He Pānui Kōhungahunga
Update - 12 May 2022
He Pānui Kōhungahunga
Update - 12 May 2022
Kia ora koutou,
Please continue to report your case numbers to your Te Mahau office. We are still using this to inform Government’s understanding of patterns and level of disruption caused by COVID-19. I appreciate this creates some additional work for you, however, I can assure you we’ll stop requesting this data as soon as it’s no longer needed.
Heading into winter, it’s likely you’ll also find yourself up against the impacts of other illnesses. To support you with this we have provided further information below, including a template letter you may wish to share with parents and whānau.
On another note, it’s pleasing to hear from ECAC that the attendance numbers of our youngest tamariki are returning. I’m sure they’ll be enjoying being back with you and their friends.
Ventilation in colder weather
Our updated ventilation guidance includes new advice for cold weather and information about supports available.
Purchasing CO2 monitors
To understand any ventilation needs, your service can access ventilation guidance on the Te Mahau website.
Services can now purchase additional Aranet4 CO2 monitors at a discounted price from our nominated supplier, Butler Techsense.
To do this go to their website, add the item to your cart and enter the discount code ‘3DUCATION’ at checkout.
There is information about how to use CO2 monitors on Te Mahau.
Purchasing air cleaners
If you determine an air cleaner is needed in your service, you will also soon be able to purchase air cleaners at a discounted price from our nominated supplier(s). Details about how to do this will be made available in the coming weeks.
There is more information about portable air cleaners on our Te Mahau website.
Funding protections for June to September
To support early learning services through the winter period while COVID-19 is still in the community, we have amended the funding settings for the June to September 2022 funding period.
Frequent Absence Rule reset
Due to the extended period of disruption caused by COVID-19, the Frequent Absence Rule will be reset from 1 June.
June will become ‘Month 1’ for the purposes of assessing a pattern of frequent absence. Previous patterns can be disregarded.
EC12 Absence exemption
Due to the anticipated spike in flu and RSV infections over winter, services may use the EC12 form for children whose attendance is impacted by these viral infections.
To access this exemption, an EC13 form is required. The EC13 form may be completed by the child’s parent or guardian if the child is:
- unwell with COVID-19
- unwell with a likely RSV infection or flu
- vulnerable to respiratory illnesses
- advised, by health authorities or a medical practitioner, to stay home due to illness in their household.
Where absence continues after four weeks or more, parents need to re-confirm the child’s intention to return to the service. You must not claim funding for children who have left your service.
Parents and guardians will only be able to complete the EC13 form in place of a medical practitioner until 30 September.
Playcentres, quality funded home-based services, and kōhanga reo can claim up to 10 discretionary situations (sessions or days) during the June to September funding period.
Teacher-led services can continue to claim up to 80 discretionary hours during the June to September period.
Evidence requirements to use discretionary hours have returned. This means services will need to ensure they maintain records of trying to contact a certificated reliever before using discretionary hours.
Update: Changes for home-based services from 1 June
We’ve added some quick guides on our website to cover the changes to the regulations.
This includes percentage requirement of qualified educators in all home-based services and more details for quality-funded services. We’ll regularly add new information to the home-based staff qualification changes page as we move closer to 1 June.
The application forms for new home-based licences (EC1HB) or to amend your service details (EC8HB) have also been updated so information about how services are meeting the new requirements can be captured.
Last week we contacted all home-based service providers directly inviting them to a webinar. We will talk through the new method for counting educators and working out the percentage qualification requirements.
The details of the webinar are:
Counting the percentage of qualified educators in your home-based licence: who do you count, when and how?
Thursday 19 May, 3-4pm
Webinar registration form – Teams
(A recording of the webinar will be available to registered attendees).
This presentation is designed to give service providers an overview of the requirements from 1 June and how it applies to you.
For any questions about the percentage qualification requirements, contact email@example.com
Education Research Evaluation and Development Strategy: Have your say
Alongside Education Review Office and New Zealand Council for Educational Research, we’re developing a national strategy for research and evaluation to support better learning outcomes for all New Zealanders.
The Education Research Evaluation and Development (ERED) Strategy is a strategy that will:
- identify priorities for how we address our big challenges
- strengthen our partnerships/relationships and insights
- increase the usefulness of evidence in achieving better education outcomes for all.
Underpinned by the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, the anticipated outcome is a national strategy that will support better learning outcomes for all.
We’re seeking your input, insight, lived experience and contribution to ensure we hear from many people with many diverse voices. This will help to shape the way the strategy is developed and designed – and is the first step in the strategy’s ongoing collaboration and co-design.
We’re looking for feedback and ideas from anybody who works in or experiences education or outcomes for learners, across all stages of the education journey.
Please take a few minutes to tell us about your priorities.
The survey closes Tuesday 31 May. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
New: Face mask exemption card
A new face mask exemption process is being implemented from Tuesday 31 May.
Using a self-declaration process, people who qualify for an exemption from the requirement to wear a face mask can apply for and be issued with a new personalised exemption card.
The new card will provide evidence of a person’s exempt status and will be issued digitally (or by mail if needed).
The COVID-19 legislation already provides a legal exemption for circumstances in which some people are not required to wear a face mask. It also exempts anyone who has a physical or mental health condition that makes wearing a face covering unsuitable, as well as when someone is communicating with someone who is Deaf, hard of hearing, deafblind or has a disability which makes it hard to have effective communication.
To date there has been no official way to provide proof of an exemption. (Though you’ll be aware there has been a communication card available for people to apply for which can assist card holders to alert people or businesses that they cannot wear a mask.)
The new exemption card has a legal status that neither the old exemption card nor the interim communication card (issued by the Ministry of Health) has.
The Ministry of Health website will be updated on Tuesday 31 May with new exemption card information.
Along with COVID-19, it is likely you will also be grappling with the impacts of illnesses such as colds and flus through the winter season.
Caution over the flu season is very important in 2022.
As noted on the Ministry of Health website:
- we’ve had very little influenza circulating in our communities since the pandemic began and this means our community immunity is lower than usual
- this winter there is the very real possibility of having flu and COVID-19 within a short space of time – this can lead to very serious illness
- if you do catch flu, while you’re unwell, it’s important that you stay away from work or your early learning service. Look after yourself and your family – rest and fluids are especially important
- the symptoms of influenza can be the same or similar to the symptoms of COVID-19.
- if you are sick, stay home. Call your health provider or Healthline and follow their advice. They may advise you to have a COVID-19 test, and self-isolate while you wait for the results
- it’s also important to seek medical advice early if you are concerned, and especially if there are any danger signs, even if you have been seen before. Other serious conditions can also look like the flu, including meningococcal disease.
You may also experience multiple peaks of illness in your community, including COVID-19. Because we are more vulnerable as a population to colds and flu’s, maintaining a highly cautious approach for anyone who is symptomatic is strongly encouraged, to keep spread of illness as low as possible.
The tools you have to minimise spread of COVID-19 will also support a reduction in transmission of other seasonal illnesses.
- encouraging visitors to wear masks when indoors (unless you are a playgroup where masks are compulsory)
- good ventilation
- staying home if unwell
- regular cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces
- encouraging vaccination in your staff and early learning community (COVID-19, flu, measles, whooping cough).
Infectious diseases information and exclusion list
The HealthEd website has a poster which contains at-a-glance information on a number of common infectious diseases.
The poster shows how each disease is spread, early symptoms, time between exposure and sickness and how long students should be excluded from your school or kura.
Winter illnesses: Letter template for your community
A letter template is attached which you can edit as needed for your community.
False or misleading information online
False or misleading information about COVID-19 online continues to be an issue in many communities and can have harmful effects.
While people have the right to express their opinion, it’s important to stop the spread of misinformation. We all help to do this by reporting fake accounts or pages and domains.
Learn more about misinformation on the Unite Against COVID-19 website.
If you see content on social media that you believe to be false or misleading, you should report it to the hosting social media platform.
False or misleading information on websites
If you see content on a website that you believe to be false or misleading, send a link to the website to CertNZ.
False or misleading information on other media
This may be on television, radio or in print.
If it is a physical item, such as a leaflet, you can email a photograph and details of where and how you received it (if possible) to CertNZ.
Distribution of rapid antigen tests
On 13 April we advised that a second batch of rapid antigen tests (RATS) would be sent to early learning services already opted-in to the testing scheme. Services could opt-out of receiving more.
RATS have now been sent to all early learning services who did not opt out of receiving them for symptomatic people at their service.
If you have not received your tests by Friday 13 May, email email@example.com
Correction: Playgroup mask use in Orange
We are aware of conflicting advice on the Ministry’s website regarding mask requirements at certified playgroups in the ‘Orange’ setting. We have now amended our online information:
Gold Star: New workforce wellbeing programme
We are introducing a new wellbeing programme to support the education workforce by providing a space and tools for people to improve their own wellbeing.
The Gold Star programme will be delivered by EAP Services. It is an interactive programme that can be accessed at any time. It provides a supportive online learning environment with access to a suite of wellbeing-related tools and information. Content includes e-learning modules, webinars with topic specialists, and self-tests to check and monitor your own wellbeing.
Registration is required to participate. We encourage you and your staff to register now so you can get access to upcoming topics and participate.
Gold Star is free of charge, and available to state and state-integrated schools, kura, early learning centres and kōhanga reo.
If you’d like to promote and share Gold Star with your staff, you’ll find a poster here: