Here we will add information as it comes to hand from Government departments - mainly the Ministry of Education.  There are some links further down for further information.  We have added what we think is relevant for families and educators.

Ministry of Education - 22 April update

Message from Iona Holsted

Kia ora koutou

I wanted to start today with a big thanks to all of you who have been sending us positive messages and feedback in response to these Bulletins. There have simply been too many messages for me to respond to you all personally, but please know that they are greatly appreciated by us all. 
 
Many of you have shared your professional and practical response to the partial opening of your school or early leaning service.  There is no doubt there is strong leadership in our system and massive commitment to supporting your communities during these unprecedented times.  We have been privileged to see creative and, genuinely exciting approaches to distance learning.  As we transition into Alert Level 3 I want to acknowledge there will be anxiety for some, your careful preparation to provide a safe return will help tremendously.  
 
The Prime Minister has expressed her gratitude for the remarkable response you are managing in the face of these challenges. We have yet to put into practice Alert Level 3, and we are all learning, so I don’t expect everything to go smoothly, we are all doing what we can, as well as we can.  Thank you in advance for being kind when it gets bumpy!

Iona Holsted
Secretary for Education

ECE Operational Funding 

We expect that by now you will have been contacting parents regarding their intentions for needing to access your services.  As with Alert Level 4, the preference is that bubbles are kept small (i.e. no more than 10 children in each bubble initially), and people should limit travel and face-to-face interactions as much as possible. All children and young people who can stay at home, should stay at home. 

Where parents or caregivers need to, they can send their children to an early learning service.  Children can only physically attend one early learning service under Alert Level 3, so for those children who are enrolled in more than one service, their whānau must choose which service they will attend.

We also recommend taking a health and safety risk-based approach to understand and investigate staff concerns in good faith, refer to the Worksafe website for further information.

Workers - Managing Health and Safety - Worksafe website - https://worksafe.govt.nz/managing-health-and-safety/workers/

In addition, services that are not able to operate safely within the parameters set by the public health measures should remain closed. Please contact the Ministry of Education if this applies to your service so that we can assist you where possible.

The Ministry of Education funded the early learning sector on March 2 with advance funding covering the period up to 30 June. 

Funding will continue to apply for Alert Level 4 and Alert Level 3, for the 1 July 2020 funding payment, whether or not your service reopens from 29 April 2020. 

ECE operational funding will continue to be maintained even if actual attendance is lower than originally forecast after the COVID-19 Alert Level 4 period ends. 

Where actual enrolment data results in negative wash-ups being calculated for the period 01 February to 31 May 2020, the Ministry will write off any shortfall or difference to ensure that services do not receive a negative wash-up payment in the 1 July 2020 ECE operational funding payment.


Adjusting funding rules 
We can confirm that the Government has approved COVID-19 Alert Level 4 to be treated as an emergency closure period. This will also apply if an early learning service remains closed during Alert Level 3.  

To ensure services continue to be funded, the Ministry has temporarily adjusted two rules from the ECE Funding Handbook. The first of these is to widen the scope of the ‘emergency closure’ rule.

Although we advised in an earlier Bulletin that services were not to use the ‘emergency closure’, we are now asking services to mark in their Student Management System (SMS) an emergency closure over the Alert Level 4 period. For those services that complete a paper-based RS7 return or use ELI Web, please mark EC over the Alert Level 4 period and apply the emergency closure funding rules as detailed in Chapter 7-5 of the ECE Funding Handbook. This will help to accurately calculate a service’s funding entitlement.

The second change is to add more flexibility for managing child absences by amending the usual EC12 process. Under normal circumstances an EC12 would provide an exemption to the absence rules for selected children in particular circumstances. From 1 February 2020, the EC12 process can now be used by services to claim funding for permanently enrolled children who are absent (for whatever reason) for up to 12 continuous weeks. The EC12 also suspends the operation of the frequent absence rule. The period at Alert Level 4 is not included in the 12 week count. 

Early learning services that need to remain closed during Alert Level 3 should also continue to use the Emergency Closure code.

Those services who intend to reopen during Alert Level 3 should mark attendance as appropriate and can apply the EC12 exemption to all children who remain absent. Funding cannot be claimed for children who are no longer enrolled.  This will need to be marked accordingly in your SMS.  

Services do not need to complete an EC12 form for all children, but will need to follow the process outlined in your SMS in order to apply this exemption.


RS7 Returns
Services should submit this data using their SMS, ELI Web or a paper-based RS7 as they normally would. 

Alert Level 4
If you are completing a paper-based RS7 Return or using ELI Web:

You will need to note the Emergency Closure on your RS7 Return using the code “EC” in the Staff Hour Count column on the day of closure and record the same enrolment pattern for the day/s of closure as for the previous month.

If you are submitting an electronic RS7 Return, or a printed return from your SMS system:

Record the Emergency Closure in your system for the appropriate period.

Those services who have correctly marked in their SMS that their service was closed for an emergency closure, and applied the EC12 exemption to all children who are permanently enrolled in the service, will have their funding calculated automatically by their SMS. 

Alert Level 3
If your service is to remain closed during Alert Level 3 you should continue to apply the Emergency Closure code, as described above and as applicable to your service. 

Those services who intend to reopen from 29 April 2020 during Alert Level 3 should record those children in attendance as you would under normal circumstances. Services should continue to apply the EC12 exemption to all children who are permanently enrolled but still absent. 


July 1 funding 
Services will still receive an advance funding payment in the 1 July 2020 funding round.  Where actual enrolment data results in negative wash-ups being calculated for the period 01 February to 31 May 2020, the Ministry will write off any shortfall or difference to ensure that services do not receive a negative wash-up payment in the 1 July 2020 ECE operational funding payment.


Frequently Asked Questions - Funding
In addition to the above, we have provided responses to some of your questions on our website.

Funding - Advice for early learning services - http://www.education.govt.nz/covid-19/advice-for-early-learning-services/#Funding


Alert Level 3 and charging parent fees 
Many parents and caregivers are facing considerable financial pressures at this difficult time – even substantial or complete loss of income. For some, the requirement to pay additional parent fees is a burden.

Because of this, and because we continued to pay you the ECE funding subsidy, we asked you to seriously review your parent fee policies under Alert Level 4. 

Under Alert Level 3 parents are asked to keep their children at home, if they can do so.  However as some children return to your service under Alert Level 3, we ask that you continue to seriously review your parent fee policies, especially for your children who are enrolled but still not attending your service in person.

Ministry of Social Development – Childcare subsidy

We have received a number of questions that interconnect with the support being provided by the Ministry of Social Development.  We will provide an update to these questions in our upcoming bulletins.  At this point, the Ministry of Social Development have advised that the childcare assistance subsidy will be restarted from the date each eligible child returns to a service. The subsidy is based on attendance by the eligible child. The fact that a service re-opens does not in itself restart the subsidy.

Supporting your staff 

This section provides information and advice to help you develop your approach to staffing when moving to Alert Level 3.  Further information around Health and Safety will be provided in further bulletins.

Licensed early learning services, excluding playcentres, are expected to be able to be open for physical attendance from 28 April, for children of workers who are unable to organise at home learning and care for them. Children may only physically attend one service, whānau cannot access more than one service for their children during Alert Level 3.

Parents or caregivers need to ensure that they only send their children to one early learning service during Alert Level 3. 

We also recommend taking a health and safety risk-based approach to understand and investigate staff concerns in good faith, refer to the Worksafe website for further information. 

Workers - Managing Health and Safety - Worksafe website 

Services that are not able to operate safely within the parameters set by the public health measures should remain closed. Please contact the Ministry of Education if this applies to your service so that we can assist you where possible.

Services that have no children needing to attend should remain closed but you will need to stay in contact with families and be ready to open should that situation change.

You will already have started to think about how your service can safely operate under Alert Level 3 within the public health measures. 

WorkSafe has developed guidance and a template that you could use to develop your plan. You do not need to use the template but it is a useful tool for things you should consider and include in your plan. 

Your COVID-19 safety plan - what you need to think about - Worksafe website

You should involve staff in the development of the plan to help you assess risks and identify solutions. All staff should be familiar with the plan before you open.

We expect that by now you will be contacting parents regarding their intentions for needing to access your services from Tuesday 28 April. Noting that as with Alert Level 4, the preference is that bubbles are kept small (initially no more than 10), and people should limit travel and face-to-face interactions as much as possible. If children can be safely cared for at home, then that is where they should stay. 

Home based education and care can resume with multiple families’ children looked after in one location, provided the public health measures also observed. The general principle of keeping bubbles small still applies, as do the usual rules about the maximum number of children being cared for in a home at any one time. Regulated adult-to-child ratios in each home remain the same.

Schedule 2 - Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Playcentres and playgroups are not permitted to open under Alert Level 3 at this time.


Staffing – returning to work on site
All decisions about staff returning to the worksite must be in line with public health requirements. When planning and arranging staffing, bear in mind that the large majority of staff and children should continue to work and learn at home.

The number of staff working in a centre will be determined by the number of children attending and usual staffing ratio requirements. Staff who are not required to meet the ratio within a centre must remain employed and continue to work from home.

Throughout COVID-19, staff continue to have access to their usual employment agreement entitlements, including the child contact/non-contact provisions of those agreements. 

You should work with your staff to identify who is able to return to the workplace and how you will continue to support the majority of children and their whānau who continue to learn at home, while providing suitable supervision and learning for those who need to attend onsite. 

You must follow Ministry of Education and public health guidance to operate in a way that minimises the risk of COVID-19 transmission and ensures a safe environment for your children and staff. 

Where the usual work that a staff member performs is not available, they should be provided with alternate duties as you adjust to different alert levels. 

Be aware that staff working onsite, who care for children who are younger than 14 years old, may require flexibility of duties, or start and finish times. Their children should remain at home if they have a parent or caregiver available to look after them at home, and they have access to distance learning, otherwise they may attend a school or early learning service.

School-aged children of staff should not be present at an early learning centre. Schools are open up to Year 10 at Alert Level 3. The health and safety of staff and children attending your early learning service should be your main priority at Alert Level 3. Having school-aged children at the centre adds another layer of complexity around keeping bubbles small. 


Reasons some staff may need to remain at home
As detailed below, not all of your employees will be able to work on site. Staff should, or may wish to stay at home, for reasons that include:

  • They must stay at home if they are sick with COVID-19, or unwell generally.

  • They must stay home if they need to self-isolate, as per Ministry of Health guidelines, due to recent travel or close contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19.

  • They must stay home if they are caring for dependents who need to self-isolate, as per Ministry of Health guidelines.

  • They may choose to stay at home if they, or someone they live with, meets the definition of a vulnerable person, including those with underlying medical conditions, especially if not well-controlled, and the elderly, as described on the COVID-19.govt.nz website.
    Vulnerable people - COVID-19.govt.nz website

You will need to initiate discussions with employees who may not be able to return to work, and ensure working from home, or leave arrangements if required, are in place during Alert Level 3. 

Where someone meets the definition of a vulnerable person you may agree they can work onsite if they choose to, and you both agree they can do so safely. Staff who are at-risk and are staying away from the service might be prioritised to support learners from home.

If the public health restrictions have effected your ability to support your staff when they need to take leave (such as needing to pay your employees so they can stay home and fund replacement staff, and you have been negatively impacted, you may be able to access one of payments available to support employers affected by COVID-19).  Information can be found on the Work and Income website.

COVID-19 support for employers - Work and Income website


Providing reassurance to staff 
Staff may not meet the definition of a vulnerable person, but may require assurance that the workplace has adequate health and safety measures in place to minimise their risk of contracting COVID-19. 

You must take a health and safety risk-based approach to understand and investigate staff concerns in good faith, refer to the Worksafe website for further information. 

Workers - Managing Health and Safety - Worksafe website 


Staff employed to work in more than one service such as relief teachers and kairīwhi or education support workers
When planning for staffing, consider staff who usually work at more than one service.  During Alert Level 3 these staff may only work in one service, preferably in one bubble only. You could consider assigning all the hours they would normally be employed for, in that one bubble or a mix of onsite or remote delivery of learning.

You should consider approaching a reliever(s) to be available exclusively for work in one service during Alert Level 3. This may require guaranteeing at least a minimum number of days paid work per pay period.  In this way, the movement of relievers between services is minimised and you will have staffing flexibility.


New appointments
Services that have made new appointments should honour these commitments from the agreed start date. 

If a first or second year beginning teacher has been appointed, services should arrange the normal support for them such as a mentor teacher, and advice and guidance development programmes.


Learning Support
At Alert Level 3 learning support staff will continue to support children with learning support needs remotely. From Tuesday 28 April resource teachers will be able to access resources from their worksites to support teaching staff and education support workers to tailor learning programmes for children with learning support needs. 
 

Home learning kits for children in services receiving Targeted Funding for Disadvantage (TFFD)

Thank you to the services we emailed (approximately 300) who responded with their children’s home address details. It’s been great to hear about the ways you are maintaining contact with families and supporting children’s home learning. 

As we have previously explained, it will take time to get a kit to all children who are eligible.  This is because there are a number of supply and other logistical issues we are needing to navigate, requiring us to take a staged approach. The first set of kits were packed and sent out late last week. Our agent, OfficeMax is continuing to pack and send out the kits this week to children in who are enrolled in those services we have already contacted. 

Later this week we will be contacting the remaining services who receive TFFD, asking them to provide address details for children in their service who want to receive a home kit.  These kits are expected to be delivered in early May, dependent on supply.  

If you have any questions about the early learning home kits please send these to early.learning@education.govt.nz.

Please note that the kits are only available to children enrolled in services who receive TFFD. 


Other distance learning supports
Last week the Ministry launched home learning television, including a session with Karen O’Leary for children aged 2-5 years (broadcast at around 9.10 each morning).

Home Learning | Papa Kāinga TV is free to air, on TVNZ channel 2+1 and on TVNZ on Demand, as well as on Sky Channel 502, running from 9am to 3pm on schooldays with programming for children and young people aged 2 to 15, as well as for parents.

Māori Television broadcasts te reo Māori educational programmes (for ages 0 to 18) from 9am to 3pm on schooldays.

The full schedule for both broadcasts is available on the Learning from home website. 

Programme schedule - Learning from home website

The learning from home websites are also regularly being updated with further resources for kaiako and parents to support children’s learning at homes:

Learning from home
Ki te Ao Mārama

Bubble size of 10 within your service

We have been hearing some conflicting information about the size of the bubbles within services. We would like to point out that the bubbles of ten are for children and then usual staffing ratios should be added to this.  This means that bubbles might effectively have more than 10 people in it at a time, but no more than 10 children. We apologise for any confusion that might have been caused following the Facebook event hosted yesterday.

Individual questions about your service

You may have a question about your service, which has not been specifically answered by the guidance we have given in these bulletins and on our website. We are constantly updating our website as new policies are developed and will try and answer all queries here.
 
If you need support in opening your service, please contact your Local Ministry Office.
 

Ministry of Education - 21 April update

Kia ora koutou

Thank you for all that you and your teams are doing as we navigate our way through these changing circumstances together. Today’s bulletin has additional information to support you, and the topics include:

  • Control measures to deliver COVID-19 strategies: Education sector evidence review 

  • Accessing hand sanitiser - update

  • Site preparation update

  • More options for watching Home Learning | Papa Kāinga TV

  • Childcare Payment for essential worker childcare providers

  • Playgroups

Control measures to deliver COVID-19 strategies: Education sector evidence review

 

To inform the response strategy, the Ministry of Health has commissioned reports presenting a number of future scenarios relating to COVID-19. 

The Education Sector report suggested consideration of a staged reopening of primary and secondary schools, with plans to control infection and monitoring in place; and how to open early learning services safely, given the limited options for reducing social contact. There are a range of measures that can be applied to further reduce the likelihood of transmission, including hand hygiene, staggering class start and end times, closing common spaces and splitting classes of the teaching week.

The Education Sector report - https://www.health.govt.nz/system/files/documents/publications/covid-19_control_measures_to_deliver_covid-19_strategies_education_sector_evidence_review-21apr20.pdf

More options for watching Home Learning | Papa Kāinga TV

Home Learning | Papa Kāinga TV is free to air on TVNZ channel 2+1, TVNZ on Demand, as well as on Sky Channel 502 and Vodafone TV. 

It can be live streamed at tvnz.co.nz/livetv. Some lessons are also available on TVNZ OnDemand from the Home Learning TV landing page.

There’s an email address for learners and their whānau to give feedback – info@HLTV.co.nz – and learners can text free to 5811 to interact with the teachers and presenters.

We’ve had a number of inquiries about content for Pacific learners. Home Learning TV programming is being developed and delivered by teams that include Pacific content developers, teachers, and presenters. We’ll continue to include content that is relevant to a wide range of New Zealanders, including Pacific peoples.

See the Home Learning TV webpage for more information.

Childcare payment for essential worker childcare providers

We have recently published a webpage on the Education website, which details how the childcare payments are paid and some of the questions related to it.

If you are a home-based service providing care to the children of essential workers, we highly recommend having a look at this information to answer any questions you might have.

Upcoming Advice

Coming up this week we have more bulletins that we are planning on sending out to you. We are going to be providing you with important updates regarding the operation of your service and how funding is going to work.

Wednesday 22 April
This bulletin will be focusing on funding and staffing updates.

Thursday 23 April
This bulletin will be focusing on further information on operating your service at Alert Level 3.   

 

 

 

 

Ministry of Education - 20 April update

 

 

 

 

 

 

Message from Iona Holsted

Thank you to all those who have shared their views with us since the Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday. I appreciate you want more clarity about the proposed move from Alert Level 4 to Alert Level 3.

It was always going to be the case that Alert Level 3 would be much less clear than Alert Level 4 – it is by its nature a partial lifting of limitations and as such creates more grey and more ambiguity.  The reason for the approach, as outlined by the Prime Minister, yesterday is to find a balance between having early learning available for those who need it, while minimising the numbers of children attending for public health reasons.  I am sure there will be a lot of debate about the approach; we are however still in a state of emergency and the Government takes decisions in the national interest.  As I said yesterday, we need to work through the detail, to make this as good for our tamariki as possible.

In this Special Bulletin we provide the high level public health information.  This is not at the level of detail required to make things happen at an early learning service level, but provides important context for what we will need to provide guidance to manage this complex environment.  Today we have met with a range of your industrial and professional representatives and they will be working with us to design the advice to activate a plan.  The NZEI/PPTA/MOE Accord has also met and agreed “a collaborative tripartite process to ensure well-informed decisions regarding health and safety and employment at a system level so that local decision and actions are well-informed.”  

We know every early learning service and community is different and what will work in one place will be different elsewhere.  While we will develop really clear advice, we will also work alongside you if you wish, to respond to local and specific conditions.

Parents and caregivers have responsibilities to help make plans work and to keep children and the education workforce safe.  We are preparing a public communications campaign to reinforce the importance of their support.  


Health at the forefront of decision making
Health and safety is at the forefront of our planning and the health of all in New Zealand is at the forefront of decisions that are being taken to respond to COVID-19.  Health authorities have carefully looked at the evidence around COVID-19 and educational settings, and at the experience of other countries in responding to COVID-19, to inform the public health advice to the education sector in planning for a move to Alert Level 3.

Experience in New Zealand and overseas with COVID-19 over the last three months, shows that it does not infect or affect children and teens in the same way it does adults. Children and teens have low infection rates, they don't become that unwell if they do get infected, and they don't tend to pass the virus on to adults. 

The two key public health principles that support Alert Level 3 are first to minimise the risk that someone gets infected in the first place, and second to limit the number of possible contacts people have if they do get infected, to make it easier to rapidly stop further spread. 

The Alert Level 3 approach in an early learning or school environment, is designed to limit the number of people that children have contact with based on these principles.  And because all the evidence points to children having a lower risk of getting infected and being affected by COVID-19, and it is possible to ensure that children are within the same group each day with no mixing between rooms, it is safe from a public health perspective to have a group of children learning together in a room or physical space (but to keep that group small).

Parents can have confidence that the proposed approach is designed to keep children and their families safe, to keep staff safe and to support the country's overall response to COVID-19 to 'keep it out and stamp it out'. 

Parents also have a role here, to fully support this approach by doing their bit – making sure that they inform their early learning service as to whether they need to have their children in early learning, keeping children home if they are unwell and seeking medical advice about whether a child may need to be tested; strictly maintaining their family 'bubble' outside the early learning or school environment; and ensuring great hygiene practices at all times. 

The overriding principle for Alert Level 3 is therefore stay at home, other than for essential personal movement and going to work and early learning or school. For education, the key public health measures announced for Alert Level 3 are: 

Parents and caregivers keep their children at home and maintain distance learning where that is possible, parents and caregivers can send children to early learning if they need to.

  • Parents and caregivers keep their children at home and maintain distance learning where that is possible, parents and caregivers can send children to early learning if they need to.

  • Early learning services will be open but with a restricted roll to meet public health measures.

  • Home based early learning activities can resume with multiple families’ children looked after in one location including the educators’ own children – provided the public health measures also observed.

  • The minimum licensed indoor space for children is increased from 2.5m per child to at least 3m per child.  The outdoor requirement of 5m remains.

  • People at higher-risk of severe illness from COVID-19 (e.g. those with underlying medical conditions, especially if not well-controlled, and the elderly) are encouraged to stay at home due to lack of ability to physically distance from young children. 

  • Indoor temperature which is currently a minimum of 16 degrees Celsius needs to be increased to 18 degrees Celsius.

  • Ensure that children have their own food containers and do not give and take food to and from each other.

  • A need to regularly disinfect surfaces.

  • Wash and dry hands, cough into elbow, don’t touch your face.

  • Stay home if you’re sick, report flu-like symptoms.

  • Travel restricted to essential, including going to work and to early learning/school.

The Director-General of Health has recommended that we start with bubbles of 10 and over time move to 20. We are still working this through. 


The following examples illustrate how the space allowance and learning bubbles will work:

Using advice from the Director General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield, the linked table below provides you with some more detail about the health considerations for Education under alert Level 3. Below we have also included direct quotes from Dr Bloomfield that provide useful additional context.

Schooling and early learning education detail for Alert Levels 2, 3 and 4  - https://minedu.cwp.govt.nz/assets/Documents/School/SchoolsBulletin/2020-Bulletins/FINALAPR17Education-detail-for-alert-levels.pdf


Guidance being developed
We know you will have a lot of questions. We will be providing you with more detailed guidance very soon to support your planning to ready your early learning service for physically re-opening, and will be working with sector representatives as part of that process.  


Quotes from Dr Ashley Bloomfield, Director-General of Health about Education
We have carefully looked at the evidence around COVID-19 and educational settings, and at the experience of other countries in responding to COVID-19 in these settings to inform the public health advice to the education sector in planning for a move to Level 3. 

Our experience in New Zealand and overseas with COVID-19 over the last three months shows that it does not infect or affect children and teens in the same way it does adults. 

So children and teens have low infection rates, they don't become that unwell if they do get infected, and they don't tend to pass the virus on to adults. 

The two key public health principles that support Alert Level 3 are first to minimise the risk that someone gets infected in the first place, and second to limit the number of possible contacts people have if they do get infected to make it easier to rapidly stop further spread. 

The Alert Level 3 approach in an ECE or school environment is designed to limit the number of people that children have contact with based on these principles.  And because all the evidence points to children having a lower risk of getting infected and being affected by COVID-19, and it is possible to ensure that children are within the same group each day with no mixing between groups, it is safe from a public health perspective to have a group of children learning together.   At this point, our advice is to limit this to 10 children in each group, but this could be increased to up to 20 children once schools have all their procedures running smoothly. 

Parents can have confidence that the proposed approach is designed to keep children and their families safe, to keep staff safe and to support the country's overall response to COVID-19 to 'keep it out and stamp it out'. 

And it is important that parents fully support this approach by doing their bit - keeping children home if they are unwell and seeking medical advice about whether a child may need to be tested; strictly maintaining their family 'bubble' outside the ECE or school environment; and ensuring great hygiene practices at all times. 


Ngā mihi,

Iona Holsted
Secretary for Education

Ministry of Education - 17 April update

This afternoon the Prime Minister has announced that “New Zealand will move to Alert Level 3 at 11.59pm on Monday 27 April.”

“Schools and early learning centres can be accessed this week for cleaning, maintenance and any other preparations. The current plan is for schools [and early learning centres] to be able to re-open for a Teacher Only Day on 28 April as part of their preparation, and we expect those who need to attend, to be able to from 29 April.  It may take a bit longer for some schools and early learning centres to be ready.”

“So here’s a reminder of the principles for Level 3 when we get there. 

  1. Stay home. If you are not at work, school, exercising or getting essentials, then you must be at home, the same as at Level 4. 

  2. Work and learn from home if you can. We still want the vast majority of people working from home, and children and young people learning from home. At-risk students and staff should also stay at home, and they will be supported to do so. Early learning centres and schools will physically be open for up to Year 10 for families that need them.”

The Secretary for Education has agreed that the work you need to undertake to ready your site for Alert Level 3 can commence provided distancing and hygiene measures are adhered to.

This means site access can occur from Tuesday 21 April.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) website for Essential Services under Alert Level 4 will be amended to include under Education: Any entity or individual (including contractors and external providers) required to prepare an education site for operation at Alert Level 3, including cleaning, maintenance, floorplans and logistical management of health and safety requirements.

The public health information we released on Friday evening remains unchanged. 

The main purpose of this Bulletin is to let you know what we are working on with your professional and union representatives. 

This summary is not an exclusive list, but represents many of the questions that you have raised directly or through your representatives.

Facebook live with Dr Ashley Bloomfield

Join us on Tuesday afternoon for a live Q&A with Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield and Secretary for Education Iona Holsted. They’ll be answering your questions between 3.45 – 4.15pm about Health issues related to COVID-19 and education. Visit the Ministry of Education Facebook page to submit your questions.

Health and Safety

The Ministry is working with ECAC to review guidance for early learning services. This guidance will identify the practical steps to be taken to keep your environment safe for all. 

Staffing

A detailed Bulletin on staffing and payment scenarios, along with relevant funding information for early learning services will be provided on Wednesday. The information in this Bulletin provides some higher level guidance to support you to start thinking about staffing. 

Understanding staff availability to work onsite will be an important early step for making arrangements to operate under Alert Level 3, which we will support you with. 

Under Alert Level 3, staff are expected to return to working onsite if needed with some exceptions, as follows:

  • No staff member who is sick with COVID-19, caring for someone who is sick with COVID-19, or who has had close contact with a case of COVID-19 and is required to self-isolate, may be at work in any circumstances.

  • Those at higher-risk of severe illness from COVID-19 (e.g. those with underlying medical conditions, especially if not well-controlled, and the elderly) may work on-site if they wish to and if you agree they can do so safely. 

  • If a staff member lives with someone who is at higher-risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and it cannot be agreed that they can work onsite safely.

Early learning services and onsite schooling are open for physical attendance for staff who have children aged under 14, and who are unable to organise at home learning and care, to enable them to work onsite as required.

As with Alert Level 4, there are a range of specific employment related matters involving different groups of staff. These will be addressed in detail in Wednesday’s Bulletin. 

Cleaning

With your premises not used during the lockdown period, you will want to undertake a thorough clean prior to re-opening. There is no specific action you need to take for COVID-19 in regard to cleaning prior to re-opening. Once staff and then children are on site, regular (at least daily) cleaning of surfaces is recommended alongside your usual cleaning schedule.

Review your cleaning policies and practices and consider increased cleaning for high touch surfaces (door handles, table tops in common spaces etc.) and bathrooms.  Make sure your cleaners have appropriate information, training and equipment.

Make sure the specific instructions are followed for the disinfectant being used (eg spray and leave on surfaces for 30 seconds before wiping down).

Ensure the availability of appropriate cleaning supplies (eg disinfectant and cloths) for cleaning of high-touch surfaces.

There is some information about cleaning surfaces on the COVID-govt.nz website.

Accessing hand sanitiser

To support schools and early learning services when they reopen the Ministry has centrally purchased a supply of hand sanitiser to get you started.  The pre-purchased supply is based on roll size and will be available for delivery to centre-based early learning services for day one when they reopen. The roll-based allocation for each centre-based early learning service can be ordered from NXP via 0800 726 484, from Tuesday 21 April. Orders must be placed by 4pm on Friday 24 April, for delivery by 29 April. Alternatively please allow 3 working days for delivery.

To ensure that early learning services can keep getting the cleaning and hygiene products they need, we’ve also arranged access to these items from NXP or Office Max for services to purchase at preferential prices. 

Both suppliers have stock of all cleaning products and hand sanitiser and have national distribution networks.
  
If you already order through one of these companies you can continue to order through your normal channels and your pricing will be adjusted to the lower preferential pricing
 
Early learning services who do not currently purchase from one of these two suppliers can call either of the suppliers and place an order over the phone – NXP on 0800 726 484, or OfficeMax on 0800 426 472.

Some things to note:

  • Stock will be progressively available, with large quantities available from the 28th April.

  • There will be a very large number of orders being processed from schools and early learning services, so order early to avoid unnecessary order processing delays.

  • To avoid unnecessary stock level issues, orders will be monitored to ensure products are allocated fairly and efficiently. The suppliers may impose maximum order limits if required.

  • You must treat all product and pricing information as confidential and must not disclose it to third parties or use it for any other purpose.

  • Products purchased via this offer are for the use of early learners and staff.

Due to the high number of homes around the country and the limited supply of hand sanitiser, we have not been able to make available Ministry funded hand sanitiser to home-based services.  However, home-based services can purchase from the providers identified above and obtain the preferential rates.   We can confirm that Ministry of Health advice is that regular handwashing with soap and water is sufficient to keep your home safe and COVID-19 free. 

Communicating with your parents and caregivers

It is important that you are able to get timely indications of parents’ intentions, so we are looking at some options to support you to collect the information you will need. We know many of you have well established mechanisms for communicating with your parent groups and may not need any further assistance. It is important that we are all able to manage demand so that you can be confident about the health and safety measures you have to put in place. It will also be important that we keep a daily record of attendance.

Our regional staff will work directly with you and your communities to help manage any mismatch that could compromise health and safety. Alongside this, there will be a communication campaign to set the expectations on parents and caregivers that keeping children at home and continuing distance learning is the first priority. Secondly, if they need to have their children at an early learning service it is their responsibility to advise you in time for planning. 

Learning Support

Early learning staff remain pivotal in the development of tailored learning programmes based on the existing goals in the child’s individual education plan. 

We are here to help. 

As we move into Alert Level 3, services and families will need additional guidance and support to enable safe and appropriate opportunities for learning.

We are focusing on the following areas initially:

  • Supports available for children with learning support needs who need to attend and learn at their service.

  • Supports that can be made available for children and their families, where distance learning in the home needs to continue.

  • Information on a range of PLD offerings for teachers, Learning Support Coordinators and support staff to build their confidence and skills in responding to learning support needs.

  • Information for former migrant and refugee families in multiple languages to explain what is happening and help them access the support they need in Alert Level 3. 


 


We are working with Health to identify the requirements for contact tracing registers and will advise when we have the confirmed requirements for this.

Types of guidance being developed

We have talked a little about some of the guidance underway and a summary list includes:

  • Guidance for managing health and safety – adhering to public health measures including good hygiene, physical distancing, supporting contact tracing, food in services and cleaning.

  • Curriculum, teaching and learning – including support for distance learning and providing specific approaches to managing onsite and offsite learning.

  • Supporting health and wellbeing in your community.

  • Supporting children with additional learning needs.

  • Managing a case or cases of COVID-19 in your community.

  • Managing property development projects.

  • Reopening Property Checklist and exit checklist.

We expect to begin releasing guidance from tomorrow and have released cleaning and property information in this issue.

Ministry of Education - 14 April update
Ministry of Education - 7 April update
Ministry of Education - 9 April update

Planning for changing COVID-19 alert levels

This afternoon, the Prime Minister set out the timelines for some key decisions that will affect us all.
 
It is the Government’s intention that on the 20th of April, two days before the current period of Alert Level 4 is due to finish, Cabinet will make a decision on whether or not the Alert Level will change. They will use the most up to date data they have to make that decision. 
 
Alert Level 4 has come with some heavy restrictions and next week, the Government will give some guidance on what life at Alert Level 3 looks like.  We will ensure we provide you with some information for you to begin early planning on ahead of the detailed guidance we will give you when a final decision is made.

In Select Committee today, Minister Hipkins also spoke to the change of alert levels and the implications for education providers and their communities. The Minister noted it would be wrong to assume that all schools and early learning services will reopen at Alert Level 3. 

We are looking at various scenarios and they will be based on health considerations and requirements under Alert Level 3, particularly managing physical distancing. A hybrid model of both distance learning and on-site learning is very likely at least in the early stages of Alert Level 3.  The Public Health requirements may affect each early learning setting and service providers differently.

We want to reassure you that following any announcement, you will have some time to prepare for physically re-opening your early learning service to welcome back on site your staff and some, but not all, of your tamariki. 

Assuming the alert level does change, current planning assumptions are that you will have Thursday 23 and Friday 24 April to fully access your site and undertake a property inspection and necessary maintenance and cleaning. Monday 27 April is a public holiday (ANZAC Day observed). You may wish to use Tuesday 28 as a staff-only day, or you may choose to welcome children back from that date.  

We are developing detailed guidance to support you through this process. This will be ready in time for any decision announced on 20 April. Our staff will then work with you to support you to develop a detailed plan for your service and communication to your parents.
 
The Prime Minister reiterated that we will not be moving out of Alert Level 4 early so our intention is to help you to be ready when the time comes.  

“Working from home” and maintaining good cyber security practices

During COVID-19 Alert Level 4, please maintain good cyber security practices at home to help keep your service and child information safe and secure.

Device and information security

  • Only use approved devices (laptop, tablet, or phone) to access systems on your service’s network, unless your service has a BYOD policy.

  • Take the same precautions with your laptop, tablet, or phone as you would at your service:

    • Lock the screen when away from the device

    • Take steps to secure the device when not in use e.g. lock your house if you go out and don’t leave it unattended in your car

    • Maintain confidentiality of child information e.g. do not discuss child information with family members or where they can hear it.

  • Avoid using personal hard drives and USB sticks. These can introduce malware onto laptops.

  • Ensure that printed matter containing sensitive information is kept secure and is taken with you when you return to your service.

  • Only dispose of printed matter containing sensitive or child information in secure document destruction bins at your service. Do not dispose of sensitive documents in your residential rubbish.

  • The use of unsecured public Wi-Fi hotspots poses a cyber security risk and should be avoided. Sensitive data transmitted via these Wi-Fi networks may be intercepted and stolen.

Increase in phishing scams during heightened COVID-19 Alert Level

You can find more information on Cyber Security on the Education website.
 

Reminder from Oranga Tamariki about how to help keep children and young people safe 

Families are spending lots more time together at the moment, which is a great chance to have fun together and offer each other support but some children and their whānau might be finding this time stressful. It’s important to know you can still contact us if you are worried about a child or young person.

If you know a child is in immediate danger, please call NZ Police on 111. If you have ongoing concerns about a child’s safety, please call Oranga Tamariki on 0508 326 455.  Further information about reporting a concern is available in the Oranga Tamariki website.

Worried about a child? Tell us - Oranga Tamariki website- https://orangatamariki.govt.nz/worried-about-a-child-tell-us/

Supporting children’s learning 

As we move into Term 2, you’ll be thinking about how the current situation is affecting children with additional learning needs and their parents and whānau.  

You will be aware that some families and whānau, are likely to be experiencing additional stress and challenges as a result of the loss of their children’s normal routines and usual supports. Some children will be finding it hard to understand why these changes are occurring, resulting in increased anxiety, meltdowns or other forms of distressed behaviour. 

Planning and organising support
Many of you have planning underway for children in your services with a range of needs that include those with learning support needs.  This planning will involve adapting materials and methods to meet the unique learning needs of all children, along with considering how this will look in a distance learning setting. 

Kaiako in early learning services are pivotal in the development of tailored distance learning programmes, based on existing goals in the child’s individual plan, as well as providing support to whānau to manage this at home.

Early learning services can also continue to call on early intervention staff and other existing services for help in supporting a child’s learning from home in the usual way. 

Our learning support staff are here to support you, parents and whānau during the home isolation period.  Like your teams of kaiako, they are working from home, balancing caring for their own whānau with their work.  You can reach them through their usual contact details. 

Early Intervention during COVID-19 Level 4 response
Learning support staff already involved with children and whānau will continue to check in with the child’s parents and whānau and where possible, their early learning kaiako to provide virtual guidance and support as necessary at this time. This will involve listening carefully and adapting support and strategies to meet current needs for support.  When parents agree, our early intervention staff are providing “home visits” to support the progress of plans, learning and development at home using online platforms such as Skype. These “visits” are sessions carried out using  “telepractice”  over the phone or skype, to coach parents to develop routines, use naturally occurring home experiences, materials and equipment they already have available in their homes, to support the learning of their children.

Like early learning kaiako and other staff, learning support staff will be working differently, but their goal remains the same: to support kaiako to connect children to relevant learning experiences by accommodating their learning needs.

Families can also contact their usual Needs Assessment Coordinator (NASC) to discuss the disability supports available during lockdown, including emergency support. 

Please contact your local Ministry office if you’re concerned about how your children with learning support needs will be supported during the home isolation period.  

Wellbeing for all
Alongside priorities for learning, the wellbeing of children and whānau and supporting them will be front of mind.
  
We have information focused on wellbeing and supporting a child’s learning at home for parents, caregivers and whānau. It may also be useful for teachers. This resource adds to the information we have previously provided supporting conversations with children about COVID-19 Helping children and young people while they are learning at home - http://education.govt.nz/school/health-safety-and-wellbeing/pastoral-care-and-wellbeing/talking-to-children-about-covid-19-coronavirus/

While the following website is overseas-based, it is a good list and highlights some things particularly important for children. Remember the rules of New Zealand’s level 4 lockdown still apply.

25 Mental Health Wellness Tips during Quarantine from Eileen M Feliciano, Psy.D. - Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=109566894018896&id=109536567355262&__tn__=K-R

Further information to support wellbeing
We will continue to build wellbeing information on our website that is easier to find and better reflects how the COVID-19 response has changed over the last weeks. This includes adding resources as they are developed.

COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) - http://education.govt.nz/covid-19/

 

Home learning television

Home Learning | Papa Kāinga TV will start education broadcasting for early learners and students in Years 1–10 from 9am on Wednesday 15 April, with Māori Television launching te reo educational programmes on the same day.

As a result of negotiations led by Nicholas Pole (Chief Review Officer and Chief Executive of the Education Review Office) Home Learning | Papa Kāinga TV will be free to air, on TVNZ channel 2+1 and on TVNZ on Demand, as well as on Sky Channel 502. It will run from 9am to 3pm on schooldays with programming for children and young people, as well as for parents. 

Content will be grouped for early learners and students by age range, and will include play, literacy, mathematics, science, te reo Māori, physical education and wellbeing. All of the programmes will feature highly experienced teachers and presenters, along with wellbeing and movement experts. 

The Minister will be announcing the presenters and programme schedule later today, after which we’ll publish the information on our Learning from Home website. Check the updates page of the site for daily programming information.

Programme presenters include nine teachers from Christchurch and Auckland. Thank you to those of you who have agreed to release your staff to deliver these lessons – we’re very grateful for their willingness to be part of this initiative.

Home Learning | Papa Kāinga TV will be on air for one month with provision to extend beyond that if needed.

We’ll be promoting Home Learning | Papa Kāinga TV and the Māori Television programmes on television and through social media – please share the information through your own social media, emails to students and whānau, etc. Later this week we’ll have resources on the Learning from Home website that you can use to help promote Home Learning | Papa Kāinga TV. Keep checking the website for updates and resources.

Learning from home website - https://learningfromhome.govt.nz/

 

Children starting school 

You may have some children at your service who might have been preparing to start school during this Alert Level 4 lockdown period. 

We encourage you to talk to parents about transition for these children and what their preferences at this time may be.

Parents may prefer to keep their children enrolled with your service for longer, rather than enrolling in school at this time. This would help reduce any stress that some children and parents might be experiencing about starting school. 

Legally, a child can start school from age 5, but must be enrolled from age 6. There are two likely scenarios that schools will need to manage during the lockdown period:

A child turns 5 during the lockdown period 
A child has a legal right to enrol and “attend” school from age 5 (taking into account any cohort entry provisions a school has put in place).  Services can let parents know they have the option to delay enrolment, having the next 12 months (until their child’s 6th birthday) to meet their legal obligations. 

A child that hasn’t started school turns 6 during the lockdown period
From the age of 6 there is a legal requirement for every child to be enrolled and to attend a registered school. There are no provisions in the emergency legislation that suspends that requirement, so if a child turns 6 during the lockdown they need to be enrolled in a school.  

Where parents choose to delay their child’s enrolment at school, the Ministry will continue to fund services and ngā kohānga reo while they remain enrolled in early learning until their 6th birthday.

Parents who want to enrol their children in school, and those with children about to turn 6, should have a discussion with their intended schools about any transition and support available at this time.

For parents who choose to enrol their children in school at this time, schools usually ask to sight evidence such as birth certificates to facilitate the enrolment process. Sighting documentation such as a birth certificate isn’t practicable at this time.  However a photograph of the document or provision of the child’s NSN number could support their enrolment. It would be helpful if you could let the parents of these children know the NSN for their child. This can be passed on to the school to support enrolment during the lockdown period. The school will either complete the enrolment remotely or maintain a manual record until the child starts to attend in person.

Parents will make the final decision about what is best for their children at this time, however it would be beneficial for parents to know that the option to keep them at their service is available.

Supporting early learning at home

We are regularly adding new content to our Learning from home and Ki Te Ao Mārama websites, which includes advice and resources to support early learning services engaging with their parents and whānau.

Learning from home website - https://learningfromhome.govt.nz/
Ki Te Ao Mārama website - https://www.kauwhatareo.govt.nz/en/resource/ki-te-ao-marama/

More providers offer childcare options for essential workers

Parents who are essential workers, can get additional childcare support if needed during the lockdown. Our website has more details and will be updated as new providers are identified. 

Home-based care options for children aged 0-14 of essential workers - http://www.education.govt.nz/covid-19/home-based-care-options-for-children-aged-0-14-of-essential-workers/ 

Ministry of Education - 2 April 2020 update

Wellbeing information has been updated for families, caregivers and whanau.

Supporting toddlers:

http://education.govt.nz/school/health-safety-and-wellbeing/pastoral-care-and-wellbeing/talking-to-children-about-covid-19-coronavirus/tips-for-teachers-parents-and-caregivers-supporting-toddlers/

Supporting children:

http://education.govt.nz/school/health-safety-and-wellbeing/pastoral-care-and-wellbeing/talking-to-children-about-covid-19-coronavirus/tips-for-teachers-parents-and-caregivers-supporting-children/

Supporting young people:

http://education.govt.nz/school/health-safety-and-wellbeing/pastoral-care-and-wellbeing/talking-to-children-about-covid-19-coronavirus/tips-for-teachers-parents-and-caregivers-supporting-young-people/

Work and Income subsidies

The Ministry of Social Development have confirmed that they will not be paying WINZ subsidies during the lock-down period.  They have paid up to 6 April and the subsidies received will be passed onto the relevant educarers.

Supporting Learning from Home website

https://learningfromhome.govt.nz/supporting-learning/information-for-parents-and-whanau

Childcare options for children of essential workers

Parents who are essential workers, can get additional childcare support if needed during the lockdown. The Government has increased the range of OSCAR providers within the scheme. Our website has more details and will be updated as new providers are identified. 

http://www.education.govt.nz/covid-19/home-based-care-options-for-children-aged-0-14-of-essential-workers/

Flutracking

Flutracking is an online survey which asks if you have had a fever or cough in the last week and which can help us track COVID-19.  Registering online will help our surveillance efforts by providing early detection of community spread of the flu and also of COVID-19 symptoms.
 
We encourage people to register online at https://info.flutracking.net/.
 
This is a practical thing everyone can do to help us monitor flu and COVID-19 symptoms throughout NZ.

Ministry of Education - 30 March update

Funding

Normal Ministry of Education funding will continue to be paid to early learning services as usual, even though services are closed and there are no children attending.  

Our RHC educators will continue to receive from us the 20 ECE hour payments for those three and four year olds who are receiving it, and their hourly top-up which we usually give to educators on a per child per hour basis.

Educators are also eligible to apply for the COVID-19 wage subsidy if their income falls by more than 30%, which will be most, if not all, educators.

Charging parents fees

The Ministry of Education are not able to force services to not charge parents fees during the lock-down.  This is up to each individual service.

RHC will NOT be charging parents fees during the lock-down.  We appreciate this is a difficult time for everyone and do not believe it is ethical or right to be charging fees during this time.

Further clarification regarding self-isolating groups 

A reminder that families who need additional support with caring for children, for example when both or all caregivers must continue working, or there is need for respite care, have been able to put private arrangements in place so long as these comply with certain conditions.  In forming this group, everyone in it must understand how crucial it is to keep it tight and to an absolute minimum number of people.

Where an in-home carer or nanny agrees to continue to provide care during the lockdown, it is essential that they limit their bubble to their own household and the family whose home they are working in. Any arrangement must be mutually agreed between the employee and employer. This may not always be feasible and in these circumstances the home based carer may qualify for the wage subsidy.

Be kind - we're all in this together

This is a difficult time for all New Zealanders. Since the introduction of COVID-19 in our country, everyday circumstances have changed dramatically and futures can seem uncertain. As difficult as it is, and as different our circumstances may be, we are all united in our determination to do what it takes to make New Zealand COVID-19 free. Along the way, we need to remember our Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s words: ‘be kind, keep safe, and look after each other’.

Ministry of Education - 27 March update

Supervision and care of children 

The availability of supervision and care in licensed home-based services aims to strike a balance between availability of care and public health guidance – in particular, advice to limit all means of transmission of infection. We have had a number of questions come through seeking clarification relating to the provision of in-home care arrangements for non-essential workers.

There are two possible scenarios, each with their own conditions:

Scenario 1 – ‘Bubble of care’ – Both non-essential workers and essential workers are able to use existing in-home care arrangements, with conditions

Families that have pre-existing arrangements in place for in-home care prior to the lockdown coming into effect can continue with these.  

  • The arrangement had to be in place before midnight Wednesday 25 March

  • The carer (and their family) plus the non-essential worker and their family become ‘one’ self-isolation group

  • The self-isolation group needs to be as tight as possible

  • The group must remain the same for the lockdown period


Scenario 2 – Essential workers can access new home based care with conditions

Some essential workers will not have existing care arrangements in place and may have been unable to identify alternate private arrangements.

We have arranged for three licensed home based services (Barnardos, Home Grown Kids and PORSE) to urgently facilitate care and supervision. The same Public Health rules apply:

  • The person caring for the child becomes part of the self-isolating group

  • This group must remain the same for the whole period

  • The carer must not care for children from other households (other than their own) over the same period

  • If a child or carer becomes unwell, they must stay at home.

  

We are concerned to hear that some carers may be feeling pressured during this time to go into home working situations they aren’t completely comfortable with. This is a stressful time for everyone, and it’s important that all employers continue to look after their staff, and make sure they’re feeling safe and well during this time. 

Ministry of Education - 26 March update

Key dates reminder

26 March - Alert Level 4 commenced

28 March - School holidays begin

10-14 April - Easter, including the Tuesday after Easter

15 April - Term 2 begins

22 April - Current date for ending of lockdown period

27 April - ANZAC day observed

Key lockdown messages from the Prime Minister (Select Committee Media Briefing 25 March)

  • If the virus is left unchecked it will have an unacceptable toll on New Zealanders

  • Staying at home will break the chain and save lives

  • Breaking the rules could risk someone close to you

  • If the rules are not complied with, this could risk the lock down period being extended or could risk the virus being spread to thousands

  • Success will not be instant. The benefit of actions taken today will not be felt for many days to come. People need to expect the numbers to continue rising, because they will. Modelling indicates that New Zealand could have several thousand cases before today’s measures have an impact. However, if everyone sticks to the rules there will be change over time

  • Act like you have COVID-19. Every move you make could be a risk to someone else. That is how New Zealanders must collectively think now

  • All New Zealanders urged to be calm, be kind, stay at home 

  • If people have no explanation of why they are outside the Police will remind them of their obligations and can take enforcement actions if they feel it is necessary

  • New Zealanders will want to do the right thing. The Government is being as clear as they can on the guidance and Police will be working with people to help them understand

  • The Government’s goal is to keep people connected to their employer through the wage subsidy, and said if that was not happening then they have the backup mechanism of the welfare system

  • In regard to those overseas - even under the most difficult of circumstances New Zealand is their home.

Update on the provision of home-based supervision and care for the children of essential workers 

As advised in yesterday’s Bulletin, the Government has agreed that three large home-based providers (Barnardos, Edubase and PORSE) will provide additional support to essential service workers, where workers are not able to make their own arrangements. These providers have national coverage. 

The level of demand from essential service workers is not yet clear and we are exploring all options to make sure that essential service workers can do the important work necessary. There may be unmet demand in some parts of the country. If you operate a home-based service and are able to assist, please contact one of the three providers. 

Barnardos - covid19enquiries@barnardos.org.nz
Edubase - Home Grown Kids & Kids at Home 0508 44 54 37 or info@hgk.co.nz
PORSE 0800 023 456

Please note that all home-based service providers can provide care for children of essential workers so long as they are compliant with the Public Health rules ie:

  • The person caring for the child becomes part of the self-isolating group

  • This group must remain the same for the whole period

  • The carer must not care for children from other households (other than their own) over the same period

  • If a child or carer becomes unwell, they must stay at home.

Queries to the Ministry of Education and other government agencies

If you have a question, check the Covid-19 website or our website first – you will probably find the answer you’re looking for. Websites are being updated regularly. 

Many government agencies are currently receiving a very high volume of phone calls and emails. Thank you for your patience – we will respond to your query as quickly as we can, but in some cases this may take a little longer than usual.

Important information on websites 

Most of the information you need should be available from various government websites. Listed below are the key websites for you to add to your favourites:

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