Parents Decide to Keep Children Home

A Rotorua couple made the decision to keep their children at home at Alert Level 2 because of major health issues.


Mere George and her husband have three sons who are all chronic asthmatics. They were concerned that this put their children in the high risk category so they decided to continue with their education at home.

Mere is a Chartered Accountant and CEO of Ngāti Whare Holdings Ltd and her husband Nathan George is a stay at home Dad. Their three sons attend three different schools in the Rotorua area.

We reasoned that if it wasnt safe for us to enter normally back into the workplace or the supermarket at levels 2 and 3 without social distancing or taking other precautions we didnt think it would be safe to send our children, who have health issues back into a school environment with large numbers of people,says Mere.

“It wasnt a criticism of how the schools managed health and safety it was more that it would be difficult to ensure the safety of our sons who have respiratory issues and we felt the messages from Government around when and where it was safe to return to school were quite conflicting.

“We also had an early scare when I came into contact with someone who had arrived home from overseas who was unwell. I was eventually tested and the result was negative but that added to our stress waiting for the results and possible impact on our sons. We also considered how quickly one could possibly be exposed to the virus and potentially pass it on to others without knowing.”

Mere says the schools were very supportive and understanding of the health situation with their family.

“Te Kura o Te Koutū were amazing and very proactive. The communication from the Principal and my sons teacher was awesome and the kura continued to provide online learning for our son.”

“Online learning stopped at the start of Alert Level 2 in our two oldest sons schools. So we utilised lessons that were provided on Google classrooms and we set a strict timetable and supervised their learning.”

“Our two sons who are at intermediate and high school are in extension classes which are self directed so they have been able to get on with their own learning, and my husband helped our six year old son who is enrolled at the kura,says Mere.

With the country moving to Alert Level 1, and no new cases of Covid-19, Mere says the boys will be getting back to life as normal.

From a social perspective I dont think there was a huge impact on our children during lockdown as they were able to use social media to interact with their friends. I think though that they are excited to be going back to school.”

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