Schools set to reopen but university holds off

5:45 am on 11 September 2010

About 130 schools in the quake-affected Canterbury region are expected to reopen on Monday.

Education Minister Anne Tolley has been visiting Halswell Primary School, one of the schools that will not reopen.

Many classrooms are lopsided and have cracked walls, the staff-room is split in half and the concrete grounds have been torn up.

The chairman of the board of trustees, Shane Edmond, says the damage is devastating but they're determined to reopen.

Five schools severely damaged

Mrs Tolley says the 650-pupil school is one of about five in the region to have suffered severe damage. A geological investigation will determine whether it will be rebuilt or relocated.

She says the priority right now is ensuring students have somewhere to go while the school is closed. One option is to put temporary buildings on the site, another is to move the pupils to other schools in the area.

Mrs Tolley has assured the school that the ministry will find the money to rebuild if neccessary.

One of the 165 state and state-integrated schools in the affected areas that did open on Friday was Belfast Primary School, which has had the all-clear from structural engineers.

University classes to resume a week later

The University of Canterbury has delayed the resumption of lectures for another week to give its 23,000 staff and students time to recover mentally and emotionally from the earthquake.

Vice-Chancellor Rod Carr says the university had planned to start lectures on Monday but has delayed that until 20 September.

Dr Carr says the university will, however, open to staff on Monday, and from Wednesday students will be allowed in to recover personal possessions and may use the campus for study.