EducationNews

School closures across flood-striken Canterbury

Closures of schools and early learning services due to heavy rainfall and flooding in Canterbury, have been a matter for each School Board or service manager to decide on a case by case basis, the Ministry of Education confirmed.

On Tuesday, 42 schools and kura (of the region’s 292) and 38 early learning services (of 544) had confirmed they were closed due to heavy rainfall and flooding. Two stretches of State Highway 1 remained out-of-bounds and the bridge over the Ashburton River was closed. It was too early to provide an assessment of the damage caused by the one-in-100-year weather event and many Canterbury residents were still on flood evacuation alert overnight. 

In a statement, the Ministry of Education said, “We are working closely with those schools, kura and early learning services that need additional advice and support. The decision to close remains that of the school boards for schools and centre managers/owners for early learning services.”

Students, parents and whānau were encouraged to check with their schools, kura or early learning service on the status via regular channels such as their school’s website.

The MoE said, “The best information will come from schools themselves, and parents and whānau are advised to check their school or early learning service’s website or Facebook page or contact them directly for the latest information.”

As heavy rain fell and the waters rose in Canterbury on Sunday, 52 of the region’s 292 schools and kura schools and kura, and 24 early learning services, of 544, had confirmed to the ministry they would close.

The Deputy Secretary for Sector Enablement and Support, Katrina Casey, said “a state of emergency does not automatically mean schools and early learning services will close. Boards and service managers are best placed to assess their local conditions and make these decisions”.

Adding, “We are working closely with those schools, kura and early learning services that need additional advice and support.”

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