Christchurch aftershocks keep schools closed

Christchurch pupils are facing more disruption after major aftershocks rattled the city.

Last night, the Ministry of Education advised all schools and early childhood centres to stay closed today so sites could be assessed. Education Minister Anne Tolley said "The ministry's got teams out again today assessing for structural damage, working with the council on the infrastructure, so water, sewerage again," she said.

"There will be some schools that are able to open but we want to make sure that we've gone through the process, and checked health and safety."

Mrs Tolley said schools were still struggling with the effects of the February earthquake, with 5500 students still out of their normal schools.

Aranui High School principal John Rohs said staff and pupils left buildings after the magnitude-5.5 quake. He was checking the buildings with the property manager when the magnitude-6 quake hit. "We decided we had better get out," Rohs said. "A lot of the kids were terrified after the first quake. A lot of them were really shaken."

Christchurch Boys' High School principal Trevor McIntyre said the school lost power after the magnitude-6 quake, but the pupils had left after the first quake. Engineers were checking the site last night, but it did not appear the school had suffered damage.

SchoolAid is calling on schools to take part in the The Christchurch Earthquake Appeal. So far over 215 schools are participating with almost $30,000 raised. Find out how your school can get involved here

Beyond Christchurch city, the rest of New Zealand has not been affected from the earthquake. New Zealand continues to welcome visitors and is operating normally. New Zealand is still a top destination for a school trip.

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