A number of primary school students in regional New South Wales have spent the night in the school library and face a weekend in classrooms after their parents were cut off from Friday afternoon pick-up by floodwaters.
Students and 13 teachers at Kendall Public School unexpectedly did not go home on Friday night as heavy rain triggered “life-threatening” flooding across the NSW mid-north coast.
More than 400mm of rain has been recorded in Kendall, the record heaviest fall for the small town situated south of Port Macquarie.
A major flood warning is active for the Camden Haven River and the nearby town of Laurieton is experiencing flooding worse than its 1978 record.
The rain is expected to continue into the weekend, the Bureau of Meteorology has warned.
Kendall Public parents were alerted around lunchtime on Friday of the worsening conditions and asked to collect their children if they could.
But some roads had already been cut off, making it impossible for some parents to get to the school.
The school’s principal, Alison Jenner, took to Facebook to comfort parents, telling them their children would be looked after by staff.
Phones have remained open throughout the night for worried parents to contact their children.
Some parents of children not at the school have joked about how “jealous” their children are of missing out on the sleepover “adventure.”
On Saturday morning, Ms Jenner wrote there were “lots of hungry little bellies this morning as everyone woke up after a settled quiet night”.
“Weetbix, toast, fruit and milk was on the menu this morning for all. The children are now in the classrooms and engaging with staff in stories, playdough activities, computers, games and lots more for the day ahead,” the post read.
“All safe and sound here at school. I hope you were all safe last night in the rain.”
One mother thanked the school, replying “Thanks for keeping my babies safe. I’m missing them badly really hope we can get them home today.”
Another mother asked if it was time to start a “wine drive” for the 13 teachers who had bunkered down with the children.
“Thank you for looking after your little ones,” one person wrote.
It remains unclear how long students will remain at school, with staff in regular contact with local State Emergency Services to monitor the situation.