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Update – 4 August 2022

04 August 2022
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he pānui kōhungahunga

He Pānui Kōhungahunga
Update – 4 August 2022

04 August 2022
FOREWORD

Ahiahi mārie, 

Across the country, the effects of COVID-19 and winter illnesses are palpable. With this in mind, we have worked with the Ministry of Health to develop a winter wellness guide for tamariki that you may wish to share with parents and whānau.

The information in the guide will help parents recognise whether tamariki are well enough to go to their early learning service.

I know some of you have been contacted by very anxious parents who believe some of the disinformation that is circulating in your communities. Please reassure them that the information they have seen is not correct – for example, you can assure them that it is illegal to force someone to be vaccinated without their consent. Find further information on misinformation, disinformation and abuse below.

On a positive note, I’d like to thank you all for reporting positive COVID-19 case numbers to us. This has been of great benefit to inform the Government’s response and understanding of patterns and level of disruption caused by the pandemic. 

We know that reporting the cases created additional work for you, and we are pleased to advise that you no longer need to report this information as we can now draw on the Ministry of Health data on case numbers.

Ngā mihi,
Iona

2022 annual ECE census update

Thank you to the services who have already completed their ECE census for the week of 13 to 19 June (the month of June for playgroups).

If you have not yet submitted your ECE census, please submit this immediately. The due date was 7 July.

If you are a casual education and care service or a hospital-based service, please download and complete the digital 2022 RS61 ECE census form and email it to ece.statistics@education.govt.nz.

2022 RS61 ECE census form – Education Counts

Please also ensure your June attendance data has been confirmed.

We will continue to contact services who have data quality issues with their submission. If you receive an email from us, please complete the steps as soon as possible.

Your ECE census information is important to us. We use this information to monitor and forecast ECE expenditure and design new policies.

If you have any questions, email ece.statistics@education.govt.nz.

Emergency planning: Bomb threats

Unfortunately, there have been several recent cases of schools receiving bomb threats.

Our emergency management plan template has been updated to provide further guidance on what to do if your early learning service receives a bomb threat.

Emergency management plan [DOCX, 763 KB]

The plan contains a checklist that should be printed and kept by the phone.

  • During the call it is important to try and stay calm and attempt to record as much information as possible about the threat and the caller.
  • After the call you should dial 111 and let the police know what has happened. They should advise you on what to do next and whether an evacuation will be necessary.

The NZ Police also have a checklist you can use:

Bomb threat checklist – NZ Police

There is further advice available on our website:

Preparing for emergencies, traumatic incidents, evacuations and lockdowns – Ministry of Education

Emergency closure evidence requirements

In some circumstances your service can obtain funding if it is closed during an emergency, and you have received an approved emergency closure request.

To apply for emergency closure funding, you need to contact your local Te Mahau office:

Local Te Mahau offices – Ministry of Education

We have prepared some guidance below to assist you with what we need to process your emergency closure request in a timely manner.

For emergency closures due to outages to key services (for example, water or power) or infrastructure disruptions (for example, road closures) that are planned, or emergency closures that occur as the result of weather events, fire, or earthquake, we require a written request with appropriate documentation to demonstrate when the closure is required or has occurred.

Please provide the date and times of the outages and when the service(s) and/or infrastructure will be restored. 

Refer to the Funding Handbook for further information requirements for emergency closures.

ECE Funding Handbook – Ministry of Education

Where emergency closures are caused by severe weather conditions or Civil Defence emergencies are declared you may still need to submit an emergency closure.

However, we will source the required evidence directly from the Mataara system. In these situations, where necessary, bulk approvals of emergency closures would be arranged through our national office. 

Further information can be found here:

Funding arrangements – Te Mahau

For emergency closures due to COVID-19 and/or winter illness (for example, if you cannot meet adult to child ratios or person responsible requirements), we require:

  • a written request with confirmation of the number of staff affected (but not their names)
  • the time frame concerned.

Notifying your local office

As each service’s circumstances and operating contexts vary, in the first instance we suggest you contact your local office to discuss the possibility of reduced hours of operation or fewer children attending for a short period.

When you contact your local Te Mahau office, they will work with you to consider options and the best outcome for your situation.

Local Te Mahau offices – Ministry of Education

  • If you think an emergency closure is required before you decide to close your service, contact your regional office.
  • For weather, fire, or earthquake related emergency closures contact your regional office as soon as practicable afterwards.

In the first instance, depending on the circumstances, you may notify us of the situation by phone/text. We will formally acknowledge your request and the outcome in due course. The above documentation should be attached to your RS7.

Overseas teacher recruitment update

As you know, MBIE recently introduced a new the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV).

Early learning centres who are looking to recruit overseas teachers must be registered with MBIE as an accredited employer prior to being able to recruit an overseas teacher.

Accreditation for the AEWV – Immigration New Zealand

The visa is designed to streamline the application process for migrants relocating to Aotearoa and ensure that employers provide the required level of support to improve the resettlement experience.

A webinar explaining the visa application process is available here:

Overseas teacher recruitment webinar – Ministry of Education

New ‘navigator’ service

To support early learning services and teachers located overseas who are interested in moving to Aotearoa, we have established a new ‘navigator’ service.

The service is designed to provide a personal support service to assist you with navigating the steps in the recruitment process. The service is not designed to provide immigration advice.

Navigators are available Monday to Friday, 9am–4.30pm by phone on 0800 165 225 or +64 4463 8466 or via email at teacher.supply@education.govt.nz.

Accelerated NZQA overseas teachers

We have worked with NZQA to prioritise the evaluations of an overseas trained teachers’ qualifications.

If you have an overseas trained teacher, with a confirmed job offer, who needs their qualifications to be assessed, either advise a navigator (see above) or contact NZQA via email at QRSteaching@nzqa.govt.nz.

NZQA will ensure that your application receives prompt attention.

Winter wellness guidance

The Ministry of Health has put a range of information together to support schools manage the impacts of winter illnesses and COVID-19.

From this information we have pulled the key messages for parents, caregivers and whānau into one document which you may wish to send to your community.

Winter wellness guide for tamariki [DOCX, 27 KB]

Here are useful online resources from the Ministry of Health on staying healthy, which you may wish to send to parents and whānau.

Tips to help keep our tamariki well this winter – YouTube

Ministry of Health: Monitoring illness in children – Facebook

Ministry of Health: Tips on when to keep your child at home – Facebook

Misinformation, disinformation and abuse

Some of you may be aware of misinformation and disinformation in your communities.

Guidance on how to report misinformation and disinformation can be found on the Unite against COVID-19 website including:

  • if you see content on social media that you believe to be false or misleading, you can report it to the hosting social media platform
  • reporting any online harm (including bullying and harassment, misinformation and hate speech/extremism) to Netsafe.

Report false or misleading information – Unite Against COVID-19

Report harmful content – Netsafe

Misinformation, including leaflets and scams, can also be reported to CERT NZ.

Report COVID-19 misinformation – CERT NZ

  • Contact your regional office if you are unsure if it is misinformation/disinformation.
  • If you receive inappropriate contact online, you can make a non-emergency report to the police on 105. 
  • If anyone is in immediate danger, call the police on 111 straight away.

There are many legitimate sites where people can get the facts from. If you are aware of rising levels of misinformation in your community, you may wish to remind them to take care with what they share and encourage them to only go to credible sources of information.

Guidance on responding to false information [PDF, 758 KB]

Cease and desist letters

Cease and desist letters are a reasonably new tactic in New Zealand.

Overseas, including Australia, they are letters handed to government officials, including Police, by anti-lockdown groups with the intention to intimidate.

The letters are usually worded in such a way as to avoid reaching the threshold for prosecution as the writer is ‘simply stating the facts’.

If someone receives a cease and desist letter in email, police suggest deleting it. If someone is handed a letter, you could simply decline to take it, or if you wish you could take it and dispose of it.

Sovereign citizens

These persons are bound by the laws of New Zealand like anyone else and do not carry any real or implied authority. 

They can be trespassed and asked to leave like any other person.

If anyone has any concerns about feeling intimidated or being approached by people holding these beliefs, please contact police.

Accessing free face masks for your whānau

More masks are being provided in the community to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and to protect people who are at higher risk of more severe illness if they contract COVID-19. You do not need to have COVID-19 or have COVID-19 symptoms to get free masks.

You may wish to send the following information on how to access free masks to parents and whānau.

Free medical masks

You can get free medical face masks by:

  • picking them up from testing centres and collection points alongside your free rapid antigen tests (RATs)
  • visiting a participating pharmacy
  • talking to a participating GP or alternative community healthcare provider.

To order RATs online, visit the Ministry of Health website.

Rapid antigen testing (RAT) – Ministry of Health

Alternatively, if you’re unable to order RATs online or visit a participating healthcare provider in person, call 0800 222 478 and select option 3.

For a list of testing locations with free face masks visit the Health Point website:

COVID-19 testing – Health Point

Free P2/N95 particulate respirator masks

In addition to medical masks, P2/N95 particulate respirator masks are also available from the providers mentioned.

P2/N95 masks will be prioritised for those people at higher risk of severe illness if they contract COVID-19. This includes people:

  • with compromised immunity
  • with high-risk medical conditions
  • who are older
  • who live in aged care facilities
  • who are pregnant
  • with a disability
  • who live with mental health conditions or addictions
  • of Māori and Pacific ethnicity
  • who smoke.

For information about people considered at higher risk, see the Ministry of Health website:

Higher risk people – Ministry of Health

 

Covid branding

Earlier versions of He Pānui Kōhungahunga:

View all previous issues of He Pānui Kōhungahunga here