Covid In The Classroom

Updated: May 11

Covid, a word we know all too well now, the nickname for Coronavirus - a disease that has affected us globally.

Can you believe it’s been almost 2 years since Covid hit our NZ shores on 25 March 2020 when a State of National Emergency was declared? It’s crazy to think of how much has happened or changed within our daily lives, especially within the Education Sector. With so many schools closing their doors and shifting to online learning, it has put a lot of pressure on parents to become part time teachers, cooks and cleaners but so many resilient parents pick up the pieces, roll with the times and continue to put food on the table amidst the chaotic regime of this pandemic. We all deserve to be nominated for that Gold Medal!

2 years later we now see ourselves getting use to a ‘new normal’ where Covid has become a part of our family, or is expected to turn up sooner or later. We all know someone who knows someone with Covid, and the best thing we can do to stay safe is to follow the Ministry of Health’s rules and regulations, and ask for help when we need it! Yes, that’s right ask for help! Whether it’s family, a neighbour, a community group or Healthline, there are many ways to find help.

Here at Aukilani Kids we have specific health and safety practices in place to manage and minimize the risk of Covid in our Aoga (preschool). We have been working hard to follow the guidelines to keep our Centre clean and our children safe. It’s important for all our families and friends to know what to do and where to go when they are onsite. Most of our tamaiti are aware of what happens when someone catches Covid, and asking questions helps them to learn and understand what Covid means to them.

speak calmly and reassuringly as kids can often pick up when parents/adults worry

As I walked into the classroom the other day with my mask on, a 4 year old child asked me a question “Why are you wearing a mask? Do you have Covid?”.

I replied, “What is Covid? What do you think it means?”. I knew this would give me the chance to learn how much they already knew.

“You get sick!” Says one child, “You have to get vaccinated” says another, “You have to shower so you don’t get it” “my mum says it’s the flu” “Its Coronavirus” “You can spread it”. I applauded them for providing great answers! Wow so smart! Using toddler and preschool lingo I explained what Covid was and how we have had many pandemics across history that seem to sort itself out over time and its our job (as the staff) to look after them and keep them safe while at school, to wash our hands regularly and to show kindness wherever we go.

Many children react differently to Covid, some spend more time talking and asking questions, others simply lose interest or have no questions at all and that’s OK!

Its important to use appropriate language when talking to young children about Covid, speak calmly and reassuringly as kids can often pick up when parents/adults worry.

Here are some helpful health and safety tips for our friends and families to remember so we can minimize the spread of Covid.

  1. Wash hands regularly

  2. Use sanitizer wherever possible

  3. Wear a mask when you leave your house

  4. Disinfect all surfaces at home and at work

  5. Cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough

  6. Avoid contact with sick people

  7. and most importantly STAY HOME IF YOU ARE SICK

If you need more information on ways to explain Covid to a young child, here are some helpful books that you can read to your child to help them understand the world of Covid.

When the world went back (PDF, 803KB) is an online resource to help children understand things getting back to normal and everyone returning to school under Level 2. It's by Mel Churton, a New Zealand psychologist.

Back to school with Omicron 2022 (PDF, 1MB) is a booklet also written by Mel Churton, a New Zealand psychologist and Alison Leversha, a Starship paediatrician.

Even The Wiggles have a video about Social Distancing – Click here to see it.

For a list of activities and online resources for your tamaiti, Unitec have come up with a list of things to do to keep your children educated and learning from home.

For more information about Covid visit

Take care and stay safe out there!

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