities like our Mana Whaikaha Facebook page or advice and resources from groups like Parent to Parent (external website) or Altogether Autism (external website) .

If you already work with a behaviour specialist to help your child manage challenges, you can ask them to help you with strategies.

If you think things are going to be tricky and you could use some quick advice or top tips from a behaviour specialist, you can call Explore’s advice line on 0800 000 421.

If you need advice or support, we can help you find the right people. Call our main office number on 0800 626 255 or contact the connector you work with.