by Helen Martin
Social media sometimes gets a bad rap, but when asbestos was confirmed in Kaipara College’s hall and administration block on October 30 its value as an effective and fast communications tool was immediately evident. While the school rang parents and caregivers to explain the school had been closed and students had been sent home, the Helensville Community Group Facebook page lit up like a Christmas tree – the first post on the subject came in at 9.38am – as contributors shared their thoughts.
The next day an update, written by Principal John Grant and posted on the Kaipara College website and the community group Facebook page, provided information on how the incidence of asbestos was being investigated (the whole school was to be tested), school closure dates, extended deadlines for students to submit work due in and NCEA exam and prize-giving contingencies.
With the school still closed over the next few days other posts gave further reassurances and information about the asbestos testing process and a range of school matters, including when it would re-open.
In the nature of Facebook, where all manner of topics are presented in quick succession, over the time Kaipara College was posting asbestos management plans we were also reading and posting about Halloween hijinx, Guy Fawkes antics and our brilliant Rugby World Cup victory. It was quite a week!