Support for high school students during Covid 19 resurgence

The principal of Tamaki College in Auckland and board director of Pasifika Futures Ltd, Mrs Soana Pamaka, is sending out a positive message to her students and wider community during the recent Covid-19 resurgence – “Keep calm and don’t panic.”

When the government announced on Tuesday 11 August that Auckland would return to Alert Level 3 and the rest of the country to Alert Level 2 after new cases were confirmed through community transmission, Mrs Pamaka immediately advised her 600 students and their families that there was support available to them.

“We’ve been in Alert Level 3 before and what we know is self-distancing, sanitizing, hand washing and staying home works and that’s what we are encouraging our community to do. We have a really good relationship with our whanau and they will always get in touch if they need help.”

She says a forced lockdown can be disruptive for her students school work and social interactions, but her school have provided as much support as possible, not only through online learning but also with care packages.

When the country first went into lockdown in June, Tamaki College, through their partnership with Pasifika Futures Ltd, were able to provide more than 1000 support packages of food as well as learning devices for their students and families.

“Our expectation is if this current lockdown escalates, we will certainly be looking to access more packages and support for our families and students. Our young people will also continue to have access to our staff, our counselors and nurses if need be” says Mrs Pamaka.

“Going into lockdown is not ideal but it’s critical to control the virus. For Pacific communities, we are at high risk because of how we like to live – we have our extended family at home and we live with our elderly. If just one person gets sick, then it will affect everyone.”

Mrs Pamaka also says that many of her senior students have taken on the important role of contributing to the family income because their parents have lost their jobs during the pandemic. She is looking at ways to support these students so they can balance their family responsibilities with their schoolwork.

“Coming to school for many of our students is a positive experience. You can understand that with what’s happening some of them are a bit down and their motivation levels are not the highest. Many have become part of the family income earners so there is a lot of stress. We are identifying these students so we can continue to support their learning and ease the pressures at home.”

#pmafamily #pmaunite Date: Friday 14 August 2020