Parents ask about evacuation plans as Kaikoura kids return to school

Cheryl Baker says she will "take each day as it goes" with her 6-year-old son Clinton's return to school in post-quake ...
MICHAEL HAYWARD/FAIRFAX NZ

Cheryl Baker says she will "take each day as it goes" with her 6-year-old son Clinton's return to school in post-quake Kaikoura.

As Kaikoura schools start opening again following the November 14 earthquake, parents want to know how they can get their children out of harm's way if another one hits. 

Kaikoura Primary School offered an open day on Wednesday to let parents to talk to staff about how the school would operate post-quake.

Parent Bailey Rijkers said she wanted to be aware of what the plan was if there was another big shake, but she was happy her children were back with their friends and teachers. 

Bailey Rijkers, right, says she is not that anxious about her daughter Shelby, 5, returning to school because she knows ...
MICHAEL HAYWARD/FAIRFAX NZ

Bailey Rijkers, right, says she is not that anxious about her daughter Shelby, 5, returning to school because she knows about the things set in place for the children's safety.

"I know the procedures and I know the things set in place for their safety so I'm not that anxious about it at this stage."

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Her children, Shelby, 5,and Kassius, 8, could be anxious and fearful following an aftershock, but she was trying to alleviate that, she said.

For Cheryl Baker and her son Clinton, 6, returning to school needed "just baby steps" for now and they would take each day as it came.

"Not only for him but for me, the separation thing at the moment is still very tender."

Bailey said the quakes had obviously affected her son, who said he was scared of the dark for the first time.

Bailey thought getting him back to school would help. 

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"Even just this hanging just out now, it's nice to see him giggling with his friends."

Natalie Taylor thought the routine of school would be the best thing for her son Kieran, 5. 

"They just need normal, and I think the longer you leave it, the harder it is to get back into."

The risk of an earthquake was one thing, but having the tsunami risk as well put parents' concerns on another level, she said.

"Having the school so close to the ocean too, I imagine that's quite a worry for a lot of parents."

Principal Nigel Easson said most of the questions from parents were about how children would be evacuated to the nearby marae if another quake struck, and how teachers would determine if a quake was big enough to call for an evacuation. 

He said there were also questions about some "what ifs", but it was not always possible to plan for the unexpected. 

"You need to make the decision on your feet and teachers do that quite often inside the classroom anyway."

 - Stuff

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