Finishing Schooling with Covid…..

By Gemma Bayly, Head Student, Kaipara College

For year 13 Students, the last few months have been an interesting end of our time at Kaipara College. It has not been the end everyone hoped for. Some things have been the same- we still have to do the same schoolwork, and we were able to have the school ball a month before lockdown. Most other aspects have changed. Sports games have been cancelled, classmates are only seen through Google Meets, 18th birthday parties have been postponed, and driving tests have been moved far into the future. We may never see our classmates again, at least, not in the way we have been used to.
When the lockdown was announced, year 13 was in the midst of university applications. Quite a few students were planning to fly down to Wellington to go to university open days the next weekend. Lockdown meant that we had to apply for universities all across the country without seeing what we were applying for. Planning to move somewhere you’ve never actually seen can be a bit daunting, especially when you have to put a deposit on your accommodation.
When lockdown was announced, we quickly fell back into the routine of going to class video calls, then procrastinating over the work set. It is always hit and miss over how many students show up. Even though the video calls were compulsory, in some classes I found myself alone with the teacher.

Yeah 13 photography students, Olivia, Clara and Solana on their first day back at school in Level 3

We were hoping that exams would be cancelled. They weren’t. At the time of writing, we have to submit work to our teachers for a derived grade. We will still have to sit the exams, but will get the better grade of the two.
Many students find it much harder to learn at home, without the help of a teacher. However, the learning recognition credits helped many students pass the year earlier than normal. Lockdown is still stressful for students who are doing technology or art subjects they can’t easily do at home. Other students struggled to learn content they needed for their university course.
Unlike many other schools, Kaipara College did not open fully to seniors on Tuesday 26th October. Instead they have held targeted, invite only workshops for students who need them. There are limited numbers in school. Students who need to work at school can. This is good, because it means we aren’t going to school just to do the work we’d be doing online otherwise. Many students are sad not be able to see their friends, but happy to not have to be around many other people.
My time at Kaipara College is coming to an end. I have loved my time here and I am very grateful for all the opportunities I have been given. I now feel ready to move on to the next stage of life.

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